The name Bon Jovi came about from Jerry Jaffe, the head of A&R at PolyGram, stating that it had a similar sound to Van Halen.
The group however weren’t particularly keen on the idea but after some debate and little fanfare the group adopted the name Bon Jovi as their collective name and John dropped the ‘h’ from his name to become Jon Bon Jovi.
Since the release of their first album in 1984, entitled simply Bon Jovi, they have sold over 120 million albums worldwide.
Born John Francis Bongiovi Jr on March 2 1962, he is better known by his fans as Jon Bon Jovi. Jon first began recording whilst working as a gofer at his second cousin’s recording studio during periods of downtime.
A versatile musician Jon can play the harmonica, rhythm guitar and acoustic guitar. an unofficial album of these earlier recordings, John Bongiovi- The Powerhouse Years, was released in 1999 without Jon Bon Jovi’s permission or endorsement.
Both his mother and father were Marines but his mother, Carol Sharkey (an Italian Serb) was also a florist and his father a barber. he attended St Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey and later transferred to Sayreville War Memorial High School in Parlin, New Jersey.
He married Dorothy Hurley, his high school sweetheart, in 1989 at the Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas. they have four children Stephanie, Jesse, Jacob and Romeo.
After John had putt together a band they started playing showcases and opening for local talent when they soon caught the attention of record executive Derek Shulman who signed them to Mercury Records.
At the time they didn’t have a group name so at the bequest of John Jerry Jaffe came up with the misspelling of Johns, theorising that it would have the same appeal as Van Halen, he also chose Bon as a reference to AC/DC’s Bon Scott. John also decided to drop the ‘h’ from his name and so the name ‘Bon Jovi’ was adopted as their group name and John became Jon Bon Jovi.
Before the release of their first album they found themselves opening for ZZ top at Madison State Gardens in the States and for Scorpions and Kiss in Europe. The release of there first album in 1984, which was simply titled ‘Bon Jovi’, went Gold in the US and was released in the UK were it also received fave reviews and a big following.
However their second album 7800 Fahrenheit released in 1985 was not as well received by critics or fans. Even Jon Bon Jovi has been quoted as saying they could have and should have done better. The band have also stated that they will not perform any songs off this album live.
The turning point for the band came when they brought in songwriter Desmond Child who co-wrote many of their hits both on their third album and their future albums.
Slipper when Wet, their third album released in 1986, has now sold in excess of 26 million copies since it was first released. The following tour proved to be extremely challenging for Jon Bon Jovi due to the high pitches in some of the song. in fact this caused some difficulties with his voice, threatening permanent damage until he brought in a voice coach to help. he has since tended to sing slightly lower pitches than he did for this.
The follow up album New Jersey became a huge success both commercially and with fans but it almost brought about the end of the band. with its being released so soon after Slippery when Wet and followed by an 18 month tour the group found the schedule punishing and on their return the group significantly went their separate ways and left in separate jets. Sambora also offered the lead singer position to Billy Rogers. However, fortunately, after a long hiatus before their next album the group survived.
During a two year break from Bon Jovi, Jon released a solo album in 1992 entitle ‘Blaze of Glory’ which was the soundtrack to the Young Guns II movie, more commonly known as Blaze of Glory. The album also featured some high profile guests such as Elton John, Aldo Nova, little Richard to name a few. The album did well both commercially and critically achieving platinum status quickly.
The band re-group in 1992 and released their keep The Faith album which was a departure from the Bon Jovi of the past as it featured a more mature approach and sound to their music. The album was well received by their fans and became a moderate success but it didn’t acheive the same heights of their previous albums.
This album was also the first of their albums that has achieved a greater success worldwide, despite going double platinum in the US, than it did in the States a trend that is also true for their following albums, establishing Bon Jovi as a truly global band.
In 1994 they released their greatest hits abum Crossroads which also featured two new tracks and a new version of Living on a Prayer titled Pay 94 that was only available on US pressings.
1994 also saw the first, only only change in their line-up since their formation in 1984 when bassist Alec John such left the group. there has been much speculation since then ask to whether he left or was fired. Jon Bon Jovi claims that he was making to many mistakes onstage due to being intoxicated which such has always denied. However such is still in contact with members of the band and has even joined them on stage since and has also been rumoured to have recordrd some tracks in the studio with them.
Such has never been officially replaced since leaving the group but Hugh McDonald has handled most of the bass duties on and off stage since then.
There next album released in 1995 was much darker than previous albums and developed their new mature sound further, this album also had a strong R & B influence and was much more downbeat. The album became a big success going platinum in the US and topping the charts in many European countries and to date has sold in excess of 20 million copies.
Over the following years Jon became involve in the movie industry and pursued an acting career landing the lead roles in several films. he also released a second solo album in 1997 entitled Destination anywhere, which received critical acclaim and was a success across Europe. a short film based totally on the albums tracks starring Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Whoopi Goldberg was also made.
In 1999 reunited to record Real Life for the movie EdTV and to begin work on their next studio album Crush which was released in 2000 which became a huge success in both the US and across Europe and Asia. their follow up Crush Tour which originally was only to encompass 60 shows was extended due to the albums popularity and they toured through to mid 2001 during which time they also released a collection of live performance from throughout their career entitled one Wild Night. It was during this tour that the group played the last ever shows to be held at Wembley Stadium before it was demolished.
The following year saw the release of Bounce and their US Bounce Tour. The album has never reached the heights of its predecessor but but was still moderately successful.in the same year they also released a promotional album featuring eight demo and live tracks.
In 2003 they embarked on a new project which originally was to produce an album of live acoustic performances of some of their greatest hits. However on the final album this Left Feels Right they ended up re-writing, re-recording and re-inventing 12 of their most successful songs.
To celebrate the sale of more than 100 million albums and their 20th Anniversary Bon Jovi released 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be wrong in 2004. this consisted of 4 CD’s with 38 previously unreleased tracks and 12 rare tracks as well as a DVD.
In the same year they also won the award for Merit at the American Music Awards, where they also played a sneak preview of their unfinished song Have a Nice Day.
The album was released in Sept, 2005 to an eagerly awaiting audience and it topped charts across the world selling over 2002,000 in the first week, a career best for Bon Jovi. in the US a duet version of the track who says You Can’t go Home with Jennifer Nettles, a country singer with the Sugarland band was released and Bon Jovi became the first rock band to have a number 1 hit on the Billboards Hot Country Chart, the song also won a Grammy award for best Countr Collaberation with Vocals.
Shortly after it’s release they also embarked on their 2005-6 worldwide Have a Nice Day Tour but after successful shows in Japan and Europe Bon Jovi extended the Tour and didn’t return to the US until summer 2006 where they perform several stadium shows including three sellout shows at the Giants Stadium.
2006 was to prove an eventful year for Bon Jovi with their tour, a promotional album Live From the Have a Nice Day Tour was released through Wl-Mart, which included 6 live tracks from the tour ( these tracks were later released as B-tracks on the who says You Can’t go Home single in the UK), and their induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
Their tenth studio album released in June 2007 was an instant hit, topping the Billboard chart on its release selling 292,000 copies in its first week. Singles released off the album topped the charts across Europe, Japan and Australia. they also did a mini-tour of nine concerts in June & July including a concert in London’s new O2 Arena (previously the Millennium Dome) when it reopen, making them the first group to perform there. Tickets to the 23,000 seater show sold out within 30 minutes of their going on sale.