While the Bon Jovi name may be synonymous with hair metal, they’ve always been a rock band with an eye on the future. They know their audience and they respect them. The boys from New Jersey understand the power of a song, and they use their popularity to help people in need. They’ve even had kids pick songs for their albums. That’s a sign of a group that knows what they’re doing and isn’t afraid to take risks.
Jon Bon Jovi began writing Runaway, the album that launched the band, at 19. He was the writer, singer and face of the band. He was also the boss – he called the shots. This made it hard for him to break away, but he did and went on to write more hits.
During the ’80s, Bon Jovi’s success continued with the eponymous debut album and the singles 7800deg Fahrenheit and Slippery When Wet. In 1994, original bassist Alec John Such was replaced by session player Hugh McDonald and the lineup remained the same until Sambora’s departure in 2013. McDonald was formally made an official member of the band in 2016.
Bon Jovi’s members have pursued solo projects on their own throughout the years. In 2012, Jon and Richie filmed public service announcements for the Red Cross and appeared in two live telethons to raise money for families near their hometowns that had been affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Following the release of Bon Jovi’s What About Now in 2013, the band members toured worldwide and Phil X was added to the touring roster as Sambora’s replacement. Then in 2016, the band released 2020, a thoughtful record that addressed gun control (Lower the Flag), the coronavirus crisis (Do What You Can) and the Black Lives Matter movement (American Reckoning).
While most bands are content to stay with their winning formula, Bon Jovi’s members have been pushing the boundaries of what they can do as musicians. The result is an impressive catalog of music that has stayed relevant for decades. Bon Jovi is still going strong and has a lot to celebrate as they prepare to release their next record in 2022.