John Francis Bongiovi Jr. (born March 2, 1962), known professionally as Jon Bon Jovi, is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor. He is best known as the founder and frontman of the rock band Bon Jovi, which was formed in 1983. He has released 15 studio albums with his band as well as two solo albums.
Jon Bon Jovi
John Francis Bongiovi Jr.
March 2, 1962
Perth Amboy, New Jersey, U.S.
|Education||St. Joseph High School|
Sayreville War Memorial High School
|Relatives||Tony Bongiovi (cousin)|
Robert Hegyes (cousin)
As a songwriter, Bon Jovi was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2012, he ranked number 50 on the list of Billboard magazine's "Power 100", a ranking of "The Most Powerful and Influential People in the Music Business". In 1996, People magazine named him one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World". In 2000, People awarded him the title "Sexiest Rock Star".
John Francis Bongiovi Jr. was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, a son of two former Marines, barber John Francis Bongiovi Sr. and Playboy Bunny turned florist Carol (Sharkey). He has two brothers, Anthony and Matthew. His father was of Italian (the name Bongiovi comes from Sciacca, Sicily) and Slovak ancestry and his mother is of German and Russian descent. He has stated that he is a blood relative of singer Frank Sinatra. Bon Jovi was raised Catholic. He spent summers in Erie, Pennsylvania, with his grandparents, and sold newspapers. As a child, John attended St. Joseph High School, in Metuchen, New Jersey, during his freshman and sophomore years. He later transferred to Sayreville War Memorial High School in Parlin, New Jersey.
Jon Bon Jovi began playing music in 1975, at the age of 13, playing piano and guitar with his first band, Raze. At 16, he met David Bryan and formed a band called Atlantic City Expressway. Still in his teens, Bon Jovi played in the band John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones, performing in clubs such as the Fast Lane and opening for local acts. By 1980, he had formed another band, the Rest, and opened up for New Jersey acts such as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.
When he was 17, Bon Jovi was sweeping floors at his cousin Tony Bongiovi's recording studio, Power Station. In 1980, when Meco was there recording Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album, Tony Bongiovi recommended John for the song "R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas", which became his first professional recording (credited as John Bongiovi).
In 1983, Bon Jovi visited a local radio station WAPP 103.5FM "The Apple" in Lake Success, New York to write and sing the jingles for the station. He spoke with DJ Chip Hobart and to the promotion director, John Lassman, who suggested Jon let WAPP include the song "Runaway" on the station's compilation album of local homegrown talent. Jon was reluctant, but eventually gave them the song, which he had rerecorded in 1982 (following a rough early recording in 1981) with local studio musicians whom he designated The All Star Review: Guitarist Tim Pierce, keyboardist Roy Bittan, drummer Frankie LaRocka, and bassist Hugh McDonald.
In March 1983, Jon Bon Jovi called David Bryan, who in turn called bassist Alec John Such and an experienced drummer named Tico Torres. Guitarist Richie Sambora later joined the band; Bon Jovi, Sambora, Such, Bryan, and Torres became the founding members of Bon Jovi.
In 1984 and 1985, Bon Jovi released their first two albums and their debut single "Runaway" managed to crack the Top 40. In 1986, the band achieved widespread success and global recognition with their third album, Slippery When Wet, which had sold 28 million copies worldwide as of 2011. Slippery When Wet included three Top 10 singles, two of which reached number one: "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer".
As of 2019, Bon Jovi has released 14 studio albums, five compilations and three live albums. They have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the bestselling American rock bands. Bon Jovi has performed more than 2,700 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans. Bon Jovi was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006, and into the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
In 1990, Jon Bon Jovi recorded a soundtrack to the movie Young Guns II more commonly known as Blaze of Glory. Having been originally approached by his friend Emilio Estevez to lend "Wanted Dead or Alive" as the theme song for his upcoming Billy the Kid sequel, Bon Jovi ended up composing an all-new theme song for the film's soundtrack and delivering his first solo album. The album featured guests such as Elton John, Little Richard and Jeff Beck. The title track, "Blaze of Glory", peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1991, "Blaze of Glory" won an award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single at the American Music Awards and awarded a Golden Globe, as well. The song also earned him an Academy Award nomination and a Grammy Award nomination.
Bon Jovi's second solo album was 1997's Destination Anywhere. A short movie of the same name was recorded right around the record's release, based entirely on the songs from the record and starring Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Whoopi Goldberg. The film debuted in 1997 on both MTV and VH1.
In 2012, Bon Jovi recorded a soundtrack to the movie Stand Up Guys more commonly known as Not Running Anymore. On December 13, 2012, it was announced that "Not Running Anymore" would be nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
In 2020, Bon Jovi released a Christmas single called A Jon Bon Jovi Christmas, with three new holiday songs.
Bon Jovi is a credited actor in the films Moonlight and Valentino, The Leading Man, Destination Anywhere, Homegrown, Little City, No Looking Back, Row Your Boat, Vampires Los Muertos, U-571, Cry Wolf, National Lampoon's Pucked, and New Year's Eve. He also had a supporting role in the movie Pay It Forward, where he played Helen Hunt's abusive ex-husband. His TV series appearances include Sex and the City, 30 Rock, Las Vegas, The West Wing, and an extended stint on Ally McBeal as a plumber who was Ally's boyfriend for a short period of time. He also had a brief, uncredited role in the 1990 film Young Guns II. On January 24, 2011, it was confirmed that Bon Jovi would be cast in the film New Year's Eve, released later that year, as a successful rock star who is connected with Katherine Heigl's character.
In 2004, Bon Jovi became founder and primary owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League. He appeared in several television commercials for the league, typically with John Elway, Hall of Fame quarterback for the Denver Broncos (and co-owner of the AFL's Colorado Crush). Bon Jovi is no longer part owner of the Soul. In 2011, Bon Jovi expressed interest in purchasing 15% of the Atlanta Falcons for $150 million.
In 2014, a group of investors including Bon Jovi made it to the final round of bidding to acquire the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League, but the team was sold to Terry Pegula, the owner of the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League.
The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation (formerly the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation) was founded in 2006. It supports community efforts to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. On October 19, 2011, it opened the JBJ Soul Kitchen, a community restaurant in Red Bank, New Jersey where patrons pay what they can afford for their meals, either with money or by volunteering work. On January 21, 2019, the restaurant provided free meals to government workers and family members who had been affected by the federal government shutdown. Two additional locations have been opened in Toms River and on the Newark campus of Rutgers University.
Although Bon Jovi's voter registration indicates that he is unaffiliated, he has supported and toured with many Democratic politicians. He toured extensively on behalf of presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, appearing at and playing acoustic sets (with Richie Sambora) at rallies for the Kerry-Edwards ticket throughout the United States. He also played at a 2009 Manhattan fundraiser for former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to lessen some of her $6.3 million 2008 campaign debt. On January 18, 2009, Bon Jovi performed a duet at the Obama Inauguration Concert of the Sam Cooke classic "A Change is Gonna Come" with Bettye LaVette. On June 4, 2009, Bon Jovi performed an acoustic benefit show for Democratic Governor Jon Corzine at the NJPAC in Newark, New Jersey.
On June 24, 2009, Bon Jovi, Sambora and Andy Madadian recorded a musical message of worldwide solidarity with the people of Iran. The handwritten Persian sign in the video translates to "we are one".
In 2017, Bon Jovi raised money for Jim Renacci, a Republican representative from Ohio's 16th congressional district and then a potential candidate for Ohio governor with whom he had had common business interests several years prior.
During a stop in Los Angeles on The New Jersey Syndicate Tour in 1989, Bon Jovi secretly took a trip to Las Vegas and married his high school sweetheart, Dorothea Hurley (b. 1962), on April 29 at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. The couple has four children: a daughter, Stephanie Rose (b. 1993), and three sons, Jesse James Louis (b. 1995), Jacob Hurley (b. 2002) and Romeo Jon (b. 2004).
Bon Jovi is a close friend of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick. He owns two Super Bowl rings from the Patriots and has performed several times at the Patriots' home field, Gillette Stadium.
On May 16, 2021, Bon Jovi received an honorary degree from Princeton University. He was recognized for his contributions in society areas, including music, history, education, literature, public service, public health, social justice and ending homelessness.
In October 2021, Jon Bon Jovi tested positive for COVID-19 and cancelled his tour in Florida. He was reported as feeling "great" and being fully vaccinated. He had recovered from the disease by November 12, 2021. In April 2022, Bon Jovi spoke of how much his COVID-19 experience had impacted him, including in his songwriting, saying about COVID-19 that it made him realize "how volatile we are and how fragile life is. It didn't matter if you were young or old, American or Egyptian, no matter who you were or where you were from, the COVID-19 pandemic affected you. I was aware of that when I was writing the record."
- At the Starland Ballroom Live (2009)
|1990||Young Guns II||Pit inmate shot back into pit (uncredited)|
|1995||Moonlight and Valentino||The Painter|
|1996||The Leading Man||Robin Grange|
|1997||Destination Anywhere: The Film||Jon|
|1998||No Looking Back||Michael|
|1998||Row Your Boat||Jamey Meadows|
|2000||U-571||Lieutenant Pete Emmett|
|2000||Pay It Forward||Ricky McKinney|
|2002||Vampires: Los Muertos||Derek Bliss|
|2005||Cry Wolf||Rich Walker|
|2006||National Lampoon's Pucked||Frank Hopper|
|2011||New Year's Eve||Daniel Jensen|
|1999||Sex and the City||Seth||Episode: "Games People Play"|
|2002||Ally McBeal||Victor Morrison||10 episodes|
|2006||The West Wing||Himself||Episode: "Welcome to Wherever You Are"|
|2010||30 Rock||Himself||Episode: "Anna Howard Shaw Day"|
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His father was of Sicilian-Slovakian stock, his mother a German-Russian Playboy bunny-turned-florist.
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His father and mother - a German/Russian Playboy bunny turned florist
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- As he said when he came to a sold-out (over 15,000) Veterans Stadium in 1988
- Jon Bon Jovi remarks Archived August 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine American Music Awards, November 14, 2004. "In the fall of 1977, I was just another sophomore at St. Joseph's High School in New Jersey."
- Bon Jovi pays surprise visit to his old school Archived December 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Sentinel, March 23, 2006. "Students chat with Sayreville class of '80 grad-turned-rock-star."
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Their first notable album was Slippery When Wet, a USA No. 1 that stalled at No. 6 here in 1986. In all that album spawned four hit singles in the UK.
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- "Dorothea Hurley - Singer Jon Bon Jovi's Wife (Bio, Wiki)". May 31, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
- Intindola, Brendan. "Rich and famous mourn Wall Street's John Mulheren", Forbes, December 19, 2003, backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 2, 2004. Accessed September 27, 2015. "Mr. Bon Jovi, a fellow resident of Rumson and lead singer of the rock band Bon Jovi, was among the long line of mourners who stood outside waiting to enter the gray, shingled church."
- The Bon Jovi Library, Island Records, backed up by the Internet Archive as of August 30, 2006. Accessed September 27, 2015. "Sanctuary Sound was originally built in the basement of Jon Bon Jovi's Rumson ranch home."
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