80's Hair Band: Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi is a hard rock band from Sayreville, New Jersey. Fronted by lead singer and namesake Jon Bon Jovi (born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.), the group originally achieved large-scale success in the 80s. Over the past 25 years, the band has sold over 120 million albums worldwide, 34 million of those sales being in the U.S. alone, making them one of the most successful modern groups of all time. They continue to have widely popular tours.

Bon Jovi
The group took influence from contemporary arena-ready hard rock bands such as Aerosmith and Deep Purple among others while also seeking a catchy, pop-oriented vibe focused on slick guitar and keyboard riffs, with Bon Jovi becoming a key part in what was to become ‘pop metal’ music. After releasing two moderately successful albums in 1984 and 1985, which resulted in the production of some popular singles, the band scored big with Slippery When Wet (1986) and New Jersey (1988). Those two albums sold a combined 19 million copies in the U.S. alone, charted eight Top Ten hits, and launched the band into global super-stardom.

Bon Jovi
"Runaway" was written in 1980 and originally recorded in 1981 for the so-called "Power Station Demos". The recordings were primarily done by an ensemble simply known as Jon Bongiovi & The Rest. Lead guitar on the original 1980s track was Bon Jovi's neighbour, Dave Sabo, who would later form the group Skid Row. One night after a show, Richie Sambora found Bon Jovi backstage and told him that he should be the guitarist. Bon Jovi wrote him off and did not think much of it but told him to learn the material and show up for rehearsal. Sambora was early and knew the material and Bon Jovi was impressed; in that moment, Sambora became the band's lead guitarist and Bon Jovi was born.

The track released in 1984 was recorded in 1982 by Jon Bon Jovi and a group of studio musicians known as "The All Star Review", which included Hugh McDonald (bass), Tim Pierce (guitar) and Roy Bittan (keyboards). The keyboard intro was written by Mick Seeley, then of John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones and later with Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes.

In 1983, local radio station WAPP 103.5FM "The Apple" had a contest, held in conjunction with St. John's University, to search for the best unsigned band. After the song won the contest, it became an instant hit in the summer of 1983.

Bon Jovi
Runaway was later released as the first song from their debut album Bon Jovi in 1984. It hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 at #39 in early 1984 and became the band's first Top 40 hit in US. In recent live performances, frontman and occasional rhythm guitarist Jon Bon Jovi has been known to do a short guitar solo near the end of the song instead of hitting the usual high notes at the end, something only done in the 1980s, although the live album One Wild Night: Live 1985-2001 features Jon Bon Jovi hitting the high notes at the end of the song.

After the band attained worldwide stardom in the mid-late 1980s, the band essentially disowned the material from their pre-stardom albums in their live sets in favor of more well known and accomplished material. Despite this fact however, "Runaway" is a song of which they have always been proud. For well over 20 years, it has been the only song from the bands' first two albums that has been performed live on a regular basis. A few others have been played live over the years, most notably during The Circle Tour in 2010, however they were extreme rarities when they appeared and were not regularly performed.



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