Formed in Sayreville, New Jersey, in 1983, Bon Jovi consists of lead singer, Jon Bon Jovi, Tito Torres, Richie Sambora, Dave Bryan and Hugh McDonald. They were originally going to call themselves Johnny Electric, but a friend suggested the name Bon Jovi, in the vein of Van Halen.
They recorded their first album in 1984, which spawned their first top forty single, “Runaway.” Their second album, “7800 Degrees Fahrenheit”, in 1985, failed to produce any top forty singles, but, in 1986, they released their third album, “Slippery When Wet.” This album gave then their first number one single on Billboard’s weekly charts and it became the biggest selling album of the year.
In 1988, they released their “New Jersey” album, but by the time this tour ended, the band was ready for a break. So, the members of the group took a two year hiatus from each other, at which time, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora recorded solo albums.
Jon’s was the soundtrack to the movie “Young Guns II”, also known as “Blaze Of Glory” and it produced two top forty singles. Incidentally, Jon appeared very briefly in the movie as “the long haired corpse in the coffin.”
In 1992, they reunited and released three more albums and by 1997, the members were ready to take another break from each other. But, in 1999, they rejoined forces again and have continued recording and touring ever since.
On the charts, Bon Jovi has had 19 songs to make it into Billboard’s weekly charts, including solo efforts by Jon, and have gone to number one five times. Here are Bon Jovi’s twenty biggest hits, according to Billboard’s Weekly Top 40 Charts.
1. Livin’ On A Prayer – 1987 – Their biggest single, from their “Slippery When Wet” album, which produced three top ten singles, went to number one for four weeks.
2. Bad Medicine – 1988 – From their “New Jersey” album, which spawned five top 10 singles.
3. You Give Love A Bad Name – 1986 – In 2009, VH1 has named their first number one single as the 20th greatest hard rock song of all time.
4. Blaze Of Glory – 1990 – From Jon’s solo album “Young Guns II”, this single got Jon a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination. It also features Jeff Beck, Aldo Nova and Randy Jackson on guitars.
5. I’ll Be There For You – 1990 – Written by Jon and Richie Sambora, this song was performed by James Durbin on American Idol on March 16, 2011.
6. Born To Be My Baby – 1989 – The music video to this song was shot in black and white.
7. Always – 1994 – Originally written for the film “Romeo Is Bleeding”, but after seeing the film, the band opted not to lend the song to the soundtrack.
8. Lay Your Hands On Me – 1989 – Not to be confused with the Thompson Twins 1985 top ten hit, Bon Jovi’s song came from their “New Jersey” album.
9. Living In Sin – 1989 – The fifth single from the “New Jersey” album gives them the record for most top 10 singles to come from a rock album.
10. Bed Of Roses – 1992 – From the “Keeping The Faith” album, it’s reported that Jon wrote this song while recovering from a hangover in a hotel room.
11. Miracle – The second single from Jon’s solo album, “Blaze Of Glory”, aka “Young Guns II Soundtrack.”
12. This Ain’t A Love Song – 1995 – The only hit single from the “These Days” album.
13. Who Says You Can’t Go Home – 2005 – From the “Have A Nice Day” album, the song was used in television spots for New Jersey tourism.
14. In These Arms – 1993 – Bon Jovi keyboardist Dave Bryan recorded this song on his solo album “On A Full Moon”, in 1995.
15. Midnight In Chelsea – 1997 – This song came from another Jon Bon Jovi solo album, “Destination Anywhere.”
16. (You Want To) Make A Memory? – 2007 – From their “Lost Highway” album, this song was nominated for a Grammy Award.
17. Keep The Faith – 1992 – The title song from their fifth studio album, the flip side was “I Wish Every Day Could Be Like Christmas.”
18. It’s My Life – 2000 – This song references Tommy and Gina, two fictional people used in their “Livin’ On A Prayer” hit.
19. Levon – 1992 – Originally recorded and written by Elton John, Jon Bon Jovi claims this to be his favorite song of all time and released it on his solo album, “Two Rooms.”
20. Runaway – 1984 – Their first top forty single was written in 1980 and recorded by Jon Bongiovi & The Rest and recorded by Bon Jovi in 1984. Bongiovi is the real spelling of Jon’s last name.
Jon has had a successful acting career appearing in the movies, “Destination Anywhere”, “Homegrown”, “U-571”, “Pay It Forward” and he has been cast to appear in the movie “New Year’s Eve” with Kathryn Heigl in 2011. His TV appearances include, “Ally McBeal”, “The West Wing” and “30 Rock.”
Bon Jovi was nominated, in 2010, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but did not make it. Jon and Richie Sambora were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009.
Bon Jovi continues to record and perform to sellout stadium crowds all over the world.