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

On this Day in Music...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

From Gibson:

1983, Jon Bon Jovi formed the band Bon Jovi. See This Day in Music Spotlight .


Born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. in Perth Amboy, New Jersey on March 2, 1962, Jon Bon Jovi’s parents were both retired Marines. After the military, his father, John Francis, settled into work as a barber, while his mother, Carol Sharkey, became a florist. John, Sr. was of Sicilian and Slovak descent, while Carol came from German and Russian stock (it’s been claimed by Jon himself that Frank Sinatra’s blood runs through his). Jon attended St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey during his freshman and sophomore years, but transferred to Sayreville War Memorial High School in Parlin, New Jersey.

Jon spent a great deal of his youth pursuing music. He played in local bands with friends and his cousin, Tony Bongiovi, who owned a fairly renowned recording studio in New York called The Power Station. During that time, he played in a number of bands, and while his grades suffered because of a general lack of interest school, his passion for music knew no bounds. By 16, he was steadily gigging in various local clubs and musical hot spots, and it was in one of these early bands, an outfit called Atlantic City Expressway, where he met keyboardist and future Bon Jovi bandmate, David Bryan.

Like his future superstar bandmate, Richard Stephen “Richie” Sambora was also born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, though a few years earlier on July 11, 1959. Richie’s father, Adam, was a factory foreman, while his mother, Joan, worked as a secretary. Raised Catholic, Richie grew up in Woodbridge, New Jersey, where he started playing guitar at the age of 12, shortly after the untimely passing of one of his musical heroes, Jimi Hendrix. Raised on ’60s rock and blues, he was a big fan of the guitar gods of the day, including Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter and, later, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Perry. Richie was also a big fan of Spanish classical guitar, elements of which would inspire some of his future work.

Jon and Richie’s musical destinies were on a collision course.

When Jon was seventeen, his cousin Tony gave him a job sweeping the floors at his recording studio. A year later, in 1980, Tony recommended that Jon sing on a song producer/musician Meco [Domenico Monard] was recording for his album, Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album. Jon’s first-ever professional recording credit (under the name John Bongiovi) was for singing “R2-D2 We Wish You a Very Merry Christmas.”

In 1983, Jon recorded “Runaway,” a song he’d written during his days sweeping the floors at The Power Station studio. He enlisted the help of studio musicians for the session, including guitarist Tim Pierce, keyboardist Roy Bittan, bassist Hugh McDonald and drummer Frankie LaRocka.

After the song was mixed and ready for consumption, Jon shopped it around to various record companies, including Atlantic and Mercury, but he was given the cold shoulder. Undaunted, he continued networking and eventually heard back from promotion director John Lassman at radio station WAPP-FM (103.5 “The Apple”) out of New York City. Lassman told John he’d wanted to include “Runaway” on a compilation album they were putting together that featured local talent. Jon was reluctant at first, but he eventually agreed.

After the album’s release, “Runaway” quickly became a local hit, and Mercury Records took notice, giving Jon his first major record contract. To help promote “Runaway,” Jon called up Richie Sambora, who’d been playing steadily and establishing his name as one of the best young gunslingers on the East Coast (he’d even auditioned, unsuccessfully, to fill the vacant guitar role in KISS). Richie was familiar with Jon and agreed to join him. Jon also contacted his old bandmate, keyboardist David Bryan, who at the time was studying music at Julliard; Bryan quickly dropped out to join Jon and Richie. Experienced local drummer Tico Torres and bassist Alec John Such also got the call – and on this day in 1983, Bon Jovi, the biggest-selling American band in history, was formed. 

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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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