Bruce Springsteen, Shania Twain Pay Tribute to Jon Bon Jovi at MusiCares Person of the Year Gala

Bruce Springsteen, Shania Twain Pay Tribute to Jon Bon Jovi at MusiCares Person of the Year Gala

The Bon Jovi frontman was honored at the Friday night event, where he performed with and thanked “my hero, my friend, my mentor, Bruce Springsteen.”

(L-R) Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi

Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi at the MusiCares Person of the Year Gala on Feb. 2. EMMA MCINTYRE/GETTY

Jon Bon Jovi was the man of the hour at the MusiCares Person of the Year Gala on Friday, where the rock star was celebrated by a tribute lineup that included Bruce Springsteen, Shania Twain, Melissa Etheridge, Jelly Roll, Damiano David and Sammy Hagar.

The Bon Jovi frontman was awarded the annual honor for his artistic achievement in the music industry and dedication to philanthropy. Proceeds from the gala support MusiCares, the leading music charity offering health and human services to music professionals.

The event — held in downtown Los Angeles right across the street from where Sunday’s Grammys will take place — began with an auction that included two Bon Jovi-related items: a volunteer day and dinner with the star at his JBJ Soul Kitchen restaurant in New Jersey and a tasting of his Hampton Water Rosé wine in East Hampton, with the musician and his son Jesse. After the auction, there was a two-hour tribute concert of the band’s greatest hits, with plenty of praise for the musical legend along the way.


The night kicked off with Springsteen joining Bon Jovi on stage for performances of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and “The Promised Land,” as Bon Jovi told the crowd, “As I look out here at all you tuxedoed music executives, quick reminder: This here is a Bon Jovi concert, we don’t sit down.”

Following their set, Springsteen and Bon Jovi made their way to their seats, joining Paul McCartney, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Rita Wilson and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin at the room’s central table. Jim Gaffigan, who served as host for the event, joked, “Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen are responsible for some of the greatest songs of all time, but they’re also responsible for giving New Jersey-ites an irrational level of confidence. Chris Christie actually ran for president, twice. Talk about livin’ on a prayer.”

Gaffigan also teased, “This is a night to celebrate Jon — this is not a roast of Jon Bon Jovi, or his hairstyles, or those ridiculous outfits he wore in the ’80s that were frankly frightening,” before showing a slideshow of Bon Jovi’s most memorable looks. Later in the program, he also pointed out “the musical powerhouse at Jon’s table: we’ve got Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and Robert Kraft. Now hear me out — a reboot of the Traveling Wilburys. I see Robert Kraft as the lead.”


Over the course of the night, Twain did a cover of “Bed of Roses”; Etheridge performed “Blaze of Glory”; Hagar rocked “You Give Love a Bad Name”; Jelly Roll took on “Bad Medicine”; Lainey Wilson sang “We Weren’t Born to Follow”; Pat Monahan did a rendition of “It’s My Life”; Jason Isbell performed “Wanted Dead or Alive”; and Måneskin’s David sang “Keep the Faith.” Video messages from Matthew McConaughey, John Mayer, Pink, Ed Sheeran and New Jersey senator Cory Booker were also played, with additional performances by the Goo Goo Dolls (“This House is Not For Sale”), The War and Treaty (“I’ll Be There For You”), Mammoth WVH (“Have a Nice Day”), Marcus King (“Born to be My Baby) and Brandy Clark (“(You Want To) Make a Memory”).

Bon Jovi was presented his award by Kraft, who recalled when the two first met on the sidelines at the 1997 Super Bowl. “Unfortunately, we lost that game, but my life became infinitely richer for the relationship we have shared over the last three decades,” the Patriots owner said.

Taking the stage once again, Bon Jovi started his speech by giving “a shoutout to my hero, my friend, my mentor, Bruce Springsteen. Bruce and [his sister] Pam’s mom passed two days ago, and when I first got the news, he was already on the airplane on his way here. I certainly would have understood if he’d said that he couldn’t make it, but he wanted to be here tonight for MusiCares, and he wanted to be here tonight for me, and I’m forever grateful to you for everything.”


He continued, “I have to give a shoutout to a past recipient of this award, Sir Paul McCartney. I think it’s fair to say that the reason most, if not all of us, are in this room tonight, it’s because of you, so thank you very much for being Beatle Paul.”

The star proceeded to reflect on the “gift of music” and revealed that he recently bought back his very first electric guitar, which he had sold to a neighbor in 1979 for $100.

“When he sold it back to me recently he said, ‘It’s where it belonged, home.’ And when I took that guitar out of the cardboard case, it only had five strings on itm and I still believe that the sweat marks were mine, I doubt that kid ever played it,” Bon Jovi said. “First thing I did was held it, cradled it really, and then I wrote a song on it.”

Speaking about the evening and MusiCares’ mission, the rockstar noted, “Tonight, and every night, I know how blessed I’ve been. There are millions of other musicians who set out on this same journey but for whatever their reasons, their paths took them in different directions; some of them may have played professionally, some as a hobby, and some may have needed help along the way. As musicians, we don’t have safety nets — when the song’s over, it’s over.”

Bon Jovi — who was smiling and giving out thumbs up all night — also expressed his thanks to the artists who performed at the event, saying, “Your music humbles me and has touched my heart. It’s been your songs that have kept me company and kept me sane,” before inviting all of the night’s singers back to the stage for a group rendition of “Livin’ on a Prayer” to close out the gala.

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