By Mark Nobes and Hannah Johnson

For over four decades, Bon Jovi has stood as a shining beacon of rock and roll resilience and creativity. Formed in New Jersey in the U.S., during 1983, the band (led by the charismatic Jon Bon Jovi), has left an indelible mark on the music industry, transcending generations with their anthemic rock anthems and heartfelt ballads.

With a career spanning multiple eras of rock music, Bon Jovi has consistently evolved while staying true to their roots, earning them a dedicated global fan base and a place in the pantheon of rock legends.

With classic 80s hits including "Livin' on a Prayer," "Wanted Dead or Alive," and "You Give Love a Bad Name," the group has sold over 130 million albums worldwide, and have won numerous awards. In the UK alone, they achieved success with nine top 40 singles between 1986 and 1989, from their two incredibly successful studio albums, Slippery When Wet and New Jersey.

Yet, what sets Bon Jovi apart is not just their chart-topping success but their ability to craft songs that resonate on a personal level, speaking to the dreams and struggles of everyday people.

The band members are Jon Bon Jovi (vocals and guitar), Richie Sambora (guitar), Tico Torres (drummer), David Bryan (keyboards) and Hugh McDonald (bass), who unofficially replaced Alec John Such in 1994.

From their early days playing in dive bars to achieving international superstardom, Bon Jovi's journey has been nothing short of extraordinary.

In this article, we delve into the remarkable career of Bon Jovi, exploring their musical evolution.

Slippery When Wet cassette album, UK First Issue (1986) - Bon Jovi

Slippery When Wet cassette album, UK first issue (1986)

Slippery WHen Wet (1986 Album)

Who'd have thought that an album named after a road sign (which Jon Bon Jovi saw while on tour), would become one of the greatest in the annals of rock music history! Few albums have left as indelible a mark as Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet.

Released in 1986, this iconic record catapulted the New Jersey-based band to international stardom and became a soundtrack for an entire generation. With its infectious melodies, anthemic choruses, and lyrical narratives that spoke to the dreams and desires of young people, "Slippery When Wet" remains a timeless classic, that continues to resonate with music enthusiasts around the world.

The chart-topping album achieved a staggering 12 x Platinum sales in the U.S. alone, and also 10 x Platinum in Canada, 6 x Platinum in Australia and 3 x Platinum in the United Kingdom.

The band collaborated with renowned producer Bruce Fairbairn, whose previous work included projects with Aerosmith and Loverboy. Fairbairn's guidance proved invaluable, helping Bon Jovi refine their sound and craft the album's memorable tracks.

Jon Bon Jovi's lyrics painted vivid pictures of small-town struggles, and romantic yearnings, and Slippery When Wet remains an essential addition to any rock music collection.

Rolling Stone magazine Jimmy Huterman was pretty scathing in his review of Slippery When Wet. He opened with the question "HOW MANY CLICHÉS can you squeeze into a pop song?", which set the negative tone for the rest of the review, ending with "Bon Jovi sounds like bad fourth-generation metal, a smudgy Xerox of Quiet Riot". 

The Society of Rock website's review of the album is much more positive about the album, stating "overall, it deserved its hype."

"You Give Love A Bad Name" (1986)

The album's lead single, "You Give Love a Bad Name," showcased Jon Bon Jovi's raspy vocals and Sambora's fiery guitar work, setting the stage for what was to come. The song was a chart-topper in the U.S., and their first major hit, although, surprisingly, onlyreached #14 in the UK. The lyrics tell the story of a woman who has ditched her lover.

Bonnie Tyler fans will recognise the song, as it was originally recorded by the Welsh songstress with the title "If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)". The song's writer, Desmond Child, re-wrote the track alongside Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

The song was released on the Mercury Records label and the B-side included two tracks; "Raise Your Hands" and "Let It Rock".

"Livin' On A Prayer" (1986)

"Livin' On A Prayer" features one of the most dramatic and epic song intros from the 1980s, and is one of the band's most recognised and most played songs. The glam metal single was a U.S. #1 and peaked at #4 in the UK. It was the second single to be released from the album Slippery When Wet, and was released in October 1986.

"Wanted Dead Or Alive" (1987)

The tempo was slowed down for the old western movie style third single from Slippery When Wet. Released in March 1987, the song reached #13 in the UK and #7 in the U.S. It also featured at the start of the 1991 movie Harley Davidson And The Marlboro Man, which starred Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke, although received mainly poor reviews by the critics.
Never Say Goodbye imported single


No eighties album is complete without a decent power ballad, and Bon Jovi didn't disappoint with this one. Released in August 1987, "Never Say Goodbye" was the fourth and final single from Slippery When Wet (it wasn't released as a commercial single in the U.S.) peaking at #21 in the UK. The Irish seemed to appreciate it the most, though, as it reached a more respectable #4 in Ireland.

New Jersey (1988 Album)

As hair metal and glam rock bands ruled the airwaves, Bon Jovi cemented their status as rock legends with their fourth studio album, New Jersey. Released on September 19, 1988, this record was a defiant response to the pressures of fame and a testament to the band's enduring spirit. New Jersey not only consolidated Bon Jovi's place in the rock pantheon but also added another chapter to their storied career.

Although the album wasn't quite as huge as its predecessor, it still achieved massive success, with 7 x Platinum sales in the U.S., 5 x Platinum in Canada and 2 x Platinum in the UK. The band played it safe by keeping their producer from Slippery When Wet, Bruce Fairbairn, who, once again, added his magic touch to the songs.

New Jersey cassette album (1988) by Bon Jovi

Although the glossy production was still very much evident, the album's grittier sound and honest lyricism resonated with fans who appreciated the band's authenticity in an era often defined by excess and superficiality.

All five singles released from the album reached the top 10 in the U.S., and these were "Bad Medicine" (#1), "Born To Be My Baby" (#3), "I'll Be There For You" (#1), "Lay Your Hands On Me" (#7) and "Living in Sin" (#9). The tracks were all Top 40 hits in the UK, although none of them broke into the top ten.

The album's diversity of sound was one of its strengths. "Blood on Blood" was a heartfelt ode to friendship, while "Wild Is the Wind" showcased the band's ability to experiment with World sounds, opening the song with an experimental flamenco guitar solo. 

Reviews for the album are very mixed, ranging from just a one star rating from Number One magazine (issue 287) to four and a half stars from William Ruhlmann on the All Music website. The Number One review stated "For some reason, Jon Bonjiovi (that's not a typo!) and his chums seem to be under the impression that they are cowboys. Why were they ever allowed to ride out of town?".

"Bad Medicine" (1988)

The lead single, "Bad Medicine," was an anthemic rocker with infectious hooks and a memorable chorus. Two videos were created to promote the song, one featuring the band live in concert, and another which opens with a young fans waiting in a queue to get into the video shoot.    

"Born To Be My Baby" (1988)

The video for this single was low budget and in black and white, and was filmed in the studio while recording the song, which actually makes for interesting viewing. The single was a top 10 hit in the U.S., Canada and Ireland, and a moderate hit elsewhere. The track actually started life as an acoustic number, but the band's producer, Bruce Fairbairn, convinced the lads to re-record it and give it a harder edge with more electric guitars, a more familiar bassline and those trademark beefy drums!

"I'll Be There For You" (1989)

The third single from the album "I'll Be There for You" was one of the band's most enduring power ballads, showcasing Jon Bon Jovi's emotional depth as a vocalist. The song was track 10 on the album, and the single B-side included the heavy rock track "Homebound Train", which features Richie Sambora on lead vocals.

Both glam metal and power ballads were still hugely popular in 1989, making this single an almost guaranteed hit, which it most certainly was, of course, reaching #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

"I'll Be There For You" 7 inch vinyl single

Bon Jovi Greatest Hits Medley

Now, this is a fine video mix which features many (but not all) of Bon Jovi's hit songs. The uploader has stated that he couldn't fit every hit into the mix and the tempo differences just wouldn't allow for all of them. I would have to agree with him that it's far better to leave out songs that are going to ruin the mix. Also, he hasn't messed around with the songs and added any ridiculous effects which is a big positive for me.

Here's the track listing - enjoy!

1. It's My Life/You Give Love A Bad Name
2. Bad Medicine
3. Livin' On A Prayer
4. You Give Love A Bad Name
5. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
6. We Weren't Born To Follow
7. Have A Nice Day
8. Born To Be My Baby
9. No Apologies
10. Always
12. I'll Be There For You
13. Wanted Dead Or Alive
14. Blaze Of Glory
Bon Jovi These Days