Together and with The Power of We, we can start a revolution. One Soul at a time... ~Jon Bon Jovi *** There's a Story on every street corner, my friend. All you have to do is open your eyes... ~Richie Sambora

Bon Jovi: Kings of the Road?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kings of the rock 'n' roll road

 Led by 'beautiful' frontman, New Jersey foursome continues to sell out arenas

Where: Rogers Arena
When: Friday-Saturday, 7: 30 p.m.
Tickets: $23.75-$519.50 at Ticketmaster,

A woman was asked why Jon Bon Jovi is back on top. "He's beautiful," she gasped.

Of course, that should have been obvious.

Yet a male might have scoured a round looking for another reason: Bon Jovi's songs have stood the test of time, the group has been well managed, it's been true to itself. Anything.

But there is truth to what she said. It's not for nothing that Jon Bon Jovi has become a staple celebrity on Entertainment Tonight. As superficial and trivial as that TV show is, it follows Bon Jovi more than any other rock 'n' roll celeb.

This in turn can be traced all the way back to 1986 and the album Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi's breakthrough album. The lead vocalist's explanation for its success might have been simplistic then, but seems to ring true still. He reasoned that women had discovered the band and that discovery automatically doubled its fan base.

"And where women go," he rationalized, "the men follow."

Evidently, the top touring band of 2010 has found a way to keep that fan base. It's been to the band's advantage that Jon Bon Jovi is a selfconfessed workaholic. Even during the band's two hiatuses, dictated by overwork and a need for rest, he has recorded solo albums, maintaining a continuity of nearly 30 years. Also, the band personnel has changed only once in that time, with the replacement of Alec John Sutch with Hugh McDonald in 1994, which has contributed a consistency that fans have come to trust.

Bon Jovi hasn't been fashionable except around the time of Slippery When Wet, when it was the fashion. Every record label wanted a Bon Jovi. For a few years, the band continued to lead. Then, it took a break in 1990 and slipped out of step. In a perverse way, this has meant freedom for Bon Jovi. Instead of chasing after fashion, the band has concentrated on more important things.

This has enabled it to outlast a contemporary such as Cinderella, the grunge movement led by Nirvana, hair bands like L.A. Guns, gossip, or diminishing CD sales, while freeing Bon Jovi to dabble in country-rock or acoustic versions of its hits, expand its range of touring worldwide, promote itself by exploiting new technology, and position itself anywhere it wants. Not trapped by image or time, Jon Bon Jovi has had an acting career and can appear on duet albums with Bruce Springsteen, The Kinks' Ray Davies and others.

The participation in Davies' See My Friends only adds to Jon's profile, while being in the company of Bruce Springsteen underlines his roots. Both Springsteen and Bon Jovi, as well as Springsteen associate Southside Johnny, come from and, pay tribute to, New Jersey. Both got their start in rhythm and blues bar bands but, while the two have diverged, there is still a strong element of R&B showmanship in how they produce a concert or what they do onstage.

The band -Richie Sambora, Tico Torres, David Bryan and McDonald -has built a legacy and been around long enough to witness reassessment.

Glee, a TV show that has become a cultural monitor, this season did a routine based on an early Bon Jovi hit, "Living On a Prayer." By casting the song in a different light, it fostered a renewed appreciation.

Bon Jovi formed in 1983 and was just another big hair and spandex band until 1986 when hits including "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Living On a Prayer" and "Wanted Dead Or Alive" catapulted it to fame and made Slippery When Wet the biggest seller of 1987.

It took a break in 1990 but formed a self-management company in 1991. That was a bold move at the time, but has proven astute by giving Bon Jovi maximum leeway. The band has been able to build itself back up, develop a new audience with the single "It's My Life," take another break with confidence, refresh itself with the acoustic album This Left Feels Right, subtly explore modern country with Lost Highway, and take advantage of new media and technology.

Possibly the only other act that has been so good at promoting itself is the Black Eyed Peas.

Now 130 million albums sold later, Pollstar, a magazine devoted to the touring business, had Bon Jovi netting $70.4 million dollars last year, Billboard magazine placed it at No. 9 of the top touring acts of the decade and current album, The Circle, debuted at No. 1 in the U.S.

In 1992, Bon Jovi released Keep The Faith. It's been true to its word.


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I am and always have been a Bon Jovi fan. This blog is just my obsession taken a step further, my imagination in high gear if you will. I love to read and decided to see what would happen when I took that love of the written word and ramped it up a bit.

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