Bon Jovi is an American rock band from Sayreville, New Jersey. Formed in 1983, Bon Jovi consists of lead singer and namesake 'Jon Bon Jovi' (John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.), guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres as well as current bassist Hugh McDonald. The band's line-up has remained mostly static during their 26-year history, the only exception being the departure of Alec John Such in 1994, who was unofficially replaced by Hugh McDonald.
The band became known for writing several rock anthems, and achieved widespread recognition with their third album Slippery When Wet, released in 1986. Bon Jovi is well-known for songs including "Livin' on a Prayer", which has become their signature song, as well as "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Wanted Dead or Alive", "Bad Medicine","I'll Be There for You", "Keep the Faith", "Bed of Roses", "Always", "It's My Life", "Everyday", "Have a Nice Day", "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and "We Weren't Born To Follow".
After prolifically touring and recording during the late 1980s, the band went on hiatus following the New Jersey Tour in 1990, during which time Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora both released successful solo albums. In 1992, the band returned with the album Keep the Faith and have since created successful albums throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Their 2000 single "It's My Life", which followed a second hiatus, successfully introduced the band to a younger audience. Bon Jovi have been known to use different styles in their music, which have ranged to country for their 2007 album Lost Highway. Their latest album, The Circle, was released on 10 November 2009 in the United States.
Throughout their career, the band have released twelve studio albums, two compilation albums and one live album, and have sold over 130 million records worldwide. They have performed more than 2,600 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans, and were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006. The band was also honored with the Award of Merit at the American Music Awards in 2004, and as songwriters and collaborators, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009.
Bon Jovi began playing piano and guitar in 1975 at thirteen with his first band 'Raze'. At the age of sixteen Bon Jovi met David Bryan and formed the 12-piece cover band Atlantic City Expressway. They played New Jersey clubs even though they were minors. Still in his teens, Bon Jovi played in the band John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones, playing local clubs like "The Fast Lane" and opening for known acts in the area. By 1980, he formed another band, "The Rest", and opened up for New Jersey acts such as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.
By mid-1982, out of school and working part time in a woman's shoe store, Jon Bon Jovi took a job at the Power Station Studios, a Manhattan recording facility where his cousin Tony Bongiovi was co-owner. Bon Jovi made several demos – including one produced by Billy Squier – and sent them to record companies but failed to make an impact.
The song began to get airplay in the New York area, then other sister stations in major markets picked up the song. In March 1983 Bon Jovi called David Bryan, who in turn called bassist Alec John Such (b. Alec John Such, November 14, 1952, Yonkers, New York, USA) ex-Phantom's Opera and an experienced drummer named Tico Torres. Tapped to play lead guitar was Bon Jovi's neighbor, Dave Sabo (a.k.a. The Snake) who later formed the group Skid Row. Sabo was eventually replaced by Richie Sambora (b. Richard Stephen Sambora, July 11, 1959, Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA).
Before joining the group, Sambora had toured with Joe Cocker, played with a group called Mercy and had been called up to audition for Kiss. He also played on the album Lessons with the band Message, which was re-released on CD through Long Island Records in 1995. Message was originally signed to Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records label, although the album was never released.
Tico Torres was also an experienced musician, having recorded and played live with Phantom's Opera, The Marvelettes, and Chuck Berry. He appeared on 26 records and had recently recorded with Franke and the Knockouts, a Jersey band with hit singles during the early 1980s.
David Bryan had quit the band he and Bon Jovi founded in order to study medicine. While in college, he realized he wanted to pursue music full-time and was accepted to Juilliard School, a New York music school. When Bon Jovi called his friend and said he was putting together a band and a record deal looked likely, Bryan followed Bon Jovi's lead and gave up his studies.
Solo Album (1990)
Between 1990 and 1991 the band members went their separate ways. The exhaustion of recording both Slippery When Wet and New Jersey back to back, with highly paced world tours after each album, took its toll on the band. The band has since stated that there were few if any goodbyes between them at the end of the New Jersey tour. During the time they took off from the scene, the band retreated to their own interests and showed no desire for making another album.
Jon Bon Jovi recorded a solo album, a soundtrack to the movie Young Guns II more commonly known as Blaze of Glory. Having been originally approached by his friend Emilio Estevez to lend "Wanted Dead Or Alive" as the theme song for his upcoming Billy The Kid sequel, Jon Bon Jovi ended up composing an all new theme song for the film's soundtrack and delivering his first solo album.
Released in 1990, the album featured high profile guests such as Elton John, Little Richard and Jeff Beck. The album fared well commercially and received positive reviews. The title track, "Blaze of Glory" hit #1 in United States. That year "Blaze of Glory" won an award for Best Pop/Rock Single at the American Music Awards and awarded a Golden Globe, as well. The song also earned Jon Bon Jovi an Academy Award nomination and a Grammy nomination.
Sambora, with the help of Tico Torres and David Bryan, released a solo album entitled Stranger In This Town, in 1991. The album featured Eric Clapton on the song "Mr. Bluesman". David Bryan recorded a soundtrack for the horror movie The Netherworld, which was the brighter part of that year after he was hospitalized with an illness caused by a South American parasite. Alec John Such took a fall off of his motorcycle which injured his bass-playing hand, forcing him to develop a whole new way to hold and play his instrument.
Cross Road and These Days (1994–96)
In October 1994, Bon Jovi released a greatest hits album titled Cross Road, with two new tracks: "Always" and "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night". The first single off of the album, "Always", was a massive hit. "Always" spent six months on the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, certified platinum in the US and became Bon Jovi's highest selling single. With the album Cross Road, Bon Jovi's album sales soared all around the world. That year Bon Jovi won an award for Best Selling Rock Band at the World Music Awards.
That same year, bassist Alec John Such left the band, the first lineup change since Bon Jovi began. Hugh McDonald who was the bassist on "Runaway," unofficially replaced Such as bassist, with rumours that he had also recorded bass on previous albums. Jon Bon Jovi said, regarding the departure of Such: "Of course it hurts. But I learned to accept and respect it. The fact that I'm a workaholic, studio in, studio out, stage on, stage off, want to be dealing with music day and night, doesn't mean everyone else has to adjust to that pace. Alec wanted to quit for a while now, so it didn't come as a complete surprise."
Bon Jovi's sixth studio album, These Days, was released in June 1995. This was the first album Bon Jovi released after the departure of bassist Alec John Such. Critics responded to These Days much as they had to Keep The Faith, noting that the band had continued to mature lyrically and explore different styles of music, while keeping the music undeniably Bon Jovi. Jon Bon Jovi has stated that even though the album was their darkest, the band was in a very happy place at the time.
The album managed to reach Platinum status by the RIAA in U.S. but fared better internationally than in the U.S. The album debuted at #1 in UK where it replaced Michael Jackson's album HIStory at number one on the UK Albums Chart and spent four consecutive weeks at #1. In Japan, the album topped the Oricon chart with sales of 379,000 copies in first week, becoming then-fastest selling album by a non-Japanese group in history of the country's chart. The lead single This Ain't A Love Song reached #14 in the United States, and was the only significant US hit from the album. However, the album produced four UK Top 10 hits. That year the band earned a BRIT Award for best international band and also won a MTV Europe Music Award for Best Rock.
The Circle and Greatest Hits (2009–present)
In April 2009, Phil Griffin's documentary on the band, "When We Were Beautiful", debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival, chronicling Bon Jovi's ups and downs over 25 years and following the band on their latest Lost Highway tour.
In June 2009, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame. That month they also recorded a cover of the song "Stand By Me" with Iranian singer Andy Madadian, to show solidarity for those affected by political unrest in Iran. Parts of the song were sung in Persian. In July 2010 Bon Jovi posted pictures on their Facebook page from the photo shoot for the Greatest Hits album.
* Bon Jovi (1984)
* 7800° Fahrenheit (1985)
* Slippery When Wet (1986)
* New Jersey (1988)
* Keep the Faith (1992)
* These Days (1995)
* Crush (2000)
* Bounce (2002)
* Have a Nice Day (2005)
* Lost Highway (2007)
* The Circle (2009)
The Best Of Bon Jovi
- Living on Prayer
- It's My Life
- Bed of Roses
- These Day
- This Ain't a Love Song
- You Give Love a Bad Name
- Something To Believe
- Lie To Me
- Ill Be There For You
- Blaze of Glory
- Wanted Dead of Live
- Bad Medicine
- Never Say Goodbye