The Rise and Fall of Jon Bon Jovi

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Not many musicians can claim to have sold over 130 million albums, inspired countless cover bands and drunken karaoke exhibitions, or sustained their popularity, relevance and output for 30-plus years. Not many can be named the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s highest-earning American artist (with the requisite big hair and massive guitars, of course).

Jon Bon Jovi is one of those rare artists who does just about everything right. He is a singer, songwriter, actor and philanthropist, and has remained an inspiration for millions of fans, from the youngest of kids to the oldest of rockers. And his work is as relevant today as it ever was, as evidenced by his latest album, 2020.

A true New Jersey icon, Bon Jovi has stayed true to his roots while expanding his musical horizons. He and his band have blended hard rock with confessional adult contemporary and reflective country music. They have also pioneered the ‘MTV Unplugged’ series, which showcased their intimate and acoustic side.

In the ’90s, he took on acting, earning critical praise for his performances in the films Moonlight and Valentino, and appearing as a regular guest star on Ally McBeal. And he expanded his musical palette, releasing an orchestral symphony and a gospel album.

Bon Jovi’s first two albums, 7800 Degrees Fahrenheit and Slippery When Wet, are among the best-selling records of all time, with songs such as Runaway, You Give Love A Bad Name, Wanted Dead or Alive and Livin’ on a Prayer becoming the inescapable soundtrack of the mid-’80s.

The band toured relentlessly during this era, and as the decade drew to a close, Bon Jovi was on top of the world, with a hit record every month from 1992 to 1994. Those hits were the launching pad for their 1995 release, These Days, which reached number one in the U.S. and became a popular European hit as well.

By the end of the ’90s, Bon Jovi had expanded to encompass a full lineup of talented musicians. They have since branched out to include a full-fledged symphony orchestra and have recorded albums such as LIVING ON A PRAYER and FOREVER, which have earned the band multiple Grammy nominations. And they’ve kept up the pace with a steady stream of singles, including the latest, Unbroken, which shines a light on veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. The future of Bon Jovi is bright, as they haven’t slowed down yet and are still playing to packed arenas around the world. And that’s not likely to change any time soon.