Jon Bon Jovi
Date of Birth: 3/2/1962
Biography: An American musician, singer, songwriter, and actor, best known as the founder, occasional rhythm guitarist, and lead singer of rock band Bon Jovi, which was named after him. Throughout his career, he has released two solo albums and eleven studio albums with his band, which to date have sold over 120 million albums worldwide. ?he band was declared the second richest band for 2011, behind U2, earning an approximate $125 million income. In addition, Jon Bon Jovi is one of the majority-owners of the Philadelphia Soul, a team playing in the Arena Football League. In 2010, President Barack Obama named Jon Bon Jovi to the White House Council for Community Solutions.
As a solo artist, Bon Jovi has received numerous awards for his work, including a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for his solo hit, "Blaze of Glory". He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Monmouth University in 2001.
He was ranked 31st in the Hit Parader's top Metal vocalists of All Time.
Jon Bon Jovi was born John Francis Bongiovi Jr. in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the son of two former Marines, barber John Francis Bongiovi, Sr. and florist Carol Sharkey. He has two brothers, Anthony and Matthew. His father was of Sicilian and Slovak ancestry and his mother was of German and Russian descent. He has stated that he is a blood relative of Frank Sinatra. He spent summers in Erie, Pennsylvania, with his grandparents as a newspaper salesman. As a child, Bon Jovi attended St. Joseph High School, in Metuchen, New Jersey, during his freshman and sophomore years. He later transferred to Sayreville War Memorial High School in Parlin, New Jersey.
Bon Jovi spent most of his adolescence bunking school to opt for music activities instead, and ended up playing in local bands with friends and his cousin Tony Bongiovi, who owned the then famous New York recording studio, The Power Station. As a result, his academic records displayed less than spectacular achievements and poor grades. By the time he was 16, Bon Jovi was playing clubs. It was not long before he hooked up with keyboardist David Bryan (real name: David Bryan Rashbaum), who played with him in a ten-piece rhythm and blues band called Atlantic City Expressway. Bon Jovi also performed with bands called The Rest, The Lechers and John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones.
When he was seventeen, Bon Jovi was working sweeping floors at his cousin Tony Bongiovi's recording studio. In 1980, when Meco was there recording Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album, Bongiovi recommended Bon Jovi for the song "R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas." This became his first professional recording (credited as John Bongiovi). He left in 1983 when he got a record deal.
Bon Jovi recorded a song, Runaway, one of a few songs John wrote during his bus travels from Sayreville to The Power Station. He went to several record companies, including Atlantic Records and Mercury (PolyGram), but they all turned him down.
He visited major rock station WAPP 103.5FM "The Apple" in New York City. He spoke directly to the promotion director John Lassman, who accepted the song "Runaway" for inclusion on the station's compilation album of local homegrown talent. Bon Jovi was initially reluctant to have it included but eventually gave them the song on which Bon Jovi had used studio musicians to play on the track.
Runaway became a local hit on the charts. Along the way, Mercury gave Bon Jovi a recording contract in 1983, and to promote Runaway, Bon Jovi called up Richie Sambora, David Bryan, Tico Torres and Alec John Such and formed a band. After Bon Jovi claimed he wanted a group name (and rejecting "Johnny Lightning"), one of the group suggested "Bon Jovi", slightly changing the spelling of Jon's last name.
During a stop in Los Angeles on the New Jersey tour in 1989, Bon Jovi secretly took a trip to Las Vegas, where he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothea Hurley (born September 29, 1962) on April 29, 1989, at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Together they have four children: Stephanie Rose, Jesse James Louis, Jacob Hurley and Romeo Jon. Bon Jovi maintains a strong family foundation to this day.
In July, 2007, Bon Jovi announced a project that will rehabilitate a block of 15 homes in north Philadelphia. During an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005, the band donated $1 million to the Angel Network foundation.
The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation (formerly the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation) was founded in 2006 and exists to combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair. Through the funding and creation of programs and partnerships, they support innovative community efforts to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.