Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi

Synopsis of Pop Music

“I been everywhere, still I'm standing tall,
I've seen a million faces,
And I've rocked them all,
I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride,
I'm wanted dead or alive...”

Bon Jovi took the music world by storm in the mid-80’s with their combination of hard-rock muscle and sweet pop melodies. They inspired tons of imitators as they (along with Def Leppard and others) helped create the sound that dominated the radio and the pop charts until the early 90’s. When the grunge-rock revolution changed the face of pop music, Bon Jovi survived by sticking to their guns and streamlining their style into a sound that found favor with adults and teens alike. As a result, they became one of the world’s most enduringly popular rock and roll groups.

The Bon Jovi story begins with the New Jersey childhood of Jon Bon Jovi (known in those days as John Francis Bongiovi). He grew up idolizing local music stars like Bruce Springsteen and began playing in bar bands as a teen. Around this time, Bon Jovi started recording demos of his own songs at a cousin’s studio. One of these songs, a pop-styled hard rocker called “Runaway,” became a local hit on New Jersey and New York radio stations and led him form a band of his own called Bon Jovi. By 1984, they had a record contract and put out a self-titled debut album. “Runaway” was released as a single and became a Top-40 hit across the U.S.

The next year, Bon Jovi released a new album, 7800 Fahrenheit. It contained a radio favorite in the shout-along rocker “In And Out Of Love.” However, it was the next album that made superstars out of Bon Jovi. Slippery When Wet married soaring pop melodies to guitar crunch to create a #1 album that appealed to both pop fans and rockers. It also spawned two back-to-back #1 hits with the slick pop-metal anthems “You Give Love A Bad Name” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.” These songs soon became favorites on MTV thanks to their videos, which played up Jon Bon Jovi’s photogenic looks.

By 1987, Bon Jovi’s pop-metal sound ruled the airwaves. They scored a Top-10 hit with “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” a song that likened the rock star lifestyle to that of a gunslinger. It became the band’s signature song and inspired many a fan to wave his or her cigarette lighter at the group’s concerts. The group put out their next album, New Jersey, in 1989. It quickly shot to #1 upon and produced two #1 hits with the rocking “Bad Medicine” and the sentimental “I’ll Be There For You.” They continued to hit the Top-10 with “Born To Be My Baby,” “Lay Your Hands On Me” and “Living In Sin” as they spent two years touring the world.

Bon Jovi took a well-deserved break in 1990. During this time, Jon Bon Jovi played a small part in the film Young Guns II and also wrote its western-themed soundtrack. Both the film and the soundtrack were a success, and Jon Bon Jovi scored singles hits with “Miracle” and the #1 “Blaze Of Glory.” The latter tune was also nominated for Academy and Grammy Awards. Bon Jovi reunited in 1992 to record Keep The Faith, an album that downplayed the band’s hard-rock edge for a more pop-friendly sound. It was a success and also generated a hit single with “Bed Of Roses.”

In 1994, Bon Jovi commemorated a decade of success with a best-of album called Cross Road. This album also contained a new ballad called “Always” that became a Top-5 hit when it was released as a single. The next year, the group returned to the charts with These Days. It reflected a new maturity to the band’s sound and caught on with adults and teeny-boppers alike. The ironic “This Ain’t A Love Song” was issued as a single and became a Top-20 hit. After this success, the band pursued individual projects that included new solo albums from Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora.

In 1999, Bon Jovi recorded “Real Life,” their first song in four years, for the soundtrack of EDtv. Jon Bon Jovi also began a successful side career as an actor in films like Moonlight And Valentino and U-571. Most recently, they have released a new album entitled Crush. It shows that they have successfully survived the pop-metal era to become a band that can appeals to listeners new and old.

"Whoa, we're halfway there,
Whoa-oh, livin' on a prayer..."

Artist Release History

1984 - Bon Jovi
1985 - 7800 Fahrenheit
1986 - Slippery When Wet
1987 - Bon Jovi Live
1988 - New Jersey
1991 - Hard & Hot (Best of Bon Jovi)
1992 - Keep the Faith
1994 - Cross Road (compilation)
1995 - These Days
2000 - Wild in the Streets (compilation)
2000 - Crush
2001 - One Wild Night: Live 1985-2001

Pop Sub Categories


Essential Music Albums

Slippery When Wet (Mercury)
Cross Road (Polygram)

Band Members

Jon Bon Jovi vocals
Richie Sambora guitar
David Bryan keyboards
Alec John Such bass (1983-1994)
Tico Torres drums
Hugh McDonald bass (1994- )

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