The Life and Times of Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi is an iconic band, with 15 albums and millions of fans worldwide. Their music has crossed over multiple genres, including confessional adult contemporary and reflective country, and they have been praised for their vocal versatility. The group has also experimented with acoustic recordings, most notably their MTV Unplugged performance.

The group was founded in Sayreville, New Jersey in 1983 by lead singer and namesake Jon Bongiovi jnr. The 58-year-old’s musical talent was evident in his debut song Runaway, which caused a bidding war between major labels and led to the creation of the Bon Jovi brand.

After two moderately successful albums, Slippery When Wet (1986) and New Jersey (1988) brought the band massive success with classic songs like You Give Love a Bad Name, Wanted Dead or Alive and Livin’ on a Prayer. Their inescapable ’80s soundtrack made them one of the biggest bands of the decade and they sold millions of tickets to their tours.

Following the 9/11 attacks, the band helped raise money for disaster relief and hosted the concert For New York that brought together many of the survivors and rescue workers. Bon Jovi has remained in the spotlight ever since and is one of the world’s most famous hard rock groups.

Bon Jovi’s appeal transcended the big hair-clad era of the ’80s, and has survived changing tastes and changes in style to remain a top-selling American rock band with a global reach. Its members have been inducted into both the US and UK Music Halls of Fame.

Unlike their 1980s hard rock peers, Bon Jovi has never struggled with substance abuse issues and is a rarity among the genre’s biggest stars for sustaining a healthy marriage and raising four children. Jon Bongiovi jnr, who looks like he spends his life on yoga retreats rather than hanging with Aerosmith, says a’strong work ethic’ has been a key factor in their longevity and continued success.

Sitting in his Manhattan home, the New York skyline reflected in a Shepard Fairey silkscreen of a hand grenade hangs behind him. He is in a faded black T-shirt and is wearing a watch and fitness tracker sharing space on his left wrist. He’s speaking via Zoom, a decidedly 2020 experience, and has just finished his morning workout at the Freedom Tower before heading to his foundation offices near his homes in hard-hit New York and Long Island. He’s here to talk about their latest album, which is unlike anything the band has recorded before. It’s a bit more direct and political than their previous releases, with a strong political message that seems to be directed towards the current administration.