If you’ve ever been a fan of Bon Jovi, chances are you have one or more of their albums in your collection. The band has had an incredibly successful career, ushering in the arena rock era of the ’80s with hits like Slippery When Wet and Living on a Prayer and surviving changes to popular music throughout the years. Their longevity has been attributed to their ability to write and produce songs that appeal to both men and women of all ages. Their music has touched people all over the world and influenced the way other bands make their own music today.
Bon Jovi grew out of a New Jersey band called the Lovin’ Machines that was fronted by guitarist and singer John Bongiovi. Jon had been playing the New Jersey club circuit since he was 15, and by 1980, he’d already made a number of demo tapes with studio musicians. He sent these to a few radio stations and was turned down, but eventually, Pamela Maher, a booking agent for Doc McGhee, saw the tape and got Jon a meeting with record executive Derek Shulman at Mercury Records.
The rest, as they say, is history. Bon Jovi became a household name thanks to the success of Slippery When Wet, and the album went on to sell more than 120 million copies worldwide.
As the group entered the ’90s and 2000s, they slowly began to shed their big-haired image and evolved with the times. While they still kept some of their arena rock power, they started to put more emphasis on the ballads and melodies that would become a trademark of their later work.
Even as the group’s popularity soared, the members of Bon Jovi faced their fair share of hardship and tragedy. On October 21, 2001, the band performed at the Concert for New York at Madison Square Garden, raising relief funds and honoring those who worked to save lives during the terror attack on the city.
The band went on to release a string of hits including It’s My Life and Love Love Love. However, it was in the 2000s that the band found their strongest work to date with albums like Crush and Keep the Faith. These albums delved into more serious subject matter than their predecessors, with songs touching on themes of family loss and addiction. They also tackled tough subjects like the coronavirus crisis and gun control with songs like Do What You Can and American Reckoning. These deeper tracks have helped the band retain their fan base as they enter a new decade of recording.