March 14, 1983: The Band Bon Jovi is Formed

Share This:
foto_bjtour (crop)

Original Bon Jovi band (l-r): Richie Sambora, Alec John Such, Jon Bon Jovi, Tico Torres & David Bryan

John Bongiovi – better known as Jon Bon Jovi – had been playing in bands since he was 13 years old, and was out on the New Jersey club circuit plugging away since he was 16. Now 22, he’d done a number of demo recordings, thanks in part to working at the New York recording studio co-owned by his cousin Tony Bongiovi, The Power Station. But to date he’d been turned down by all the record labels he had approached in search of a recording contract.

While he was writing and singing promos for radio station WAPP “The Apple” in Lake Success, NY, its promotion director asked Jon if he could include one of his demo songs, “Runaway,” on a local homegrown talent album. Though initially reluctant, he agreed. The song – whose recording included E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan and bassist Hugh McDonald – ended up becoming a hit with listeners. And Jon finally inked a deal with Mercury Records.

He wanted to start a band with which to pursue his music and put in a call to his old friend, keyboard player David Bryan. The two had played together in bands during their teens. Bryan in turn called drummer Tico Torres and bassist Alec John Such. For lead guitar, Jon called on his neighbor Dave “Snake” Sabo, later to start the group Skid Row. Not long after, the lead guitar duties would be taken up by another New Jersey music scene veteran, Richie Sambora, who would quickly become Jon’s musical right hand man. The band would be known as Bon Jovi – rather than their first name choice of Johnny Electric – at the suggestion of an employee of Doc McGhee, the group’s manager.

The band’s debut LP, simply titled Bon Jovi, was released in 1984. “Runaway” was its first single, barely denting the pop Top 50 at #39. No matter. In 1986 Bon Jovi released their third album, Slippery When Wet, which spent eight weeks at #1 and was declared by Billboard to be the best-selling album of 1987. And Bon Jovi were on their way to becoming one of the biggest-selling musical acts on the planet.

After all their success, the band was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. The following members were inducted: David Bryan, Jon Bon Jovi, Hugh McDonald, Richie Sambora, Alec John Such and Tico Torres.

Hulu will debut a four-part docuseries, Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story on April 26, 2024.

And on the anniversary of the band’s formation, the group announced a new album for 2024. Their 16th studio album, Forever, arrives June 7 via Island Records. It’s available to pre-order here.

Watch the video for the first single, “Legendary”

When the band tours, tickets are available here and here.

Best Classic Bands Staff

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.