Bon Jovi biography | 40 years – 120M sales – 2700 concerts | Business or family?
Bon Jovi is my all-time favourite band 😻 as well as over 120 million people who have bought their records since 1983 when the band started. Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres and Alec Such were signed by Jon Bon Jovi to his band, BON JOVI, and have since become music legends.
Bon Jovi Trembol Card
- 🗿 Name:Bon Jovi (spelled separately, in case you were wondering 😆)
- 🎂 Year: Jon Bon Jovi founded the band in 1983.
- 👫 Genres: Bon Jovi has moved from Rock to Pop to Country to Hard Rock to Glam Rock.
- ♈ Logo:
- ✍🏼 Autographs:
- 👨🏼🤝👨🏻 Current Members: Jon Bon Jovi (vocals and guitar), David Bryan (keyboards), Tico Torres (drums), Hugh McDonald (bass), Phil X (guitar).
- 🧑🏻🤝🧑🏼 Original Members: Jon Bon Jovi (vocals and guitar), David Bryan (keyboards), Tico Torres (drums), Alec John Such (bass), Richie Sambora (guitar).
- 💿 Dicography:Bon Jovi has released 15 studio albums by 2023, along with several compilations. Jon Bon Jovi has released 2 solo albums, Richie Sambora 3.
- 🌐 Bon Jovi Official Website: bonjovi.com
- 🗣 Bon Jovi Social Media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I’ve seen wonderful places in the world, but I’ve always wanted to come back to where I grew up, where my friends and family are and where I founded my band, New Jersey, my home.
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Bon Jovi | Biography and Music
Chapter 1 | Jon Bon Jovi’s childhood
Jon Bon Jovi’s real name is Jon Francis Bongiovi (Junior. because his father is named after him).
Jon was born on 2 March 1962 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the son of two former Marines, John Francis Bongiovi Sr., who became a barber, and Carol (Sharkey), who would become a florist, both with show business aspirations.
- He had a brother 4 years younger, Anthony Bongiovi and another 13 years younger, Matt Bongiovi.
His father was of Italian descent (the surname Bongiovi comes from Sciacca, Sicily).
Jon grew up around Sayreville (New Jersey, USA), although he spent his summers in Erie (Pennsylvania) with his grandparents, selling newspapers 🗞️
- His ambitions in the world of music were clear to him from an early age.
His mother, Carol, who was one of the first Playboy bunnies; when The Beatles arrived in the USA, she became a Beatlemaniac, wanting her son to become a musician.
- She gave Jon his first guitar when he was 7 years old.
- Jon took a few lessons, but didn’t really enjoy them and ended up throwing the guitar in the basement.
Jon really started playing music in 1975, at the age of 13, going back to guitar lessons and starting to play the piano, from there to his first band, Raze, there was just one step.
- He started singing at the age of 15. His first concerts were at parties and school dances. They were always really crowded.
In high school he went to class with sunglasses 🕶️ He didn’t sleep much as he would spend the night playing in local clubs such as ‘The Stone Pony’ (famous for Bruce Springsteen) and ‘Fastlane’.
Before long he would tell his parents that he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life:
I’m going to be a rock star.
He left school with the full support of his parents and together with David Bryan, future Bon Jovi keyboardist, whom he met at the age of 16, they formed a 10-piece band called ‘Atlantic City Expressway‘ in 1979.
- At that time Jon was making a living as best he could; he worked as a waiter, a shoe shop assistant, etc.
- Don’t you know who used to join Jon and his band at some of the gigs they played in clubs in New Jersey? Bruce Springteen himself.
- Back then Jon was already a great frontman, his energy and commitment stood out and attracted all eyes.
When Bon Jovi made a race against a police car 🚓
It was 1979, Jon was driving through New Jersey when he saw a speeding motorbike. Jon decided to race it. What he didn’t know was that it was a police motorbike accompanying a police car transporting a prisoner. The police stopped him and pointed a gun at him. Luckily Jon explained to them what had happened and it all ended up with the cops going to see his concert that night 🤣
David Bryan (Bon Jovi keyboardist)
David Bryan Rashbaum was born the same year as Jon, in 1962, on 7 February in New Jersey.
His father, Eddie Rashbaum, played trumpet, something Bryan himself would also do, along with violin, viola and clarinet.
- He began playing piano at the age of 7, as part of a group called Transition.
Chapter 2 | ‘Runaway‘. The song that originated Bon Jovi
When fellow musician David Bryan was accepted into a New York music school (Julliard School of Music) in 1978, Jon consulted with his father to see if he could move in with David to continue pursuing his dream in music, and so they moved to New York 🗽
- Jon and David had already left their band, Atlantic City Expressway, with Jon starting to play with ‘The Rest‘. After 6 months he would also leave it behind when he moved to New York.
- While David was studying, Jon worked as a cleaner, serving coffee and various other things at his cousin Tony Bongiovi’s recording studio, ‘Power Station‘. There he would meet Steve Tyler of Aerosmith and become great friends.
- Jon earned $50 a week, but learned a lot and was able to use the studio to make his demos first thing in the morning.
- Jon would do a little hand clapping on one of Little Steven‘s songs.
In 1980, when Meco was there recording ‘Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album‘, Tony Bongiovi recommended John for the song ‘R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas‘, which became his first professional recording (credited as John Bongiovi).
While working at the recording studio label Jon started writing his own songs. His father said he even wrote verses on his bedroom walls.
To try out his songs Jon formed a short-lived, constantly changing band called ‘the Lechers‘. After that he formed another one he called ‘John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones’, where his childhood friend Dave Sabo and David Bryan also played.
- The song that caught his attention was called ‘Runaway’.
- It was a song that reflected teenage angst through the story of a girl running away from home tempted by the lights of Broadway and in search of love. Nothing deep, but with a very catchy chorus.
In his 20s Bon Jovi recorded it on a demo that he started to move around various record companies. None of them listened to him, but he wouldn’t give up. He couldn’t imagine anything else but dedicating his life to music by signing to a record label.
After knocking on every possible door, in 1983, at the age of 23, Bon Jovi visited local radio station WAPP 103.5FM 📻 in New York, to write and sing jingles for the station. He spoke to DJ Chip Hobart and promotion director John Lassman, showing them ‘Runway’. They were impressed and suggested to Jon that WAPP include the song on the station’s compilation album of local talent.
- Jon turned down that offer and left for Los Angeles, where he continued the visits to no avail.
- While there, he received calls from the station’s owner insisting on his project, so he finally agreed and gave them the song, though not his first raw recording from 1981, but a second version he had re-recorded in 1982 with local studio musicians he designated ‘The All Star Review‘: guitarist Tim Pierce, keyboardist Roy Bittan, drummer Frankie LaRocka and bassist Hugh McDonald (future Bon Jovi bassist).
Runaway started getting play in the New York area, and then other sister stations in major markets picked it up, which led to several music companies taking notice.
After being tempted by several labels, Jon Bon Jovi signed his first record deal with Mercury Records (part of PolyGram) on 1 July 1983 📝.
Jon knew he needed a band and now he had enough money to hire good and, above all, committed musicians. So in March 1983, Jon Bon Jovi first called his friend and keyboard player David Bryan.
- David had left the band he and Bon Jovi had founded to study medicine. While in college, he realised he wanted to pursue music full time and was accepted to the Juilliard School, a music school in New York.
When Jon Bon Jovi called his friend and told him that he was putting together a band and was likely to get a record deal, Bryan dropped out of school and joined Jon.
Bryan then decided to contact bassist Alec John Such.
Alec John Such (Bon Jovi bassist)
Born on November 14, 1951, Alexander John “Alec” Such, began his musical career in the New Jersey band ‘Phantom’s Opera’, where he was partnered by drummer Tico Torres.
In the 80’s he had also played in a hard rock band called ‘Message’, featuring guitarist Richie Sambora, who he would later bring into Bon Jovi.
- Alec made up half of Bon Jovi by himself.
He also knew Jon because he had hired him to play at a club in New Jersey where he worked as a manager, when Jon was with Jon Bon Jovi & the Wild Ones.
After saying yes to Bon Jovi, the first person Alec contacted was his former bandmate Tico Torres.
Tico Torres (Bon Jovi drummer)
Tico Torres, whose full name is Hector Juan Samuel Torres, was born on 7 October 1953 in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. His parents, Emma and Héctor, emigrated from Cuba.
- As a young man, he was fond of jazz and studied music with Joe Morello, although his first band was to be psychedelic rock band, Six Feet Under.
Before joining Bon Jovi in 1983, Torres already had a lot of experience. He had played live with Joe Cerisano’s R-Band on the New Jersey rock circuit, and as a studio musician he had played on 26 albums by artists such as Chuck Berry, Cher, Alice Cooper and Stevie Nicks, including being one of the drummers Kiss selected in 1980, as well as being the original drummer for the glam rock band T. Roth and Another Pretty Face and playing on their 1980 album ‘Face Facts’.
- He was the perfect man for Bon Jovi, even though he wasn’t at his best personally as he was going through a divorce from his first wife 💔
A guitar player was missing, so Jon called his friend and neighbour, Dave ‘The Snake’ Sabo, with whom he had a pact since they were kids. If one of them made a record, they would help the other.
- They both knew it was temporary and he was only hired to play during the brief tour in support of ‘Runaway’, without officially joining the band.
- Sabo later joined Skid Row.
Again on the recommendation of bassist Alec Such, Richie Sambora went to see Jon in concert and was impressed with his talent. At the end of the concert he approached him and said: “We should play together“. And so much they would! 👻
Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi guitaris)
Richard Stephen Sambora was born on 11 July 1959 in New Jersey. The son of Joan, a secretary, and Adam C. Sambora, a factory foreman, Sambora spent his teenage years playing on the high school basketball team that went on to win a state title in 1975.
- Richie Sambora started playing accordion at age 6, but switched to guitar at 12, influenced by the death of Jimi Hendrix in 1970.
- He also plays other instruments, including drums, bass, saxophone and piano 🎼
- The first time he performed on stage was at a Catholic Youth Organization dance as a teenager.
Richie Sambora had toured with Joe Cocker, played with a band called Mercy and auditioned for Kiss. He also played with a band called Message, where he met bassist Alec John Such.
Richie was really good, he wasn’t just an Eddie Van Halen impersonator like most guitarists at the time, so Jon accepted him and joined Bon Jovi.
- That same night, the pair returned to Jon’s mother’s house and wrote two songs for Bon Jovi’s future debut album: Come Back and Burning for Love.
This would lead to the first official Bon Jovi line-up with 5 founding members: Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Alec Such, David Bryan and Tico Torres.
- The band started playing in clubs in the area.
The only one who has a record contract was Jon Bon Jovi, the rest of the band were his employees, and although it may come as a surprise, they stayed that way for the rest of their career without causing any conflict.
Jon Bon Jovi wanted a name for the band, so Pamela Maher, an employee of the band’s new manager, Doc McGhee, suggested they call themselves Bon Jovi, following the example of other famous two-word bands like Van Halen.
- Their original idea was to be named ‘Johnny Electric‘.
Their first big gig was opening for ZZ Top at Madison Square Garden in New York, even before the album was released.
Bon Jovi recorded their eponymous debut album, ‘Bon Jovi‘, released on 21 January 1984, produced at Jon’s cousin’s studios, Power Station.
- The album included the band’s first hit, ‘Runaway’, which like the album reached number 40 in the charts.
- The band soon opened for Scorpions in the US and Kiss in Europe.
It is the only album in Bon Jovi’s career to include a song they did not write, ‘She Don’t Know Me‘.
Bon Jovi She Don’t Know Me
At the time, as Jon himself would confess, they weren’t a good band, something they wouldn’t achieve until the third album, but Tico knew how to keep the beat and Jon wasn’t bad at singing for a 22 year old who didn’t know anything about vocal composition.
They played every club they could to make a name for themselves, turning small audiences into fans.
- Their manager, Doc McGhee, suggested they try the European and Japanese markets. There they went, achieving in their early days more success outside the United States.
They were on tour for more than 9 months, which caused the relationships they all had to break up or become complicated.
- In the case of Jon, who had been with his high school sweetheart for 4 years, it was no different, they also broke up.
Jon had met Dorothea Hurley when she was the girlfriend of a friend of his named Bobby, who went off to do his military service one summer. Jon and Dorothea started spending a lot of time together, listening to music, going for car rides, and before long, they were together as a couple 👩🏻❤️👨🏼. Although they broke up at that time, they eventually got back together again. They were made for each other.
In 1985 Bon Jovi’s second album, ‘7800° Fahrenheit‘, was released.
- The title is a reference to the supposed melting point of rock, which is 4313°C, and the album was metaphorically translated as ‘American Hot Rock’, although hardly anyone understood this.
- The artwork featured the classic 1980s Bon Jovi logo used on subsequent albums.
The band released three singles: ‘Only Lonely’, ‘In and Out of Love’ and the ballad ‘Silent Night’.
- It was certified Gold, although sales were much lower than expected.
Jon doesn’t like the album at all. He said they recorded it quickly in 6 weeks with a producer who didn’t suit them, Lance Quinn, and to make matters worse they were all going through difficult times on a personal level. In fact, they rarely played any song from this album in concert except for ‘In and Out of Love’.
However, Bon Jovi went on tour to present it, starting in Japan, the country where they were most successful, very much influenced by Jon’s attractiveness.
- In fact, the band gave them a nod with the song ‘Tokyo Road‘.
- In the United States and Europe they were still opening for other bands like Ratt.
- The band would also perform at the first Farm Aid in 1985.
Bon Jovi had everything, a great live show, a very attractive frontman who sang very well, they just lacked the right songs to take over the world.
- 7800º Fahrenheit is the only Bon Jovi album to include songs written by all the band members; ‘Secret Dreams‘ is the only Bon Jovi track on which drummer Tico Torres appears as the author.
After two moderately successful albums, they knew that if the third album didn’t make it, the label would fire them, so the band changed their approach and hired professional songwriter Desmond Child as a collaborator, moving to Canada for 6 months to record their third album.
- ‘Slippery When Wet’ was released in 1986.
- The title is a message they saw in a Vancouver strip club 🗝️, although the official story is that it’s a sign they saw on a road, what do you think?
- The album cover was supposed to be a sexy girl in a torn t-shirt with the title ‘Slippery When Wet’, but to avoid controversy or sexist messages they changed it to a simple wet glass with the same title.
Bon Jovi You Give Love a Bada Name
Bon Jovi Wanted Dead or Alive
Released in 1986, when Jon was 24 and Richie Sambora 26, Slippery When Wet spent eight weeks at the top of the Billboard 200.
The album’s first two singles are true rock gems:
- ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’, which is about that bad girl who you fall for but just uses you. During the 1980s, Jon Bon Jovi was romantically linked to actress Diane Lane, to whom this song is dedicated. The couple ended when Lane fell in love with Jon’s partner Richie Sambora.
- ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’, in which Jon compares himself to that Cowboy who goes from town to town looking for a living, in his case as a rocker.
- Above all, the track that changed everything was, ‘Livin’ on a Prayer‘.
Livin’ on a Prayer is the band’s most iconic song. The song that repeats in the charts around the world decade after decade.
- It’s the first one in which the band used the famous Talk Box (we’ll tell you what it is later).
- With more than 3 million digital downloads, it already has more than a billion views on YouTube.
Jon Bon Jovi was initially reluctant to include ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’, believing it wasn’t good enough. Richie Sambora convinced him that it was a hit in the making, so the band re-recorded it and released the second version on the album.
Bon Jovi Livin’ on a Prayer
Story behind Livin’ on a Prayer
The song describes two characters, Tommy and Gina, a working-class couple struggling to make ends meet. Tommy loses his job as a longshoreman due to a strike, while Gina works as a waitress in a restaurant.
The story is based on true events that Jon Bon Jovi and songwriter Desmond Child experienced in the 1970s. Before they became successful artists and songwriters, Desmond Child and his then girlfriend, singer-songwriter Maria Vidal, lived together. They had already begun their musical careers, but had day jobs; Child was a taxi driver in New York while Vidal worked as a waitress in a coffee shop called ‘Once Upon A Stove’, similar to Gina in the song. The owner, manager and other employees of the diner nicknamed Vidal “Gina” because of her slight physical resemblance to Italian actress and photographer Gina Lollobrigida.
‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ is about how two kids, Tommy and Gina, cope with life’s difficulties, and how their love and ambitions get them through the tough times. It’s working class and it’s real 💪🏼
Thanks to all these tracks ‘Slippery When Wet’ was the best selling album of 1987, winning Favorite Pop Rock Band at the American Music Awards and Favorite Rock Group at the People’s Choice Awards.
- The album ranks 44th on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the 200 definitive albums of all time.
To give you an idea of what a change it was for Bon Jovi, when the album was released they were not yet headlining, but were opening for ‘38 Special‘ in the US, yet they ended the year as headliners for 130 concerts on the “Tour Without End“, grossing $28 million.
- That allowed them to buy a private jet to travel 🛫 the boys couldn’t believe it!
Jon commented that the leap to worldwide fame made everything bigger and he moved twice as fast. He got recognised twice as often, but he also had more responsibility and had to sell more records, i.e. handle a bigger business.
Despite all the success Jon was hurt that they were not recognised for their music, but for their looks.
- When he starred on his first Rolling Stone cover in 1987, people talked about his hairstyle rather than his songs.
- Over the years this would change and Jon and the whole band would gain recognition, but the posters in the bedrooms of many young people would remain 😂
Bon Jovi released their fourth album, New Jersey, in 1988, again reaching number one in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.
The album scored five Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Bon Jovi the record for most Top 10 singles from a hard rock album. These were:
- Bad Medicine
- I’ll Be There for You
- Born to Be My Baby
- Lay Your Hands on Me
- Living in Sin
Although the video for the latter was banned by MTV for its sexual content.
- New Jersey, according to the band members, is the album they like the most.
Bon Jovi went on another big world tour, visiting 22 countries and playing more than 232 concerts.
In August 1989, the band travelled to the Soviet Union to take part in the Moscow Music Peace Festival. Bon Jovi was the first band officially sanctioned by the Soviet government to perform in the Soviet Union, and New Jersey became the first American album to be legally released in the USSR ☎️
Bon Jovi Bad Medicine
Bon Jovi Born to be my Baby
In between all that, in 1988 Jon Bon Jovi would make his first appearance in a movie, The Return of Bruno, and more importantly, on a stop in Los Angeles, Jon Bon Jovi secretly took a trip to Las Vegas. On the trip, he married his high-school sweetheart, Dorothea Hurley 💍
They were married on 29 April 1989 at the Graceland Wedding Chapel.
Jon and Dorothea would go on to have four children:
- Stephanie Rose Bongiovi, born May 31, 1993.
- Jesse James Louis Bongiovi, born February 19, 1995.
- Jacob Hurley Bongiovi, born 7 May 2002.
- Romeo Jon Bongiovi, born 29 March 2004.
The exhaustion of recording 2 albums in a row and 2 years of consecutive world tours took its toll. The band members were exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally.
- In fact during the tour Jon’s vocal chords were so exhausted that he had to inject himself with steroids in order to continue.
- Everyone was exhausted, more than exhausted, they were burnt out!
So after the last date of the tour in Mexico in February 1990, and with no clear plan for their future, the band members went home, with no return date.
Richie Sambora Father Time
- Richie took the opportunity to record his first solo album, ‘Stranger in this town‘, in which Tico Torres and David Bryan collaborated.
- David Bryan recorded the soundtrack for the horror film ‘The Netherworld‘, after being hospitalised due to an illness caused by a South American parasite. He also took advantage of the hiatus to marry his high school sweetheart April McLean in 1990, with whom he would have three children.
- Bassist Alec John Such fell off his motorbike, injuring his bass hand and forcing him to develop an entirely new way of holding and playing his instrument.
Jon Bon Jovi Blaze of Glory
Jon Bon Jovi would also record his first solo album in 1990, the soundtrack to the film Young Guns II, better known as Blaze of Glory.
Initially, his friend Emilio Estevez asked him to lend ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ as the title track for his upcoming Billy the Kid sequel, but Jon Bon Jovi ended up composing an entirely new song for the film’s soundtrack and recording his first solo album.
- The album featured guests such as Elton John, Little Richard and Jeff Beck.
The title track, ‘Blaze of Glory’, reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1991. The song won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single at the American Music Awards and was also awarded a Golden Globe, an Oscar nomination and a Grammy nomination.
Although Bon Jovi had not officially broken up, Jon did not have his bandmates to share the success with. It was a very grey period for Jon, who was depressed, going to therapy.
- His wife Dorothea took him on a motorbike trip across the country on the famous “Route 66”, a time when Jon was able to think and decide what he was going to do…
Jon Bon Jovi had decided to take matters into his own hands and fix Bon Jovi.
- He also decided to pursue a new passion, acting, and took acting classes, something that his manager and management didn’t take kindly to. It didn’t matter because Jon decided to fire them all, including his manager up to that point, Don McGhee.
- Jon took full responsibility for the business, setting up Bon Jovi Management 💼. He also founded his own label, Jambco Records, and set up a recording studio called Sanctuary Sound in the basement of his home in Jersey.
To patch things up with Tico, David and Richie, in October 1991, he took them to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas to discuss future plans.
- They managed to resolve their differences talking openly about their feelings.
- Jon had always had a very clear vision and still did, he was the captain of the ship, Bon Jovi was never and will not be a democracy, it was and always would be Jon Bon Jovi who would make the decisions, but that didn’t mean that their success depend completely on a team effort. Without Tico, David and Richie, Bon Jovi would not have existed.
- What’s more, Jon’s leadership, his vision, had proven successful in making Bon Jovi the greatest exponent of rock, so everyone accepted their role gladly.
After resolving their problems, they returned to Vancouver and began work on the band’s fifth album.
They decided to radically change the sound and image of the band, releasing ‘Keep The Faith‘, released in 1992 as a new chapter in Bon Jovi’s history.
- On the cover you can see the hands of the 5 members clasped together to show the new unity they had achieved as a group 🖐🏼
One more change that caught the attention of fans and media alike, Jon Bon Jovi’s haircut, which Jon hated, because all he cared about was his art and his songs.
Musically the album moved away from the heavy drumming and hard rock guitar solos and introduced a more mature sound and lyrics.
Bon Jovi Keep The Faith
Bon Jovi Bed of Roses
To promote Keep The Faith, Bon Jovi returned to their roots by playing small clubs in New Jersey. The band also appeared on MTV Unplugged, under the name ‘Keep the Faith: An Evening with Bon Jovi’.
- The album went double platinum mainly thanks to the mega-hit ‘Bed of Roses 🛏️🌹’, number one on the charts around the world.
- On the tour Bon Jovi reached out to countries they had never visited before, like South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Some of the early fans rejected the change from hard rock band to pop rock group, however, a new mass of fans joined in, making Bon Jovi even bigger.
The album is packed with great tracks such as ‘Keep the Faith’, ‘In These Arms’, and two of our favourite songs in the Bon Jovi discography, ‘If I was your mother‘ and the impressive ‘Dry Country‘ which is almost 10 minutes long.
Bon Jovi Always
In 1994, Bon Jovi released a greatest hits album entitled ‘Cross Road‘, with two new songs: ‘Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night‘ and, most notably, ‘Always’, which would become Bon Jovi’s best-selling single.
- The diner featured on the album cover is the Roadside Diner in New Jersey, near the junction of Routes 33 and 34.
Always, is a fan favourite. It was originally written by Jon Bon Jovi for the soundtrack to the 1993 film ‘Romeo is Bleeding‘, although upon seeing the film Jon didn’t like it and didn’t lend the song to them, it sat on a shelf until a friend and A&R executive found it and convinced him to re-record and re-release it.
Bon Jovi won the award for best-selling rock band at the World Music Awards. Cross Road has sold more than 21.5 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.
After the recording of Cross Road in 1994, original bassist Alec John Such left the band. The reason was simple, he had had enough. His time in life was different and he no longer wanted to record a new studio album, but to have time for himself. As Jon Bon Jovi said, just because he was a workaholic didn’t mean that others had to be too.
- He was replaced, unofficially, by Hugh McDonald (bassist on the track ‘Runaway’).
The band then embarked on a mini Christmas club tour in December 1994 and continued to promote Cross Road, at which point Richie Sambora took the opportunity to marry ‘Melrose Place’ actress Heather Locklear. Their daughter Ava Elizabeth Sambora was born 3 years later in 1997.
The drummer, Tico Torres, known as “El Sicario (The Hitman)“, discovered another talent, painting 👨🏼🎨. Since 1995, he has not stopped painting in a self-taught way, making multiple exhibitions of his works that show scenes of everyday life and of the band. Incidentally, Torres also has a fashion line for babies called ‘Rock Star Baby‘.
Bon Jovi made a comeback in 1995 with ‘These Days‘, a astonishing album with wonderful songs such as the title track, the story of which we tell you in ‘These Days‘. Bon Jovi never sounded so sincere.
- Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora wrote up to 40 songs, with 12 finally being chosen.
- The sound is calmer and more romantic than what we are used to, but much more careful in form and style than the previous albums.
These Days is considered by many critics and fans as their best album, something that we at Trembol agree with, in tough competition with ‘Keep the Faith‘.
Bon Jovi Lie to me
The album’s first single was the rhythm and blues-influenced ballad ‘This Ain’t a Love Song‘, which was the album’s only major hit in the United States. In Europe and Asia, however, the album was a smash hit with tracks such as ‘Something for the Pain’, ‘Lie to Me’ and ‘These Days’.
- In 1995 Bon Jovi won a BRIT Award for Best International Band and an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Rock.
On the ‘These Days Tour’, Bon Jovi sold out three nights at London’s historic Wembley Stadium. The concerts were documented in ‘Bon Jovi: Live From London‘. It was followed by 126 more sold-out concerts in stadiums all over the world 🏟️
Bon Jovi This Ain’t a Love Song
Richie Sambora Every road leads home to you
David Bryan Memphis Lives in me
Jon Bon Jovi Janie, Don’t Take Your Love To Town
After the overwhelming success of the tour, the members of Bon Jovi decided to take a 2 year sabbatical and focus on their personal projects:
- Richie Sambora released his 2nd solo album, ‘Undiscovered Soul‘ in 1998, introduced with the magnificent track ‘Hard times come easy‘. Much later, in 2012, now out of Bon Jovi, Richie would release a third solo album ‘Aftermath of the Lowdown’, which includes another track we love ‘Every road leads home to you‘.
- David Bryan, would release a solo instrumental album called ‘On a Full Moon’ in 1995. He would later republish the album in 2000 with a couple of new tracks under the title ‘Lunar Eclipse‘. David’s greatest solo recognition away from Bon Jovi is his 2002 work on the musical ‘Memphis‘ which he co-wrote with Joe DiPietro and for which he won the Tony Award for Best Original Score. This musical includes a wonderful song written and sung by David called ‘Memphis Lives in Me’. David would go on to participate in other musicals with Joe DiPietro: ‘The Toxic Avenger’ and ‘Chasing the Song‘. More recently he has composed a musical about the life of Diana of Wales.
- Jon Bon Jovi also took the opportunity to release his second solo album, ‘Destination Anywhere’. It was released with a short film of the same name, based entirely on the songs from the album and starring Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Whoopi Goldberg. The film premiered on MTV and VH1.
- Tico Torres focused on his personal life by marrying Czech model Eva Herzigová, his Bon Jovi bandmates sang, of course, “Always“, although the marriage did not work out and Torres divorced after two years, marrying again in 2001 to María Alejandra, his third marriage, which also ended in divorce in 2008, this time with a son, Héctor Alejandro, born in 2004. By the way Tico Torres is a great golfer and participates in several tournaments 🏌🏼
Bon Jovi had already been studying to become an actor for five years, which he achieved in 1995 with his first major film, Moonlight and Valentino. It received very good reviews, something he would continue with his next film in 1996, The Leading Man.
Jon would go on to shoot many other films throughout his career including: Destination Anywhere, Homegrown, Little City, No Looking Back, Row Your Boat, Vampires Los Muertos, U-571, Cry Wolf, National Lampoon’s Pucked, Cadena de Favores and New Year’s Eve in 2011, his last big screen appearance.
His television series appearances include Sex and the City, 30 Rock, Las Vegas, The West Wing, and a long stint on Ally McBeal as a plumber who was Ally’s boyfriend for a short period of time.
Bon Jovi reunited in 1999 to record the song ‘Real Life‘ for the film EdTV, at which time David Bryan was recovering from an accident in which he nearly severed his finger with a circular saw at home. After a year of rehabilitation, Bryan regained the use of his finger 👆🏼 and returned to playing the keyboard.
In mid-2000, after a hiatus of almost 4 years, Bon Jovi returned to the music scene with ‘Crush‘, a new album with which the band would climb the charts around the world thanks mainly to its first single, ‘It’s My Life’, their most successful release in a decade and a symbol of the band’s longevity.
- ‘It’s My Life‘ introduced Bon Jovi to a new generation, who immediately became fans of the band.
- The song references Tommy and Gina, the stars of ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ and also Frank Sinatra with the line: ‘Like Frankie said, I did it my way‘.
- They also used the most classic Bon Jovi feature in the track is Richie Sambora’s use of the “talk box”.
A talk box is a sound effect device that allows you to modify the sound that a musical instrument has. This effect can be used to change the frequency of the sound and to apply vocal sounds to a musical instrument, as Richie Sambora has done many times with his guitar.
The meaning of It’s My Life
When Jon Bon Jovi wrote ‘It’s My Life’, he already knew it would be a hit, but he never imagined it would become an anthem.
Jon wrote it thinking about his personal moment in life, but he later realised that the phrase ‘It’s My Life‘ could be interpreted in a personal way by everyone, which is exactly what happened. From young to old, people adopte it as their own, representing a cry that says. “I’m finally taking control of my life”.
On the album tour, as well as playing the last 2 concerts at Wembley before its demolition, they played to 1.1 million fans in 40 stadiums and arenas in North America, Europe and Japan.
- Bon Jovi would go on to win ‘Best Live Performance‘ at the 2001 VH1 Music Awards.
During the tour, Bon Jovi released a collection of live performances from throughout his career on an album entitled ‘One Wild Night Live 1985-2001‘. It was Bon Jovi’s first live album.
By the way, Jon Bon Jovi has always been considered a sex-symbol, in fact in 2000 People magazine called him the “Sexiest Rock Star”.
- Away from the aesthetic side, Jon Bon Jovi has always supported the Democratic Party in the United States. His first campaign was for Al Gore in 2000, followed by John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008, who appointed him to the White House Community Solutions Council.
In 2000, guitarist Richie Sambora would have the privilege of having the famous guitar brand Fender release a Stratocaster model signed by him, of which only 100 units were made.
- Richie is known to have used a wide variety of guitars throughout his career from his extensive collection of over 130, perhaps the most famous being the double neck, although Richie even played one with 3 necks (Ovation Triple Neck), anyone?
Back to Bon Jovi, the band members had planned a short holiday before starting work on the group’s eighth studio album, but 11 September changed the world. The whole band threw themselves into charity and fundraising events.
- In 2001 Jon was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey.
Fully influenced by September 11, 2001, both Jon and Richie set to work on what would become their new album, ‘Bounce’ which was released in 2002.
- The album was released via the Internet.
- The title referred to the ability of New York City and the United States to recover from the World Trade Center attacks.
Bounce contained top rock songs, written by Jon, Richie and the return of long-time collaborator Desmond Child, but still sold less than their previous albums, 6 million units.
The best tracks on the album were:
- Bounce: It was written with sports in mind, however, after 9/11, it became a statement of strength and defiance.
- Undivided: Affirms that people are stronger together than apart.
- Everyday: Acknowledges the harshness of life, but encourages people to get up and keep going.
- Our favourite was ‘Joey‘, inspired by Elton John’s ‘Levon’, tells of a character who befriends a very naive young boy, a beautiful song.
Bon Jovi Everday
Bon Jovi Joey
In 2003 Bon Jovi reinvented 12 of their biggest hits in a new light on ‘This Left Feels Right‘.
The following year, to commemorate his more than 100 million records sold worldwide and 20 years since his first album, they released a box set entitled ‘100,000,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong‘, in homage to Elvis Presley’s 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.
- The box set contained four CDs with 38 unreleased tracks, 12 rarities and a DVD. We find little treasures like ‘If I Can’t Have your love‘.
In 2004, Bon Jovi became founder and principal owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League, although he would later sell the club.
The band’s ninth studio album, ‘Have a Nice Day‘, was released in 2005. The album reached number one in fifteen countries.
- The title track, ‘Have a nice day’, was an international hit.
- The second single, sung as a duet with country singer Jennifer Nettles of the band Sugarland, ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home‘ gave Bon Jovi their first number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, making Bon Jovi the first rock band to do so.
The songs were mainly about the political changes that took place in the United States in that period and the state of the music business that seeks to sell 99-cent downloads in bulk. That’s what ‘Last Man Standing’ is about. “It’s heartbreaking“, Jon said.
The ‘Have A Nice Day Tour’ was a total success, grossing $191 million 💲
Bon Jovi Have a Nice Day
A wonderful bonus track
One of our favourite Bon Jovi songs is a bonus track from the album ‘Have a Nice Day’, which is very hard to find. It’s called ‘Dirty Little Secret‘, and it’s about having a lover, so here it is for you to enjoy!
Bon Jovi Dirty Little Secret
Jon Bon Jovi philanthropy
Jon founded the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation in 2006 to support community efforts to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
Later, in 2011, he and his wife Dorothea opened the JBJ Soul Kitchen, a series of community restaurants where customers pay what they can for their meals, either with money or volunteer labour.
This initiative is part of a series of projects that include building homes for people in need and a centre for teenage mothers and their children, among others.
Aside from his foundation, Jon has made countless contributions to multiple causes, both with Bon Jovi and personally with his wife. He has always wanted to give something back for all he has received in life 👍🏼
Bon Jovi Lost Highway
Bon Jovi (You Want To) Make A Memory
After the tour, they wanted to rest again, but an earthquake of personal events caused Jon to change his plans.
- Richie Sambora divorced Heather Locklear, became addicted to alcohol and his father died of cancer.
- Dave was still fighting for custody of his children, having divorced his wife April McLean in 2004.
So, to get out of the loop, Jon decided to take the band to Nashville to write a country album. He started hanging out with local artists who weren’t very popular and writing with them. The result, ‘Lost Highway‘, released in 2007. An album with a clear Country flavour that they define as a “Bon Jovi album with Nashville influences“.
- Bon Jovi had the collaboration of the great Country artist LeAnn Rimes in one of the songs: ‘Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore’.
‘Lost Highway’ was the first Bon Jovi album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. This was helped by fantastic singles such as ‘Lost Highway‘, the title track, which is about going to a new, unknown place that no one knows exists.
- The intimate and moving ‘(You Want to) Make a Memory‘ stands out too. In it we can hear Jon whispering rather than singing.
The ‘Lost Highway Tour’ was the highest grossing tour of 2008 with 227 million in box office. As part of the tour, Bon Jovi was the first band to perform at the new O2 Arena in London.
Jon confessed that despite having toured the world many times he didn’t have the chance to see it, because his life went from hotel to hotel. He didn’t use to have time to see anything but than the gym, the restaurant and the bar. Most of all because he was responsible for the dozens of people who work on his tours.
He also said that it was a hard life because you go from having 70,000 people screaming your songs to being alone in the hotel with your ears ringing, which is very lonely. He said that he often had to take a bottle of whiskey and a sleeping pill 💊
However, for Jon the artistic side always mattered more and if he could he would have played in the desert in front of millions of people, more than one night in a row.
For all that, Jon was the CEO (President) of a corporation which main brand was Bon Jovi and which he has managed to keep at the top with an incredible income for over 40 years.
A year later, in 2009, the documentary which narrates the ups and downs of Bon Jovi’s 25-year musical career was released, ‘When We Were Beautiful‘.
- It tells how Richie Sambora was always Jon’s right-hand man, his friend, his songwriting partner, his support, he always tried to keep Jon well, but around 2008, he couldn’t, his personal situation (divorce and his father’s illness) made him very ill and he was the one who needed help.
During that period, Richie Sambora entered a rehabilitation centre to fight against his alcoholism. He would also become addicted to painkillers, after a fall in the bathroom where he broke his arm, but with the help of his bandmates and his mother, he overcame it.
- In 2011, it was announced that Sambora had made the decision to re-enter rehab.
Richie was not the only one who had problems with alcohol, drummer Tico Torres, could go 6 months without drinking, but when he did he would drink 2 bottles and become cruel, causing serious problems. Eventually he discovered that he had anger built up because his father abandoned him as a child, but he had the opportunity to talk to him much later, clear things up. That fact, in addition to the support of the other members of Bon Jovi, whom he considered his family, made him overcome it, becoming the most stable member of the band.
Bon Jovi We Weren’t Born to Follow
Bon Jovi When We Were Beautiful
Later that year, Bon Jovi would return to his rock roots with ‘The Circle’. The album debuted again at number 1 in the US, Canada, Germany and Japan.
The title represents the fact that a circle never ends, and refers to Bon Jovi’s inner circle:
In this organisation, it’s very hard to get into the circle, and even harder to get out of it.
The lead single, ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow‘, deals with the hard times they were going through because of the economic crisis of 2009.
- The best track on the album was ‘When we were beautiful’, a song of longing for the years gone by.
Bon Jovi returned to the road making history in one of the biggest stadium tours with 12 sold-out nights at London’s O2 Arena, making it the highest grossing tour of 2010, grossing 200 million dollars, making Bon Jovi second only to U2 as the world’s highest paid musicians.
One of the songs that Bon Jovi plays in some concerts because the audience loves it even though it is not his is ‘Hallelujah‘ by Leonard Cohen, who has declared that his favourite version of the song is Jon’s.
In 2010, Bon Jovi released a ‘Greatest Hits‘ with four new songs, and the band received MTV’s Global Icon Award.
- That same year, keyboardist David Bryan married for the second time, this time to Lexi Quaas.
Bon Jovi’s new album, ‘What About Now’, was released in 2013.
It was introduced with ‘Because We Can’, an anthem that invited us to raise our fists and fight for what is ours, although there are sweet tunes on the album like ‘The Fighter’ and others with Bon Jovi’s fantastic rock like ‘That’s what the water made me’.
- The album cover is a collage on which, if you look closely, you can see the four members of Bon Jovi.
As a bonus of the album we find ‘Not Running Anymore’ used in the soundtrack of the movie ‘Stand Up Guys’, being nominated for the Golden Globes 🏅
Unfortunately, this would be the last album to feature legendary guitarist Richie Sambora. In April 2013, Sambora pulled out of the current tour citing “personal reasons”, guitarist Phil X replaced him and stayed for the rest of the tour, amidst rumours that Sambora had been fired.
Not so, Richie left the band because he needed to spend time with his family, especially his daughter Ava, a minor at the time. Sambora explained:
My daughter really needed me.
Jon and Richie were like a married couple, the two had been writing as a duo for 30 years and spent more time together than with their wives. Of course they had ups and downs over the years, fights and reconciliations, but Jon was clear:
Not a day goes by that I don’t wish Richie Sambora had rethought his life and stayed in the band.
In November 2014, Sambora’s departure was officially announced, no hard feelings, replaced on a permanent basis by Phil X. Who knows, maybe one day there will be a comeback, what do you think?
Jon Bon Jovi never stops and quickly set about writing new songs, releasing two singles in 2015:
- ‘We Don’t Run’, a rallying cry for anyone feeling between a rock and a hard place.
- ‘Saturday Night Gave Me Sunday Morning’.
Both appeared on the album ‘Burning Bridges‘.
The album was conceived to fulfil Bon Jovi’s commitment to his label Mercury Records, with whom he would break off after 32 years due to disagreements over the contract.
The track ‘Burning Bridges‘ explains in detail what happened when Jon sang:
I hope my money and the rights to my songs will buy you a front row seat in hell.
Bon Jovi Burning Bridges
In 2016, Jon Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga decided to lend their support to Hillary Clinton, singing Bon Jovi’s song ‘Livin’ On a Prayer‘ together in front of thousands of Clinton supporters.
Bon Jovi wanted to write a new album that was about integrity, about a time in their career when they no longer had anything to prove, thus spawning ‘This House Is Not for Sale’, released in 2016 with a single of the same name.
- This album names bassist Hugh McDonald and guitarist Phil X as official members of Bon Jovi.
‘This House Is Not for Sale‘ was inspired by a photo Jon saw in a magazine of a proud old house with deep roots, which he decided to use for the cover.
- Our favourite song on the album is, ‘Living with the Ghost’, a song about loss.
Bon Jovi This House is not for Sale
Only a year later, a 25-disc box set titled ‘Bon Jovi: The Albums‘ was released, which included the entire Bon Jovi discography and an album of rarities.
Around that time, 2018, Richie Sambora would start collaborating with the great guitarist and girlfriend Orianthi. Under the name RSO, they would release an EP called ‘Rise’ in 2017, followed by another EP titled ‘Making History’ and finally an album in 2018, ‘Radio Free America’.
In 2018, the long-awaited moment of the return of Bon Jovi’s two former members arrived. The reason was that Bon Jovi would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- Jon invited Richie Sambora and Alec Such to appear and perform with the band at the induction ceremony. That way we could enjoy all the members, past and present, at the same time.
It was a one-off, because the band with its 2020 line-up, i.e. singer Jon Bon Jovi, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, guitarist Phil X and bassist Hugh McDonald, would set off again to write the album ‘2020’.
Caught in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jon, who contracted the virus and was made to think about the fragility of human life, composed ‘Do What You Can’, which represents the fight against COVID-19.
The album also includes the track ‘American Reckoning‘, a protest song about the police killing of African-American George Floyd, written in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2020, Jon Bon Jovi released an EP called ‘A Jon Bon Jovi Christmas‘, featuring three new Christmas songs 🎅🏼
Bon Jovi Do What You Can
A Bon Jovi song used in the Ukrainian war
During the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, a viral video surfaced in which residents of Odessa, Ukraine, prepared for a Russian attack while a drummer played along to the beat of Bon Jovi’s hit ‘It’s My Life’. Bon Jovi supported this video and shared it with his followers, with the comment “This is for those who stood their ground…“.
- Bon Jovi founding member, bassist Alec John Such passed away on 5 June 2022 of a heart attack at the age of 70.
- In 2023, former guitarist Richie Sambora opened the door to his return to the band, claiming: “Jon and I did something… there aren’t many bands that have done what we did. We have to go out and do it for the fans for real“.
Bon Jovi live (Facebook Image)
Bon Jovi always wanted to be a rock band, and although they fluctuated through pop, funk, country, glam and hard rock, they managed to achieve something more, to be appreciated for themselves. The one reason behind their success is the songs that connected with the public and lasted through time. From the more gentle ones like ‘You give love a bad name‘, to the more socially committed ones like ‘Keep the faith‘, not to mention anthems like ‘It’s my life‘ and ‘Livin’ on a prayer’ or the quintessential ballad, ‘Always‘.
You’ve probably noticed that Bon Jovi is my favourite band of all time, and that’s saying a lot for a music nut like me, but if they don’t deserve it, who does? 😄