John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. (Jon Bon Jovi) was born on March 2, 1962, in Perth Amboy, NJ. His father, John Francis Bongiovi, Sr., was a barber who migrated from Sciacca, Sicily. Bon Jovi knew in his early teens that he wanted to be a rock star. He formed the band Bon Jovi in the 1980s, which became popular for its power ballads, soaring guitar riffs and well-crafted melodies. Jon Bon Jovi has also acted in such films as “The Leading Man” and was a recurring character on TV’s “Ally McBeal.”
In 1980, Jon recorded his first single, “Runaway,” at his cousin’s studio, with back-up by studio musicians. A local radio station included the song on a compilation tape, and it began to get frequent airplay. The success of “Runaway” got Jon noticed, and he realized that he’d need more than session players if he wanted to capitalize on his success.
After the formation of his band, Bon Jovi’s self-titled debut came out in 1984. Filled with the group’s now-signature power ballads, the album went gold. Bon Jovi released its follow-up album, 7800 Farenheit, in 1985.
Tours opening for the Scorpions, Kiss and Judas Priest helped Bon Jovi build up a considerable fan base that appreciated the group’s rugged, soulful collection of songs about how tough it was to be a teenager. The band responded to tepid critical praise with its third album, Slippery When Wet, which went gold and platinum simultaneously within six weeks of its release. Powered by songs like “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive,” the album sold in excess of 14 million copies, putting it in the same league as Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
The band went into temporary retirement in 1989. Jon concentrated on his solo career and appeared in his first movie, “Young Guns II,” for which he won he won a Golden Globe for Best Song, “Blaze of Glory.” In 1994, the commercial incentive to return to Bon Jovi proved too hard to resist, and the band released another album, Keep The Faith. Jon enjoyed further solo success with 1997’s Destination Anywhere. The band regrouped two years later to record the Grammy-nominated album, Crush, and again in 2002 to put out the album, Bounce. The lead single, “It’s My Life” helped introduce the band to a new, younger fan base.