JON BON JOVI – CUTDOWN – SHORT BIOGRAPHY
MasterCard Roots of Rock Promotion
As edited by ILENE SCHREIBMAN 6-23-08
Best known as the voice of the eponymous band BON JOVI, JON BON JOVI is a singer, songwriter, musician, actor, sports owner and philanthropist.
Born John Francis Bongiovi, and raised in blue-collar Sayreville, New Jersey, Bon Jovi began guitar lessons like millions of other thirteen year old kids but it didn’t take long for this kid to begin focusing all his energy on the pursuit of his long-term career goal: to be not just a musician but to be a rock and roll star. Jon believed he could make a living making music just like his heroes did playing regularly at some well-known and other not so well known New Jersey bars, clubs and school dances jon listened and learned.
After graduating high school, Jon worked at a recording studio in New york City.’ running errands, sweeping floors and making coffee for the artists and producers recording in the facility. At night, Jon would work on original material in the empty studios, recruiting whatever musicians were willing to help the young upstart.
After submitting countless demo tapes to record labels across the country with no luck. It took a little creative thinking and a new route to do what is now a part of rock legend. Jon showed up at the new, NY studios of radio station WAPP. Because they were just on the air and didn’t even have a receptionist on duty Jon was able to meet some of the staff of the now defunct station. He played his demo for the D.J. who was impressed enough to ask that they include the song “Runaway” on their upcoming compilation LP of homegrown talent. Reluctantly, Jon said yes. The track received local airplay and before long, affiliate stations in major markets nationwide were playing it too. Now, instead of Jon soliciting the record labels, the labels rushed to find out who the unknown star was behind the hit song. In the summer of 1983 Jon signed with Mercury Records.
One slight problem: Jon didn’t actually have a band! So he called his old friend, and former band mate keyboardist David Bryan and enlisted Franke & the Knockouts drummer Tico Torres through bassist Alec John Such. With a close friend on guitar,Dave Sabo, soon to be guitarist and founding member of Skid Row Jon had a “temporary” lineup to get through a run of promo shows. After one of these gigs, Richie Sambora, a local guitar whiz, told Jon that he should be the guitarist and the two should work together. The two hit it off and complimented each others style as writers and as performers.
In 1984, Mercury Records released the debut album, BON JOVI. 7800 FAHRENHEIT followed a year later but it was the band’s third record, 1986’s SLIPPERY WHEN WET which was the big breakthrough. The album produced two #1 Songs (“You Give Love A Bad Name” and “Livin’ On A Prayer,” making Bon Jovi the only rock band with back-to-back #1 hits) plus the rock anthem “Wanted Dead or Alive,” and holds the record for the hard rock album with the most weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200. SLIPPERY WHEN WET remains one of the best-selling rock albums of all time, having sold in excess of 40 Million copies worldwide
The follow-up album, 1988’s NEW JERSEY was a monster hit as well, charting more Top 10 singles (5, including the #1 hits “Bad Medicine” and “I’ll Be There For You”) than any other rock album and selling more than 18 million copies worldwide It was also the first and only rock record by a Western band released in the former Soviet Union on the state-owned label, Melodiya.
By 1989, six short years after they had met Bon Jovi had emerged a household name, and not just in New Jersey. They were global superstars headlining concerts in arenas and stadiums all around the world. They were all over the radio, the television and concerts everywhere were sold out.
Through the 90’s Bon Jovi were still a force of nature whether it was Jon’s solo success with Blaze of Glory ,the Academy Award nominated Number one record Or the bands biggest selling Single “Always “ that helped fuel the 18 million Bon Jovi fans to buy the band Greatest hits Volume 1 collection “Cross Roads” . Jon insists it’s a simple formula that’s worked for them: “We never chased fashions or fads. We’ve always been true to who we are.”
The band continued to release albums and tour throughout the 90’s and managed to grow even more popular with the release of 2000’s CRUSH, featuring the smash single “It’s My Life.” With Crush, a new Generation of Bon Jovi fan came aboard and once again the band answered the call releasing 2002’s Bounce, a live album, One wild Night , a box set of never released songs ,aptly titled !00,000,000 million Bon Jovi fans can’t be wrong and the Grammy Award winning album, Have a nice day.
Taking home the trophy in 2006 for Best Country Collaboration for “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” featuring Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. This was a special song for all involved as Bon Jovi became the first rock band to reach #1 on the Hot Country chart. . To date, Bon Jovi’s career sales have topped 120 million albums worldwide .
Known for dynamic live performances, Bon Jovi have played more than 2,500 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 32 million fans around the globe. Even after a quarter-century, the road warriors show no signs of slowing down.
In 2007, Bon Jovi’s 10th studio album, LOST HIGHWAY, debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard charts, and shot to #1 in Australia, Japan, Europe, and Canada. The LOST HIGHWAY WORLD TOUR wraps up July 15 in NYC and will be named the highest grossing tour of the year by Pollstar and Billboard. “
In 2004, Jon Bon Jovi became co-owner of the Arena Football League’s (AFL) Philadelphia Soul franchise. The goal for the team was to create winners on and off the field. Believing he could utilize the team as a tool to help others, Jon has made helping the Philadelphia community the cornerstone of the team’s identity. Everything the Soul organization does includes an element of charitable effort. To date, Jon Bon Jovi and the Philadelphia Soul have funneled more than $5 Million to local charities and organizations. Bon Jovi explains his Robin Hood approach saying, “I wanted to take all the money we made and give it back, and utilize it in ways that would positively affect the community.”
In partnership with Habitat For Humanity, Jon, the band and the football team funded the renovation of six homes in Philadelphia and the video for the song “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” documents the build. In September 2005, just after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast region, Jon Bon Jovi surprised Oprah Winfrey on air by handing her a check from the band for $1 Million dollars and partenered with Oprah’s Angel network and Habitat for Humanity building 28 new houses that now stand on Bon Jovi Boulevard in Houma, LA.
In October 2006, Jon Bon Jovi and the Philadelphia Soul announced the launch of the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness and combating issues which force families and individuals into economic despair. The Soul Foundation (along with partners such as Project H.O.M.E., HelpUSA and Saturn) has quarterbacked the renovation of 15 historically significant row homes in North Philly, and made possible builds in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Pikes Peak, Detroit and South Africa. Jon’s leadership has raised the money to finance affordable rental housing in Newark, NJ. and helped build a recovery-based housing project in Philly with beds reserved for veterans.
At the end of the day, Jon Bon Jovi is still just the kid with a guitar who dreamed of playing music. Jon and his wife of almost 20 years, Dorothea have four children and still consider New Jersey home.
Over the past 25 years, Bon Jovi have continued to create new music and attract new generations of fans as their music continues to connect with audiences of all ages around the world. Bon Jovi truly are ‘The People’s Band.”
“My biography is only half-written,” Jon Bon Jovi advises with a knowing smile. “This was just the opening act.”