Monday, January 23, 2006

Why Are There So Damn Many References to Bon Jovi on

(Written on Sunday, January 22, 2006 but posted Mon Jan 23 due to power outages)

If you go to and do a site search, you'll see a lot of references to Bon Jovi or Jon Bon Jovi. Sometimes this irritates managers or fans of other artists, who occasionally send me flame mail. That's OK. Life Lesson #10,049: No matter what you do, somebody's going to be ticked off.

Today's blog entry is actually for those who either genuinely want to know or who say, "You like the 80's or what?" (A question I find a little irritating, because it usually means the person asking it only pays attention to the Top 10 and has little appreciation for album cuts or longevity in the music business.)

The main reason is really pretty simple:'s readers span 67 countries and three age groups. No matter whom I'm addressing, where they live, or what kind of music they're into, if I refer to Bon Jovi or Jon Bon Jovi as an example of success in one of our articles, that reader knows whom I'm talking about. Given that the average career for a successful recording artist is 5 years, the band's 23 years of high visibility are pretty impressive.

(Sidebar: Bon Jovi is a band, Jon Bon Jovi is a guy. If you're working with or writing about them, it's polite to know this and get it right.)

More importantly, Jon Bon Jovi has the kind of work ethic and attitude I'd love for our readers to follow. Jon's a household name, and is obviously a great looking guy (some would say "stunning" in person). Given that and the way fans react when they meet him, most people expect him to be difficult or unpleasant to work with. But you'll rarely hear anyone who's worked with him say anything but the opposite. Some artists, on the other hand, act like they're entitled to make working together a miserable experience for everyone but themselves.

On a personal level, it's no secret that I've liked the band's music since I heard "Runaway" during Christmas 1983. I heard it long before I knew what Jon even looked like, and it still holds up as a well-written rock song when stripped down to its essence. But my favorite Bon Jovi stuff is well after 1986's Slippery When Wet, and it's the stuff a lot of people other than hard core fans don't know:

Jon's vocal on "Dry County," (Keep the Faith) still gives me chills; if you listen to it on a great system with headphones, you can hear his voice open up on the line "I cursed the sky to open." Richie Sambora does an amazing solo on that track, too.

Jon's version of "Levon" on the Two Rooms CD is still one of the best rock vocals I've ever heard. The engineering and production are so well executed, you can almost hear him breathe. I'm especially impressed by this because it was recorded in Jon's home 1991, before Pro-Tools became standard.

I often play "Hey God" from These Dayswhen I'm royally ticked off, and "This Ain't a Love Song" (also from These Days) is my favorite wallow-in-it break up song. The first chorus of "Someday I'll be Saturday Night" Cross Road) kept me going during my worst days of a chronic illness ("Hey man, I'm alive, I'm taking each day and night at a time, I'm feeling like a Monday but someday I'll be Saturday night"), and This Left Feels Right's "It's My Life" and "Born to Be My Baby" sound so intimate, when I hear them I feel like I've walked into a room with a closed door.

Do I like the 80's? Yeah, they were OK. But I like the evolution of the band even more. And if you're an artist or songwriter, I wish it for you as well.

C 2006 Randi Reed

Disclosure of Endorsements/Recommendations/Financial Compensation or Business Relationships per FTC Blog Disclosure Regulations in effect December 1, 2009: In the 90's I worked for a concert promotion company that presented many Bon Jovi shows. Since that time I've received no financial compensation or free product in direct connection with the band. I have, however, interviewed their recording engineer for, and the website sells Amazon products as an Amazon Associate.