Bon Jovi: America's Ultimate Band (Tempo: A Rowman & Littlefield Music Series on Rock, Pop, and Culture)
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In 1986, when Bon Jovi’s third studio album, Slippery When Wet, was released, America had found its next superband. In Bon Jovi: America’s Ultimate Band, Margaret Olson chronicles the history and music of the band from its inception to present day. She closely examines Bon Jovi’s musical and social relevance to listeners past and present, exploring the remarkable ways the band has emerged as the expression and product of deep cultural needs and how, within a few years of commercial success, it has made a lasting impact on Generation X, the music business, and American culture. Through opportunities offered by cable television (particularly MTV), Hollywood, and corporate brands, Bon Jovi has been able to influence not only the music, film, and television industries but also the worlds of fashion, musical theater, art, philanthropy, and politics.
Like any megaband, its members have struggled with addiction, the demands of fame, and a lack of critical respect. They have persevered, however, to become one of the United States’ world’s best-selling touring bands. Bon Jovi is a testament to the way modern culture and entertainment can become intertwined, and its success underscores the length of the band’s career, the professionalism of its management, the recognition of what audiences want, and the unique way the music—more than anything else—both reflects and shapes the social and musical American landscape it inhabits.
Titles in the Tempo series are ideal introductions to major pop and rock artists, the music they produce, and their cultural and musical impact on society. Bon Jovi: America’s Ultimate Band should interest fans, students, and scholars alike.
substance abuse problems. The fact that they are currently enjoying a successful world tour and are still alive is miraculous. A 2008 interview with sometime lead singer Sammy Hagar revealed that “there was always substance abuse in the band.” Hagar shared his opinion that “Eddie’s problems are all from drugs and alcohol, and all of it self-inflicted. Eddie’s not tortured by anything but Eddie.” One former band member writing a memoir about his days in the band is a recurring theme in the
opposite is true for Van Halen. Why? Information taken from a poll at Bon Jovi concerts in 2008 and 2010 on the U.S. East Coast reveals that the most common reason is that women “like” Jon Bon Jovi. They reveal reasons like: “he is cute,” “he is a family man,” and “he is a good person.” Further discussion reveals that people like the music and the fact that the band has been around a long time. It seems that women must genuinely like the lead singer of a band to become a fan. Since the beginning
is not just selling tickets; they are community building among their fans. There are plenty of active discussion forums on the Backstage site where fans share all kinds of information about the band. Each fan profile includes details on how long the individual has been a member of BSBJ (Backstage Bon Jovi). When the band is touring, fans plan meet-ups and different events around the concert itself. It is a phenomenon of Bon Jovi’s culture, and other bands’, that fans enjoy the aspect of
divorce each other . . . the only way out of this band, I think, is death.” Of course, they could divorce each other if they really wanted to, but it would mean a premature end to what is lining up to be a Rolling Stones type of career. The band has survived a decades-long career in a music industry that has evolved through unprecedented change. For example, when Bon Jovi started in 1983, records were still vinyl and there was no Internet. Digital music did not exist and you could see a rock
Print. Jankowski, Ed. Personal Interview. http://www.jbjsoulfoundation.com/. 2012. Web. “Jersey Hero.” P Magazine 10 September 2002. Print. “Jimmy Buffett, 62, Is Cashing In on Margaritaville.” http://www.money.usnews.com/. 6 February 2009: n. pag. Web. Johnson, Gene. “Bon Jovi Tour Doubles as Homeless Research Mission.” Associated Press 26 February 2010. Print. “Jon Bon Jovi Youth ‘Listening Tour’ Comes to Newark, New Jersey.” CBS New York 6 June 2011. Print. Kroft, Steve. “Bon Jovi’s