Jon Bon Jovi (born John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., 02.03.1962)
Jon Bon Jovi is an American singer-songwriter and producer famous for being the founder and frontman of rock band Bon Jovi.
Jon Bon Jovi: Childhood
Jon Bon Jovi was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. His parents are former Marines John Francis Bongiovi, Sr., a barber, and Carol Sharkey, a florist and former Playboy Bunny.
He was raised a Catholic and claims to be a related to Frank Sinatra.
He attended St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey before transferring to Sayreville War Memorial High School in Parlin.
He had poor academic grades, preferring to spend his time in bands with friends and with his cousin Tony Bongiovi who owned the recording studio The Power Station. He started playing in clubs at 16 and has belonged to the bands Atlantic City Expressway, The Rest, The Lechers and John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones.
His first recording was when Tony suggested he record ‘R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ when Meco was recording ‘Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album’.
Jon Bon Jovi: Musical career
In 1982, he recorded a track called ‘Runaway’ with the band The All Star Review. He was turned down by Atlantic Records and Mercury (PolyGram). He persuaded rock radio station WAPP 103.5FM ‘The Apple’ to include his song on their compilation album of local talent. It became a local hit and in 1983, he signed with Mercury records.
He enlisted David Bryan, bassist Alec John Such and drummer Tico Torres for his band – a neighbour of his, Dave Sabo, was to play lead guitar but he was soon replaced by Richie Sambora. They called themselves Bon Jovi following band names of the likes of Van Halen and Dokken – they were originally to be called Johnny Electric.
Their self-titled first album came out in 1984 while their breakthrough moment came with album number two ‘Slippery When Wet’. 1988’s fourth album ‘New Jersey’ was also a hit.
He and Sambora assisted in the production of Cher's self-titled album in 1987 as well as co-writing her single ‘We All Sleep Alone’ and co-producing her 1989 album ‘Heart of Stone’. They also produced and co-wrote ‘Hell Is Living Without You’ for Alice Cooper's album ‘Trash’.
On their Slippery When Wet Tour in 1987, Jon had to take steroid shots to help him sing when his vocal cords stopped functioning normally. The extensive touring caused rifts in the band due to physical and mental exhaustion – their New Jersey Tour saw them play more than 232 shows.
He recorded the soundtrack to 'Young Guns II' aka 'Blaze of Glory' and also composed the theme song for the ‘Billy the Kid’ sequel soundtrack.
His first solo album, 'Blaze of Glory', featured Elton John, Little Richard and Jeff Beck and the title track shot to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It also awarded him a Golden Globe and nominations for an Oscar and a Grammy.
He started his own label, Jambco Records, in 1991 producing albums for Aldo Nova and Billy Falcon. In the same year, he fired Bon Jovi manager Doc McGhee in favour of Bon Jovi Management.
The band recorded ‘Keep the Faith’ in 1992 and he soon cut his famous hair and made the move to a more ‘mature’ rock sound.
His second solo album ‘Destination Anywhere’ in 1997 included a short movie based on the songs starring himself, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Whoopi Goldberg.
The band released ‘Crush’ in 2000 and gained a younger fan following with single ‘It's My Life’.
In 2012, Jon recorded the soundtrack to ‘Stand Up Guys’ also known as ‘Not Running Anymore’.
Jon Bon Jovi: Other career ventures
Jon Bon Jovi has also enjoyed an acting career including in 'Moonlight and Valentino', 'The Leading Man', 'Destination Anywhere', 'U-571' and 'National Lampoon's Pucked'. He has also appeared in TV shows such as ‘ Sex and the City’, ‘30 Rock’ and ‘Ally McBeal’.
He has worked with various charities including Habitat for Humanity of which he is the first Founding Ambassador. He has helped build homes in Philadelphia and shot the video for Bon Jovi single ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’ there. He donated $1 million to build homes in Louisiana after a hurricane devastated the coast.
He has founded his own non-profit organisation called The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation which helps to tackle economic issues in families in an attempt to combat poverty.
Jon Bon Jovi: Personal life
Jon Bon Jovi is a democrat and has been involved in many events supporting democratic presidential candidates over the years.
He secretly married high school sweetheart Dorothea Hurley in 1989 at Las Vegas' Graceland Wedding Chapel. They have 4 children; 19-year-old Stephanie Rose, 18-year-old Jesse James Louis, 10-year-old Jacob Hurley and 8-year-old Romeo Jon.
In 2004, he became the owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League. He is also a fan of the Australian soccer team, Melbourne Heart FC.