Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bon Jovi's Hidden Gems

This is a guest post by Daniel Ross... Enjoy!

Bon Jovi plays the hits. Thatʼs what the crowd wants and Jon, especially, gives the crowd what they want. As a die-hard fan who follows the tours, downloads bootlegs and occasionally engages the crowd over at the JoviTalk message board, this is not the Bon Jovi we love. Donʼt get me wrong, I LIKE the shows and I LIKE “Prayer,” “Wanted,” etc. but the Bon Jovi I LOVE is found in deeper album cuts that rarely, if ever, will see the light of day at their live shows.

Taking at look at each album the band has released (minus two greatest hits collections and the abomination that was “This Left Feels Right”) and four solo albums, one can find hidden gems. Below are my favorites. These arenʼt necessarily the best songs on the album (for instance “These Days” is definitely the best song from the “These Days” album, but itʼs not all that hidden to many fans). These are songs that arenʼt played live all that much (if at all) either these days.

Bon Jovi
None. “Runaway” is the only song from this album that I ever listen to. The rest is pretty Velveeta. This isnʼt a proper Bon Jovi album, in my opinion, as the band had not found its footing yet.

7800 Fahrenheit
7800 Fahrenheit isnʼt much better than the debut album but “King Of The Mountain,” though VERY 80s, is a fun song with a great chanting chorus. This one sounds better on vinyl so you can take the way-back machine to 1985.

Slippery When Wet
Wild In The Streets.” This one used to be played live quite often but then dropped. I fell in love with this one through the live version found on a “These Days” import single (recorded live at Wembley, 1995). Specifically, I love the intros to the solos Jon shouts out on the live cut. “Slippery” is so pervasive that there arenʼt many true deep cuts on this one.

New Jersey
Stick To Your Guns.” I have a theory that this was their attempt to recreate the success of “Wanted Dead Or Alive.” For a bunch of guys from New Jersey, they can pull off the cowboy motif very well. I prefer the studio version to any (rare) version Iʼve ever heard. I also get the impression that, were Richie in charge, this one would get more play. The line “And when you pray for independence” with Jonʼs impassioned vocal and Richieʼs harmony is the best part of the song.

Keep The Faith
Little Bit Of Soul.” A buddy of mine in high school lent me his VHS copy of “Keep The Faith: An Evening With Bon Jovi.” This is the song I latched onto immediately. Itʼs so hopeful and has always been a great pick-me-up. Pure rock nʼ roll. Love Richieʼs playing on this one.

These Days
My Guitar Lies Bleeding In My Arms.” The “These Days” album is my favorite. Much of it has to do with where I was in life when it came out (entering college and liking a very uncool band). However, I also think the band took more chances and stretched more as songwriters on this album than any other and the results showed. So much of me wishes theyʼd revisit this attitude. “Guitar” is a prime example of this. Dark and brooding with a huge chorus that addresses the listener with honesty. I also really dig Richieʼs fat Les Paul sound on this song (specifically the lick at 4:16).

Next 100 Years.” Very Beatle-esque and a absolutely killer outro. Remnants of “These Days” songwriting are apparent.

None. Maybe “The Distance” but, otherwise, itʼs not a very good album. They chased the success of “Itʼs My Life” with a whole album of misfires.

Have A Nice Day

“Novocaine.” Itʼs kind of bitter and not all that happy but it has a sweet sound. Iʼve always wondered if Richieʼs marriage troubles were starting around this time. Production could be better though.

Lost Highway
None. See “Bounce” but swap out “Whole Lotta Leavinʼ” and “Who Says...” as reasons this album isnʼt better.

The Circle
Thorn In My Side.” They really killed it live with this one (via the YouTube videos I saw) with the extended guitar-mony jam at the end. The stops make this song.

Santa Fe” and “Itʼs Just Me” for Jon and “Father Time” and “Harlem Rain” for Richieʼs solo albums.

What are your favorite hidden gems on each album?

About the Blogger:
Daniel is the Music and Communications Minister at the Christian Church of Jasper in Jasper,
Indiana. He is the father of two girls and husband to a beautiful woman. He has been a Bon Jovi
fan since 1987 when his older sister dubbed a copy of Slippery When Wet from her friend and he would sneak into her room to listen to it. He was also a rock star in the garage of his Tennessee home playing the tennis racquet (along with his friend Jeremy) and singing “Bad Medicine” (which had been recorded by holding a tape recorder up to the radio speaker. Heʼs seen Bon Jovi live four times (3 times in Nashville - 1995, 2008 and 2010 and once in Louisville, Ky. - 2010). Daniel writes and records his own music with the band Narrow Path ( and blogs (very occasionally) at Alien Soil ( You can follow him on Twitter (@jdanielross).


  1. Some favorite hidden gems:

    New Jersey: Wild is the Wind

    Keep the Faith: If I was your mother

    These Days: Something to Believe in, Letting you Go (These are hidden gems in the US as they are rarely played live here)

    Crush: Two Story Town - Love this song!

    Bounce: Undivided, Open all night

    Have a nice day: Complicated, I wanna be loved

    Lost Highway: Summertime, Any other day

    The Circle: Thorn in my side - Love this one. Learn to love isn't bad.

  2. I really can't imagine a concert without Livin' on a Prayer or You Give Love a Bad Name - it's when the crowd goes wild and that's the beauty of the concert - it's not only diehards there so that they could afford to play only "hidden gems" :)
    Personally I love almost all the songs - it depends on the situation and my mood, but to me it's mostly about what the songs mean to me or what they tell me - it's like Jon says - we have the soundtrack of our lives...

    But the songs that I wish to be played more often are: Wild is the Wind, Stick to Your Guns, Dry County, If I was Your Mother, Lie to Me, Living in Sin, (It's hard) Letting You Go, One Wild Night, Thorn In My Side.

    I like practically everything they choose - obviously I'm an average fan :D (I'm happy just to see them cause in the past I didn't have the chance) :)

  3. I also really like 'Stick to Your Guns' and 'Little bit of Soul' - wish they would play these live! I also really like 'Blame it on the love of RnR' as it describes how I feel about my music.

    For the These Days album, I really like 'Bitter Wine' as the harmonies on that song between Richie and Jon are killer!

    My other hidden gem is 'The Fire Inside' from the boxset. It's only a demo cut, but the passion in Jon's voice when he sings this song gets me every time. Would LOVE to see it preformed with the same energy!

  4. Oh! I also forgot to add 'Wildflower' from HAND. I believe it's the best love song that Jon has ever written :)

  5. Thanks for posting. I love the blog.

  6. "shot through the heart" on bon jovi,"hardest part is the night" on 7800,"i'd die for you"(they should do this live more!)on slippery."99 in the shade" on new jersey,"save a prayer" on keep the faith,"hearts breaking even" on these days,"mystery train" on crush,undivided on bounce,"bells of freedom" on have a nice day,"any other day" on lost highway and "brokenpromise land" on the circle

  7. No worries, Daniel... Thanks for writing it! :)

  8. This songs i'll like to be played cause they are really cool... I know a lot of them would not happen but i wish they can play some of them on the next tour 'cause some of them are really cool like brokenpromiseland or this is love this is life but they only had 1 opportunity and they were never played again
    Regards from Mexico :D

    Bon Jovi: Get Ready
    7800°F: Only lonely and in and out of love
    Slippery: Never say goodbye(electric)wild in the streets and let it rock
    New Jersey:Lay your hands(with the drum intro) Wild is the wind or Stick To Your Guns
    Keep The Faith: If I Was Your Mother I Believe and "Blame it on the love" LOL
    These Days: Something to believe in and Lie to Me
    Crush: One Wild Night Next 100 years, Two story town and i got the girl
    Bounce: Bounce Undivided Hook me Up
    This Left Feels Right: You give love a bad name
    Have a nice day: I want to be loved, complicated, I am AND last cigarrete
    Lost Highway: Put the Boy Back in Cowboy and Any Other day
    The Circle: Brokenpromiseland Bullet Thorn in My side
    Greatest Hits II: This is love This is life
    Outtakes: This is our house

  9. great post. I must have done something wrong as my original response didn't make it. I wish I could buy other versions of CDs to get the different bonus tracks. I really like "Unbreakable" and "Dirty Little Secret."


Thanks for giving me your time.