Bon Jovi is an American rock band formed in 1983 in Sayreville, New Jersey. It consists of singer Jon Bon Jovi, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, guitarist Phil X, and bassist Hugh McDonald. Previous bassist Alec John Such was dismissed in 1994, and longtime guitarist and co-songwriter Richie Sambora left in 2013.
In 1984 and 1985, Bon Jovi released their first two albums and their debut single "Runaway" managed to crack the Top 40. In 1986, the band achieved widespread success and global recognition with their third album, Slippery When Wet, which sold over 20 million copies and included three Top 10 singles, two of which reached No. 1 ("You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer") Their fourth album, New Jersey (1988), was also very successful, selling over 10 million copies and featuring five Top 10 singles (a record for a hard rock album), two of which reached No. 1 ("Bad Medicine" and "I'll Be There for You"). After the band toured and recorded extensively during the late 1980s, culminating in the 1988–90 New Jersey Tour, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora released successful solo albums in 1990 and 1991, respectively.
In 1992, the band returned with the double-platinum Keep the Faith. This was followed by their biggest-selling and longest-charting single "Always" (1994) and the album These Days (1995), which proved to be a bigger hit in Europe than in the United States, producing four Top Ten singles in the United Kingdom. Following a second hiatus, their 2000 album Crush, particularly the lead single, "It's My Life", successfully introduced the band to a younger audience. The band followed up with Bounce in 2002. The platinum albums Have a Nice Day (2005) and Lost Highway (2007) saw the band incorporate elements of country music into some of the songs, including the 2006 single "Who Says You Can't Go Home", which won the band a Grammy Award and became the first single by a rock band to reach No. 1 on the country charts. The Circle (2009) marked a return to the band's rock sound. The band also enjoyed great success touring, with both the 2005–06 Have a Nice Day Tour and 2007–08 Lost Highway Tour ranking among the Top 20 highest-grossing concert tours of the 2000s and the 2013 Because We Can Tour ranking among the highest-grossing of the 2010s. The band continues to tour and record, with their most recent album This House Is Not for Sale and its associated tour encompassing 2016–19.
Bon Jovi has released 14 studio albums, five compilations and three live albums. They have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the bestselling American rock bands, and performed more than 2,700 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans. Bon Jovi was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006, and into the US Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018. The band received the Award of Merit at the American Music Awards in 2004, and Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009.
Jon Bon Jovi began performing music live in 1975, at the age of 13, playing piano and guitar with his first band, Raze. At 16, Jon met David Bryan and formed a band called Atlantic City Expressway. Still in his teens, Bon Jovi played in the band John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones, playing clubs such as the Fast Lane and opening for local acts. By 1980, he had formed another band, the Rest, and opened up for New Jersey acts such as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Also in 1980, Jon recorded his first single, "Runaway" in his cousin's studio, backed up by studio musicians. The song was played by a local radio station on a compilation tape.
By mid-1982, out of school and working part-time at a women's shoe store, Jon Bon Jovi took a job at the Power Station Studios, a Manhattan recording facility where his cousin Tony Bongiovi was co-owner. Jon made several demos—including one produced by Billy Squier—and sent them to record companies, though failing to make an impact. His first professional recording was as lead vocals in "R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas," which was part of the Christmas in the Stars album which his cousin co-produced.
In 1983, Jon visited a local radio station WAPP 103.5FM "The Apple" in Lake Success, New York to write and sing the jingles for the station. He spoke with DJ Chip Hobart and to the promotion director, John Lassman, who suggested Jon let WAPP include the song "Runaway" on the station's compilation album of local homegrown talent. Jon was reluctant, but eventually gave them the song, which he had rerecorded in 1982 (following a rough early recording in 1981) with local studio musicians whom he designated The All Star Review—guitarist Tim Pierce, keyboardist Roy Bittan, drummer Frankie LaRocka, and bassist Hugh McDonald.
The song began to get airplay in the New York area, then other sister stations in major markets picked up the song.
Tico Torres was also an experienced musician, having recorded and played live with Phantom's Opera, The Marvelettes, and Chuck Berry. He appeared on 26 records and had recently recorded with Franke and the Knockouts, a Jersey band with hit singles during the early 1980s.
David Bryan had quit the band that he and Bon Jovi had founded in order to study medicine.
Once the band began playing showcases and opening for local talent, they caught the attention of record executive Derek Shulman, who signed them to Mercury Records and who was part of the PolyGram company. Because Jon Bon Jovi wanted a group name, Pamela Maher, a friend of Richard Fischer and an employee of Doc McGhee, suggested they call themselves Bon Jovi, following the example of the other famous two-word bands such as Van Halen. This name was chosen instead of the original idea of Johnny Electric. Pamela's suggestion of the name was met with little enthusiasm, but two years later they hit the charts under that name.
With the help of their new manager Doc McGhee they recorded the band's debut album, Bon Jovi, which was released on January 21, 1984. The album included the band's first hit single, "Runaway", reaching the top forty on the Billboard Hot 100Billboard 200 opening for Scorpions in U.S. and for Kiss in Europe.
In 1985, Bon Jovi's second album, 7800° Fahrenheit, was released. The band released three singles: "Only Lonely", "In and Out of Love" and the ballad "Silent Night". The album peaked at number thirty seven on Billboard 200 and certified Gold by RIAA. While the album did not do as well as they'd hoped in terms of sales, it allowed Bon Jovi to get out on the road touring again. In May 1985, Bon Jovi headlined venues in Japan and Europe. At the end of the European tour, the band began a six-month run of U.S. tour dates supporting Ratt. In the midst of that tour they managed to make appearances at the Texas Jam and Castle Donington's Monsters of Rock concerts in England. The band also performed at the very first Farm Aid in 1985.
After two moderately successful albums, the group changed their approach and hired professional songwriter Desmond Child as a collaborator. Bruce Fairbairn was chosen to produce and, in early 1986, Bon Jovi moved to Vancouver, Canada to spend six months recording a third album. They named it Slippery When Wet after visiting a strip club in Vancouver.
"We were getting a lot of hassle from everyone around us to make the perfect third album," Jon Bon Jovi recalled.
On August 16, 1986, Slippery When Wet was released. It spent eight weeks atop the Billboard 200. The first two singles from the album, "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer", both hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Slippery… was named 1987's top-selling album by Billboard "Livin' On A Prayer" won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance. The band won an award for Favorite Pop/Rock Band at the American Music Awards and an award for Favorite Rock Group at the People's Choice Awards. When Slippery When Wet was released in August 1986, Bon Jovi was the support act for 38 Special.
By the end of 1986, Bon Jovi were well into six months of headline dates in arenas across America.
Determined to prove that the success of Slippery When Wet was not a fluke, Bon Jovi released their fourth effort, New Jersey, in September 1988. New Jersey peaked at number one in the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. The album produced five Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Bon Jovi the record for the most Top 10 singles spawned by a hard rock album. Two of the hits, "Bad Medicine" and "I'll Be There for You", managed to reach number one. The album's three other singles, "Born to Be My Baby", "Lay Your Hands on Me", and "Living in Sin", reached the top ten. Bon Jovi even made the news when the video for "Living In Sin" was banned by MTV for sexual content. After that it was re-edited and MTV put it in heavy rotation.
Bon Jovi mounted another huge worldwide tour that continued throughout 1989 and 1990.
In September 1989, Jon Bon Jovi and Sambora performed "Livin' On A Prayer" and "Wanted Dead Or Alive" with only acoustic guitars on the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards. The performance has been acknowledged as the inspiration for the MTV Unplugged series and a catalyst for the subsequent popularity of the unplugged movement in pop music.
The exhaustion of recording Slippery When Wet and New Jersey back to back with highly paced world tours took its toll. By the end of the New Jersey tour, Bon Jovi had 16 months of concerts under their belt and were exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. Following the final tour date in Mexico, without any clear plans for their future, the members just went home. The band has since stated that there were few if any goodbyes between them. During the time they took off from the scene, the band retreated to their own projects and showed no desire for making another album.
"At the end of the tour I read that my drummer had quit the band", noted Jon Bon Jovi in 2007.
Disillusioned with the music business, despite all his success, and unhappy with the status quo, in 1991 Jon Bon Jovi fired his management, business advisers, and agents, including long-time manager, Doc McGhee.
Bon Jovi's fifth studio album Keep the Faith was released in November 1992, representing "the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Bon Jovi" and marking a change in the band's sound and image. The album turned away from heavy drums and wild guitar solos, but instead introduced a more mature sound of Bon Jovi and contained more serious lyrics. The media focused considerable attention on Jon Bon Jovi's hair. When Jon Bon Jovi cut his hair he made headlines on CNN. To promote Keep The Faith they returned to their roots playing a few dates at the small New Jersey clubs where they had started their career. The band appeared on MTV Unplugged but that was different from the other episodes of MTV Unplugged series. The performance captures Bon Jovi in an intimate, "in the round" experience, performing acoustic and electric renditions of classic hits (Bon Jovi and non-Bon Jovi tracks) and new material from Keep the Faith. The concert was released commercially in 1993 as Keep the Faith: An Evening with Bon Jovi
The album managed to reach Double Platinum status by the RIAA  and produced the Top 10 hit "Bed of Roses" while the title track hit number one on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. Bon Jovi embarked on an extensive international world tour for the album, visiting countries the band had never seen before and headlining stadiums in South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. They visited 37 countries, performed 177 shows and seen them play to 2.5 million fans on the Keep the Faith Tour/I'll Sleep When I'm Dead Tour.
In October 1994, Bon Jovi released a greatest hits album titled Cross Road, with two new tracks: "Always" and "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night". The first single from the album "Always" became Bon Jovi's highest selling single and stayed on top ten of the Billboard Hot 100Hot 100]]for six months. In the UK, became the best-selling album of 1994. That year Bon Jovi won an award for est Selling Rock Band at the World Music Awards.
That same year, bassist Alec John Such was fired from the band, the first lineup change since Bon Jovi began.
Bon Jovi's sixth studio album, These Days, was released in June 1995, during which time the band on European tour. The album debuted at number one in UK and spent four consecutive weeks at the top position. The album also reached number one in Ireland, Germany, Australia, Japan and many other countries. The album's first single was the rhythm and blues influenced ballad "This Ain't a Love Song". With an exotic video filmed in Thailand, "This Ain't a Love Song" reached top twenty on the Billboard Hot 100, and was the only significant U.S. hit from the album, however, the album produced four UK top ten hits ("This Aint A Love Song", "Something for the Pain", "Lie to Me" and "These Days"). That year the band earned a BRIT Award for best international band and also won a MTV Europe Music Award for Best Rock. It was followed by These Days Tour. In June 1995, Bon Jovi sold out three-nights at London's historical Wembley Stadium. The concerts were documented for Live From London. Bon Jovi visited 43 countries and performed 126 shows on These Days Tour
Following the overwhelming success of the These Days Tour, the members of Bon Jovi went their separate ways. But unlike the period following the New Jersey tour, tainted with uncertainty, this hiatus was a conscious group decision. The members of Bon Jovi agreed to a self-imposed two-year sabbatical from the band.
After a nearly four-year hiatus, during which several band members worked on independent projects, Bon Jovi regrouped in 1999 to begin work on their next studio album.
Bon Jovi played two sold-out concerts at London's historic Wembley Stadium in August 19, 20, 2000, becoming the last ever concerts held at the legendary venue before its demolition. That year the band played to 1.1 million fans in 40 arena and stadium venues across North America, Europe and Japan. While on tour, Bon Jovi released a collection of live performances from throughout their career in an album titled One Wild Night Live 1985–2001. This was Bon Jovi's first-ever live album. The songs were culled from archives of recorded material the band had been collecting from their earliest days on the road right through the current tour. The band sold out two homecoming concerts at New Jersey's Giants Stadium in July 27, 28, 2001. The broadcast broke ratings records for the VH-1 network. At the end of the year Bon Jovi awarded for "Hottest Live Show" at the 2001 My VH1 Music Awards.
The members of the band had anticipated a brief vacation before work would begin on the band's 8th studio album.
In spring 2002, the group entered the studio to begin recording their eighth studio album.
Following the end of the Bounce Tour in August 2003, Bon Jovi embarked on a side project; originally intending to produce an album consisting of live acoustic performances, the band ended up rewriting, re-recording and reinventing 12 of their biggest hits in a new and much different light.
The following year, the band released a box set titled 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong, the title being a homage to Elvis Presley's 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong. The set consisted of four CDs packed with 38 unreleased and 12 rare tracks, as well as a DVD. The box set marked the sales of 100 million Bon Jovi albums and also commemorated the 20th anniversary of the release of the band's first record in 1984. In November 2004, Bon Jovi was honored with the Award for Merit at the American Music Awards.
The band's ninth studio album, Have a Nice Day, was released in September 2005. The album debuted at number two in both the U.S. and UK, reaching number one in fifteen countries. The title track was an international hit, reaching the top ten in the UK, Europe, Australia and Canada. The second single, "Who Says You Can't Go Home", was released in early 2006. The song reached top forty on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. A duet version of "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with country singer Jennifer Nettles of the band Sugarland, peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Bon Jovi became the first rock band to have a number one single on Billboard's Country Chart. On February 11, 2007, Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles won the Grammy Award, for "Best Country Collaboration with Vocals" for "Who Says You Can't Go Home". The band also won an award for Favorite Rock Song at the People's Choice Awards with "Who Says You Can't Go Home".
Soon after the release of Have A Nice Day, the band started gearing up for the new 2005–2006 worldwide Have A Nice Day Tour. This tour, took the band to numerous stages and stadiums throughout the world. The tour was a significant commercial success, as the group played to 2,002,000 fans, and the tour grossed a total $191 million. The tour was the third-highest-grossing tour of 2006 taking in just over $131 million, just behind The Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang World Tour and Madonna's Confessions Tour. On November 14, 2006, Bon Jovi were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame alongside James Brown and Led Zeppelin.
In June 2007, Bon Jovi released their tenth studio album, Lost Highway. The album influences the band's rock sound with that of country music following the success of a country version of the band's 2006 single "Who Says You Can't Go Home", a duet with Jennifer Nettles. To promote the new album, Bon Jovi made several television appearances, including the 6th annual CMT Awards in Nashville, American Idol, and MTV Unplugged, as well as playing at the Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium. They also performed ten promotional gigs in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Japan. As part of the 'tour', Bon Jovi were the first group to perform at London's new O2 Arena (formerly the Millennium Dome) when it opened to the public on June 24, 2007. The 23,000-seater stadium sold out within 30 minutes of tickets being released.
The album, described by Jon Bon Jovi as a "Bon Jovi album influenced by Nashville", topped the charts in U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan.
In October 2007 the band announced the Lost Highway Tour. Starting with the 10 shows to open the brand new, Newark, New Jersey Prudential Center, the band toured Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and then Europe, finishing in the summer of 2008. The tour was the highest grossing tour of 2008 in Billboard's rankings, with ticket sales of $210.6 million, reported from November 14, 2007 through Nov.11, 2008. In all, 2,157,675 tickets were sold during 2008. Combined with $16.4 million in 2007 from the Newark shows, making a combined gross of $227 million in ticket sales. In Pollstar's calculus for North America, the Lost Highway Tour had the highest gross for 2008 at $70.4 million.
In April 2009, Phil Griffin's documentary on the band, "When We Were Beautiful", debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival, chronicling Bon Jovi's ups and downs over 25 years and following the band on their latest Lost Highway tour.
In June 2009, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora were inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame. That month they also recorded a cover of the song "Stand By Me" with Iranian singer Andy Madadian, to show solidarity for those affected by political unrest in Iran. Parts of the song were sung in Persian.
On November 10, 2009, the band released their eleventh studio album, titled The Circle. The Circle is a return to rock n' roll after their Nashville influenced album, Lost Highway. The album debuted at number one in the U.S., Canada, Germany and Japan. Bon Jovi headed out on the road once again on February 19, 2010, embarking on The Circle Tour. Bon Jovi kicked off the stadium leg of the Circle Tour by making history. They played the first ever show at the brand new New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The three sold out shows on May 26, 27 and 29, 2010 were a huge success. Bon Jovi's 12 night run at London's O2 Arena grossed $18,178,036 and seen them play to 187,696 fans. The Circle Tour was the highest-grossing concert tour of 2010 according to Billboard's annual Top 25 concert tours. So far the tour has played to 1,909,234 fans and has grossed $201.1 million from more than 80 venues reported to Pollstar. For the second time in three years, Bon Jovi ranked as Billboard's & Pollstar's Top Touring Act of the Year. Bon Jovi was also ranked second on Forbes magazine's list of the world's highest paid musicians, earning an approximate $125 million income that year.
Bon Jovi released a greatest hits album with four new songs in October 2010.
In January 2012, Jon Bon Jovi stated that they were working on a twelfth studio album, and in a live show in August 2012, Jon Bon Jovi played an acoustic version of a song that was announced to be on the upcoming album. In October 2012, Bon Jovi announced Because We Can, a new world tour for 2013, in support of their new album, What About Now, which was released on March 12, 2013. The tour started in February 2013 and visited North America, Europe, Africa, the Far East, Australia and Latin America.
On November 27, 2012, Bon Jovi released a new live video album, called Inside Out, made up of content from shows at the O2 Arena, MetLife Stadium, and Madison Square Garden. The album was first shown at movie theaters, with screenings preceded by a question-and-answer session with Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, David Bryan and Tico Torres streamed live from a theater in New York, and was subsequently made available for purchase on iTunes.
On March 14, 2013, Bon Jovi appeared on the results show of American Idol and played one song, "Because We Can", from their new album What About Now.
On April 2, 2013, Richie Sambora departed the band's ongoing tour for unspecified "personal reasons"; Phil X once again replaced him, this time for the remainder of the tour, amidst rumours that Sambora had been fired. Both Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi later denied the claim. Tico Torres was also sidelined briefly due to emergency gallbladder surgery; he was replaced by Rich Scannella from Bon Jovi's solo band, the Kings of Suburbia, from September 20 to October 6.
In 2014, to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary, the band's album New Jersey was reissued with an additional CD with the Sons of Beaches demos on it.
In November 2014, Jon Bon Jovi told a reporter that Richie Sambora had officially left the band, saying "He's quit.
On July 31, 2015, Bon Jovi released twin lead singles "We Don't Run" and "Saturday Night Gave Me Sunday Morning" for the compilation album Burning Bridges. "Saturday Night Gave Me Sunday Morning" had its premiere at the Austrian Radio Ö3 Hitradio on July 17, 2015 and "We Don't Run" premiered at the Brazilian radio Radio Rock on July 20, 2015. Burning Bridges was released August 21, 2015. According to Jon Bon Jovi, the album serves as a "fan record" to tie in with an accompanying international tour: "It’s songs that weren’t finished, that were finished, a couple of new ones like the one we released as a single "We Don't Run".
A Bon Jovi consultant confirmed that a new studio album is still planned to be released in 2016 followed by a world tour.
The album's lead single, "This House Is Not for Sale" featuring a music video was released August 12, 2016, which also featured the promotion of unofficial members Hugh McDonald and Phil X to full-time band members. On November 4, 2016, the band officially released their 13th studio album, This House Is Not for Sale, which was followed by their third live album, This House Is Not for Sale – Live from the London Palladium
In November 2016, Island Records and Universal Music Enterprises released Bon Jovi's studio albums in remastered versions on vinyl, spanning their 32-year career from Bon Jovi (1984) up until What About Now (2013). On February 10, 2017, a 25-LP box set titled Bon Jovi: The Albums was released. It consists of Bon Jovi's 13 studio albums, the compilation Burning Bridges (2015), the two Jon Bon Jovi solo albums (Blaze of Glory and Destination Anywhere), and an exclusive Extras album featuring "international rarities".
On December 13, 2017, it was announced that Bon Jovi will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, after winning the 2017 fan ballot with over 1.1 million votes. Jon Bon Jovi has invited Sambora and Such to appear with the band at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. In later February 2018, it was confirmed that Such and Sambora will perform with the band at the 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. On April 29, 2018, the band performed at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the last ticketed event at venue before the start of demolition in the summer of 2018.
On March 9, 2019, Jon Bon Jovi announced via social media that the band is back in the studio recording the fifteenth studio album of the band, expected to be released in late 2019.
During the band's first sabbatical between 1990–1991 Jon Bon Jovi recorded a solo album, Blaze of Glory, a soundtrack to the movie Young Guns II. Released in 1990, the title track, "Blaze of Glory" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1991 "Blaze of Glory" won an award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single at the American Music Awards and awarded a Golden Globe, as well. The song also earned Jon Bon Jovi an Academy Award nomination and a Grammy nomination.
Richie Sambora, with the help of Tico Torres and David Bryan, released a solo album titled Stranger In This Town, in 1991. The album featured Eric Clapton on the song "Mr. Bluesman". David Bryan recorded a soundtrack for the horror movie The Netherworld, which was the brighter part of that year after he was hospitalized with an illness caused by a South American parasite. Alec John Such took a fall off his motorcycle, injuring his bass-playing hand and forcing him to develop a whole new way to hold and play his instrument.
In 1997, Jon Bon Jovi landed lead roles in several movies.
Tico Torres used the opportunity to further pursue his painting while David Bryan started writing and composing various musicals.
In 2012, the band members embarked on solo projects once again while recording What About Now. Returning to film composing for the first time since Blaze of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi wrote and recorded two songs for the Al Pacino film Stand Up Guys, while Richie Sambora recorded and released his third studio album, Aftermath of the Lowdown, and supported it with a short world tour in October 2012. Tico Torres focused on playing golf, taking part in several tournaments, while David Bryan made a short performance at Fantiscritti, Carrara on May 26, 2012.
The band's first four albums blended the glam metal and hard rock genres.
The band altered their sound dramatically in their next release, Lost Highway, blending influences from country music and country rock, a sound Jon Bon Jovi described as "a Bon Jovi album influenced by Nashville.” Bon Jovi returned to a more typical rock sound on The Circle, which was described by Allmusic as "conjured by echoed, delayed guitars, shimmering keyboards, and spacious rhythms."
Awards and nominations
- Bon Jovi
- 7800° Fahrenheit
- Slippery When Wet
- New Jersey
- Keep the Faith
- These Days
- Have a Nice Day
- Lost Highway
- The Circle
- What About Now
- Burning Bridges
- This House Is Not for Sale
- Bon Jovi: 2020* (2020)