It's My Life
American rock band Bon Jovi, now comprising of lead singer Jon Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora, drummer Tico Torres, keyboardist David Bryan and bassist Hugh McDonald (joined in 1994 after the departure of the group's original bassist Alec John Such), gained fame with the third studio album “Slippery When Wet” (1986), which went platinum 12 times in the U.S. It marked the group's first No.1 album in the U.S. and produced the Billboard Hot 100 No.1 hit singles “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin' on a Prayer,” which won a MTV Video Music Award in the Best Stage Performance category. Bon Jovi's other popular songs include “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “Bad Medicine,” “I'll Be There for You,” “Keep the Faith,” “Bed of Roses,” “Always,” “It's My Life,” “Everyday,” “Have a Nice Day” and “We Weren't Born To Follow.” The group was handed their first Grammy Award in 2007 for the song “Who Says You Can't Go Home.”
In the music industry since 1983, Bon Jovi took a break in 1990. They returned with the 1992 album “Keep the Faith.” After the release of “These Days” (1995), the band took their next hiatus during 1997 to 1999 and did not resurface with a new studio album until 2000's “Crush.” The single “It's My Life” successfully introduced the band to a younger audience. Bon Jovi have since released the studio albums “Bounce”(2002), “Have a Nice Day” (2005), “Lost Highway” (2007) and “The Circle” (2009). Their new greatest hits compilation album will be released in November 2010. In 2004, Bon Jovi was honored with the Award of Merit at the American Music Awards.
New Jersey Origin
Childhood and Family:
The story of Bon Jovi began in Sayreville, New Jersey, where the founder and lead vocalist Jon Bon Jovi (born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. on March 2, 1962) was raised by his parents John Francis Bongiovi, Sr. and Carol Sharkey. He started playing piano and guitar at age 13 and spent most of his adolescent years playing music. Before starting up the band Bon Jovi in March 1983, he played in various bands, including Raze, the cover band Atlantic City Expressway, which he founded with future Bon Jovi band member David Bryan (born David Bryan Rashbaum on February 7, 1962), John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones, and The Rest. It was while working at Power Station Studios (a New York recording studio co-owned by his cousin Tony Bongiovi) that he recorded several demos and sent them to record companies, but none came to fruition. His luck began to change when one of his songs, “Runaway,” was included in the New York local radio station WAPP's compilation album. The song received radio airplay in the New York area and was picked up by radio stations throughout the state. When Jon was asked to perform by WAPP, he called his friend, keyboardist David Bryan, who in turned called bassist Alec John Such (born Alec John Such on November 14, 1952) and drummer Tico Torres (born Hector Samuel Juan Torres on born October 7, 1953). Lead guitarist Richie Sambora (born Richard Stephen Sambora on July 11, 1959) soon joined the group to complete the lineup after the departure of Jon's neighbor, Dave Sabo, who later founded the group Skid Row.
The original Bon Jovi lineup would not change for over a decade until Such left the group in 1994. He was unofficially replaced by bass player Hugh McDonald (born on December 28, 1950). In 2001, Such was reunited with Bon Jovi for a live performance of “Wanted Dead or Alive” in New Jersey.
Slippery When Wet
Bon Jovi signed with Mercury Records and released a self titled debut album on January 21, 1984. Co-produced by Tony Bongiovi, the album rose to No. 43 on the Billboard 200 and was certified double platinum by RIAA. The song “Runaway” was released as the album's first single in 1984 and became their first Top 40 hit in the U.S., when it peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, “She Don't Know Me,” which was written by Mark Avsec (of Donnie Iris & The Cruisers fame), went to No. 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 and marked the only studio release from Bon Jovi that was not written by a member of the band. “Burning for Love” was released in Japan as the third and final single. The group supported the album with a tour. They also toured the world as opening acts for KISS and the Scorpions.
The sophomore album, “7800° Fahrenheit,” followed in April 1985. It rose to No. 37 on the Billboard 200, went platinum and also charted in Japan (#5), Sweden (#10), Switzerland (#11), the U.K. (#28), Australia (#30) and Germany (#40). The album spawned the singles “One Lonely” (#54 US), “In and Out of Love” (#69 US), “The Hardest Part Is the Night” (#68 UK) and “Silent Night.”
Bob Jovi's huge breakthrough came with their third studio album, “Slippery When Wet.” Released on August 18, 1986, and produced by Bruce Fairbairn, the album was an immediate hit and topped the albums charts in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Switzerland, the U.K., Japan, New Zealand, Austria and Sweden. The lead single, “You Give Love a Bad Name,” was the group's first single to top the Billboard Hot 200 and charted at No. 14 in the U.K. The group scored their next No.1 hit with “Livin' on a Prayer,” which stayed in the peak position on the Billboard Hot 100 from February 14 to March 7, 1987. The song also spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 4 in the U.K. The third single, “Wanted Dead or Alive,” made the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 (#7) and No. 13 in the U.K. The fourth and last single, “Never Say Goodbye,” went to No. 21 on the U.K. Singles chart. The album eventually sold over 12 million copies in the U.S. and over 28 million pieces worldwide, making it the group's best selling album to date. It was certified diamond in the U.S.
The fourth album, “New Jersey,” was released on September 19, 1988. A reunion with producer Fairbairn, the record rose to No. 1 in the U.S, the U.K., Australia, Canada, Switzerland and Sweden. It also produced five Billboard top singles with “Bad Medicine” (#1), “Born to Be My Baby” (#3), “I'll Be There for You” (#1), “Lay Your Hands on Me” (#7) and “Living in Sin” (#9). The album was certified 7X platinum by RIAA and in support of the album, Bon Jovi embarked on the New Jersey Syndicate Tour, which ran from 1988 to 1990.
By the early 1990s, Bon Jovi was exhausted, took a break and worked separately. Jon Bon Jovi released a successful solo album titled “Blaze of Glory” in 1990. The album won a Golden Globe award and received Grammy and Academy Award nominations. The following year, lead guitarists Sambora launched his debut solo album, “Stranger in This Town,” thanks to the help of band mates Torres and Bryan.
Despite their success, in 1991 Jon fired his management team, business advisers, agents and manager Doc McGhee. He then created Bon Jovi Management. Shortly after, Bon Jovi arranged a meeting to discuss their future plans and resolve their differences. The gathering proved to be a success and by early 1992, they were working with record producer Bob Rock.
Bon Jovi's fifth studio album, “Keep the Faith,” was launched on November 3, 1992, and marked the band's shift from glam metal to a more rock sound. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 2 million units in the U.S. In the U.K., the album debuted at number one hanks to the hit singles “Keep the Faith” (#29 US Hot 100; #1 Mainstream Rocks Track; #5 UK), Bed of Roses” (#10 US & #13 UK), “In These Arms” (#27 US & #9 UK), “I'll Sleep When I'm Dead” (#17 UK), “I Believe” (#11 UK) and “Dry County” (#9 UK). The Keep the Faith Tour was launched in support of the album and ran during the first half of 1993. It was then extended and changed to the I'll Sleep When I'm Dead Tour at the end of June 1993. The tour ended on December 17, 1993.
In 1994, Bon Jovi released their first greatest hits compilation album titled “Cross Road,” which rose to No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and was certified 4X platinum by the RIAA. In the U.K., the album hit No. 1 and achieved 5X platinum certification. “Cross Road” contained the tracks “Always” and “Someday I'll Be Saturday Night.” “Always,” a No. 4 hit in the U.S. and a No. 2 in the U.K., became the group's highest selling single. The second single hit No. 7 on the U.K. Singles chart.
After “Cross Road,” Bon Jovi resurfaced with the album “These Days,” which was co-produced by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Peter Collins. Released on June 27, 1995, it became the first album recorded with new bassist Hugh McDonald after former bass player Alec John Such left the group in 1994. The album rose to No. 9 in the U.S. and No. 1 in the U.K., Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Japan and New Zealand and generated the U.K. hit singles “This Ain't a Love Song” (also a Top 20 in the US), “Something for the Pain,” “Lie to Me” and “These Days.”
Following the success of the These Days Tour, the members of Bon Jovi decided to take a two year break to pursue solo projects. Without Bryan, who was recovering from an accident, the group was reunited in 1999 to record the song “Real Life” for the soundtrack of the motion picture “EDtv.” The song peaked at No. 21 in the U.K. A new studio album, “Crush,” followed on June 13, 2000, with the complete lineup. It went to No. 9 in the U.S. and was certified double platinum by RIAA. It was the group's fifth consecutive No.1 hit album in the U.K., where it eventually went platinum. It also produced the hit singles “It's My Life” (#3 UK, #33 US), “Say It Isn't So” (#10 UK) and “Thank You for Loving Me” (#12 UK) and was nominated for a 2001 Grammy for Best Rock Album while the song “It's My Life” earned Grammy nominations for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Song.
In 2001, Bon Jovi released a live album titled “One Wild Night Live 1985-2001” and the compilation album “Tokyo Road: Best of Bon Jovi,” which went platinum in Japan. “One Wild Night Live 1985-2001” peaked at No. 2 in the U.K. and No. 20 in the U.S. and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. It contained the U.K. Top 10 hit single “One Wild Night 2001” and the live version of “Wanted Dead or Alive,” among other tracks. The eight studio album, “Bounce,” was released on October 8, 2002, on Island Records and debuted at No.2 on the Billboard 200. In the U.K., it peaked at No. 2 and was certified gold.
In 2003, Bon Jovi released the compilation album “This Left Feels Right,” which charted at No. 4 in the U.K. and No. 14 in the U.S. It sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide. Two years later, on September 20, 2005, Bon Jovi released the album “Have a Nice Day,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and sold over one million copies there. It also rose to No. 2 in the U.K. and yielded the singles “Who Says You Can't Go Home” (#23 US; #5 UK) and “Welcome to Wherever You Are” (#19 UK). “Who Says You Can't Go Home” brought Bon Jovi a 2007 Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.
The tenth studio album, “Lost Highway,” hit the music stores on June 19, 2007. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by RIAA. The successful album also received a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album. The first single, “(You Want To) Make a Memory,” rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was nominated for a 2008 Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo/Group with Vocals.
The album “The Circle” was released on November 10, 2009, in the U.S., where it became their second album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It went gold in the U.S. and the single “We Weren't Born to Follow” peaked at No. 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 25 on the U.K. Singles chart. The album also produced “Superman Tonight” and “When We Were Beautiful” (both 2010). The group began the worldwide concert tour, The Circle Tour, on February 11, 2010.
The group's new “Greatest Hits” compilation album is scheduled to be released on November 9, 2010, on Island Records.
Grammy: Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, “Who Says You Can't Go Home,” 2007
American Music Awards: Award of Merit, 2004
BRIT: Best International Band, 1995
MTV Europe Music: Best Rock, 1995
World Music: Best Selling Rock Band, 1994
MTV Video Music: Best Stage Performance, “Livin' On A Prayer,” 1987
American Music: Best Pop/Rock Band, 1987
People's Choice: Best Rock Group, 1987