The A to Z of Bon Jovi
Here it is! The basic information anyone would ever want or need to know about the rock group Bon Jovi. It is listed out for your reading pleasure from “A,” all the way to the letter “Z.” I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
A: Is for Alec John Such. Alec was the original bassist for the group Bon Jovi from 1983, until his departure in 1994. He is known for creating the driving bass line on many of the group’s hits in the 1980’s. According to the VH1 show “Behind the Music,” Bon Jovi stated that Such was more or less “let go,” but it was a mutual parting as well. Out of respect to Such, he was never “officially” replaced as a member in the group.
B: Is for Bongiovi. Some people are unaware that Jon’s real last name is not “Bon Jovi.” Like many actors and celebrities, he changed his last name so that it sounded more “rock and roll.” What did not change is that Jon is quite proud of his original name and his Italian heritage.
C: Is for Cross Road. In 1994, the band released a “greatest hits” disc called “Cross Road.” It included all of their biggest hits up until that point, including two new songs (“Always,” and “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night”) and a re-worked version of “Livin’ On A Prayer” called “Prayer ’94.” The album went multi-platinum in the U.S. and sold millions more around the world.
D: Is for David Bryan. David Bryan is the man responsible for the amazing keyboard work featured on every Bon Jovi album to date. Having attended Julliard, he is an accomplished musician on several instruments, and is also a writer of the hit Broadway show “Memphis.” He has also released a pair of solo albums, and does quite a bit of charity work in his spare time.
E: Is for Everyday . The song “Everyday” is from the group’s 2002 album “Bounce.” It is notable for its trademark Bon Jovi sound, and that it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.”
F: is for Film. Jon has starred or acted in notable films and shows including “Young Guns II,” “U-571,” and TV shows “Ally McBeal” and “Sex and the City.” He has also hosted and performed on TV’s “Saturday Night Live,” which was well received. The entire band was also featured in the 2009 documentary “When We Were Beautiful,” which focuses on the band and their 25-year history.
G: Is for Grammy Award. Despite being nominated in several categories in the Pop and Rock genres, the group never won a Grammy until 2007. The category? “Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.” It was for the song “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” with Jennifer Nettles.
H: is for Hugh McDonald. McDonald “unofficially” took over the bassist duties for Bon Jovi in 1994 when Alec John Such departed. While he is not an official member, his work is credited on every Bon Jovi album since 1994 and performs live with the band. McDonald actually has been affiliated with the band since its inception, first performing on the demo for their original hit “Runaway.” He also performed on Ritchie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi’s solo albums, and has done a lot of session work with many other notable music artists.
I: is for Its My Life . After a self-imposed hiatus, Bon Jovi returned to the public eye in 2000 with their album titled “Crush.” The first single was called “Its My Life,” and signaled what some people called a “comeback” for the band. The popularity of the song and album helped introduce Bon Jovi to a younger audience who thought they were just a “hair band” of the 1980’s.
J: is for Jon Bon Jovi. John Francis Bongiovi Jr. is the lead singer, and a guitarist for the group Bon Jovi. He has also released two solo albums, one of which was the hit soundtrack to the movie “Young Guns II.” He is known quite well for his philanthropy work, as well as his support for various Democratic presidential candidates. He is a huge football fan, and at one time was a partial owner of the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Dorthea, and they have 4 children.
K: is for Keep The Faith. In 1992, Bon Jovi released the album “Keep the Faith.” It featured several hit songs such as “Keep the Faith,” “In These Arms,” “Bed of Roses,” and “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.” Many critics and fans alike thought the band showed definite signs of maturity on this album, and it is considered to be one of their best.
L: is for Livin’ On A Prayer. In what turned out to be Bon Jovi’s second #1 song, “Livin’ On A Prayer” was an instant favorite on radio and MTV alike. The song is considered by many to be the band’s “signature” song, and is a live concert set-list staple.
M: Is for Moscow Music Peace Festival . In 1989, the band’s album “New Jersey” was the 1st U.S. album to be released legally in the Soviet Union. In addition to this, they were the 1st band officially sanctioned, and allowed by the Soviet government to perform in Russia. The festival was a two-day affair that was headlined by Bon Jovi, and featured artists like Cinderella, Skid Row, Ozzy Osbourne, and Motley Crue.
N: is for New Jersey. In tribute to their home state, the group titled their fourth album “New Jersey.” Anxious to prove that the success of their previous album (“Slippery When Wet”) was not a fluke, the album shattered everyone’s expectations by reaching #1 on the Billboard Album chart, and charting a record five hard rock songs in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. They were “Born To Be My Baby,” “Living In Sin,” “Lay Your Hands On Me,” “I’ll Be There For You,” and “Bad Medicine.” The latter two songs went to #1. The tireless world tour in support of the album almost caused the group to disband due to their exhaustion and personnel issues.
O: is for One Wild Night. “One Wild Night” is the name of a song on their album “Crush”, and is also the title of the band’s first live album titled “One Wild Night Live 1985-2001.” The album contains most of the group’s hit songs from various live shows throughout their career.
P: is for Power Ballads. If there was ever a group that could crank out a fan favorite power ballad, that group was Bon Jovi. In addition to their many rock anthems, they overwhelmed rock radio and the Billboard Top 40 with songs like: “Never Say Goodbye,” “I’ll Be There For You,” “Living In Sin,” “Bed of Roses,” “Always,” and “Thank You For Loving Me.”
Q: is for Questions. The biggest question some people have about Bon Jovi is how are they NOT in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Richie and Jon were both inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2009, but have been passed over time and again by the Cleveland based Hall of Fame. While it’s true not everyone can get in, but by the looks of the inductees the last few years it makes you wonder. Bon Jovi certainly has plenty of company with other groups who also deserve to get in and are left standing at the door again and again.
R: is for Richie Sambora. Richie Sambora is the lead guitarist for the group Bon Jovi. During various breaks from the band, he has also released three solo albums. Sambora is often referred to by Jon as his “right hand man” due to his magnificent harmonies, co-writing, and genuine musical talent. Richie was married to actress Heather Locklear for just shy of 10 years, and has been a favorite of the tabloids due to reported substance abuse issues, and romances various celebrities, such as Denise Richards. Sambora visited rehab in 2011, and is currently clean and sober. Sambora abruptly left the group just prior to their 2013 tour in support of the album "Because We Can." He cited that his departure was due to "personal reasons" and not due to substance abuse or any strife within the band. It was later reported that he needed the time off to spend with his family. Both sides have yet to report if/when Sambora and the group will get back together any time soon.
S: Is For Sayreville. Sayreville, New Jersey is the hometown of Jon Bon Jovi and another fellow rocker, Dave “The Snake” Sabo. Sabo - who incidentally is very good friends with Bon Jovi - was almost the lead guitarist in Bon Jovi before Richie Sambora entered the mix. With some influential help from Jon and Richie, Sabo went on to start his own band that rose to fame and fortune as well. That group? Skid Row.
T: is for Tico Torres. Tico Torres is the long time drummer for the group Bon Jovi. He was reportedly introduced to Jon Bon Jovi through a mutual friend - original bassist Alec John Such. Even though Torres is nine years older than Bon Jovi, they were both impressed with each other’s talent and Jon asked Tico to join the band. Known by some as “Hit Man,” he is well known for his reliable steady beat that is the driving backbone behind the classic Bon Jovi sound. When he is not pounding on the drums for Bon Jovi, Torres is often found engaging in his other love: Painting. Torres is a remarkably talented self-taught artist, and has shown his “expressionist” work in many exhibits and galleries. Torres has been married three times, and has one son with his current wife, Maria.
U: is for Unbeliveable Ticket Sales. The band is known for having constant sell-outs at some of the world’s biggest venues. For example, the band had the honor of playing the last two concerts in the “old” Wembley Stadium in London, England in 2000. In addition to selling out both of those shows, they also achieved a multiple sell-out run in 1995 where they sold out 3 straight nights in the “new” Wembley. The “old” Wembley (depending on the stage set up) reportedly had a capacity of around 70,000-80,000, while the “new” stadium hold approximately 90,000 people.
V: is for Videos. The band’s popularity in the early days was due in part to their exposure on MTV. Their music videos were some of the most requested at their time. Crossed with Jon’s good looks, and Richie’s hot licks, the band was on top of their game in the 1980’s. Many of their videos showed the band in a “live” concert setting, and often included pyro, the band levitating out from under the stage, and flying in the air while suspended with cable riggings. In 1991 MTV awarded Bon Jovi the “Video Vanguard” award, which is somewhat of a lifetime achievement award and given to those that have helped shape the channel.
W: is for What About Now. In 2013, the band is reportedly going to release a new album titled “What About Now.” A large world tour is being planned to support the album as well.
X: is for SeXy. Jon and the boys have always been very popular with the female fans, and have always been known for having great hair, and being “pretty.” Jon also has an electric smile that lights up the room, and that also adds to his attractiveness.
Y: is for You Give Love A Bad Name. From the 1986 album “Slippery When Wet,” the song “You Give Love a Bad Name” became Bon Jovi’s first #1 song in the U.S. Much like the song “Livin’ On A Prayer,” it is a live concert staple and fan favorite.
Z: is for BlaZe of Glory. During the band’s hiatus after the New Jersey tour, Jon released his first solo album titled “Blaze of Glory.” It was the soundtrack to the movie “Young Guns II,” and the album went as high as #3 on the album charts. The title track “Blaze of Glory” did much better - and shot to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. While the band Bon Jovi did not perform on the song at all, it still finds its way onto the set list of many Bon Jovi shows.
Well, there you have it! The A to Z of Bon Jovi. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do. It is simply amazing to me that this band has sold over 130 million albums worldwide, and has performed to over 35 million people around the world. Needless to say there are many more Bon Jovi fans out there than just myself. I hope they can continue to make the music they do for many years to come.