In 1983, John Bongiovi was cleaning up after famous musicians, writing his own music, and trying to get noticed. He did. In a big way. The now-defunct radio station WAPP was putting together an album showcasing local talent and asked John to participate. John agreed and now had to come up with a band. He found Tico Torres, David Bryan, and Alec John Such. During a show promoting the album, Richie Sambora approached John saying he should be in the band. John liked his attitude and talent. The band signed with Mercury Records. Bowing to the dictates of the label, John Bongiovi anglicized his name to Jon Bon Jovi, and the band Bon Jovi was born.
As with all new bands, Bon Jovi opened for big bands, eventually headlining to sold-out concerts. Bon Jovi has become one of the biggest and long lasting rock bands ever. Their big hair was their trademark as much as their music. It became big news when Jon cut his hair.
By the end of the 1980s, the future of Bon Jovi was uncertain. Jon had written music for the movie Young Guns, which culminated in his first solo album, Destination Anywhere, which was soon followed by a second, Blaze of Glory. Richie also recorded two solo albums, Undiscovered Soul and Stranger in this Town; David recorded Lunar Eclipse.
In 1991, Jon fired the band’s management, deciding to take the reigns himself by establishing Bon Jovi Management. By 1993, the band was down to four members: Jon, David, Tico, and Richie. They continued to record and tour, though Jon and Richie made time to get into acting, and all four participated in a lot of charity work. Jon became the majority owner of the arena football team Philadelphia Soul.
In 2006, Bon Jovi went country. For their album Have a Nice Day, Richie and Jon wrote Who Says You Can’t Go Home, which was recorded for that album with country singer Jennifer Nettles. A second version was recorded that was released as a country song. It was the fifth “highest selling country song” for that year.
This week, the single (You Want to) Make a Memory from their current album Lost Highway “debuted at No. 39 and was the Hot Shot Debut on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs in the April 7 issue.” (billboard.com) It seems that after 24 years on the rock scene, Bon Jovi has acquired a new audience while still keeping their original rock base.
In an article for billboard, Jon says, “The line is so blurred between new country and
billboard.com. June 17, 2007. A Little Bit Country. Retrieved from www.billboard.com on June 17, 2007.