Did you miss Part 1? Read it here.
Did you miss Part 2? Read it here.
Beyond the music , fans love each member of Bon Jovi for their own fiercely loyal reasons. In fact, personality quirks and characteristics are part of what ‘humanizes’ the band, and makes the bond between Fan and Band feel like Family.
For some, it’s Jon’s oft-dreaded yet revered “stinkeye”, which he unfailingly wields to turn Richie into a pillar of salt over a bad chord onstage; or, to whither the umpteenth journalist to ask the latest stupid question.
Some Richie fans revere him for his seeming endless contradictions: the Dark, Dangerous One with the puppy brown eyes. He’s the Bluesman, the perpetual cut-up and ultimately Jon’s foil in the way McCartney had Lennon and Mick has survived with Keith all these years.
Sambora conveys a ‘Who me?’ ironic humor, and despite throwing off love, emotion, and gratitude, underneath the crosses and the leather, he just may be the most sensitive of the bunch. Yet for fans who perceive him to be the most ‘fragile’ of the group (as in “Don’t mess with our Richie!”) Jon told the interviewer on Center Stage in 2004 that his wife has a term of endearment for Sambora’s knack for being the troublemaker between the two.
“He’s the Devil”, Bon Jovi chuckled, flashing his trademark searchlight smile. Enough said.
Tico, David and Hugh are no less loved and adored for reasons of musical respect or just plain infatuation and love. Still, the defining thread that ties this incredible band to fans young and old is that they have been through thick and thin together, and have never NOT had one another’s backs.
Happily, fans in JoviNation are right there with them, living our own carnival merry-go-round of ups-and-downs, thrill-rides and duds. Though some never get to meet the band, simply knowing that they walk a similar path despite their fame, showing us how it’s done is a deeply comforting reality.
Hannah from across the pond explains it this way.
Never in my musical experience has there been a band that could put their collective finger on what we, as fans, are going through. This band has seen me through love, loss, unemployment and more recently depression. From their upbeat hooks telling you can fight the fight to their soul filled ballads telling you that you’re not alone there really is something for every imaginable situation.They’ve been both my agony and my ecstasy and for that I say: Thank you Jon, Richie, David and Tico. I’m not kidding when I say you have saved my life and sanity more than a few times …. you are the highlight of my day.”
Dobronyi in Atlanta, Georgia has been so touched by the band that she finds songs to fit every mood which inspire her to endure, and even transform how she lives.
It doesn’t matter what mood I find myself in, I can ALWAYS find a song that touches me. SO many things are changing in my Life and, I can always count on their music to see me through whatever, I’m going through at the time. I am very thankful that they are always there. I don’t even have to have access to their music, all I have to do is think of a song for the situation at hand and my spirits are lifted or the happy times are even happier. They have been my “Rock” many times, in the past few years.”
Bon Jovi has never broken their promise of “I’ll Be There For You”, even when we have loved and lost, screwed up with our spouses and screamed at our kids, and celebrated new family arrivals or the never-timely loss of loved ones.
Like so many fans, Amanda in Lebanon, New Hampshire is
…thankful for Bon Jovi on so many levels. The major being that no matter if I’m in a good mood, bad mood or just want some good music to listen to they are always there. They are my silent friend that is by my side no matter what. For their music I am truly grateful.”
It is this easily accessible humanity of Bon Jovi that perhaps means the most to fans: they’re lived in, and still care enough to make music for us and share their innermost beings with us through song.
Erin says humorously,
I’m thankful for them because they’ve been there EVERYTIME I’ve ever needed them! Better track record than even the DOG!”
Ms. Blueswoman talks about how three songs have become the defining pillars of specific points of time in her life when she needed the band’s message, and it somehow found her. “Runaway” in 1984 spurred her to return home to face responsibilities and mend fences; “Livin’ On A Prayer’ has a deep literal meaning about her belief in an active Faith in life; and, “Keep The Faith” continually picks her up when she trips over a little thing called Life.
That song (“Keep The Faith”) keeps me going! “Livin’ On A Prayer” keeps me going! “Runaway” brought me back home”, she says. “There are so many songs they have that I just love but those three are why I’m thankful for Bon Jovi; and when I first heard “What Do You Got?”, I cried because they got me again”.
Karen from Minnesota relates on a personal level as well,
I don’t know how to say ‘Thank You’ and have it expressed in the fullness of my appreciation and love for them”, she says. “I have been blessed by Bon Jovi’s music, their lyrics, their commitment, passion, volunteerism, and their appreciation for the fans. So I guess I will end by saying thank you, for loving me; Happy Thanksgiving!”
Hard to believe the band is easing into their third decade of consistent success. “Not old, just older” helps us along this marvelous journey, and it also means that the band that means so much is now being introduced to an entirely new generation of JoviFaithful. Their music—and even their philanthropic work with the ill, homeless, and children of Haiti—are freely shared as examples to look up to…
Zoe from New Jersey shares,
“I am grateful to Bon Jovi for providing great music for the better part of my life. I love that they write their own music…it’s their words…their feelings. It’s been their music that I listened to as a teen locked in my room, to now, the mom of teens, that looks forward to blasting their music alone in the car while forgetting about everyday stress! Thanks guys!, “
And Allison from New York, adds,
After 24 years of being a fan, I’m thankful to Bon Jovi for so many reasons, but recently it took on new meaning when I was picking vegetables in a community garden with my children for a local food pantry and my six year old son asked if we were helping people the same way Bon Jovi helps people when they aren’t singing. Bon Jovi is so much more than their music. They bring families closer and inspire us all to be better people!!
Perhaps Rhonda Symons sums up the fans Thanksgiving wishes for Bon Jovi in this poem she wrote for them in 2009:
“Sitting here watching the morning sun,
Meditating on battles won.
While lyrics flowed inside my head,
I soaked up every word you said.
You sang your words, you made me see,
You sang the air so I could breathe.
You sang the key that freed my mind,
You found the joy I couldn’t find.
I heard you say you’d save the world.
Well you kept your word to this lost girl,
‘Cause there’s sweet solace in your song,
You touched my Soul, you made me strong.
There’s always beauty in the longing,
And for me, a new day’s dawning.
You plucked me from a raging sea,
And gave my beauty back to me.
Beauty lost, beauty found,
The circle makes another round.
And if my beauty goes astray,
I’ll sing your song, I’ll make it stay.
And if there ever comes a time,
When darkness falls across my mind,
I’ll close my eyes and softly say,
You’re just a melody away.”
And so to the band that innocently but brightly broke onto the scene as a mere novelty in the 1980’s but has since become nothing short of a National Treasure, we the faithful of the worldwide Church known as JoviNation want you to know how blessed we are to have had the opportunity to come along for the ride; to watch you grow; to share our lives with you; and to enjoy you still.
Happy Thanksgiving Jon, Richie, David, Tico, Hugh, Matt, and Obie!
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