Jon Bon Jovi: Rock Star Extraordinaire


Birth name

John Francis Bongiovi ("Biography for Jon Bon Jovi," 1990-2009).

Perth Amboy, New Jersey

Birth date:
March 2, 1962


Captain Kidd

Spouse & Family
Married to Dorthea Hurley on April 29, 1989
4 children: Stephanie, 1991; Jesse, 1995; Jacob, 2002; and Romeo, 2004

Career Highlights

Jon's interest in music began early in his life. According to "Jon Bon Jovi Biography" (2009), he played piano and guitar and had his first band, Raze, when he was 13. He was performing in clubs by age 16 with his friend and band keyboard player, David Bryan in a band they called the Atlantic City Expressway. The two boys experimented with other band names, including The Rest, The Lechers, and John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones. Jon was developing a musical style that was influenced by Bruce Springsteen and Ashbury Jakes ("Jon Bon Jovi Biography," 2009). While Jon and David were trying to make a musical name for themselves, Jon was working for his cousin, Tony Bongiovi. Tony owned a recording studio, the New York City Power Station, and allowed Jon to work at the studio. In exchange for the work, Jon was allowed to record demos of his music using studio musicians (Wenner, 2009). One of the songs that Jon recorded was "Runaway." "Runaway" was submitted to a New York radio contest in 1980 and received local airplay; the song was a hit, and before long it was receiving national airplay.

At this time, Jon and David sought more permanent members of the band. David Bryan called on his friends bassist Alec John Such and drummer Tico Torres. Jon asked his neighbor, David Sabo, to play lead guitar. Sabo eventually left the band and was replaced by lead guitarist Richie Sambora. In 1983 the line-up of Jon Bongiovi, David Bryan, Tico Torres, and Richie Sambora was picked up by Polygram Records and a record executive changed their band name to Bon Jovi ("Jon Bon Jovi Biography," 2009). Bon Jovi's rise to the top of pop/rock music had begun.
Bon Jovi in the 1980s

In 1984, the group released the self-titled album Bon Jovi. While it was criticized for its "manicured image and formulaic style," it was popular with fans ("Jon Bon Jovi Biography," 2009). Their next album, 7800 Fahrenheit, was also popular with fans, though not with their critics. In 1986, their quintessential '80's hair-band rock album , Slippery When Wet, was released. This album sold 14 million copies and went gold and platinum ("Jon Bon Jovi Biography," 2009). For this album, Bon Jovi collaborated with Desmond Child, a composer and songwriter recommended to them by KISS frontman, Paul Stanley (Wenner, 2009). He helped them create the #1 hit "You Give Love a Bad Name," "Livin' on a Prayer," and their most famous song, "Wanted Dead or Alive."

After releasing their album New Jersey in 1988, Jon Bon Jovi and the band went into semi-retirement in 1989. The group released the albums Keep the Faith (1992) and These Days (1995), but Jon spent most of the 1990's venturing into a different area -- acting. Jon wrote the song "Blaze of Glory" for the 1990 film Young Guns II; for that song, he won a Golden Globe ("Jon Bon Jovi Biography," 2009). In the 1990's he also had roles in the films Moonlight and Valentino, Pay It Forward, and U-571. In addition, he had a recurring guest role on the television show Ally McBeal ("Jon Bon Jovi Biography," 2009).

Bon Jovi's musical career came back strong in the new century with the release of Crush in 2000, Bounce in 2002, This Left Feels Right in 2003, Have a Nice Day in 2005 and the crossover country/rock/pop album Lost Highway in 2007 ("Jon Bon Jovi," 2009).

Overall, Bon Jovi's career has spanned 26 years and he has sold more than 120 million records. He has entertained more than 30 million fans in 50 countries worldwide ("Jon Bon Jovi," 2009). He truly is a rock legend and superstar.

Community Involvement

Jon Bon Jovi has proven himself to be a man of many interests outside of his expansive musical career. In 1985, he was involved with the first Farm Aid concert, a concert that raised money for struggling American farmers. According to "Jon Bon Jovi" (n.d)., he has also been involved with Special Olympics and the American Red Cross. He has also worked with Elizabeth Glaser on pediatriac AIDS issues. In 2005, he donated one million dollars to Oprah's Angel Network ("Jon Bon Jovi Biography," 2009). He earned an honorary doctorate of Humanities from Monmouth University in 2001 ("Jon Bon Jovi," n.d.).

He is politically involved and campaigned actively for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 ("Jon Bon Jovi," n.d.)


According to "Bon Jovi Awards" (2005-2009), Jon Bon Jovi has won the following awards for his music:

1987: MTV Music Award for Best Stage Performance for "Living on a Prayer"
1988: American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, or Group
1991: MTV Video Vanguard Award
1995: MTV Europe Music Award for Best Rock Act
2006: CMT Music Award for best collabortive video for "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with Jennifer Nettles
2006: Academy of Country Music award for Vocal Event of the Year for "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with Jennifer Nettles
2007: won Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with Jennifer Nettles
2008: won CMT Music Awards Collaborative Video for "Til We Ain't Strangers Anymore" with LeAnn Rimes

In addition, according to "Biography for Jon Bon Jovi" (1990-2009), Bon Jovi was also named one of the Most Beautiful People in 1996 by People magazine and was identified as Sexiest Rock Star in 2000 also by People magazine.
Why I Chose Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi has been one of my favorite bands since the 1980's when I was a teenager. My all-time favorite song is "Living on a Prayer," a song that is both catchy and meaningful in its own way. It says to me that sometimes you just need to keep going despite challenges and obstacles that get in the way. Endurance and perseverance can lead to positive results.

I have a great appreciation for an artist who can both stay true to himself and his craft and stay relevant in different times. Bon Jovi has proven he has the ability to do that. He clearly has developed and changed as an artist as evidenced by his beginnings as a hair-metal hard rocker to the country crossover act he has become, but he hasn't changed the essence of his music. He still "won't let go of his everyman's soul" (Jones, 2002), and he holds true to the themes and values of his blue collar New Jersey beginnings.

Global Influence

Bon Jovi's influence lies in the music he has created for nearly 30 years. He was influential in establishing one of the musical styles in the 1980s, the hair-band "hard rock" sound, and brought that music to a whole new demographic that previously had not listened to hard rock music. In doing so, he brought a much wider audience to other rock groups such as Aerosmith, Def Leppard, and Motley Crue. He merged "Def Leppard's loud but tuneful metal with Bruce Springsteen's working class sensibilities" ("Bon Jovi Biography," 2009) to create a whole new and innovative sound that has appealed to audiences for over 20 years. Bon Jovi helped establish MTV as a network, appealing to a wide range of audience with their boyish good looks and their performance videos. MTV even took inspiration for an entire TV show, MTV Unplugged, from the acoustic performance of "Wanted Dead or Alive" that Bon Jovi performed with guitarist Richie Sambora at the 1989 MTV Music Awards ("Jon Bon Jovi," n.d.). The group has also established the standard for arena rock, combining the singing of the band's most loved songs to the all-out performance that keeps the audience enthralled.

In 2006, Bon Jovi was inducted in the UK Music Hall of Fame, joining such well-known artists as the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix (Sigler, 2009). This award is an acknowledgement of Bon Jovi's influence on the rock music across the decades. They are "undefined by an era" and because of that they continue to capture audiences with their catchy music, their thoughtful lyrics, and their all-out concert performances (Sigler, 2009).

For additional information about Bon Jovi, see the Bon Jovi Home Page

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Bon Jovi. (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved October 18, 2009, from

Bon Jovi awards. (2005-2009). Retrieved October 18, 2009, from

Bon Jovi biography. (1999-2009). All Music Guide. Retrieved October 18, 2009, from

Bon Jovi Lost Highway Tour Edition. (n.d.) [Image]. Retrieved October 18, 2009, from

Bon Jovi - Wanted Dead or Alive. (n.d.) [Video file]. Video posted to

Jon Bon Jovi biography. (1996-2009). A&E Television Networks. Retrieved October 12, 2009, from

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Jon Bon Jovi. (2009). Bon Jovi. Retrieved October 12, 2009, from

Jones, N. (2002, December). Jon Bon Jovi: Edging towards legendary, he still won't let go of his everyman soul. BNET. Retrieved October 17, 2009, from

Sigler, F.M. (2002-2009). Band reviews: Bon Jovi. Retrieved October 18, 2009, from

Wenner, J.A., ed. (2009). Bon Jovi. Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 12, 2009, from