The Winners’ History of Rock and Roll, Part 3: Bon Jovi

Rethinking the legacy of one of the most ridiculed hair bands of our time:

“I have no insight into the goings-on of Jon Bon Jovi’s headspace, but I like to imagine him having a ‘Once in a Lifetime’ moment during the Springsteen duet: ‘This is not my classic-rock staple, this is not my classic-rock backing band. Well, how did I get here?’ Maybe I’m projecting: In many people’s minds (certainly many critics’ minds), perceptions of Bon Jovi will forever be fixed in the late ’80s, the band’s most commercially successful period, when Slippery When Wet and 1988’s New Jersey spun off seven top-10 singles — an unprecedented run for what’s ostensibly a hard-rock band — including four no. 1’s. ‘Blaze of Glory,’ the breakout song from Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘solo’ soundtrack for Young Guns II, also hit the top of the charts during this period.

“Susan Orlean’s1 1987 profile of Bon Jovi for Rolling Stone was typical of how the press treated the band at the time. The piece begins with an extended, oddly reverential treatise on Jon Bon’s ‘fourteen inches’ of hair: ‘Its color is somewhere between chestnut and auburn, and the frosty streaks in it give it a sizzling golden sheen,’ Orlean writes. ‘Truth is, it would be safe to say that Jon Bon Jovi has the most wonderful hair in rock & roll today.’ Orlean describes Jon Bon’s locks as an oedipal metaphor for rebellion against his dad, a hairdresser, though her poker face doesn’t quite hold. She doesn’t really take this guy seriously, and the implication is that we shouldn’t either.”

Source: Grantland
Published: Jan 22, 2013
Length: 14 minutes (3,546 words)
Read the story