King of Swing
Famous as the lead guitarist for the bestselling rock band Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora has released two solo albums: "Stranger in This Town" (1991) and "Undiscovered Soul" (1998). Nicknamed “King of Swing,” Sambora, who is strongly influenced by blues and 60s rock 'n' roll (his most important influences were Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter and Jimmy Page), is best known for his Fender Stratocastor guitar and bluesy riffs and vocals. One of his replica guitars was autographed and placed inside the Hard Rock Cafe in London.
"I try to look at most of my solos as a musical piece within the song, not, say, showing off." Richie Sambora
As a part of Bon Jovi, Sambora has released ten studio albums, nine of which have gone platinum, as well as the #1 hit singles "You Give Love a Bad Name" (1986), "Livin' on a Prayer" (1987), "Bad Medicine" (1988) and "I'll Be There for You" (1989). With the band, he also won a Grammy in 2006 for Best Country Collaboration for "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with Jennifer Nettles from the country music duo "Sugarland." He is currently on the "Lost Highway Tour" with Bon Jovi.
The rock guitarist has also done television cameos and made appearances in movies. He contributed songs to the soundtracks of "Spaceballs" (1987), "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" (1990), "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" (1991), "Fire Down Below" (1997), "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003), "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed" (2004), "A Lot Like Love" (2005) and "Wild Hogs" (2007). Additionally, he composed television theme tunes for both “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider.”
Sambora, who checked himself into a rehabilitation facility in mid 2007, made headlines in March 2008 when he was detained for driving under the influence (DUI) in Laguna Beach. He later pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to three years of informal probation.
On a more positive note, he has been a keen fundraiser for many charities and has raised donations for Dream Street, the Steve Young Foundation and Michael J Fox's Parkinson's charity.
“I'm talking about giving the people what they want. It's just like, you know, I don't wake up with perfect hair. It takes a certain creativity to get it right. Sometimes that's me; sometimes that's Miguel, my stupendous stylist.” Richie Sambora
From 1994 to 2007, Sambora was married to actress Heather Locklear with whom he has one daughter. He dated actress Ally Sheedy (born on June 13, 1972) from 1988 to 1989 and model-turned-actress Denise Richards (born on February 17, 1971) from May 2006 to March 2007.
Childhood and Family:
Son to a Polish father, Adam C. Sambora (died in 2007), and an Italian mother, Joan Sienila, Richard Stephen Sambora was born on July 11, 1959, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and was raised in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.
After graduating from Woodbridge High School, Woodbridge, Sambora went to Kean University, in Union, New Jersey, but dropped out during his freshman year to pursue a career as a professional guitarist and session musician. Later, in May 2004, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Kean University.
“I think it's down to a commitment. When you get married, you commit. When you say you do, you do.” Richie Sambora
On December 17, 1994, Sambora married actress Heather Locklear (born on September 25, 1961) in Paris and they have one daughter together, Ava Elizabeth (born on October 4, 1997). In February of 2006, Locklear filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized on April 11, 2007. After splitting up with Locklear, Sambora briefly dated actress Denise Richards (born on February 17, 1971).
“Right now, I'm just trying to focus on getting my life back on track, being a single dad and getting better from addiction issues that I've had. It's not so sexy, but these days, I'm often on stage in front of thousands and then I go home and take out the trash and become Mr. Mom.” Richie Sambora
Sambora divides his time between Los Angeles and New Jersey. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, jet-skiing and boating. A huge fan of The Beatles, Sambora also collects guitars.
“I was just drinking too much and I needed to get my life back together.” Richie Sambora
Sambora, who checked himself into a rehabilitation facility from June 6 to June 13, 2007, made headlines in March 2008 when he was detained for driving under the influence (DUI) in Laguna Beach. He later pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to three years of informal probation.
Stranger in This Town
"When I was a teenager, “Frampton Comes Alive” was such a huge record. I liked that it was a live album and I loved to see bands live. Joe Walsh of The Eagles also used talk box amazingly. Those were the main guys." Richie Sambora
At the age of 12, following the death of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix in 1970, Richie Sambora got his first guitar and started playing in bands three years later. Strongly influenced by blues and 60s rock 'n' roll, Sambora managed to tour with English rock/blues singer Joe Cocker, played with a Florida pop group called Mercy, and had been called up to audition for the New York City rock band Kiss. He also played on the album “Lessons” with the band Message, who was originally signed to Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records label. The album was later re-released on CD through Long Island Records in 1995.
In 1983, Sambora teamed up with vocalist Jon Bon Jovi, keyboardist David Bryan, bassist Alec John Such, and drummer Tico Torres to form a hard rock band called Bon Jovi. With them, he achieved large-scale success in the 1980s and released ten studio albums, nine of which have gone platinum: "Bon Jovi" (1984), "7800° Fahrenheit" (1985), "Slippery When Wet" (1986), "New Jersey" (1988), "Keep the Faith" (1992), "These Days" (1995), "Crush" (2000), "Have a Nice Day" (2005) and "Lost Highway" (2007)]. They also charted the #1 hit singles "You Give Love a Bad Name" (1986), "Livin' on a Prayer" (1987), "Bad Medicine" (1988) and "I'll Be There for You" (1989).
“We walked in there with a blank pad and a pen. We had no idea what was going to go on and we kind of cruised. We went over to people's houses and just wrote and it was mind-blowing. There's a lot of great, great songwriters in Nashville and we wanted to plug in and see what was going on. You know, we just love Nashville. It's a fantastic town. As far as musicians go, it's the Hollywood of music. You know, when you're an actor, you want to go to Hollywood. When you're a musician, you want to go to Nashville. I mean, you pull up to the gas station and then you could bet that the gas attendant is going to be a musician or a songwriter or a wannabe.” Richie Sambora
Alongside Bon Jovi, Sambora won a Grammy in 2006 for Best Country Collaboration for "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with Jennifer Nettles from the country music duo "Sugarland." Bon Jovi has also received multiple Grammy nominations for music from the albums "Crush" (2000), "Bounce" (2002) and "Lost Highway" (2007).
Meanwhile, in 1991 while Bon Jovi was on a 17 month hiatus, Sambora released a solo album titled "Stranger In This Town." In the rock/blues album, Sambora sings lead vocals and plays guitar and is backed up by Bon Jovi band members Tico Torres on drums and David Bryan on keyboards. Eric Clapton was also featured with a guitar solo on the track "Mr. Bluesman." The album's lead single, "Ballad of Youth," went to #63 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts while the number "Stranger in This Town" has been played repeatedly on Bon Jovi's “Lost Highway Tour.”
After playing on Bon Jovi's platinum-selling albums "Keep the Faith" (1992) and "These Days" (1995), Sambora recorded his second solo album, "Undiscovered Soul," was released on February 23, 1998. It was produced by Don Was and features contributions by Chuck Leavell of The Rolling Stones, Rami Jaffee of The Wallflowers and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
"With a lot of the stuff I played on the Bon Jovi hits, it wasn’t about developing solos, but to play stuff that was melodic and memorable. So the solos were more like melodic interludes. You can almost imagine them either played by another instrument or by an orchestra. So they are more melodic and melodically-oriented than solo-oriented." Richie Sambora
Sambora has also done some television cameos and made appearances in movies. He played the guitarist in the band at the beginning of the 1983 movie “Staying Alive” and played Mick Silver, a record label owner who signs Joey Fatone's character, in the romantic comedy film starring Lance Bass and Emmanuelle Chriqui, "On the Line" (2001). He also portrayed Eric Clapton in a November 2003 episode of the NBC television drama “American Dreams,” appeared as himself in the television show “The Chris Isaak Show,” and guest starred as Reverend Roach in a May 2005 episode of the television sitcom “Still Standing.” Additionally, he made a cameo appearance in the computer game “The Sims Superstar.”
Sambora also contributed songs to the soundtracks of "Spaceballs" (1987; songwriter of "Raise Your Hands"), "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" (1990; song performer of "The Wind Cries Mary"), "Days of Thunder" (1990; songwriter/producer of "Trail of Broken Hearts"), "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" (1991; songwriter of "Wanted Dead or Alive"), "Fire Down Below" (1997; song producer/performer of "Long Way Around"), "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003; songwriter of "Livin' On A Prayer"), "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed" (2004; songwriter of "Wanted Dead Or Alive"), "A Lot Like Love" (2005; songwriter of "I'll Be There for You"), and "Wild Hogs" (2007; songwriter of "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Lost Highway"). He also composed television theme tunes for both “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider.”
Along with Jon Bon Jovi, Sambora is part of the Ownership Group of the Philadelphia Soul, an Arena Football League football team. He has also been a keen fundraiser for many charities
As part of “Bon Jovi,” Sambora has embarked on the worldwide "Lost Highway Tour" to promote the album "Lost Highway" after its unprecedented worldwide success in 2007. Starting with the New Jersey gigs, the band is touring Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and then Europe.
“It sounds like us. It's just really good songs. It's well-crafted songs and I think people are gonna dig the songs.” Richie Sambora (about the new album "Lost Highway")
Bon Jovi also became the first American band to headline the Royal Variety Performance in Liverpool, England, performing in front of the Queen in early December 2007. They began the U.S. leg of the tour on February 18, 2008, in Omaha, Nebraska, with the opening act from Daughtry.
“Chris [Daughtry] is unbelievable. I mean, obviously, he was a fan of Bon Jovi's when he was on 'American Idol.' He was doing a bunch of our songs and stuff like that. We gave him a test drive over in New Jersey. We had five different opening acts [in 10 nights], with My Chemical Romance, the [All-American] Rejects, and Gretchen [Wilson] and Big & Rich and him, and he went over really well with our audience.” Richie Sambora (on the opening acts in the "Lost Highway Tour")
Grammy: Best Country Collaboration, "Who Says You Can't Go Home," 2006 (shared with Jennifer Nettles from "Sugarland")