It’s hard to imagine a world without the music of Jon Bon Jovi. Over 30 years ago, he formed his band and quickly went on to take the world by storm with hit singles like “Living On A Prayer” and “You Give Love A Bad Name.” Today, Bon Jovi is still going strong; they performed at the 2014 Winter Olympics closing ceremony, and their latest album, “What About Now,” debuted at number one back in 2013.
The frontman was born John Francis Bongiovi Jr. back in 1962. He grew up near Philadelphia with his mother, who worked as a clerk for an engineering firm, his father, an engineer, and two brothers. As a child, he listened to Elton John, Paul McCartney, and The Who. By the age of twelve, he played drums in his first band, The Atlantic City Expressway.
After high school, Jon Bon Jovi enrolled at Camden County College to study business but realized it wasn’t for him. While working various jobs, he also continued to play music with local bands like Raze and John Bongiovi & The Wild Ones.
In 1983, Jon Bon Jovi met David Bryan, who introduced him to another young musician Alec John Such. Joined by drummer Tico Torres, bassist Hugh McDonald, keyboard player Roy Bittan, Phil X, former Jersey Devil guitarist Richie Sambora, the New Jersey musicians would form Bon Jovi. They released their first album, “Bon Jovi,” which went Platinum and launched a lengthy career two years later.
In honor of all that this hardworking father of three children has achieved, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Jon Bon Jovi.
# 1 – He was once the owner of a professional football team.
Jon Bon Jovi has made a career out of writing songs about lust and lost love, but the rocker had a different kind of passion on his mind when he was younger. In 1994, Bon Jovi bid $8 million to buy 22 percent of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, beating out fellow New Jersey sports mogul Donald Trump. However, he dropped his interest in the team just months later because it was too “time-consuming.” As Bon Jovi told MTV: ” I’m very happy with my involvement with the Philadelphia Eagles .”
# 2 – He’s released several albums outside of his main band.
In addition to his work with Bon Jovi, Jon Bon Jovi has also recorded some solo material. Here are some of the highlights:
“Blaze of Glory” (1990) was a song written for Young Guns II. It wound up becoming Bon Jovi’s only number one solo single, and it also earned him a Grammy nomination in 1991.
In 2000, he released a book called Soul Surfing. There was also an accompanying album made up of songs inspired by his writing process for the book. – 2009 saw the release of two solo tracks: “Lie To Me,” which appeared on the soundtrack to Couples Retreat, and “We Don’t Run” featuring Lady Antebellum.
– 2012 marked Jon Bon Jovi’s first Christmas album. This House is Not For Sale.
# 3 – Bon Jovi’s full name is “John Francis Bongiovi.”
Jon Bon Jovi got his stage name in 1982 when manager Doc McGhee wanted to develop a one-word moniker for the frontman. Jon and his dad watched Sheena Easton on TV when someone told them they looked like her boyfriend, Jon Bon Jovi. The band liked the idea of somebody talking about them at school and decided that was their new identity.
# 4 – He had a cameo in New Jersey Drive.
In 1995, director Nick Gomez cast Jon Bon Jovi in the film New Jersey Drive to favor producer Irv Ziffren who gave him $10 million for his film Cotton Club. Despite the film’s low budget and negative reviews, Jon Bon Jovi was happy to participate in his home state project. ” I’m all for any dream that will help the New Jersey film industry,” he said.
# 5 – He has a namesake band in Serbia.
If traveling through Eastern Europe, make sure you don’t get confused if someone screams “BONJOVI” at you. That’s because a Serbian rock band called Jon Bon Jovi is a huge fan of American musicians. Although they’ve only released one album so far, they have played many live shows with other established acts across their country, including Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Kiss, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Deep Purple.
# 6 – He’s a vegetarian.
A few years ago, Jon Bon Jovi switched to a vegetarian diet after his wife suggested eliminating meat from their household. “After 30-plus years of my supporting the consumption of dead animals, I realized that I have been depriving my children of their health,” he said. “So I eliminated all meats except fish from our diets.” Although Bon Jovi is now dressed in leather on stage, he prefers soy products and veggies at home.
# 5 – He once saved a bunny’s life.
While visiting England for his Slippery When Wet tour in 1988, Jon Bon Jovi rescued an injured rabbit outside the gates of Warwick Castle; after learning that the rabbit needed to be euthanized without anesthetic, he swooped in and rescued the rabbit from the animal hospital. Bon Jovi took the bunny back to his hotel and named it “Butch.” He ended up releasing Butch into a nearby forest before heading off to his next show.
# 8 – His uncle co-wrote “You Give Love A Bad Name.”
Before Jon Bon Jovi started writing songs for his band, they were composed by outside songwriters such as Desmond Child and local musician John DeNicola. One of those compositions was ” You Give Love A Bad Name,” written by Tony Bongiovi (Jon’s mother’s brother) and Michael Dale. After hearing the song, Jon’s father didn’t buy it and said it was no good. “Thank God he didn’t sign that one,” Jon Bon Jovi told Hit Parader. ” It would have been terrible.”
# 9 – He has twice been on People Magazine’s most beautiful people list.
In 1995 and 1996, People Magazine named Jon Bon Jovi one of the world’s most beautiful people, along with his wife Dori and their children Stephanie and Jesse.
# 10 -He made a cameo in the Home Alone.
In the 1990’s Home Alone, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) hears a noise while getting ready for bed and wakes up to find an uninvited Jon Bon Jovi in his basement. Bon Jovi was cast as the intruder after attending a cast party for Saturday Night Live, where one of the writers commented how similar he looked to the character Harry Lime from The Third Man.
Jon Bon Jovi has been in the music industry for over 30 years. He’s experienced many different things and continues to tour around the world with his band, performing live shows. With so much experience under his belt, there are plenty of interesting facts about him that you may not know about. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Jon Bon Jovi.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jon Bon Jovi article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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