Bon Jovi: The Story (Sterling)

Whether it’s ‘Runaway,’ ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ or ‘Always,’ these songs and many others have become part of the fabric of our lives. Bon Jovi has been one of the few bands from the hair metal era to survive and remain relevant for decades. But how did they do it? Author Bryan Reesman tries to get to the bottom of their success story in his new book, Bon Jovi: The Story (Sterling).

In the early days, Jon Bon Jovi was a man without a plan. Skipping college (“There was no plan B”), the singer-songwriter worked as a gofer at a Manhattan recording studio before putting together his first band. He called on a few acquaintances, including guitarist and songwriter Richie Sambora, for what all of them assumed would be a short promotional tour.

Soon, he was opening for the Scorpions and Kiss. Then September 11, 2001, changed everything. Within days of the terrorist attacks, Jon and his bandmates were filming Public Service Announcements for the Red Cross and performing as part of the America: A Tribute to Heroes live telethon. Those events helped cement their status as a group with a conscience and set the stage for what became the band’s next decade of success.

After a few more albums, Bon Jovi fractured in 2013 when bassist Alec John Such left the band and was replaced by Philadelphia-born musician Hugh McDonald. It wasn’t until 2016, however, that the band publicly began calling him a member.

Following another extended hiatus, the band reunited in 2000 with Crush and hit the top of the music charts with “It’s My Life.” That album was followed by several more, with each new release broadening their artistic style.

The latest line-up features Jon Bon Jovi (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, percussion and maracas), David Bryan (keyboards) and Tico Torres (drums). Phil X (rhythm and acoustic guitars, talk box, backing and lead vocals) joined in 2016.

Bon Jovi has become one of the world’s biggest and most successful rock bands, but the band members haven’t been immune to the problems that befall any other family. In addition to dealing with the pressures of a worldwide musical empire, each band member has also struggled with alcohol addiction, drug abuse and even a divorce. And the band has had to face the realities of the aging process, too. As the years pass, they’ve had to adjust their touring schedule and make other changes. But through it all, the band’s focus on family and community has remained constant. And that’s what keeps fans coming back for more.