Bon Jovi: Source Material, from Rhapsody

A little something different about Slippery When Wet, at the end the list different artists and their albums that may have been an inspiration.

By Chuck Eddy November 08, 2011 06:09PM

A quarter-century after its release (feel old now?), it is somewhat amusing, amazing and perplexing to remember that, way back then, Bon Jovi's 1986 album Slippery When Wet was actually considered a metal album — if not necessarily by metalheads themselves, then definitely by the rest of the rock world. Even in the realm of hair metal — certainly compared to bands like Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe — Bon Jovi just seem so doggone wholesome, at least in retrospect. Still, the power chords were there, and so, to some extent, were the visual trappings: on the backside of the cover, Bon Jovi the band may not look like they'd drowned in a vat of pink mascara and eyeliner, but their hair is pretty teased. Jon Bon himself has the obligatory-for-the-epoch scarf around his neck, and drummer Tico Torres is even wearing tight leopard-skin trousers.

Really, what a few fellas in the band almost look like — given their rhinestone cowboy boots and pants — is a modern regional Mexican group: all they need is fancy cowboy hats! On a steel horse they ride, don'cha know. And they still look Western-ish enough to have inspired Nashville country music since then; seriously, listen to Brantley Gilbert sometime. Heck, Chris Cagle and Montgomery Gentry have even covered "Wanted Dead or Alive" in the past decade. And of course there was also Bon Jovi's own 2006 No. 1 country duet with Jennifer Nettles, "Who Says You Can't Go Home." It all adds up now, right?

Anyway, back to metal. The cover of Slippery When Wet, as all fans know, was originally going to be a buxom lady with her topside stuffed into a drenched T-shirt with the album's title on it. Japan got that one, apparently, but in the U.S. the cover was much less brazen and more modest (and less metal): just the words on what is said to be a rain-soaked Hefty bag. Still, the inner sleeve did show the mostly shirtless band having a charity car wash with lots of skimpily clad models. Warrant were taking notes, no doubt.

The album, the New Jersey band's third, stayed in the Billboard 200 for 94 weeks (which, curiously, is 10 fewer than its 1985 predecessor, 7800º Fahrenheit), and was the U.S. top seller for eight of those weeks. It spawned four Top 30 singles, including the chart-toppers "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer" — the latter of which, especially, has been warbled several trillion times in karaoke bars since. Slippery When Wet went on to sell 12 million copies in the U.S. and 28 million worldwide. And over time, Bon Jovi — once a band not taken very seriously — managed to not only stick around for a long career that still spawns No. 1 albums, but to accumulate a certain degree of respectability as dependable, even influential legacy artists, which few would have predicted at the time. So it seems only fair, at this 25-year juncture, to chart some of the earlier music that inspired Slippery to be so, well, slippery in the first place.

Click here to listen to an accompanying playlist:
The history of rock cowboy songs is a tale that has yet to be fully written (though I tried once, in a book paragraph). What's clear is that glam-metal campfire singalongs like Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive," Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" ("and every cowboy sings a sad sad song"), and Tesla's "Modern Day Cowboy" were picking up on a theme that classic rockers had relied on at least since the James Gang: Styx's "Renegade," for instance. And Bad Company's "Bad Company." Etc. Anyway, even fewer cowboys live in England than in New Jersey, but this 1973 masterpiece not only features a cowboy number ("Roy Rogers"); it also has a cut called "Social Disease" — just like Slippery When Wet!

Okay, Bruce is B.J.'s blueprint, obviously, though OK, maybe we could pick a later album by him instead; what with Tommy toiling on the docks and his union on strike so he's down on his luck and Gina working the diner all day, Born in the U.S.A. might arguably make more sense. But '75's Born to Run has its bombast going for it, plus it's clearly an album about Jersey. (Um, except when it's about Harlem, but you know what I mean.) And you can totally imagine Bon Jovi sleeping in an old abandoned beach house and sweating it out on the streets in a runaway American dream. Or at least pretending to.

The argument can and should be made that Phil Lynott got there before Bruce (they were both channeling Van Morrison and Catholicism, after all.) But that said, this 1976 album — and particularly "The Boys Are Back in Town," bizarrely Lizzy's only American hit single — was almost undeniably the first time that Bruceness and metalness were allowed to co-exist in the same place at the same time. And the follow-up single (which got to No. 77 stateside) was "Cowboy Song"! How comes no Nashville cats have covered that one?

Peter Frampton
Frampton Comes Alive
Slippery When Wet is not a live album, double or otherwise. But, marketing-wise at least, it does seem to have learned lessons from this bicentennial septuple-platinum breakthrough (the best-selling long-player in 1976, just like Slippery was the best-selling long-player in 1987), which taught the music industry that a moderately "rock" album can stay at the top of the charts for 10 weeks if the pinup boy on vocals has lots of flowing, layered, sun-bronzed hair that girls can wish was theirs in more ways than one. Plus, there's the talkbox Richie Sambora used on "Livin' on a Prayer" — shades of "Do You Feel Like We Do"!

Bat Out Of Hell
This 1977 blockbuster has one of the most heavy metal LP covers of all time, so you could maybe say Mr. Loaf (as the New York Times might call him) was metallicizing Springsteen himself — even if the music doesn't sound particularly metal. What it does sound is operatic to the point of camp-Wagnerian ridiculousness, a ploy you can certainly imagine Bon Jovi taking at face value, whether they were Rocky Horror fans or not. Also, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" has to be considered a prototype power ballad.

As the '70s made way for the '80s (as depicted, on this album, in the ode to a thoroughly modern Millie called "Lady of the '80s"), bands on the western Canadian prairie, of all places, were seemingly trying to figure out ways to be glam rock, metal, New Wave (in theCars/Police sense), and maybe even a wee bit disco, all at the same time — but simultaneously also none of the above. Streetheart, from Saskatchewan, evolved into the Calgary combo Loverboy, who moved to Vancouver, where they hooked up with a producer named Bruce Fairbairn, who helped them shape this 1981 debut, which is a lot weirder than you think it is, especially the parts seemingly inspired by Philip Glass and the Vancouver hardcore gang D.O.A. Across the board, it shows Loverboy's early ability, as critic Ken Tucker once put it, "to kick and kiss ass with equal skill." Fairbairn was later instrumental in helping Bon Jovi do much the same thing.

And then — speaking of Vancouver — there was this guy. He'd started out (as Bryan "Guy" Adams!) in a late-period glam troupe called Sweeney Todd with the blatantly Marc Bolan-inspired Nick Gilder (of 1978 "Hot Child in the City" fame). He charted solo in Canada with a disco hit called "Let Me Take You Dancing" in 1979. And then he made a few early '80s albums that popped as good as they rocked, and they rocked harder than you remember. "First-class, professional, middle-of-the-road rock," as Dick Clark once said about earlier Northwesterners Paul Revere and the Raiders: hackwork, but often fantastic hackwork, and proud of it. If this 1983 LP didn't put ideas into Bon Jovi's heads, probably nothing did.

Further exploring the riddle "how can you be metal and not-metal at the same time?", there were these California boys, who definitely had long pretty hair and made pretty rock 'n' roll to boot, but also had one member who dressed up as a doctor, just like Prince's band on Dirty Mind — what the heck was that about? Later on, they developed a taste for flak jackets, perhaps since that's what actual night rangers wear. Anyway, these days (or a few years ago), they're probably best known for the inclusion of their Top 5 smash "Sister Christian" in the movie Boogie Nights. But when this album came out in late 1983, they were just happy you could "still rock in America." So they did. Obviously a crucial Bon Jovi template.

Van Halen invented pop metal, if anybody did. Even on their early albums, and even between Eddie's hammer-on virtuoso stuff and Diamond Dave's Borscht Belt shtick (both larger-than-life enough to make this accomplishment even more incredible), their hits figured out a way to make post-Deep Purple metal both sleek and super-Top 40-accessible — i.e., something that you could boogie down to at the high school hop, in the suburbs no less, without getting your polyester particularly dirty. And there was still boogie in the music, but it was immaculate boogie. As clean as the Beach Boys. And they were never slicker, in their first incarnation anyway, than on this, their final album with a frontman who doesn't usually suck. That "Jump" was basically keyboard-pumped techno-pop at heart was also not lost on Bon Jovi, one assumes.

Not to accuse Bon Jovi of "dumbing down" Springsteen rock — dumbness is in the eye of the beholder, after all. But certainly one thing they did to The Boss' aesthetic was to make it less self-consciously authentic and artsy. And they were neither alone nor original in doing this. It's sort of what Bryan Adams did, not to mention early John Cougar, before he added his actual last name. And then there were these forgotten dudes, from Rhode Island, who were so fake that on their debut LP (1983's Top 10 Eddie and the Cruisers soundtrack) they pretended to be an entirely different band. This 1985 follow-up (which only peaked at No. 40) was actually a better record, though. "I work the late night shift at my daddy's shop"; "Me and my buddies rule the corner down on South Beach Avenue"; "Billy said when he was 17 there ain't nothing left here for me now" — you get the idea. Take my hand, and we'll make it, I swear.

I went through this list and there are a lot of albums that I've had for YEARS. The Meatloaf one is interesting because Jon wrote a song that Meat (or is it Loaf? I just call him the bus driver from Spice World.) used on his most recent release. The Thin Lizzy one is true, Jon covered Jailbreak on his solo tour and of course The Boys are Back in Town from the Make a Difference (to Doc McGee's pocketbook) CD. BRUUUUUUUUUUUCE. No explanation. The fact the researcher neglected to list Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes tells me either the person didn't do their research or Rhapsody doesn't have any Southside Johnny. I find the Beaver Brown Band/Eddie & the Cruisers one funny since they used the Bon Jovi stage in 1989 to film Eddie & the Cruisers 2.


Bon Jovi: Google +?

If you're on Google + Bon Jovi just set up a page, add them to your circles:


They haven't added anything, but what's new?  Have you seen a Bon Jovi Tweet lately?

Bon Jovi: Guess who won the Eventful Fans Choice award?

The Eventful Fans' Choice award? !! Congratulations and thanks to everyone for voting! 

Congratulations guys!

Bon Jovi: Monday Night on CBS

I was just watching Big Bang Theory and during one of the commercial breaks they mentioned this Monday night (11/14) they were going to be doing a New Years Eve preview.

I don't usually watch CBS on Monday nights (I prefer Tuesday nights Mark Harmon and then LL Cool J?   How can I resist?).  So during CBS's Monday night prime time line up, a New Years Eve preview.

New Years Eve is that movie from Garry Marshall that Jon and half of Hollywood is in, in case you forgot.

Bon Jovi: Richie in South Florida Think Magazine

Think magazine went to the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlanta school of spelling Richie's name.

R-I-T-C-H-I-E?  Seriously???


Bon Jovi: Jon at a book signing

God this hiatus is getting old.

Jon went to a book signing last night in NYC for author Paul Schmitz's book: Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up

It's also available in Kindle form.

And here are some pictures.


Bon Jovi: Soul Kitchen Success!?!

I was always told to determine a restaurants success it had to be open 5 years not under 30 days.  But maybe in this economy 30 days is the new 5 years.  *shrugs*

Dianna Marder, Inquirer Staff Writer

On a recent Thursday night, at a small restaurant with a new concept and only two weeks under its belt, customers lined up well before the doors opened for dinner.

The menu of "seasonal, regional American cuisine" offered rainbow beet salad, butternut squash soup, chicken in Creole sauce, pork chops with cranberry butter, cornmeal-crusted catfish, and grilled salmon with sweet potato mash.

But no prices.

Cash ($10 minimum per person, please, for a three-course meal that includes drinks and dessert) or vouchers earned through volunteer work are the only payments accepted.

Using this "community restaurant" model started in Utah, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, N.J., about 90 miles from Philadelphia, is in the vanguard of redefining how hunger can be addressed.

More than a dozen small eateries have been created nationwide using this model, though nothing like it yet in Philadelphia. "At a time when one in five families are living at or below the poverty line and one in six children in New Jersey are food insecure, this is a restaurant whose time has come," Bon Jovi, 49, said on the restaurant's Oct. 19 opening day.

Dishes are prepared by paid chefs, using organic ingredients grown on-site or provided by Whole Foods Market in Middletown, which is where the rocker lives.

Most servers (four to six per evening) are volunteers from the wealthier nearby towns. Those who cannot pay the $10 minimum can put in an hour here or in one of two nearby food pantries to earn "gift vouchers."

The Soul Kitchen, centrally located in Red Bank's hip Arts and Antiques district, is in a former auto-body shop that sparkles with glass bay doors, sunny yellow walls, black tables and chairs covered in butcher paper, and floor-to-ceiling shelves decorated with jars of honey, pickled peaches, grains, and gadgets.

'Community kitchen'

The 25-seater has become a mecca, with guests waiting up to an hour to share a table with strangers, in keeping with the "community kitchen" concept.
"The response has been even better than we could have hoped for," Bon Jovi wrote on the kitchen's website (jbjsoulkitchen.org).

So far, about 15 percent of patrons have paid with vouchers. The rest have paid in cash, which is what is needed if this restaurant is to stay afloat. Many are tourists making a side trip in the hopes of seeing Bon Jovi himself. But the musician has made a point of staying away, so as not to be disruptive.

Tony and Michelle Dragicevich, who said they retired early to travel the world running marathons and attending Bon Jovi concerts, came in from New Zealand to run in Sunday's New York City Marathon and eat at the Soul Kitchen.

Cathy Greene was driving north from South Carolina to visit family and made a point of stopping here.

The three elderly Saunders sisters, from nearby Ocean Township, said they had seen a community restaurant like this on an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful. And Pat Labunski, of Red Bank, said she heard about the kitchen from her daughter in Seattle.

As Mimi Box, executive director of the JBJ Soul Foundation, tells it, Jon Bon Jovi was performing in Philadelphia one winter and saw a homeless man huddled against a wall.

That led to a partnership with Sister Mary Scullion and Project Home in 2006. Bon Jovi calls Scullion, who serves on his foundation's board of directors, his "philanthropic mentor."

'It's not just Jon'

"When Jon gets involved, it's not just Jon - his family, his colleagues all join in," Scullion said. "And he brings strong business acumen to the work."
The foundation started when Bon Jovi was an owner of the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team; it was renamed the JBJ Soul Foundation in 2009, after the team's ownership was restructured.

Often working with Habitat for Humanity, the foundation has helped create affordable housing in North Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.

In Camden, it helped create two homeownership programs and an entrepreneurship effort through which young people develop websites. And earlier this year, the foundation helped Covenant House in Philadelphia open a shelter for youth.

"Jon has a lot of input into the work we do," Box said. "He becomes a voice within the community."

Next, the foundation turned to food insecurity. Box picks up the story:

This time Bon Jovi is watching television. He sees a news story on a community kitchen in Denver called SAME (so all may eat) and learns the idea came from Denise Cerreta of Salt Lake City, who started OWEE (one world, everybody eats).

"We visited Denise and saw her model and talked about what makes it work," Box said.

"Every organization has to tweak the model to fit the needs of that community," Box said. "Denise cautioned us that to make the project work, it has to be at the intersection of a population that could support the kitchen as well as a population in need."

Red Bank scores on both counts. Its poverty rate, especially among 5- to 15-year-olds, is twice that of the rest of the state. So there are certainly sufficient individuals and families to welcome an opportunity to buy a meal in exchange for work.

But Red Bank is also home to artsy newcomers whose one-of-a-kind work draws shoppers from nearby moneyed towns. Colts Neck, eight miles away, is home to many of the country's wealthiest 1 percent (and their horses).

A renovated train station with service to Manhattan and the Count Basie Theatre for Performing Arts is steps from the Soul Kitchen.

"When we've perfected the model here," Box said, "we'd love to expand."

Scullion, who has dined several times at Red Bank's Soul Kitchen ("great vegetarian chili with homemade corn bread; perfect catfish") is ready, if and when that happens.

Project Home had a Back Home Cafe on Fairmount Avenue, but it did not succeed, Scullion said, "because it didn't have the necessary foot traffic." The organization's Home Page Cafe, inside the Free Library of Philadelphia's Logan Square building, serves coffee from Starbucks and pastries from Metropolitan Bakery and is "going great," she said.

"It's important for us to find a location in a community that can support a program like this," Box said, "for people who don't just want a handout."

Non Jovi: Things you don't bring to a concert

I saw this on TMZ and thought if you replaced Uncle Kracker with Jon and the song Follow Me with Who Says You Can't Go Home, this might be the most Epic "What did you do to get thrown out of a concert ever" moment.



Bon Jovi: Jon Bon Jovi Famous 'Fins Fan?


Jon Bon Jovi may be best known as the founder and lead singer of rock band Bon Jovi, which was named after him, but there is more to this football fanatic than just music. Bon Jovi was one of the founders and the primary owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League. In 2008, they finished 13-3 and won their first ArenaBowl championship, defeating the San Jose SaberCats, 59–56, in ArenaBowl XXII.

Throughout his career, Bon Jovi has released two solo albums and 11 studio albums with his band, which to date have sold over 130 million albums worldwide. The band was declared the second-richest band for 2011, behind only U2. As a solo artist, Bon Jovi has received numerous awards for his work, including a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for his solo hit, “Blaze of Glory.” He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Monmouth University in 2001. Bon Jovi is also White House counsel; in 2010 he was appointed by President Obama to solve problems in poor communities in the United States.

How far back does your love of football go?

Bon Jovi: I played football when I was young. I started in Pop Warner football when I was little and then played again once I got to junior high school. That’s when I realized I wasn’t big enough for football. In Pop Warner, weight class was the key. I was a little linebacker, the defensive captain. When I didn’t make weight (95 pounds) the day before the first game, they sent me up to the “Midgets” and that weight group was for kids all the way up to 120 pounds! I was too small. So I sat on the bench, hoping to play second-string tackle. Then in eighth grade when I started junior high, I decided, I’ll give it another shot … but it wasn’t happening. Thank God I found music!

What are your earliest memories as a football fan?

Bon Jovi: As a spectator, I can’t remember not being involved in football. My earliest memory is of the Miami Dolphins, Bob Griese and the Miami Dolphins — first losing the Super Bowl, then going back and winning the Super Bowl. I remember writing on my football in chalk — “Griese’s Gang.”

Why were you a fan of the Dolphins?

Bon Jovi: As a kid, the appeal of the Miami Dolphins hit home with me — they were larger than life. I just loved the Dolphins. Griese, Paul Warfield, Mercury Morris, Jim Kiick, Larry Csonka, Nick Buoniconti and the head coach was still Don Shula then. I remember it to this day. I could probably still rattle off exactly where each one of them went to college, what positions they played, their stats — they were my team when I was very young.

If you remember Jon was invited a few years back to buy into the Dolphins by their new owner, he (the owner of the 'Fins not Jon) had multiple celebs sign up for small pieces of ownership rights including Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony & J-Lo pre divorce and he even sold the naming rights to the Stadium to Jimmy Buffet's Landshark Lager. Jon declined at the time, but maybe Jon will potentially profit from the J-Lo/Marc Anthony divorce by getting their share of the 'Fins (but not the twins).

It seems suspicious that a week when Jon is allegedly meeting with Pats owner Bob Kraft that this story comes out. Maybe Jon was breaking the news that it wouldn't look good to be on the Pats sidelines when he might be an owner of one of their Division Rivals?

Or maybe it was Jon reminding Mr Kraft that well, The Giants are forever.

Bon Jovi: Lea Michelle from Glee & NYE Impressed with Jon.

In addition to his vocal styling, something else impressed her about Jon.

Lea Michele found it “weird” kissing Ashton Kutcher, because she’s so used to canoodling with her Glee co-star.

The actress plays a singer called Elise in romantic comedy New Year’s Eve. During the movie, Elise gets stuck in an elevator with a grumpy character called Randy, played by Ashton. Even though they are very different people, they end up sharing a passionate kiss. Lea has revealed it was odd to lock lips with a new co-star.

“I look at him, and every now and again I’m like, ‘You’re not Cory Monteith, this is weird!’ I was nervous, but Ashton is great,” she told the December edition of UK magazine Glamour. “He promised to help me get more Twitter followers.”

The 25-year-old star also performed with a legendary rocker for the movie.

Lea was thrilled to belt out a tune with Jon Bon Jovi, confessing she was impressed with both his vocal skills and his appearance.

“I get to sing with Jon Bon Jovi, which was pretty cool,” she gushed. “I just met him and couldn’t believe how white his teeth are! I didn’t tell him that, though!”

New Year’s Eve also features Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Katherine Heigl and Jessica Biel. It follows the lives of several couples and singletons over the course of New Year’s Eve.

The movie is released worldwide from next month.

Lea, you had the chance to do what so many of us (or maybe I'm the only one?  That could be and I'm ok with it) of asking Jon, "Crowns, Caps or Veneers?".

Other quips are:
"Jon, oh my God, no wonder why you where sunglasses all the time, the reflection off your teeth is blinding!"
"Jon, when you had your teeth redone in 2001 - 2002 did it impact your singing?"
"Jon, some people have super powers, you just have super white teeth."
"Jon, your teeth are so white, they're racist."

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