Bon Jovi

Published Date: March 16th, 2007
Category: Entertainment

St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture by Margaret E. Burns

Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi’s 1986 break-out album, brought “metal” inspired pop music to the forefront of American popular culture. The album was Bon Jovi’s third effort for Mercury Records, which had gone through a bidding war to get the group in 1984. Slippery When Wet was different from Bon Jovi’s earlier albums, the self-titled Bon Jovi and 7800 Fahrenheit, because the group hired a professional songwriter to work on the project. Mercury Records also invested an unprecedented amount of marketing research into the album. The group recorded about 30 songs, which were played for focus groups of teenagers, and the resulting album spawned two number one singles, sold more than 10 million copies, and established Bon Jovi as the premier “hair metal” band of the 1980s.

The band had humble beginnings. New Jersey rocker Jon Bongiovi had recorded a single called “Runaway” with a group of local notables, and when the single received good radio play he decided to get a more permanent group together for local performances. Along with Bongiovi, who changed his last name to Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora, bassist Alec John Such, keyboardist David Rashbaum (changed to Bryan), and drummer Tico Torres were the members of a the new group Bon Jovi. Alec John Such eventually left the group in the early 1990s, and after that time no other members have officially been added to Bon Jovi.

After the success of Slippery When Wet, the group came back with New Jersey in 1988. The album was a big commercial success, selling 8 million copies, but after the New Jersey tour the group took some time apart for solo projects. Jon Bon Jovi found success working on the soundtrack to Young Guns II in 1990, and guitarist Sambora released Stranger in this Town in 1991.

Bon Jovi reunited to release Keep the Faith in the midst of the Seattle-based grunge rock movement. Its sales were lower than previous Bon Jovi efforts, but their tenth anniversary hits collection, Crossroads, went multi-platinum. The release of These Days in 1994 was a departure from their rock-pop roots and had a more contemporary sound. In the late 1990s, Jon Bon Jovi worked on solo projects and an acting career. His first solo album, Destination Anywhere, was released in 1997. It was accompanied by a mini-movie that got exposure on MTV.

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