Ten Ways To Spot A Bon Jovi Fan In Hiding

Jon Bon Jovi at Wembley Arena 1990

Jon Bon Jovi at Wembley Arena in 1990.
Picture by Every Record tells A Story

In Britain today there are nearly two million people who share a dark and (for many) shameful secret. Although these people used to be readily identifiable, out of shame they have been forced to go underground and it is no longer always easy to recognise them. They walk amongst us. They may be driving your bus, teaching your children or even serving you at the supermarket.

For many it is an addiction that they still live with. For others it is an unfortunate reminder of their past, and one they are trying to forget and overcome.

Their secret?

They once bought a Bon Jovi album.

I checked the facts. Bon Jovi’s best-of compilation “Cross Road” has gone 6x platinum in the UK, meaning it has sold more than 1,800,000 copies.

That’s an unbelievable number of units. By my calculations the album is lurking in one in every thirteen houses in the UK.

This is no one-off. “Slippery When Wet” went triple platinum*, meaning over 900,000 copies sold, the same number as Guns n Roses‘ Appetite For Destruction. Def Leppard sold over 600,000 copies of Hysteria in just eighteen months following its release in 1987.

Yet if you take a close look around you, there are very few outward signs. The Mullet has gone underground. Why did this happen? Do people still like the music? Where are all these poodle haired rock fans? Where did they all go? Are there really two million people in the UK who secretly want to wear their hair in a frizzy perm and mullet but are forced to conduct their other lives in secret? You know, like a heavy metal Hong Kong Phooey?

Twenty five years after hair metal reached its apogee, if that’s a word, with the number one album of Bon Jovi’s “New Jersey“, I wanted to get some answers to these questions. So, over the next few weeks I shall debate some of the most burning questions about heavy rock and discover what happened to this phenomenon. And, perhaps, Phenomena 2. (That’s a joke for the real rock die hards right there).

In the meantime, if you want to conduct your own witch hunt, here’s a list of ten ways you can spot a Bon Jovi fan in hiding:

  1. Old pair of cowboy boots in the closet. Copy of DVD 2 disc special edition of the movie “Young Guns” hidden amidst box sets of Sopranos on shelf.
  2. Has kids called Tommy and Gina. And a cat called Tico. Three fish called “Alec”, “John” and “Such”.
  3. Refers to Volvo 4×4 as the “steel horse”.
  4. Digital Radio tuned to Planet Rock. When quizzed, feigns puzzled look, switches to XFM and says “Don’t know how that happened”.
  5. Hides former musical obsessions by liking Indie music, but gives game away when talking about Arcade Fire by saying “I thought “Neon Bible” was their “7800 Fahrenheit” – critically less successful but it laid the groundwork for “The Suburbs” – which is their “Slippery When Wet”…”
  6. Remembers that there are two key changes in “Livin’ On A Prayer” when singing it in karaoke bars and cleverly begins in a suitably low key.
  7. Has pictures of self in old photo albums wearing very frizzy permed hair. As does his wife.
  8. Traces of unpicked stitches around a less faded area on back of denim jacket where “New Jersey” patch used to be.
  9. Has tried to modify tattoo by overwriting the word “Jovi” with “Iver” in vain attempt to keep up with the indie crowd.
  10. When you mention “David Bryan” doesn’t think of a legendary Bowls player smoking a pipe on Grandstand.
David Bryant of Bon Jovi

David Bryant of Bon Jovi

Dave Bryan of Bon Jovi

Legendary bowls player David Bryan

Record #238: Bon Jovi – I’d Die For You

Coming soon: Whatever Happened To My Rock n Roll? A multi-part series looking at what happened to rock in the eighties…

* I actually played Slippery When Wet for the first time in years as part of the research for this piece. I bought it on the day of release and used to think it was great. Wow. It er, hasn’t aged as well as I though it might.

Categories: Hard Rock

Tags: , , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. #11 – Wouldn’t be caught dead at a Bon Jovi show today without Sambora.


  2. I saw Bon Jovi live four times, only one of those was intentional. I never bought a Bon Jovi album but my girlfriend (became 1st wife) had Slippery When Wet and New Jersey. I admit, I liked Bon Jovi back then because she did.


  3. I saw them 3 times and only once was intentional. My friend begged me (honest) to come see them at the Hammersmith Odeon on the Slippery When Wet tour. I bought a T shirt and used to wear it to thrash gigs just to annoy people (and boy did it annoy people!) They were (and probably still are) the “acceptable” face of metal (Light-weight though they may be) The token rock band to grace a Now That’s What I Call Music comp, which, by law, had to have a token rock song on it somewhere.


  4. I also like Bon Jovi, because of their music, but I guess I’m a bit off, because of my age (only 16 years old, so none of the criteria apply…


    • You are entirely absolved of any fault. Glad you like them. Although, if you like Bon Jovi – why not get Aerosmith’s “Rocks” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” if you haven’t already – I think you’ll like them too.


      • I don’t have any of them, but I was planning to buy an Aerosmith collector one of these days (if I can find out which one has the most hits on it) and Bruce Springsteen is of course the BOSS. I like his music, so no doubt the rest of his albums will enter the collection some time.


  5. I don’t know about in the UK, but in the US you can spot them unloading 24-roll packs of toilet paper and big boxes of Go Go Squeeze from the backs of their SUVs after a trip to the warehouse club. They also have been spotted in groups of 10 or 12 at local wine bars on Thursday nights.


  6. Had a brief period in the early 90’s when I was getting into guitar bands when I thought they were ok. Keep The Faith, In These Arms, Always all belting singles. I own cross road, wouldn’t contemplate buying another album of theirs. Livin’ on a prayer is hideous


  7. This article is old and also total cr@p!

    Bon Jovi are a great band and have probably introduced more people to rock them any other band in the last 30 years.



  1. Song of the day: 2 October 2013 | Chris Flinterman
  2. Song of the day: Bon Jovi- Livin’ On A Prayer | The FlinterFiles

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