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Bon Jovi
If Webster’s Dictionary could put a picture next to the word cool, the picture would be of this band. Bon Jovi exudes so much coolness that one marvels at how the cameras don’t freeze when they’re filming one of their music videos or taking part in some high profile event. Awards, acclaim, fame, glory, beautiful women...what hasn’t this band received? They’ve been part of the rock landscape for so long, that we can’t even remember a time when they weren’t around or on tour for that matter.
The need to apotheosise rock stars is hardly new, but with their latest effort Bon Jovi call for it once again, as new album Lost Highway is imbued with the sort of artistic intricacy that demands and rewards repeated listens.

Try and find one person who hasn’t loved a Bon Jovi song. This band has been active for over 20 years and they’re showing no signs of stopping. After garnering millions of rock fans, they’ve acquired a taste for Nashville, and the country loving audience has acquired a taste for them. More than a decade after they hit the top of the mainstream rock charts, and a number of commercially successful albums later, the band got to the top of the country charts with Who Says You Can’t Go Home. It’s been a long road to fame again, but like Jon Bon Jovi sings in It’s My Life, they did it their way.

Their Place On The Fame Scoreboard
In the 80s, if it wasn’t Michael Jackson or Madonna, then it was Bon Jovi all over the radio and on MTV. By their fourth release, Slippery When Wet, they became one of the biggest bands in the world, and they’ve stayed there ever since. One of the biggest rock albums of 1987, Slippery When Wet has sold a cool 12 million copies in the US alone and another 14 million worldwide, producing an astounding five top 10 hits, including the #1s You Give Love A Bad Name and Livin’ On A Prayer. Since then, Jon Bon Jovi and his boys have chalked up 14 top 10 hits on the US and UK charts (including seven #1 singles), seven #1 albums and 120 million in record sales across the world. It’s estimated that between ’86 and ’89 their combined record sales topped 35 million.

Their Musical Ingenuity:
For all the make-out music they’ve provided for teenagers and young adults everywhere, we salute them! There’s no denying it, Bon Jovi have laid down some of the greatest grooves ever. There are too many to mention, but they’ve proven time and time again that they can turn the mojo on just as well in a soulful plea for love like Bed Of Roses or In Your Arms as they can in a biting yet funky hard rock anthem like Sleep When I’m Dead. Each album they’ve put out has been introspective, creative, catchy and meaningful; and as the boys grow older ~ age and career-wise ~ their music has evolved along with them. Perhaps even more interesting is to look at their songs that didn’t make it to be singles; tracks like 7800° Fahrenheit’s Always Run To You, Slippery When Wet’s I’d Die For You and, of course, Woman In Love from Keep The Faith are widely hailed by fans as true rock classics.

Champions Of Humanity
If you thought Bon Jovi were just another celebrity rock group who like to party with the ladies, this should prove you wrong. In the grand scheme of things, they’ve used their fame and notoriety to bring the world’s focus to some of the most dire and important issues and are noted for having used their music and concerts to benefit others over the years. The organisations that have benefited from their music include the Special Olympics, the American Red Cross, the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation and various other groups. Jon was even named Humanitarian Of The Year in 2001 for his charitable work on behalf of the people of New Jersey. Currently he enjoys his status as the first ambassador of the Habitat for Humanity charity program after the band built several homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina; the video for their hit Who Says You Can’t Go Home was actually a documentary of the making of these homes.

New Album: Lost Highway
Just when you think they’ve exhausted one way of doing things, they smack you back into place with something fascinating. With single Who Says You Can’t Go Home (with country singer Jennifer Nettles) Bon Jovi made history by becoming the first rock act to have a #1 hit on the Country Charts and the song earned them the sole Grammy of their 25-year career. Nashville’s music scene is now supposed to be the centre of the world and Jon and his boys want to be right there, in the middle of it. For their latest release Lost Highway, they’ve dusted off their electric guitars and strapped on the cowboy boots and leather jackets and ~ as first single (You Want To) Make A Memory clearly attests ~ their passion for larger-than-life anthems remains undiminished. The album debuted at #1 recently on the US charts, and to mark the occasion of the new CD’s worldwide release, front man Jon Bon Jovi sat down with us to give us the inside exclusive on the band’s agenda:

After appearing on the hit TV show American Idol earlier this year, suddenly you’ve become the Idol for young aspiring singers everywhere. That must feel good…
Jon: (Laughs) The biggest TV show in America playing nothing but [Bon] Jovi songs…that was pretty cool. I guess some of those songs really did touch a lot of people. [We’ve written] songs over the years primarily for us, but what we’ve found and are fortunate enough to have found…is that no matter if they’re from India, Japan, Germany, England or America…many people relate to the same situations that we’ve been through.

The new album recently debuted at #1 on the US charts ~ your first US #1 record in almost 20 years. It must be overwhelming…
Jon: We were writing music from a different place and that’s why the magic happened. (Laughs) I believe this record has taken us back to basics…where good stories are set to good music. Nashville is the spirit behind this energy and relaxed musical backdrop. As you know, we had a lot of success with Who Says You Can’t Go Home from the last album…so we…er…felt inspired to come down and write this record here in Nashville.

The buzz is that the band went to Nashville to make a country music record…
Jon: I think I was at fault for trying to explain myself, for misrepresenting us, for saying we’re going to Nashville to make a country record. (Laughs) Listen to it. I don’t think it’s that different than a Bon Jovi record. It’s not a Bon Jovi does country record. (Laughs again) If you’re someone like me who loves songs and hanging out with songwriters, Nashville is the place. Nashville is all about songs and songwriters. I thrive on that feeling and I’m inspired by that creative ambience…

So what’s the new album all about?
Jon: As an artist having freedom is the greatest gift you can have…and when you’re an established artist and have been putting records out there for a long time, it’s really easy to get pigeonholed and write for a specific format of radio and video channels. The concept for Lost Highway was freedom. It was about love, it was about loss...but primarily it was about artistic freedom.

You can read the rest of our cover story on Bon Jovi in the August 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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