Jon Bon Jovi Reflects on the Band’s 40-Year Legacy and Roller-Coaster Journey: ‘I Have Great Pride’ (Exclusive)

Jon Bon Jovi Reflects on the Band’s 40-Year Legacy and Roller-Coaster Journey: ‘I Have Great Pride’ (Exclusive)

The beloved rocker reminisces on Bon Jovi’s impact — and future — ahead of the April 26 release of the Hulu documentary, ‘Thank You, Goodnight’

Jon Bon Jovi is looking back on 40 years of rock stardom, how he got here — and what’s next.

More than four decades ago, Bon Jovi worked as a go-fer at the N.Y.C. recording studio the Power Station.

“The biggest thing I learned there was the bigger the star, the nicer the person,” he says. “It was the Rolling Stones who would hold the door open for you when you were coming in with the burgers and the coffee.”

Then an aspiring musician, Bon Jovi notes he “wasn’t rubbing elbows with the Rolling Stones, but while you were sweeping the floor or parking their car, you would observe. The bigger stars would take a moment to say, ‘How’s that demo going?’ That stayed with me.”

Jon Bon Jovi personal photos.

Jon Bon Jovi performing in New Jersey in 1980.JON BON JOVI FAMILY ARCHIVE

Within a few years, Bon Jovi went from running errands to releasing his eponymous band’s breakout hit “Runaway” — and soon joining the ranks of the guitar heroes he saw at the Power Station.

“I was willing to outwork everybody — I think that’s what it came down to,” says Bon Jovi, 62. “I definitely wasn’t the best at anything. I was just the hardest working, and it was nothing more than the desire to get better every day.”

Bon Jovi pose for a group portrait in New Jersey on 18th September 1984. L-R David Bryan, Alec John Such, Jon Bon Jovi, Tico Torres and Richie Sambora.


Now the Bon Jovi frontman and his bandmates are looking back at their journey from suburban New Jersey dreamers to one of the biggest, most beloved rock acts of all time in the new four-part docuseries Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story (streaming on Hulu April 26). The show gives a behind-the-scenes look at their meteoric rise and impressive endurance — along with no-holds-barred commentary on their tumultuous ride, including members’ substance abuse issues and Richie Sambora’s sudden departure.

Bon Jovi also details how recent vocal cord issues nearly forced him into retirement and led him to a new outlook on life.

Jon Bon Jovi shot in NYC by Jake Chessum on March 26, 2024.

Jon Bon Jovi on the cover of the May 6, 2024 issue of PEOPLE.JAKE CHESSUM

Jon Bon Jovi Accepts 2024 MusiCares Award, Says He Is ‘Definitely’ Playing at Son Jake’s Wedding (Exclusive)

“The thing that gave me so much pleasure had been taken away,” he says. “Joy is something you got to work at, right? Happiness is what you make it. It’s not about seizing the day anymore. I think it’s about embracing the day. I don’t have to punch it in the face anymore, now I just give it a hug, and that’s a good place to be.”

Born John Francis Bongiovi Jr. to his barber father and florist mother Carol (both former Marines), Bon Jovi began playing guitar after he caught the bug from a neighbor in Sayreville, N.J. Inspired by area artists like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, he started playing on the Asbury Park music scene.

Jon Bon Jovi shot in NYC by Jake Chessum on March 26, 2024.

Jon Bon Jovi in NYC on March 2024.JAKE CHESSUM

After breaking out in 1984, the band Bon Jovi — rounded out by guitarist Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, bassist Alec John Such and drummer Tico Torres — cemented their status as rock gods two years later with their album Slippery When Wet and its smash hits “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

Bon Jovi has sold more than 130 million albums worldwide and toured over 50 countries, picking up a Grammy and scoring a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction along the way. Those accolades were hard earned. Despite their radio and touring success, the band constantly felt the need to prove themselves over the years because they crossed genres and weren’t critical darlings.

Jon Bon Jovi shot in NYC by Jake Chessum on March 26, 2024.

Jon Bon Jovi in NYC in March 2024.JAKE CHESSUM

“The only way to really prove something like that,” he says, “is just go out there and do it, do it again and do it again.”

And so they did, becoming one of the highest-grossing touring acts of all time.

Adds keyboardist Bryan: “We were relentless young men who set out to make it — and we made it.”

Jon Bon Jovi shot in NYC by Jake Chessum on March 26, 2024.

Jon Bon Jovi in NYC in March 2024.JAKE CHESSUM

But in 2022, Bon Jovi thought his performing days might be behind him. Having dealt with vocal cord issues for years, he realized he had to get medical help or retire. Nearly two years since he underwent surgery to alleviate loose vocal folds that were stealing his voice, Bon Jovi is on the mend — and hopeful. The band will drop its 16th album, Forever, in June.

After weathering the ordeal, Bon Jovi says the new record “is really about my finding joy again. What really matters in a life? It’s love and loyalty and finding things that make you want to get up out of bed in the morning.”

bon jovi band

Bon Jovi in 2024: David Bryan, Everett Bradley, Hugh McDonald, John Shanks, Phil X, Jon Bon Jovi and Tico Torres.MARK SELIGER

The rocker has plenty to live for. He has been married to wife Dorothea for 35 years, and they share four children, Stephanie, 30, Jesse, 29, Jake, 21, and Romeo, 20.

“I look back at the accomplishments of the band, and my family,” he says, “and I feel great pride.”

And Bon Jovi is now living by the advice he’d give his younger self working at the recording studio: “Take the time to enjoy every phase of it. Some of it was with my head down, staring at the pavement in front of my next step. I could have looked up and saw the sun shining and the clouds in the sky,” he says. “That’d be the only thing I would tell a young kid today. ‘Enjoy that walk.’”

For more from Jon Bon Jovi, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

Related Posts

Our Privacy policy - © 2024 News