Secrets Behind Bon Jovi's Longevity

Huge venues have cemented the fame and fortune of Bon Jovi, arguably America's greatest rock band. Since first cracking Billboard's Top 40 way back in the 1980s, Bon Jovi has captured fans worldwide, cutting a swath around the globe with packed stadium shows.

Defying the odds, the 1983 lineup is still in tact. Lead singer/guitarist Jon Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora, percussionist Tico Torres and David Bryan on keyboard welcomed bass guitarist Hugh McDonald to the fold when Alec Such left. Their camaraderie and the composing skills of Sambora and Bon Jovi have propelled them across three decades into 2011 and the honor of being named the past year's # 1 worldwide tour.

Sambora explains that the writing of the music and the quality of the band are the foundation of their business. This is the key to the success the band has enjoyed since they were youngsters playing in small clubs around their native New Jersey.

Along with writing songs that people adopt as their own, putting on a great show every time they come out is essential. Over the years, their foremost aim has been to give good stadium. Realizing that it is impossible to fill up a stadium with a single demographic, they always include songs that transcend generations, an invitation to parents to expose their kids to music they like that both can enjoy.

Torres always welcomes the sight of new faces in the audience along with the two or three generations of fans who have been faithful followers for years. From the beginning, Bon Jovi has made a point of touring as many continents as possible, giving longevity and a constant stream of new fans. Wherever they go, friends abound.

Both Sambora and Torres love the energy they pick up from the crowd filling each stadium. At the same time, Bon Jovi makes a stadium intimate with the use of giant screens that bring everyone in, even those in the back seats. A half-circle goes out into the audience where they play acoustic music together to make everybody sing so the huge place seems like a living room. To prepare for each tour, the band pulls out 70 or 80 older songs. The goal is to make everyone happy as they sing along to a favorite number.

"The fans are the ones who count," Torres says. "If they like it, they'll clap. If they don't they'll let you know about it.

Sambora concurs, emphasizing that the band's success comes from the joy of playing with colleagues they respect. "When we walk on stage we know what we have to do. People leaving a Bon Jovi show have smiles on their faces. They got their money's worth."

Emily Cary is a prize-winning teacher and novelist whose articles about entertainers appear regularly in the DC Examiner. She is a genealogist, an avid traveler, and a researcher who incorporates landscapes, cultures and the power of music in her books and articles.

by Emily Cary; Tuesday, May 17, 2011 @ 07:06 AM [1820]

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