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- LIVING ON A PRAYER
- Me, Myself, and I
- Bon Jovi
Best Rock Singer &+ On The Guitat
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In 1983, John Bongiovi was being paid $50 a week to work as a "gofer" at New York City's legendary Power Station recording studios. He was running errands, fetching coffee and sweeping floors (the very same ones upon which he often found himself sleeping,) all the while watching the Who's Who of the rock 'n' roll world pass through the front doors. When Jon wasn't working as a gofer, he was working on his own music. At all odd hours of the night, using the empty studios and any lingering musicians he could recruit, John recorded his own original songs.
Armed with a demo tape, John shopped his music to lawyers, managers, record labels and radio stations in New York and LA with little luck. That is until he was approached by Chip Hobart, a DJ at the (now defunct) Long Island/NYC radio station WAPP. WAPP was putting together a compilation album of local unsigned artists and Hobart wanted to include John's song "RUNAWAY" on the LP. John was reluctant. He wanted to sign with a label and record an album, not donate one song to a radio station sampler of homegrown talent. But, with a little convincing, John agreed to let "RUNAWAY" be a part of the album. After that decision, John's life would never be the same.
"RUNAWAY" by John Bongiovi got airplay… lots of airplay (not just on WAPP in New York, but in major markets all over the country that were affiliated with WAPP.) Without John being signed to a label, his song was becoming a hit, breaking nationwide. WAPP booked a handful of live shows to promote the album and wanted John to perform. The problem? John didn't have a band! "RUNAWAY" was one of the tracks John had recorded at the Power Station with a combination of musicians he had wrangled in to help him - they weren't really a band! So, John recruited his long-time friend, Julliard-bound keyboardist DAVID BRYAN, Franke & The Knockouts drummer TICO TORRES and Jersey bassist ALEC JOHN SUCH. On guitar, John asked a neighborhood friend to help him out. John now had the band he needed to play the promotional concerts. Backstage after one of these showsJohn was approached by guitarist RICHIE SAMBORA. Sambora declared that HE should be the guitarist for this band. Though initially leery, John was impressed by Sambora's attitude and after hearing him play, was impressed by his talent too.
So, when John Bongiovi finally signed to Mercury Records (several record companies had suddenly come around and tried to sign the young musician,) the band's line-up was as it would remain for more than ten years: JOHN BONGIOVI, DAVE BRYAN, TICO TORRES, ALEC JOHN SUCH and RICHIE SAMBORA. Following label advice, John shed the "h" from his first name and de-ethnicized his last name. He re-emerged as JON BON JOVI and the band BON JOVI was born.
Jon had been approached by a manager who promised to make BON JOVI the biggest band in the world so now DOC McGHEE was overseeing the band's career. They opened for ZZ TOP at Madison Square Garden before the label had released the band's self-titled debut album, BON JOVI, in FEBRUARY of 1984. The record included the proven hit "RUNAWAY" which was released as a single, as well as what would be the second single "SHE DON'T KNOW ME" (a song Mercury requested Jon record and include on the album as part of his deal - to this date, that song remains the only track that has ever been included on a Bon Jovi album for which Jon does not have any writing credit.) "RUNAWAY" broke into the Top 40. MTV played the video and BON JOVI made their debut on American Bandstand.
As was the fashion at the time, the band's look was as much a part of their image as was their music. Tight leather pants and colorful scarves, ripped shirts and elaborate jewelry, big hair and eyeliner… this was the norm. But live performance was how the band would build a following and earn their reputation. After BON JOVI was released, the band hit the road, opening for heavy metal acts SCORPIONS in the United States and KISS in Europ
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