Jon Bon Jovi Biography
As a solo artist, he has numerous awards for his work, including a Golden Globe. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Monmouth University in 2001. He campaigned for Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election, John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election, and Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election.
Jon Bon Jovi was born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the son of two former Marines, hairdresser John Francis Bongiovi, Sr. and one-time Playboy bunny Carol Sharkey. He has two brothers, Anthony and Matthew. He is Italian-American. He also spent summers in Erie, Pa. with his grandparents, as he said when he came to a sold-out (over 15,000) Veterans Stadium in 1988. As a child Bon Jovi attended St. Joseph High School, in Metuchen, New Jersey during his freshman and sophomore years. He later transferred to Sayreville War Memorial High School in Parlin, New Jersey.
Jon spent most of his adolescence bunking school to opt for music activities instead and he ended up playing in local bands with friends and his cousin Tony who owned the then famous New York recording studio, the Power Station. As a result, his academic records displayed less than spectacular achievements and poor grades. By the time he was 16, Jon was playing clubs. It was not long before he hooked up with keyboardist David Bryan (real name: David Brian Rashbaum), who played with him in a ten-piece rhythm and blues band called Atlantic City Expressway. Jon also performed with bands called The Rest, The Lechers and John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones.
When he was seventeen, Jon was working sweeping floors at his cousin Tony Bongiovi's recording studio, The Power Station. In 1980, when Meco was there recording Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album, Tony recommended Jon for the song "R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas." This became his first professional recording (credited as John Bongiovi). He left in 1983 when he got a record deal.
Along with Hugh McDonald, who would replace Alec John Such as Bon Jovi's bass player in 1994, and David Sabo, Jon released a song, Runaway, one of a few songs John wrote during his bus travels from Sayreville to The Power Station. He went to several record companies, including Atlantic Records,and Mercury (PolyGram), but they all turned him down. He went (as a last resort) to a Disc Jockey at WAPP-FM, a Manhattan radio show, and asked for the DJ to listen to Runaway; the DJ accepted. The DJ enjoyed Runaway and played it; he even put it onto the WAPP record. Runaway became a hit on the charts. Along the way, Mercury gave Jon a recording contract in 1983, and to promote Runaway, Jon called up Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres and Alec John Such and formed a band. John later found a man called Doc McGhee, who later became their manager. After John claimed he wanted a group name, one of the group suggested "Bon Jovi". Although Doc McGhee showed distaste to this suggestion (claiming it sounded like a French ice cream), the name stuck, and the group emerged as Bon Jovi, along with John slightly changing the spelling of his name to suit the band, and emerging as Jon Bon Jovi.
With the help of their new manager Doc McGhee, the band's debut album, Bon Jovi, was released on January 21, 1984. The album went gold in the US (sales of over 500,000). In 1985, Bon Jovi's second album 7800°Fahrenheit was released, but the response was poor.
The turning point came when they brought in songwriter Desmond Child for their third album, Slippery When Wet. With Child co-writing many of their hits on this and future albums the band shot to super-stardom around the world with songs such as "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Livin' On A Prayer", and "Wanted Dead or Alive". The album has sold in excess of 28 million copies worldwide since its release in late 1986.
During their 1986-1987 tour, Jon's attempt to give it his all during live shows (plus the tour's exhausting schedule) greatly strained his vocal cords. In the band's Behind The Music special, he notes that his vocal cords were given steroids to help him sing. With the help of a vocal coach, he was able to continue doing the tour. Contrary to popular belief, Bon Jovi did not have voice damage during the New Jersey Syndicate Tour. As recordings from that tour show, his voice was in perfect condition throughout.
The next album from Bon Jovi was New Jersey released in 1988. The album was recorded very shortly after the tour for Slippery, because the band wanted to prove that they were not just a one hit wonder. The resulting album is a fan favorite and a mammoth commercial success, with hit songs such as "Bad Medicine", "Lay Your Hands on Me" and "I'll Be There for You", which are still nightly stalwarts in their live repertoire.
Despite the band achieving massive success, New Jersey almost led to the end of the band as they went straight back out on the road so soon after the heavy touring for their previous album. This constant living on the road almost destroyed the strong bond between the band members. Sambora is noted on the albums as co-writer for many songs, yet he resented the lack of attention that was heaped on Jon alone. As mentioned in VH1's Behind the Music, the band members note that at the end of the tour, each band member went their separate way, even departing in separate jets after the tour ended in Guadalajara, Mexico in early 1990.
Between 1990 and 1992, members of Bon Jovi went their separate ways after the very rigorous two year New Jersey Tour, which exceeded 200 shows on 5 continents. This time off also helped them determine where Bon Jovi would fit within the rapidly changing music scene upon their return.
In 1992, the band returned with the album Keep the Faith. The album was released in November 1992. Produced by Bob Rock, the album signified an ending to their early metal roots in previous albums and introduced a more "rock n roll"-driven groove to the album. Much more complex, lyrically and musically, the album proved that Bon Jovi could still be a viable band in 90's, despite the industry's and audience's growing affinity for Grunge.
In 1994, Bon Jovi released a "greatest hits" album titled Cross Road, which also contained two new tracks: the hit singles "Always" and "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night". Always, spent six months on the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and became one of Bon Jovi's all-time biggest hits. The song peaked at #4 on the U.S. charts and at #1 in countries across Europe, Asia and in Australia. The single sold very well, going platinum in the U.S. That same year, bassist Alec John Such left the band, the first and only lineup change since Bon Jovi began. Hugh McDonald, who was the bassist on "Runaway", unofficially replaced Such as bassist.
Their sixth studio album These Days was released in June 1995 to the most critical acclaim that the band had ever received. With the album These Days, Bon Jovi took the mature rock sound they had developed on Keep the Faith further. The record as a whole was darker and more downbeat than the usual Bon Jovi flare. By 1996, Bon Jovi had established themselves as a "force" in the music industry, proving much more durable than most of their 80's glam peers.
After another lengthy hiatus of nearly three years, during which several band members worked on independent projects, Bon Jovi regrouped in 1999 to begin work on their next studio album. Their 2000 release, Crush, enjoyed overwhelming success all around the world, thanks in part to the smash-hit single "It's My Life", co-written by famous Swedish producer Max Martin. Crush, which also produced such hits as "Say it isn't so", and helped introduce Bon Jovi to a new, younger fan base.
In late 2002, Bounce, the band's follow-up to Crush, hit stores. Though Bounce did not enjoy the level of success of its predecessor, the album did produce hit singles such as "Everyday" and the title track.
Bon Jovi's ninth studio album, Have a Nice Day, was released in September 2005. "Have A Nice Day" was the first single off the new album and the second single from the album "Who Says You Can't Go Home", was released in the U.S. in the spring of 2006. In the U.S. a duet version of "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with country singer Jennifer Nettles of the band Sugarland was released, and in May 2006, Bon Jovi made history by becoming the first Rock & Roll Band to have a #1 hit on Billboard's Hot Country Chart. On February 11, 2007, Bon Jovi also won a Grammy Award, for "Best Country Collaboration with Vocals" for "Who Says You Can't Go Home".
In June 2007, Bon Jovi released their last studio album, Lost Highway. The album debuted at number #1 on the Billboard charts, the first time that Bon Jovi have had a number one album on the US charts since the release of New Jersey in 1988. Thanks to the band's new country music fanbase, the album sold 292,000 copies in its first week on sale in the U.S., and became Bon Jovi's third US number one album.
On April 6, 2009, it was announced that the Tribeca Film Festival will screen a Bon Jovi documentary called When We Were Beautiful. The film follows the band on the Lost Highway Tour during 2008. The film is directed by Phil Griffin and will be the centerpiece of the festival and is considered a work-in-progress.
Jon Bon Jovi recorded a solo album, a soundtrack to the movie "Young Guns II" (in which he also appeared for less than a second), more commonly known as Blaze of Glory. Released in 1990, the album featured high profile guests such as: Elton John, Aldo Nova, Little Richard, and Jeff Beck, among others. The album fared well commercially and received very positive reviews and quickly achieved double platinum status. The title track, "Blaze of Glory", hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned Jon an Academy Award nomination for Best Song, but he did not win the award. That same year, however, "Blaze of Glory" was awarded a Golden Globe.
Jon wrote what would become his second solo album, 1997's Destination Anywhere. The album received very positive reviews and was a success across Europe. It was rumored that the record company was pursuing Jon to name the record "These Days, Part 2", since the album was somewhat of a moody progression from These Days. A short movie of the same name was recorded right around the record's release, based entirely on the songs from the record and starring Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Whoopi Goldberg. Dave Stewart of Eurythmics played guitar on the record, as well as producing some of the tracks. That year Jon Bon Jovi earned a BRIT Award for Best International Male and also won a MTV Europe Music Award for Best Male.
During a stop in Los Angeles on the New Jersey tour in 1989, Bon Jovi secretly took a trip to Las Vegas, where he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothea Rose Hurley (*September 29, 1962) on April 29, 1989 at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dorothea is a Karate instructor. Together they have four children: Stephanie Rose (b. 31 May 1993), Jesse James Louis (b. 19 February 1995), Jacob Hurley (b. 7 May 2002) and Romeo Jon (b. 29 March 2004). Bon Jovi maintains a strong family foundation to this day. Jon and his family reside in Manhattan and Middletown, New Jersey. The grounds of their Middletown residence includes a building Jon has converted into a British style pub. He has named it the 'Shoe Inn', stating he has hung a horse shoe in it as he feels he has been blessed, and considers himself 'one of the luckiest men in the world'.
In 2001, he received an honorary degree at the Monmouth University graduation ceremony at which he also gave the commencement address. In 2001 Jon also addressed the Oxford Union in England.
In 2004, he became founder and primary owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League with fellow band member Richie Sambora. He appeared in several television commercials for the league, typically with John Elway, Hall of Fame quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Bon Jovi has been a New York Giants fan his entire life, and also has a long-standing friendship with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, demonstrated by Belichick often playing Bon Jovi music at Patriots practices.
Raised a Roman Catholic, Bon Jovi has expressed his belief in God, stating in a 1993 interview in Philadelphia that he "believes in an omnipresent God who is 'right here' (pointing to the room around him)". In 1995 he discussed writing the These Days record and how blessed he'd been using the phrase "God willing, or I should say God, thank you."
Bon Jovi has worked on behalf of the Special Olympics, the American Red Cross, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Project Home, The Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and other groups.
He has been named the first Founding Ambassador of the Habitat for Humanity Ambassador program as part of the international-nonprofit organization’s new advocacy outreach initiative. Bon Jovi has been raising awareness with Habitat for Humanity since 2005 when he provided the funds to build six homes in Philadelphia and built the homes alongside the homeowner families, as well as with members of his Philadelphia Soul Arena Football Team. The construction site also served as the video shoot location for his band’s single, "Who Says You Can’t Go Home". In 2006, Bon Jovi made a $1 million donation to build 28 Habitat homes in Louisiana in partnership with low-income families on the hurricane-stricken coast. In July, 2007, Bon Jovi announced a project that will rehabilitate a block of 15 homes in north Philadelphia. During an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005, the band donated $1 million to the Angel Network foundation.
Bon Jovi is a credited actor in the movies Moonlight and Valentino, The Leading Man, Destination Anywhere, Homegrown, Little City, No Looking Back, Row Your Boat, Vampires Los Muertos, U-571, Cry Wolf and National Lampoon's Pucked. He also had a supporting role in the movie Pay It Forward, where he played Helen Hunt's abusive ex-husband. His TV series appearances include Sex and the City and an extended stint on Ally McBeal as a plumber who was Ally's boyfriend for a short period of time, as well as a guest appearance on The West Wing and Las Vegas. He was guest star on American Idol in May 2007, during the show's "Rock Week" in which the contestants all performed his or his band's songs. On October 13, 2008 Jon hosted the third episode of the 33rd season of Saturday Night Live sporting a shorter new haircut. and also featured in Zoolander.
A Democrat, Bon Jovi toured extensively on behalf of Presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, appearing at and playing acoustic sets (with Sambora) at rallies for the Kerry-Edwards ticket throughout the United States. Bon Jovi also played as a part of the Live Earth concert at the Meadowlands in 2007, and was introduced by former Vice President Al Gore. In 2008, Jon Bon Jovi supported Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and after she dropped out, he supported Barack Obama, even holding an exclusive fundraiser at his home for him; he will play a 2009 Manhattan fundraiser for Hillary to attempt to eradicate some of her $6.3 million dollar campaign debt. On Sunday, January 18, 2009 Bon Jovi performed a duet at the Obama Inauguration Concert of the Sam Cooke classic "A Change is Gonna Come" with Bettye LaVette. On June 4, 2009 Bon Jovi performed an acoustic benefit show for democratic Gov. Jon Corzine at the NJPAC in Newark, New Jersey.
On June 24, 2009, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Andy Madadian recorded a musical message of worldwide solidarity with the people of Iran. The handwritten Persian sign in the video translates to "we are one".