Back before Christmas, Noble Records here in Charlotte came across an amazing Record Collection that was being sold and it was filled with so many rare and amazing rock and metal albums. He naturally bought it and offered it up in his store in a huge release on December 12, 2020. He called it Metalocalypse or something like that. It was full of great stuff and worth getting up and being in line almost an hour before opening and I was’t alone. I was sadly, about 20th in line and as a result I didn’t get everything I wanted. But there was one thing I saw on his instagram posts and videos that caught my eye and I was able to grab it.
That was a Promotional Copy of Bon Jovi’s single “You Give Love a Bad Name”. Doesn’t sound like a big deal does it? You’d be wrong because this is special for two reasons. First, It has the original banned album cover as the single cover art work. The woman in the wet T-Shirt. Yeah, I’ll take that shot any day. But that wasn’t the only thing cool about it. It was also autographed by Jon Bon Jovi himself. Of course, it is made out to Paul who was the gentlemen that originally had these albums. He owned a record shop back in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s as that was the time frame of most of his albums. I am glad that I have one of his pieces and he can be happy it is with a fellow music lover. Paul has since passed away which is the reason the collection was up for sell.
I love finding things I hadn’t seen before and 9 times out of 10 it is a bootleg and this one is no different. I really like to buy vinyl bootlegs the best, but I will grab a CD one when the price is right and I am in the mood and both those factors were in place for this find. The Bon Jovi bootleg, called ‘The Rock History’, is a 4 CD set and the price was only $9.99 and since it was used and the place had a special of buy 2 used get 1 for a $1, my daughter and I got to work. Plus, I get 10% off all purchases on top of anything else since I am a frequent customer. All in All, it probably ended up costing around $7.
As you can see, there are a lot of songs on here and though some repeats, there really isn’t that many duplications. I can’t find out much about this set on line, but I was able to determine a couple things. CD 1 and the first two songs on CD 2 are from a radio broadcast of a show Bon Jovi did at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on December 31, 1988. The rest of CD 2 and all of CD 3 is from another Japanese show and radio broadcast from the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan on January 3, 1991. The final disc, CD 4, is a mixture of a couple interviews and various live performances that I don’t know where they are from.
Welcome to the next Tour Book in the Bon Jovi Tour Book collection…and I only own two so a small collection at the moment. I didn’t start out collecting Tour Books for Bon Jovi, nope. I was only going to collect the Kiss Tour Books. However, life has a funny way of changing things. While out walking around an antique mall, I found my first Tour Book from the New Jersey Tour. It was cheap, so I bought it. This next one, I was out for Record Store Day on August 29, 2020 and after picking out my RSD vinyl and while I was waiting to check out, I saw another Tour Book for Bon Jovi. The price was right and so there you have it. I now have two and now seem to have started a Bon Jovi collection as well.
This Bon Jovi Tour Book is from the Bon Jovi Live Tour in 2011 in support of their sixth greatest hits compilation which is probably 4 too many as how many do you really need. The tour went from February 9, 2011 until July 31, 2011 and was around 59 shows between North America and Europe. It was huge success as most of their tours are and it was interesting one in that Richie Sambora would miss part of it due to having to go to rehab for “exhaustion” and alcoholism. His replacement for part of the tour was Phil X who would end up replacing him in the long run a couple years later.
The band at the time was still the main four guys (Hugh McDonald was still not a full-time member).
Back in the late 80’s, Bon Jovi was huge and on one of the longest tours in their history in support of their multi-platinum selling album ‘New Jersey’. The tour went to Europe, Asia, North America, Europe again, North America again, Australia and even South America. It hit everywhere and lasted for over 2 years and over 200+ shows. Sadly, I don’t think I actually saw that tour and I am not sure how I would’ve missed that tour either. Maybe I did and I had so much I fun I can’t remember and I lost my ticket stub (I normally keep all my ticket stubs).
Anyway, the tour set list was usually something like this…
Lay Your Hands On Me
I’d Die For You
Wild in the Streets
You Give Love a Bad Name
Born to be My Baby
Let It Rock
I’ll Be There For You
Blood on Blood
Livin’ on a Prayer
Never Say Goodbye
Ride Cowboy Ride
Wanted Dead or Alive
I do, however, have the Tour Book. I found at an an Antique Mall here in Charlotte called Sleepy Poet. It was cheap at only $7 and in great condition, so I grabbed it. Now you get the pleasure of enjoying it page by page.
For My Sunday Song #200 and the final in the Bon Jovi set of 10 songs, we are discussing the classic song, “Livin’ On A Prayer”. The song is off the band’s mulit-platinum selling album ‘Slippery When Wet’. The song was the second single off the album and the second to go all the way to #1. The song and the album put Bon Jovi in to super star status and nothing would be the same afterwards.
The song was written by Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi with a lot of help from songwriter Desmond Child who was brought in by the record label to help the boys finish the album and work on some songs. The song is loosely based on Desmond and his girl-friend as she worked in a Diner, but he was a taxi driver and not working at the docks. It was that Blue Collar feel to the song that made it resonate with so many people. It was a time when Bon Jovi actually wrote songs that told a story that connected with people and not try to write just to make a hit.
However, after recording it, Jon didn’t really like the song and wanted to leave it off the album. Richie thought it was great and convinced Jon to re-work the song. It was much improved by changing the bass line and recording with Hugh McDonald and not Alec John Such. Funny thing, Hugh would become a band member less than 10 years later (unofficially of course). Richie also added a talk box to the guitar to give it that extra boost in the same way Peter Frampton used it and made it famous. The song was turned in to a complete masterpiece.
For My Sunday Song # 199, we are going to discuss one of Bon Jovi’s most popular and famous songs, “Wanted Dead or Alive” off the band’s 1986 album ‘Slippery When Wet’. The song was the third single from this album and the third to crack the Billboard Hot 100 reaching #7. The band was on a roll and growing to become one of the world’s biggest rock bands thanks in large part to his song.
The song’s title was inspired by old western movies and Jon thought the lifestyle of a band was similar to that of the outlaws in those movies. Instead of horses, the band takes the tour bus (which is sort of a large steel horse) from town to town and raping and pillaging in each town…okay not really, but they were getting all the chicks and making tons of money performing, just not stealing it.
That whole cowboy vibe is felt in the music using acoustic guitars as well as electric. There was a western sound with a hard rock edge and when they do play this as full acoustic, it is drenched in that sitting around the campfire feel telling stories of the road (or old west). Richie Sambora’s guitar playing on this song spectacular and his background vocals mixed with Jon’s vocals takes this song to the next level. And Richie’s solo is one of the most memorable he has done and how well it fits in with vibe of the song is magical. Musically, according to Jon Bon Jovi, the song is inspired by Bob Seger’s song “Turn the Page” and if you listen to the song you hear that the slow driving tempo and groove and seriousness of the song and you can see why it was so inspiring.
For My Sunday Song #198, we are going with another deep cut and with a non-single song called “Just Older” off the band’s 2000 album called ‘Crush’. The album was kind of a comeback album for the band and the song “It’s My Life” brought the band back in to superstar status and whole new generation of folks got to know the band again and for the first time. However, it was songs like “Just Older” that made remember what a great write Jon was (with the help of Billy Falcon).
The song is pretty inspirational when you listen to those lyrics. It seems to be about two friends seeing each other again and reminiscing about old times, but the big difference is they have accepted the fact they are older and they have no regrets. The chorus really sums it up…
I like the bed I’m sleeping in
It’s just like me, it’s broken in
It’s not old – just older
Like a favorite pair of torn blue jeans
This skin I’m in it’s alright with me
It’s not old – just older
Being comfortable in your own skin is what it is really all about. When you are comfortable with who you are, you can appreciate everything around you. You can look back with no regrets and see all the positives. There is another line that hits home to and is also a throwback to another Bon Jovi hit…
I’ve kept my faith
Little lines like that make exploring their lyrics so much fun and what makes songs stick with you and stand out more than others. The little things to grab on to that feel like they are talking about you.
For My Sunday Song #197, we are going to go with a song off Bon Jovi’s New Jersey album called “Wild is the Wind”. The song was from 1988 and it was never released as a single, but it stuck with me and was one of my favorites on the album. Like a lot of their albums, the deep cuts can sometimes be better than the actual singles and this was one of those for me. Next to “Blood on Blood” from the New Jersey album, this is one I go to more than others.
This song seems to be an admission of guilt for Jon as he seems to be feeling bad for not being there for his wife. It is something deeply imbedded in him that drives him to be on the road all the time. He feels she would probably do better finding someone else that can give her what she needs because he feels he is failing at that task. And as much as he lived that rock star lifestyle, I would say he failed quite a bit at giving her what she needed. In the end, we know how the story ends in real life as he and his wife are still together after all these years.
What I loved about the song is something that was a common theme on the New Jersey songs, it was this cowboy spirit drenched in the music style. It wasn’t a country twang or anything like that, it was mostly in how the acoustic guitar is used in the songs. There is this restless feeling in the songs. Musically, it is a cross between a ballad and just a plain old rock song. It has its slow moments, but rocks out in the end with some damn fine guitar work by Mr. Richie Sambora, the backbone of the band. Tico Torres has some nice drum fills and great moments as well so I don’t want to leave him out. Jon sings with all his heart and his emotions on his sleeve like he always did back then (now the new stuff feels like is his just going through the motions, but that is another story for another day).
For My Sunday Song # 196, “Bed of Roses” off the 1992 album ‘Keep the Faith’ by Bon Jovi is our song of discussion. The song was released as a single in January 1993 and quickly became another hit for Jon and the gang as it reached #5 on the Billboard Top 40 chart. In a time where grunge was taking over the world, Bon Jovi still managed to throw out hits while others fell by the wayside.
There is one thing Bon Jovi does well and that is a ballad. Jon Bon Jovi wrote this one and man does he have a way with words in this one. What a story he weaves. While sitting in a hotel room, he made the hotel bring up a piano to his room and he sat, still hungover and wrote this beauty. He even talks about the struggles in writing it in the first couple lines…
Sitting here wasted and wounded at this old piano,
Trying hard to capture the moment this morning I don’t know
‘Cause a bottle of vodka’s still lodged in my head,
And some blonde gave me nightmares.
I think that she’s still in my bed.
The song is a sad love song to his wife. Jon lived the rock & roll lifestyle and he was not that faithful to his wife, but by this time in his career, he knew that she was the one he loved. This song was a letter to her that he is sorry for what he has done and that she is really the one for him. He wishes he could be with her lying in a bed of roses while he sits lonely in that hotel room on a bed of nails. It is quite lovely. And some of the lines he wrote in this were beautiful painted pictures…
With an ironclad fist I wake up and French-kiss the morning
and I loved the line…
While my mistress—she calls me
To stand in her spotlight again.
That mistress is the record company and the music business that keeps wanting him to pop out hit after hit and he is longing to be home with her. It is such great story telling.
For My Sunday Song #195, we are diving in to the fantastic song “Something to Believe” off the band’s 1995 underrated album ‘These Days’. This song was never a single and probably one of the best deep cuts they have on any record. It really spoke to me and to this day, it means a lot.
The song has been considered anti-religious with lines like “I lost all faith in my God, in his religion too”, but the song is really about fighting back and finding that one thing to hold on to and reach for and to believe in. I know for me, I have struggled a lot in this world. There were times I had lost my faith and I still struggle with my belief in religion. Not with God or Jesus, but organized religion. I see the damage it has caused through the centuries, the charlatans out there wanting your money and our the first ones to sin. The holier-than-thou Church goers that think cast the first stone and our cheating on their spouses. The churches that hide the child molesting priest. I could go on and on and talk about the hypocrisy of it all. But I won’t. You get where I am coming from.
So how do you find that one thing to believe in? I don’t know, but dig deep and it just happens. I believe in my wife and kids. My brothers and sisters and those that have always been there. I believe in Jesus and God…BUT…in my own way. As Jon states, “in a world that gives you nothing, we need something to believe in”. And with what has going on in the world these last couple months, I think this song holds even more meaning. Hang in there! We will get through it and come out the other side even better as we always do.