If you happen to find yourself part of a conversation discussing the greatest power ballads or a rock anthems of all time and you don’t name a single Bon Jovi track then you need to read on and educate yourself…
And if like me you are more than aware of this fantastic band and totally get ‘it’, then also read on, if only to revel in how much good taste in music you have!
So… Just in case you hadn’t got the hint from my two opening paragraphs, Bon Jovi are pretty much one of the greatest rock bands in the world. And what makes them even greater is the fact they’re still going strong today (they’re still good-looking too!)
Formed in New Jersey in 1983, members Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres and Alec Such, were originally going to be called ‘Johnny Electric.’ Not quite as catchy is it?
After opening for German rock band Scorpions in America and KISS in Europe, the band’s debut self-titled album Bon Jovi reached number 43 in the charts, in 1984, and gained some mild success…in Japan, strangely.
Their second album, 78000°Fahrenheit, released a year later, performed slightly better getting to number 37 and was even certified Gold in their native America.
But it wasn’t until the release of their third album Slippery When Wet in 1986, that the long-haired rockers achieved widespread recognition.
The album is an absolute classic, and catapulted the beautiful looking band into stardom. Giving us songs such as You Give Love a Bad Name, Wanted Dead or Alive, and the legendary Livin’ On A Prayer, it was only right that Slippery When Wet spent a ridiculous 107 weeks in the UK Album Chart.
Even 25 years after its original release, Livin’ On A Prayer is still making the rounds, featuring on games like Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 3. It was also named the number one 80s song in VH1’s 2006 Top 100 list – pretty good ay?
After fourth album New Jersey was released in 1987, and 16-months worth of concerts were performed, the band went their separate ways and didn’t return as a group until 1991.
But with the arrival of the 90s came the grunge era, and glam rock bands like Bon Jovi needed to appeal to a different audience.
Thankfully their 1992 album Keep the Faith was the start of a new chapter and a new sound. They also made headlines when front man Jon cut off his hair to embrace the musical change!
The release of their greatest hits compilation Cross Road in 1994 went on to give the band their highest selling single ever, with additional new track Always.
The ultimate power ballad reached number one in 21 countries and sold three million copies worldwide, the video also included actresses Carla Gugino and Keri Russell. Not bad for a song which Jon had forgotten about – the song was originally written for the film Romeo is Bleeding, but was not submitted when the band saw the film and didn’t like it. After the unexpected gem sat on the shelf for a while, a friend suggested it be used for the Cross Road album – the rest, as they say, is history.
Bon Jovi’s sixth album, These Days, which replaced Michael Jackson’s HIStory in the UK number one spot, was the last for the group in the 90s, and after the tour, they once again went their separate ways.
In 14 years Bon Jovi had recorded six albums, gone on eight tours and been in the top ten singles chart nine times, making them a great rock band. Always…
By Stefanie Keeling
The great thing about the 80s is everybody was a rock fan, even if they weren’t really a rock fan… Confused? Well, let me explain. Back in the day rock music accounted for a lot of the music that was played on mainstream radio, music TV shows, and the then new phenom – MTV, which is why a lot of us 70s and 80s babies, who don’t necessarily listen to rock music these days, still have many of the old school classics as long-time faves. And for me there is non more ‘favourited’ (I know that isn’t a word, but it fits) in this genre than Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer.
Living On A Prayer is without a doubt my fantasy karoake song - in that I’ve never actually sung it at a karaoke event, but I’ve envisioned it MANY times, and indulged in the next best thing – singing it in the mirror with a deodorant can as a mic or in the shower… with a shower gel bottle as the mic – gotta have that mic. LOL!
In fact I will let you into a little secret: whenever I hear this track I am immediately taken off into one of my favourite daydreams; performing it on a massive stage complete with electric guitar and my own kick-ass all-female band… Clad in tight leather trousers, grungy vest top and denim cut off jacket with my hair in the biggest bouffant perm imaginable having hair-sprayed it into an inch of its life!
What is it about this song that does this to me? What makes me want to scream it out from the pit of my stomach to the top of my lungs in front a huge crowd of thousands of people I don’t even know, eyes squeezed tightly shut as I get lost in the moment? Is it the hypnotic pulsating guitar that kicks it off and carries the song perfectly from beginning to end? Seriously sexy lead singer Jon Bon Jovi’s throat-tickling croon? Is it the uplifting message that tells us ‘…We’ve got to hold on to what we got, it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not. We’ve got each other and that’s a lot. For Love, we’ll give it a shot…’? Regular readers may have clocked by now that I’m a sucker for an ‘under-dog anthem’, and this is the epitome of that…
Hmmm… It’s probably all of those factors combined, which is why I’ve still got high hopes of living out that daydream… One day… One day… * dips air guitar*