Bon Jovi has become a household name across the globe with an impressive arsenal of All-American songs. In addition to being a successful singer and actor, Jon has branched out into movie and television writing and has a foundation that addresses poverty issues across America. He also owns an Arena Football League team, the Philadelphia Soul.
Born John Francis Bongiovi Jr, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey to barber and former Playboy Bunny Carol (Sharkey) and has two brothers. He is of Italian and Russian ancestry. His childhood dream was to become a rock star, so he joined the local glee club and began singing. After several local gigs, he met guitarist Richie Sambora and formed the band Bon Jovi in 1983.
The band’s third album, Slippery When Wet was a make or break moment for the band. Its first three singles were huge hits, but it was “You Give Love A Bad Name” that really launched the band into superstardom. It went double platinum and was a major hit worldwide, placing it in the same class as Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Jon was not afraid to lay it on thick when it came to power ballads, and this tasty tune about high school romance was a good example. The schmaltzy lyrics were likely inspired by his high school sweetheart Dorothea Hurley, whom he married in 1989.
After the success of Slippery When Wet, the band decided to take a little bit of a breather before returning with their fourth album. They recorded a couple of songs for the soundtrack of Young Guns, but they were not as big as their previous hits. However, they did receive a Grammy nomination for the song “Blaze of Glory.”
The album was a big hit in Europe but did not chart in the U.S., but the song “These Days” was a Top Ten hit in both countries. It was probably one of the most popular songs from the record because it was used in a Chevy commercial.
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, Bon Jovi was quick to lend a hand to those in need. He filmed public service announcements for the Red Cross and participated in the America: A Tribute to Heroes live telethon. In 2005, he donated $1 million to build homes with Habitat for Humanity in Philadelphia and worked alongside families to complete the construction process.
The band took a break for a few years and then reformed in 1997 with the release of Destination Anywhere. It was their first album without lead guitarist Richie Sambora, and the new lineup was a much more focused unit. It was a commercial and critical success, with the singles “Destination Anywhere” and “Bleed Like The Rain” becoming big hits. The album produced a few more Top Ten hits and a number of hit singles, and the group toured extensively. It is not surprising that Bon Jovi has sold over 130 million albums worldwide.