The band Bon Jovi consists of singer Jon Bongiovi, drummer Tico Torres, bassist Alec John Such and guitarist Richie Sambora. The group formed in 1983 in Sayreville, New Jersey. The band was initially billed as a hard rock act, and they certainly looked the part with big hair and tight pants, but they wanted to do something more. With the help of songwriter Desmond Child, they began to work on crafting stories with their music, and Slippery When Wet was born in 1986. The album went a long way to redefining the genre of rock and roll, with classics like You Give Love a Bad Name, Wanted Dead or Alive and Livin’ on a Prayer becoming the inescapable soundtrack of the era.
After a brief pause in the mid-1990s, the band returned with two albums of new material, The Circle and What About Now. Both received critical acclaim and commercial success. With the addition of Sambora, the band’s sound grew even more melodic and professional. They also resisted the temptation to stray too far from their roots by avoiding any overtly heavy metal elements. Instead, they focused on delivering power ballads that appealed to teenagers and housewives alike.
As the decade progressed, Bon Jovi maintained their popularity by focusing on a combination of touring and television appearances. The band was featured on several MTV shows, including the popular Friday Night Videos and Headbangers Ball. On September 11, 2001, the world changed forever and the members of the group stepped up to the plate and did their part to provide relief efforts in New York City. They filmed Public Service Announcements for the Red Cross and participated in the America: A Tribute to Heroes live telethon.
In 2002, the band released a compilation album called This Left Feels Right, which included re-recordings of some of their biggest hits in an acoustic format. This would be the last time that the original lineup of Bon Jovi remained intact until the departure of Such in 1994 (he was replaced by Hugh McDonald) and Sambora in 2013.
Since then, Bon Jovi has continued to tour and record albums. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. While some fans may still hold onto images of the Livin’ on a Prayer era – think big guitars and bigger hair – any fan will be surprised by the sensitivity and political leanings of the band’s latest album, 2020. It tackles subjects as diverse as gun control (Lower the Flag), the coronavirus crisis (Do What You Can) and the Black Lives Matter movement (American Reckoning). While some of their members have embarked on solo projects, Bon Jovi continues to remain a powerful force in rock music.