In a music industry that often values flash and pyrotechnics over musical merit, bon jovi members have built a devoted following by keeping it simple. Their strategy has been to write well-crafted rock songs with a deliberate pop sheen, play your heart out whenever you take the stage, always exceed the expectations of the fans, have fun, and look good. The result has been a long string of hit albums and singles, sold-out concerts across the globe, and millions of happy fans.
Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora formed the band in 1983 with bassist Alec John Such and drummer Tico Torres. They honed their craft in local clubs and showcases, eventually catching the attention of record executive Derek Shulman, who signed them to his PolyGram label.
Early on, the group struggled to find a name for itself. Pamela Maher, a friend of such and an employee at Doc McGhee’s music store, suggested that they adopt the name Bon Jovi, a slight adjustment of singer Jon Bongiovi’s family name of Bongiovi. The others liked the idea, and Bon Jovi became a reality.
The first task was to get together a core group of players to form the band and begin writing new material. Jon and Richie recruited fellow professional songwriter Desmond Child, who was already writing for such acts as Kiss and Aerosmith, to help them out. They wrote 30 songs, auditioning them for local kids and basing the running order of the album on their opinions.
The eponymous debut album in 1984 and the follow-up, 7800deg Fahrenheit, both generated Top 40 hits, but it wasn’t until 1986 that the band really broke through with the release of Slippery When Wet. It went gold, spawned eight Top Ten hits, and propelled Bon Jovi to worldwide fame.
After the success of Slippery When Wet, the band’s management was brought in to take control of their future. Eventually, it was agreed that the four original members would continue to perform and record as Bon Jovi. The remaining members, bassist Hugh McDonald and guitarist Phil X, joined in 2016 after Sambora left the group in 2013.
Although some critics have pointed out that Bon Jovi is an over-commercialized and homogenous band, their popularity with fans proves that they are more than just a one-trick pony. In addition to a hefty touring schedule, the band has also found success in movies, television shows, and even a restaurant chain. In addition to their commercial success, the band has a strong social conscience, taking part in several charitable efforts and raising funds for local families affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks. Jon and the boys filmed public service announcements for the Red Cross and took part in two Monmouth County Alliance of Neighbors concerts to raise money for families close to their home town. They have remained committed to this cause even after the end of their recording career.