Bon Jovi is one of the biggest American rock bands ever to hit the charts, selling more than 120 million records worldwide. Their songs define the rock anthems of the 1980s, and their iconic hooks continue to reverberate throughout pop culture. Join us for a look back at the New Jersey band’s epic rise in this PNC Inductee Insights episode.
The group’s self-titled debut was released in 1984, and featured their now-signature power ballads underscored by soaring guitar riffs and well-crafted melodies. The album was an instant success, but Bon Jovi’s macho image and formulaic sound turned off some critics. The band honed their craft on tour opening for acts like Kiss and Judas Priest, and found their audience growing in size and loyalty.
When it came time to record the band’s second album, Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi was a major label act with significant clout behind them. The album went platinum in the U.S., and launched the band to international superstardom. Three Top Ten hits, “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive,” helped propel the record to nine million copies sold in the U.S. alone and made them huge stars in their home country, as well as in Canada, Ireland, Japan and Australia.
By the time Bon Jovi recorded their fourth album, New Jersey, they were an arena-ready juggernaut with millions of fans lining up to see them on their tours. The album was a huge hit, and the band spent much of 1988 on the road.
In 1990, the band took a break from recording for several years, but they reunited in 1995 with their sixth studio album, These Days. The album was a big hit, and it was their first album to reach number one in the U.S. The band spent four weeks at the top of the chart, and it also became a huge hit in Ireland, Japan and Australia.
Bon Jovi continued to release albums in the early and mid 1990s, but they lost some of their momentum with their follow-up to New Jersey, Crush. The band re-entered the charts with their ninth studio album, Bounce, in 2003. The band followed up with a compilation album called This Left Feels Right, which saw the band re-record and reinvent some of their biggest hits in an acoustic format.
After the Bounce Tour the band went on hiatus again, but they regrouped in 2020 to record their twelfth studio album, Bon Jovi. The album was a direct political statement, and it gave the band their first number one single in the United States with “Blaze of Glory.”
In addition to making great music, the members of Bon Jovi have done a lot of good for the world. They have established the Jon Bon Jovi Foundation to help children in need, and they have worked with various charitable organizations around the world. In addition, the band has been involved in a variety of political campaigns, including raising money and campaigning for Democratic candidates, such as Joe Biden.