Four Decades of Bon Jovi

Almost four decades have passed since Jon Bon Jovi and his band started gracing stereos and stages around the world. A new four-part documentary series, ‘Thank You, Goodnight’, chronicles the group’s illustrious career to date, but it also takes an introspective look at how the band’s front man cares for his health and well-being.

It was just a month into a tour in the fall of 2001 when Bon Jovi’s lead singer came offstage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and told his wife Dorothea that he’d “f*cking ruined it.” He knew his voice wasn’t up to scratch, but he pushed on – a trait that has helped the band reach the top of the pop charts over and over again.

By the time of their third album, ‘Slippery When Wet’, the band had refined their musical style. They blended the riffs and bombast of hair metal with radio-friendly pop hooks that made them a staple on MTV. The result was a string of hits including the explosive “You Give Love a Bad Name” and the four-minute melodrama of “Livin’ on a Prayer”.

In the months following the terrorist attacks of September 11 Bon Jovi filmed Public Service Announcements for the Red Cross, recorded the song America the Beautiful for the live telethon hosted by the NFL, and performed at two homecoming concerts in New Jersey that raised funds for families close to their homes. But as they returned to the studio to begin work on their eighth album, Bon Jovi discovered that he could no longer sing the way he used to. He was having trouble hitting all the high notes and found that one of his vocal cords had atrophy.

Disillusioned with the music industry and unhappy with the direction of their careers, Bon Jovi fired their managers, business advisers, and agents and took on management responsibilities themselves in October 1991. They also closed ranks and renamed themselves Bon Jovi Management, a move that would serve them well over the next decade.

With the release of the band’s commercially successful albums Cross Road (1994), Keep the Faith (1996), and These Days (1999), the band widened their artistic style and won a younger audience. Their commercial success continued with the 2000 box set 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong and a series of popular singles, including “Bed of Roses”.

Bon Jovi’s longevity sets them apart from their rockstar peers. He and his wife have been together since 1989 and celebrate their 35th anniversary this year, a remarkable feat for any couple, but he also admits that their relationship has required a degree of tolerance on her part. They’ve had their fair share of dalliances and missteps, which he sings about regretfully in the 1993 hit “Bed of Roses”.