Bon Jovi & Jon Bon Jovi Biography
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The Bon Jovi story began in Sayreville, New Jersey. Where Jon and his brothers Matt and Tony were raised by they parents Carol and John Bongiovi (Jon later changed his name). By his early teens, Jon was hanging out at local clubs, convinced that one day he would be a rock star.
The area's local music scene was rocking then and there, with the music of rising stars Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes leading the pack. "Just like Seattle is hot right now, 20 years ago it was Asbury Park, New Jersey", Jon told writer Rick Petreycik. "That was so close to my backyard, and when you're 13 or 14, or 15 years old, you can't help but hear about it and have it affect you. When you went down to Asbury Park, what was the crummy boardwalk became Americana. What was splintered wood became sacred ground, and you went, 'Ooh, aah'. And those things romanticized the idea, The myth became the legend, and one thing led to another, and I think blind faith is what got me here." That, and a little help from his friends.
By the time he was 16, Jon was playing clubs. It was not long before he hooked up with keyboardist David Bryan (real name: David Brian Rashbaum), who played with him in a ten-piece rhythm and blues band called Atlantic City Expressway. Jon also performed with bands called The Rest, The Lechers and John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones.
Meanwhile, Richie Sambora was also performing locally with a funk and fusion outfit called Extremes, before hooking up with Alec John Such in the band The Message. After The Message broke up, Alec played with Tico Torres in Phantom's Opera.
The members of Bon Jovi hade crossed paths in these early days, but the current lineup didn't come together until March of 1983 after th first Bon Jovi single, "Runaway," had become a minor hit.
In one of those right place/right time/right person scenarios, Jon managed to get a job sweeping floors at a recording studio through a relative. His second cousin, Tony Bongiovi, was a co-owner of the power station in New York City. Jon had written "Runaway," and in 1980, he recorded a demo of the song at his cousin's studio, with back-up by studio musicians whom Tony had hired, including Frankie La Roca, Tim Pierce, Hugh McDonald and Roy Bittan.
A local radio station included "Runaway" on a compilation tape, and the song started getting some serious airplay. The success of "Runaway" got Jon noticed, and he realized that he'd need more than session players if he wanted to capitalize on his success by touring the New York clubs to support the single.
Jon gave Dave a call, who in turn tapped Alec and Tico. A succession of guitarists (including Dave "The Snake" Sabo, who went on to form Skid Row) followed, until finally Richie signed on, and the band came together as a whole. They began gigging around New York in earnest.
At one show, where they opened for Scandal, the band caught the attention of record exec Derek Shulman, who signed them to PolyGram. "With Jon, I felt he had an unbelievable desire to be a star", recalls Shulman. "he had a burning desire to be huge".
PolyGram toyed with the name, throwing out monikers like "Victor" then "Johnny Lightening", before Shulman anglicized John Bongiovi's name to Bon Jovi.
Their self-titled debut came out January 21, 1984. Filled with the group's now-signature power ballads and hooked-filled tunes underscored by soaring guitar riffs and well-crafted melodies, the album went gold (sales of over 500,000).
The album was a rugged soulful collection of songs about how tough it is being a teenager. Buoeyed by the renewed sucess of "Runaway", and backed by the follow-up single "She Don't Know Me".
Bon Jovi releasead their follow-up album, 7800 Farenheit, in April 1985 wich included the hit singles "Only Lonely" and "Silent Night", it sold equally to its predecesor.
Tours opening for the Scorpions, Kiss and Judas Priest had helped Bon jovi build up a considerable fan base which appreciated the band's anthemic songs and powerful stage presence. Clearly, Bon Jovi was poised on the edge of greatness.
Slippery When Wet, the band's third album, provided the break-trough. Powered by songs like "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Wanted Dead or Alive", the LP went gold and platinum simultaneously within six weeks of its six weeks of its release. By April of 1987, Slippery When Wet had sold seven million copies.
The world ate and slept Bon Jovi, they won the American Music Award and People's Choice Awards as Band Of The Year, MTV gave Bon Jovi a Best Performance Award for the video "Livin' on a Prayer".
Jon was asked what all this astronomical success meant, to which he answered, "Everything is bigger, and it moves twice as fast. You're recognized twice as often. This is bigger, the whole world gets bigger. You have to sell more records, be huger. You get smarter and you understand the business a little more, so it's more responsability. You understand it now, and you want to make sure everything goes right".
Instead of traveling by bus, Bon Jovi went from gig to gig in a luxuriously converted Grumman G-I jet. By the time the Slippery Tour finished in Hawaii on October 17, 1987, the album had sold in excess of 14 million copies, putting it in the same league af astronomical successes as Thriller by Michael Jackson.
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Matt on the Epic | Reviewer: Julie Nash | 10/7/14
Dear Jon, You sent your brother on the Epic to look after me.
He was nice. I was drawn to him. I noticed he had a Jersey
accent. I said, "Are you from Jersey?" He avoided my question.
There was always this dark haired girl near him acting like she
wasn't with him. He seemed so fragile, asked me to go to eat at
a nice restaurant, wanted me to call him, and I was nice to him,
and that is all she wrote. Thanks, I was really lonely at that time.
Remembering Seaside Heights | Reviewer: Dee | 8/18/14
When I was younger a friend & I were on the beach in Seaside Heights. Two young men approached us and asked if we wanted to be in a rock video. That was Alex & Tito. Wow, if only. We were young and were taught not to go with strange boys! Can you imagine if we did, we would have been in the Runaway video! Later on down the road Bon Jovi was sitting behind me at a concert in the Meadowlands and I still did not know who they were. I did take a pic and got Jon with "that" head of hair! Ah the memories. Well when I saw them live for the first time I just melted. They were and still are one of the greatest bands that I admire. Also, thanks Tico for the party you threw back in the day (I still have a pic of the two of us). Great night, great food!
all about loving Anna | Reviewer: Jiffer Taala | 9/14/13
I've been listening to Bon Jovi since I was a kid. I think, I was 2 or 3 years old back then. Anyhow, their songs keep my heart to beat and my mind to think and appreciate things in different perspective. "All about loving you" and "In these arms" are my favorite among those love songs. The songs are very honest and they always remind me of my girlfriend, Anna. The love of my life...that gave me another chance to view the world again.
Rock on! Bon Jovi and keep inspiring people!
BROTHERS | Reviewer: jb benito | 6/16/13
I'm a big BIG fan of these guys... for me, brothers don't left each other and get separated... (but i'm sorry for i don't know the reason why) I really want to watch them perform again "TOGETHER" RICHIE and JON...
85 of their songs on my memory card was played twice a day... because i really love their songs...
I'm from Pinebrook, NJ. | Reviewer: Penni Trone | 4/16/13
I was at a show in St. Louis, and the great big foot almost hit me. Jon and the guys were watching, and were trying to get my attention, about it. I was in the 6th row and didn't even see that this was happening. I am from Pinebrook,N.J. and want to get a NEW JERSEY COAT. I now live in Ill., But my heart still is in N.J. Spent my summers at Wildwood Crest, and will never forget where I came from. I would like to get a NEW JERSEY COAT, but I only have a 12 year old catalog.Can I still get a coat? I want to get a large leather one from the album.Bon Jovi and the Philadelphia SOUL are the only team that I have never been able to come home to, check out and see a game.Can you help me????? I still have family in Philly, but I lost my job to Japan, and can't afford to come home. The last time I was in Jersey at the shore was when the last building on the boardwalk in Atlantic City was the Convention Center, in 1974. Please Help me to have something to remember!!!!!, They say that you can never go home again.... I will, someday!!!!!
The Greatest Band Ever | Reviewer: Deborah Caulk | 3/13/13
Bon Jovi has the Greatest group & greatest songs ever. My personal favorite song is It's My Life, the next is Runaway. Keep up the great work Bon Jovi. Im seeing you in Louisville 3/14/2013 at the KFC Yum Center. Im behind the stage, i hate it but its better than not being there at all. Im gonna be 60 the 28th of this month, & my cousin Donna will be 60 May 2nd. Please make our Dream come true, & let us meet the band, & get some pics, & autographs. After all we Love Bon Jovi, & have so from the beginning. Please, PLEASE, Please. Thank you for even considering us.
Donna will be 60 May 2nd, but im sure we'll act like the youngest women there. We would love to meet the band & get your autographs please, please, please. After all this will be the last concert we will ever see, & i'm not kidding one bit. Please make our Dream come true. like thyoungest women there..
JON BONJOVI,the greatest singer n actor.. | Reviewer: kukhrolo kapfo | 3/8/13
back in the time when i was a kid,it was in my highschool days when i first hear BJ's voice,i think was around 12 or somthing..it makes my heart beat with the song he sang,i never know why it keeps on going but it just keeps on growing,.....blah..blah.....n so on...
N from that day,i cum to fall for the music,hopin to change this dark n lonely wild world n make 2mrow a better day..
N now,i realise that it was the turning point of my life cuz from that day,the sound of music overtook my life n fillid the world around me with the rythem of music,..
So I aim to be som1 lyk him,som1 on dtop of the world,som1 hu is alwys young n som1 who wil never die bt liv on 4evr...
For all those reason,its cuz of u BJ...
Thanks to u...
Oh...! Forgot somting,uumm pliz also know that im ur best fan..
Keep it up BJ...
I LOVE BON JOVI | Reviewer: Brittney Johnson | 2/20/13
All i can say is that i love BON JOVI and you guys have came a LONG way i love all your Songs iv been listening to you since i was little im 14 now but u have encouraged me to write my own music and play guitar but i love you guys soo much !!!!!
Riverview hospital and the falling door!!!. | Reviewer: Kay Geelan | 11/23/12
I feel for the bon jovi family at this time ,but I feel specially bad for Stephanie I hope she has someone close to talk to. I met jbj when I was 15 at a thin lizzy gig inmanchester uk. I was with an English band at the time and the lead singer had asked jon and Ritchie to come over then history takes over both bands went to the stars. How they change with money and fame. It os not the family bin jovi tragedy it is steph's heartache and pain they just need to be their for her.PLEASE.
Missing home | Reviewer: Mgreer | 11/14/12
Hi Jon,I been away for my family over 5years now , I'm here in the U.S .i watch your 2010 concert on netflex and while watching it I remember my son's dream to be a singer.i feel so bad because I'm here and they are in the Philippines,I really want to bring my kids over but I can't afford it.i want them to pursue their dreams and as a mother I fail. I have 2 son.i already petition them but the process is so slow .i want to go home ,I hope you could help me.i miss them a lot.thanks and god bless you and ur family always. email@example.com
bonjov...still and will always be the best for me | Reviewer: austin koren | 11/9/12
dear Jon and all members of BJ, im one of the greatest fans of you.. since childhood till today(im 27th)i have been listening to each and every song of yours... among them Always, Bed of roses and This ain't a love song remain my favourites till now and i dont think no songs will be able to overtake these songs from my fav. list... i hav also performed many of your songs in many functions of our school, college and others... luv u.. God bless u all.
uncle tony gave john free reign of the largest recording studio in nyc | Reviewer: x-poser | 6/2/12
get real... johns family are tied in to the mafia!!! he was gonna get whatever he wanted... he had a black live-in maid in his house when we were in high school in sayreville new jersey... it was the right time for what he was selling but without uncle tony he wouldnt have done jack shit!!!
your song is very much appreciated! | Reviewer: gloriefe ricci | 4/30/12
dear jon, i was very young kid the first time i hear your voice...about 11 i guess. Now i am 26, so long huh! anyway, i love 3 of your songs very much, blaze of glory, bad medicine and this ain't a love song. listening it right now, it's like i am paranoid. your songs is like loving about life of being young, and dang! you ar so good looking with your music videos. made me have a crush on you, out of time. i am from philippines, i envy people who grew up with you and at your young age time...you seemed to be free and having such a good time along with thier friends, watching you on stage rocking and just feel its moments with you. my time is no fun, its like life's been different. its hard to explain... its like something is missing. music change and mostly meaningless.
God bless you and your family jon,
thanx for your songs!
i am from the philippines anyway and i am 26 years old.
He is GREAT met him in Sayerville NJ years ago, He was not BIG then ,just starting out , | Reviewer: Lil Bilotti | 12/4/11
HE's got class F/ Sayerville bar..will never tell my story ..never. Need a girl singer..2 of my bro. girls sing..blow you're mind & beautiful w/class.
He married his high school teacher. The girls Bro.just grad, f/SETON HALL LAW/passed nyc &nj.
REALLY | Reviewer: Emily Metheney | 10/30/11
Bon Jovi is a really sexy man I love his music and I think he has done really well I am surprised he is still as popular as he was when they started out because most people dont really make it that long but he is still known around the world today
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