100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong….or can they?

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 9, 2004

By Steve Newton

I remember once seeing a poster that was just a picture of a turd and a sentence that read something like Eat Shit: 100,000,000 Flies Can’t Be Wrong. That’s what came to mind when I first laid eyes on the new, five-disc Bon Jovi boxed set, 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong….

Not that I think Bon Jovi was the foulest of the chart-topping ’80s hair-metal bands; Warrant and Winger will have to fight it out for that title. At the time, I rather enjoyed hearing invigorating tracks like “Runaway” and “Living on a Prayer” on the car radio. But it didn’t take long for the New Jersey quintet’s formulaic, polished sound and pretty-boy image to alienate me, just as those very qualities shot it to international prominence. My own vinyl copy of the zillion-selling Slippery When Wet was soon traded in, and I’ve already got a friend lined up who’s promised a good home to this set once I’m done reviewing it.

While I’m not one of those hundred million Bon Jovi fans who can’t be wrong, I will give the band kudos for the approach it took with this moderately priced package. Instead of taking the easy route and lining up all the hits from its 20-year career, the group went back to the vaults and uncovered a whack of previously unissued material. Of the 50 songs included here, 38 have never been released before, and very few sound like substandard castoffs.

Bon Jovi’s favourite lyrical subject–next to love, of course–seems to be the nighttime. The first disc alone sports the tracks “The Radio Saved My Life Tonight”, “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night”, “Open All Night”, “These Arms Are Open All Night”, and “Someday Just Might Be Tonight”. Jon Bon Jovi handles most of the singing throughout, but guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, and drummer Tico Torres take lead vocals on one ballad each. It was clearly a mistake letting Torres behind the mike, but Bryan acquits himself well and Sambora is actually a tremendous singer, as he proved on his 1991 solo debut, Stranger in This Town.

I’d take him over Jon Boy anyday.

Since it’s a known fact that females like lookin’ at these guys, there’s a one-hour DVD included with the four discs of music, featuring new interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, rare archival material, and (of course) a photo gallery. There are more shots of the band members in the accompanying 64-page booklet, which is packed with testimonials from their fans around the world. For example, Fiona J. Wing from England writes: “Jon Bon Jovi is my love and my fantasy. I spent a lot of time fondling his bum at Madame Tussaud’s in Amsterdam.”

I wonder what the other 99,999,999 do for kicks.

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