From the Vault...


Bon Jovi
"Bon Jovi"

© Mercury Records

Year of Release: 1984

track listing
  • Runaway
  • Roulette
  • She Don't Know Me
  • Shot Through The Heart
  • Love Lies
  • Breakout
  • Burning For Love
  • Come Back
  • Get Ready

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    Bon Jovi related sites:
    Bon Jovi Website
    Previous Review: #1446
    Gary Clark Jr.--Blak And Blu
    Next Review: #1448
    Bon Jovi
    "Bon Jovi"

    Bon Jovi's debut album gets the nod this week, as their 1984 release becomes the band's second album reviewed on our site. (First one was the followup to Slippery When Wet, New Jersey.) Everyone has their beginnings. Of course, Jon Bon Jovi and Co. are still performing and recording today, and their popularity is still going strong. The band's beginnings would be like most, a debut album, then eventually an album that would catapult them to superstardom -- This would become the result of their third release in 1986, Slippery When Wet.

    By the year 1983, John Bongiovi (real spelling of his name) was starting a new band, and surprisingly, the name of the band was to be "Johnny Electric." At the suggestion from a friend of friend, the name of the band would be "Bon Jovi," since most bands were naming themselves after one of the band members, such as (Eddie) Van Halen. By 1982, he had recorded some demos along with his cousin Tony Bongiovi, and visiting local radio stations (WAPP, "The Apple, New York), in hopes of getting his music heard. He had written and sang the station's jingles. One of hise songs was "Runaway," and was included in a local various artists release from the station - New York Rocks 1983. This song was different than what would be released on their official debut from Mercury Records in 1984. By the end of the year, the band was now formed, and were working on their official debut, which was released in January, 1984 -- Bon Jovi.

    The leadoff track was the song that was from the WAPP various artists album, "Runaway," yet it was reworked on for the debut album. This song is most likely the best track. There are some comparisons of the common-day "heavy" metal of the 1980s, likewise another common sound for harder rock bands of the 80s, having a somewhat Rock-yet-Pop or even ballad-like songs. Take for example, "Roulette," a harder rock song, definitely fitting the heavy metal bands, as the another band in this fold would be a slight compare -- Scorpions.

    But then again, the next track, "She Don't Know Me" has more of a Pop sound, and maybe not really considered the hard rock of the 80s bands. "Shot Through The Heart" is another 80s heavy metal, and it's not related to what would become a future #1 hit for the band - "You Give Love A Bad Name." "Love Lies" starts out as a piano driven ballad, then turns into an 80s Rock sound. This song is just "ok" to my standings.

    The rest of the album are good Rock songs, as "Breakout," "Come Back" and "Get Ready" are all good. "Burning For Love" definitely is more of another common 80s Rock song as well.

    As mentioned earlier, every band has their humble beginnings. The self-titled Bon Jovi is a hit-or-miss. "Runaway" definitely gets the attention as being the best track, but the rest of the album, just has it's common-day sound of what would become the 80s decade for "Hair Bands," and some even referred these types of bands as "heavy metal." Well, THAT kind of "heavy metal." Bands such as Scorpions, the later years of Kiss, even Poison comes to mind on Jon Bon Jovi's band debut. The band released a second album 7800 Fahrenheit in 1985. But it wasn't until 1986, when the band got the first taste of success with the ever popular Slippery When Wet. By then, Bon Jovi made a name for themselves. The album reached #1 for eight weeks. Tthey've been a regular favorite ever since. 13 studio albums, five of which reached #1. Two live albums, and five greatest hits/best Of's. Four #1 songs, one #1 solo song. Two solo albums.

    Bon Jovi is not a bad album, it's not a great album either. It would shape the foundations for bigger success in the years to come. It's an enjoyable album, and should not receive bad reviews whatsoever. It's that we all know how the band Bon Jovi would become in later years from 1984, and like with anyone in the music business, in most cases, their debut may (or in this case, may not) have been a big success. But giving it time, success came knocking on their door eventually. They've already been inducted in the UK Music Hall of Fame (2006). Eventually, they will become part of the (U.S.) Rock Hall of Fame as well. Just give it time -- it's been 30 years since their debut was released. One qualification for the Rock Hall of Fame is their first record being released after 25 years. In that case, Bon Jovi is due, and ready to walk down that Hall.

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    Previous Review: #1446
    Gary Clark Jr.--Blak And Blu
    Next Review: #1448