Thursday, July 23, 2020

Bon Jovi releases album version of Do What You Can

Artwork for Do What You Can by Bon Jovi

We've previously only heard Jon Bon Jovi's coronavirus anthem, "Do What You Can", in solo acoustic mode. In case you need a refresher, here's the version Jon performed at Jersey 4 Jersey in April:

But now the electric "band version" that's going on the Bon Jovi 2020 album has just dropped. And it sounds like this (ignore the typos in the lyric video):

It's a kind of rollicking country-tinged arrangement, and more lyrics have been added since April. At the moment I prefer the acoustic version, but that could change. "Do What You Can" is still my favourite of the songs we've heard from 2020 so far. The radio edit of "Do What You Can" is now available for streaming and download.

What do you think of the new version(s)?

Another thing... There are now inexplicably two versions of the album listed on iTunes for pre-order, with different track lists.

One is entitled Bon Jovi 2020, and this is the original album that was supposed to come out in May (the expected date listed for this one is now 31 December 2020). The track list is as follows:

  1. Beautiful Drug
  2. Unbroken
  3. Limitless
  4. Luv Can
  5. Brothers in Arms
  6. Story of Love
  7. Lower the Flag
  8. Let it Rain
  9. Shine
  10. Blood in the Water

The newer version is just called 2020, and this has the release date as 2 October 2020, which is in line with what we've been told. The track list for this version is:

  1. Limitless
  2. Do What You Can
  3. American Reckoning
  4. Beautiful Drug
  5. Story of Love
  6. Let it Rain
  7. Lower the Flag
  8. Blood in the Water
  9. Brothers in Arms
  10. Unbroken

So basically they've taken two tracks off ("Luv Can" and "Shine") and replaced them with "Do What You Can" and "American Reckoning" to keep it to a 10-track album? And if you pre-ordered the original version, you now have to pre-order again for the new version? I hope the latter is a bug that gets sorted out soon.


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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Bon Jovi releases American Reckoning

Bon Jovi has dropped a very topical new song, "American Reckoning". And here's the lyric video:

The lyrics are not at all subtle, making specific reference to the death of George Floyd, which sparked a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests in the US and around the world.

The harmonica solo was unexpected and cool, although it helps draw inevitable comparisons with fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen. And once again, this sounds more like a Jon Bon Jovi solo track than a band song.

Cover art for American Reckoning by Bon Jovi
Speaking of Bruce, one of my favourite Springsteen songs is "American Skin (41 Shots)", which was also inspired by the death of a black man (Amadou Diallo in 1999) at the hands of police. I think "American Skin" is a better song than "American Reckoning" but I don't dislike "American Reckoning". Besides, if you're going to release an album called 2020, you might as well sing about stuff that's happening in 2020.

I know it often polarises fans when a musician "gets political", especially if they disagree with the views expressed or they see music as a way of escaping the harsh realities of the world. Jon's views have not been a secret though, and they've come through in his music before, albeit not as overtly as this.

Here's what Jon had to say about the song on Bon Jovi's website:

“I was moved to write American Reckoning as a witness to history,” said Jon Bon Jovi, “I believe the greatest gift of an artist is the ability to use their voice to speak to issues that move us.”

Now, Jon could be completely apolitical if he wanted to be -- he'd probably make a lot of people happier if he stayed away from these issues. And he's in a privileged position where politics aren't likely to have a significant impact on him personally. But for some people, what we call "politics" could literally be a matter of life and death. Or as Jon puts it:

"I'll never know what it's like to walk a mile in his shoes
And I'll never have to have the talk so it don't happen to you"

"American Reckoning" will be added to the upcoming Bon Jovi 2020 album, which is now slated for release in October (although my iTunes pre-order says 'Expected 31 December 2020'. What?).

"American Reckoning" is available for download now. Net proceeds will be donated to Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal representation to people who have been wrongly convicted, unfairly sentenced or abused in prison.

What are your thoughts on the song?

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Phil X & The Drills are Right on the Money

Earlier in June, Phil X & The Drills released a new single, "Right on the Money" through Golden Robot Records.

The official video for "Right on the Money" is a sign of the times... It edits together the musicians' separate performance videos (since they couldn't film together due to COVID-19) as well as videos submitted by fans:

You might even recognise some of these fans from the Bon Jovi tour. πŸ˜‰

"Right on the Money" is available now from iTunes.

What do you think of the track and video?

While in isolation, Phil, Daniel Spree (The Drills bassist) and Randy Cooke also got together (separately) for this "live" version of "Fire" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience:

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

David Bryan performs If at Hip New Jersey Stays Home

David Bryan lent his voice and keys to Hip New Jersey Stays Home on May 31. The benefit show raised money for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

David performed "If" from Diana: A True Musical Story:

The song is written from Princess Diana's point of view but it's kind of cool to see it sung by a man. Well, I think it's cool. And I always like hearing David sing.

Diana, David's latest musical collaboration with playwright Joe DiPietro, was set to open on Broadway on April 1, but had to be suspended during previews in March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Bon Jovi performs Limitless on The Voice

With everything that's happened in the world since then, it's easy to forget that Bon Jovi released "Limitless" -- the lead single from Bon Jovi 2020 -- three months ago. The album was meant to come out in May but has now been delayed until October.

But the 2020 album is still coming out in 2020 so Bon Jovi got together, recording from separate locations, to promote "Limitless" during The Voice (US) finale. Check out their performance:

It's not on a stage, and won't be for quite some time... but it's great to see some fun being had (e.g Jon's "I need a haircut" sign at 2:34).

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

JBJ performs Saturday Night for Covenant House benefit

There have been quite a few virtual concerts during this pandemic, and Jon Bon Jovi lent his pipes to another one on May 18, playing an acoustic version of "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" for A Night of Covenant House Stars. The show raised funds to assist young people facing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.

Jon is a long-time supporter of Covenant House. Check out his performance of "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night":

I'm enjoying the acoustic stuff at the moment and it's been cool to see Jon and/or the band contributing different songs to these events. Hopefully we'll be able to safely enjoy live gigs again at some point.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Bon Jovi performs It's My Life acoustic for Rise Up New York

Bon Jovi regrouped at a social distance for the Rise Up New York! telethon on May 11 to raise money for Robin Hood's COVID-19 relief fund. With Jon Bon Jovi, Tico Torres, David Bryan, Hugh McDonald, Phil X, John Shanks and Everett Bradley each recording from a different location, they put together an acoustic performance of "It's My Life":

I'd be lying if I said I was a fan of This Left Feels Right, where this version originates from, but "It's My Life" was one of the tracks I thought was decent on that album. And I think the acoustic rendition suited the occasion. I love a good fist-pumping anthem, but sometimes it feels more appropriate to do something introspective and sombre.

If you want to jog your memory (or perhaps never listened to it in the first place) here's "It's My Life" as it appears on This Left Feels Right:

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Relive Bon Jovi's Rock Hall induction + remembering Little Richard

As a Mother's Day present to fans, the uncut version of Bon Jovi's 2018 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame premiered online on May 10. Opening with a welcome message from David Bryan, the stream included all the speeches and performances, some of which were cut in the HBO broadcast two years ago.

If you missed the Bon Jovi's full Rock Hall induction ceremony, or you want to check it out again, you can watch it below:

I was tuning in on a Monday morning while getting ready for work, but the speeches are still emotional for me two years on. And I enjoyed the performances, even though they were far from perfect. No musical artist has had as much impact on me as Bon Jovi. Sure, they've disappointed and frustrated me at times, but mostly because I've been so invested in them. They've been by my side (in my ears) through highs and lows. And tattoo removal is painful and expensive, so they'll always be a part of me.* 😜

In all seriousness, I was happy when Bon Jovi got inducted into the Rock Hall and I'm happy to be able to watch the whole thing today.

*If you're wondering, I have a heart and dagger tattoo. It's pretty rad, if I do say so myself.

In much sadder news, rock 'n' roll legend Little Richard passed away on May 9. So here's "You Really Got Me Now" by Jon Bon Jovi featuring Little Richard, from Jon's debut solo album Blaze of Glory:

Jon and David also paid tribute to Little Richard on social media:

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Friday, May 1, 2020

David Bryan plays Lean on Me

David Bryan has posted a video of himself performing the late Bill Withers' classic song "Lean on Me". You can watch it on Twitter or Instagram:

David's rendition was his contribution to the Worldwide Day of Gratitude, organised by music education community YOUnison to pay tribute to those on the COVID-19 front lines. David recently had his own first-hand experience of COVID-19 and it's nice to just hear him sing again.

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Doing what you can in the time of coronavirus

From his home studio, Jon Bon Jovi performed "Do What You Can" in its entirety for the first time as part of Jersey 4 Jersey on April 22 -- a night of Jersey stars coming together to benefit the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund:

Inspired by life in COVID-19 lockdown, "Do What You Can" has had an intriguing journey. It kicked off in March when a photo of Jon washing dishes at the JBJ Soul Kitchen was posted to Instagram with the caption, "If you can't do what you do... do what you can."

A post shared by Jon Bon Jovi (@jonbonjovi) on

That became the hook of a new song that Jon debuted a few days later. He sang a verse and chorus and invited fans to add their own verses telling their own stories:

Selected fans' verses have been played by Jon and shared on Bon Jovi's social media channels in the weeks since.

Here's Jon singing verses by Adriana, Geoffrey, and Bryce:

And Jon at the keyboard singing verses by Kristen, Maritza, Tanya, and Luca:

Jon also showcased video performances from Clint, Eleven, and Andre:

Others have contributed their own verses, and at a time when we need the world to come together (but not physically), it's pretty cool to see the power of music, social media and technology at work.

Even though I didn't immediately rush over here to blog about it, I felt a sense of pride in Jon that I hadn't felt in a while. Not that I was ashamed of him or anything. But just like Bon Jovi has changed, so I have I. I still love them (and by extension Jon) and I'm sure I always will, but they're not the singular focus/obsession they were when I started this blog as a teenager.

Anyway, the pride I felt was because there was something raw and honest about "Do What You Can". At least I thought so, and it's my blog. πŸ˜‰

We've previously heard two songs from Bon Jovi 2020 -- "Unbroken" and "Limitless" -- and I haven't loved them. I've kind of felt like they were trying too hard and not really hitting the mark. (Both the original and the Invictus Games Choir version of "Unbroken" are supporting good causes though.)

But "Do What You Can" feels real to me. It feels like a guy from New Jersey, looking at what's happening around him, and expressing himself through song. It may not be the greatest song ever written. And sure, his voice isn't what it was. It didn't matter. It was the right song at the right time, when I was looking for a spark of hope amidst the confusion and uncertainty. And that's ultimately why I keep coming back to Bon Jovi -- when I've needed them, they've had the right songs for me.

Speaking of the power of music... my last few posts have alluded to the fact that I'm playing catch-up on this blog, and one thing I didn't post at the time was this Chicago singalong of "Livin' on a Prayer" in March, inspired by Italians in isolation singing on their balconies:

It's testament to the endurance of that song. And who doesn't feel better when they're cranking up or belting out "Livin' on a Prayer"?

Back to more recent history, Jon closed Jersey 4 Jersey with an acoustic rendition of "Livin' on a Prayer" that felt appropriate:

We're living in tough times. And we're doing what we can to get to the other side.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Bon Jovi 2020 tour cancelled

Jon Bon Jovi jumps in the air. Text reads: Bon Jovi 2020 with Bryan Adams canceled.
Bon Jovi 2020 with Bryan Adams canceled.
In news that should come as a surprise to no one, the Bon Jovi 2020 tour dates that were due to begin in June have officially been cancelled.

Bon Jovi released this statement:

Due to the ongoing global pandemic, it is no longer feasible for Bon Jovi to tour this summer. Given these difficult times, we have made the decision to cancel the tour entirely. This will enable ticketholders to get refunds to help pay their bills or buy groceries. These are trying times. You’ve always been there for us and we’ll always be there for you. We look forward to seeing everyone again on tour when we can all safely be together. We will continue to send out news and updates on Bon Jovi touring in the weeks and months to come.

The Runaway Tours trip with JBJ in New York City that was scheduled for August has also been cancelled.

Jon was on Howard Stern's show recently where he went as far as to suggest his touring days might be over:

“We may never tour. This could be the end of touring, who knows?” Jon said, adding, “I’ve read these articles that ‘20 is out of the question, ‘21 is possibly out of the question. So, in ’22 when they tell you that you can’t play 50,000 people anymore, do you go, ‘Oh well, I can’t tour the way we used to’?”
The world has certainly changed in 2020. Is it a world where we've seen the last Bon Jovi tour?

Jon also told Howard the Bon Jovi 2020 album will be delayed and that new coronavirus-inspired song "Do What You Can" will be played in its entirety for the first time at Jersey 4 Jersey, which will raise funds for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

(And yes, I know I'm still behind with my blogging and still haven't blogged about "Do What You Can". I will, I promise.)

Let's finish this particular post with some good news: David Bryan, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, posted on Instagram that he has now recovered.

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Monday, April 6, 2020

Unbroken ft the Invictus Games Choir

In my previous post, I talked about how COVID-19 had touched the Bon Jovi camp through David Bryan's diagnosis. Of course, the pandemic has affected many, many things -- one of which is the Invictus Games, which were due to begin in May 2020. (They've now been postponed until 2021.)

But back in February, before we knew what was coming, Jon Bon Jovi and Invictus Games founder Prince Harry got together for a special recording of "Unbroken" with the Invictus Games Choir:

The resulting song was released in late March. Watch the official "Unbroken" video:

All proceeds from this single will go to the Invictus Games Foundation, which aids in the rehabilitation and recovery of injured, wounded and sick military personnel. Download or stream "Unbroken" with the Invictus Games Choir.

"Unbroken" originally dropped in November 2019, with proceeds from the first version going to the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation. The track will also be on the upcoming Bon Jovi 2020 album, which is due for release in May.

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

David Bryan's COVID-19 experience

In just a few short weeks, the world has become a wildly different place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the illness first touched Bon Jovi when David Bryan revealed on Instagram on March 21 that he had been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

I know he's copped a fair bit of flak for his "Please don't be afraid!!! It's the flu not the plague" line, given how many people have died and how many people are likely to still die. I'm thinking David was trying to reduce panic (like the kind that has resulted in supermarket assaults over toilet paper?) rather than be irresponsibly flippant. But he is also lucky he seems to have a relatively mild case (and as a fan, I'm grateful for that too).

David provided an update on Dana Perino's show a couple of days later, where he sounded more sombre, talking about his symptoms and how differently the virus has affected different people (e.g. his wife Lexi, who also tested positive but has no symptoms, versus others who have obviously been extremely sick).

Hope you're back to feeling 100% soon, DB!

While we're all staying home, here's something to watch and listen to... David singing "In These Arms" with Bon Jovi at Rock in Rio 2019:

And here's David's own version of "In These Arms" from his solo album Lunar Eclipse:

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Friday, April 3, 2020

Richie Sambora, 7 Years Gone

Firstly, I know I've been slack with blogging. With everything going on in the world at the moment, it's one of the things that has gone on the back burner for me, but rest assured I haven't forgotten about Bon Jovi. πŸ˜‰

While I take some time to gather my thoughts (and the Bon Jovi content I've neglected to post over the past month), let's cast our minds back to this time seven years ago. It was a different world, and a different Bon Jovi. The second leg of the Because We Can Tour had just started... meaning we'd just been hit with that infamous show in Calgary in which Richie Sambora didn't turn up and the band ended up doing the gig with no lead guitarist.

Phil X, of course, replaced Richie for the rest of the tour, and every concert since.

"Like a moth dances with the light
Sometimes a shadow burns too bright
Shattered silence in the night
You wake up, move on..."
- Richie Sambora, Seven Years Gone

"Seven Years Gone" is probably one of the best tracks from the Aftermath of the Lowdown album. And even though Richie has become a somewhat polarising figure among Bon Jovi fans, depending on whose "side" you're on, there's no denying the guy had a significant hand in some great songs.

So here's "Seven Years Gone" just because it's been seven years and I wanted to post it:

And here's Richie performing "Seven Years Gone" on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in 2012:

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Limitless music video

Bon Jovi has released the official music video for "Limitless", the lead single from Bon Jovi 2020. You can watch it below:

When the audio came out, I mentioned that the verses and choruses seemed totally unrelated. I stand by that, but it does make a little more sense in the context of the video.

The band shots feature plenty of typical Jon gestures. The rest of the band doesn't have much to do (Would've been nice to get a Phil X solo in this song) but I guess this is confirmation that John Shanks and Everett Bradley are in for the long haul.

What do you think of the "Limitless" video?

In other news, Jon will apparently be recording "Unbroken" (which will also be on Bon Jovi 2020) with the Invictus Games choir.

EDIT 02/03/2020: The official lyric video for "Limitless" is now out if you'd like to sing along:

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

New Bon Jovi song Limitless out now

"Limitless", the lead single from the upcoming Bon Jovi 2020 album, has been released. You can listen to it below:

Well, based on early listens, I prefer the delivery of the verses over the chorus. But the song reminds me a little of "Because We Can" in that the verses and choruses seem to have nothing to do with each other. (Someone fill me in if I've completely missed the point.) I'm not head over heels about it right now, but I usually prefer the other album tracks over the lead single anyway so that doesn't necessarily mean much.

What do you think of the song?

Bon Jovi 2020 comes out on 15 May 2020 and is now available for pre-order from Bon Jovi's online shop and on various platforms. The track listing according to iTunes is:

  1. Beautiful Drug
  2. Unbroken
  3. Limitless
  4. Luv Can
  5. Brothers in Arms
  6. Story of Love
  7. Lower the Flag
  8. Let it Rain
  9. Shine
  10. Blood in the Water

If you want to hear how the winner of the Sing Bon Jovi Contest thought "Limitless" could've sounded before it came out, here's Jean Ramos singing along to the instrumental snippet:

Congratulations, Jean! πŸ‘

EDIT: The "Limitless" music video has been released.

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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Preview Limitless with Sing Bon Jovi Contest

Bon Jovi is yet to drop the lead single from their new album, but you can preview it with the Sing Bon Jovi Contest that Jon announced a couple of days ago:

You'll need to access the site on a mobile device, where you'll hear a snippet of instrumental and some lyrics appear on screen for you to sing along to (however you think they should sound).

The lyrics that appear are:

On a night like this
One prayer, one wish
Step out off the edge
It’s worth the risk
Life is limitless
Limitless, limitless

As far as I'm aware, you can access the preview and record a video of you singing it from anywhere. However, the contest is only open to US residents.

It's hard to tell from that little bit of the song whether I'll like the whole thing or not, but feel free to share any thoughts you might have on it.

Now here's something I neglected to blog about when it happened (What can I say? Life gets busy) but I thought it was pretty cool... Jon Bon Jovi sharing the stage with Billy Joel at the latter's Madison Square Garden concert.

Jon performed "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and "Big Shot" with Billy:

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