Thank You, Goodnight: 5 rock anecdotes from the Bon Jovi documentary

Thank You, Goodnight: 5 rock anecdotes from the Bon Jovi documentary

The legendary group from the 80s looks back on forty years of career for Disney+.

We listened to them on our walkmans – in the days of glam and perms where we had to rewind the cassettes using a pen. “Runaway”, “Livin' on a Prayer”, “It's My Life”…their songs still resonate today. If their last concert in France dates back to 2010, in the United States, Jon Bon Jovi and his group continue the stadium tour with the same energy as their first show. Like an inheritance, a 'teasing' or a farewell to the stage, the documentary in four episodes Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Odyssey released a few days ago on Disney+ looks back on forty years of career with new archives which provide fans and the curious with great anecdotes. Here is an overview:

“Nobody wanted to come from New Jersey.”

The story of Bon Jovi is a bit like the realization ofAmerican Dream : five kids from New Jersey who reach the top through the power of their amps. However, it was not a foregone conclusion – especially when you come from a state with a bad reputation. To understand Bon Jovi, you have to understand New Jersey. As the documentary illustrates, this neighboring state of New York is a bit of an unloved state. It's not easy to build a reputation when you are considered by all Americans as country people. However, things change with the arrival of a man: Bruce Springsteen.

Interviewed, The Boss confides that he himself had suffered from his origins: “No one wanted to come from New Jersey. They wanted me to say I was from New York.” But he didn't give in. And thanks to him, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora (original guitarist) and David Bryan (keyboardist) saw that recognition was at their doorstep.

They would not be Led Zeppelin, Kiss or The Rolling Stones, but could be musicians evoking their working-class roots. Ringsteen changed the music scene. He even joined the very young Jon Bon Jovi when the latter gave a concert with his first group during the bar crawl era. Since then, a deep admiration and friendship has united the two kids from New Jersey.

It's official, Jeremy Allen White is going to play Bruce Springsteen

An album cover… made from a trash bag

After the great success of their first album but the slight “error” of their second, for Jon Bon Jovi, the third album was to hit hard and reconcile critics and fans. In 1986 came out Slippery When Wet (in French : Slippery when wet). With titles like “Livin' on a Prayer”, “You Give Love a Bad Name”” And “Wanted Dead or Alive“, the album is today one of the most well-known and popular. In addition to the anecdotes surrounding the writing of the songs, the documentary tells us that the cover had to be revised at full speed because of a racy photo.

Unless you are a vinyl collector or a music enthusiast, this story is probably obscure to you. As photographer Mark explains “Weissguy” Weiss in Hard Rock the ultimate decade :

“The title was inspired by N°5 (editor's note: a strip club in Vancouver). The girls there undressed while dancing suggestively in a transparent Plexiglas shower placed on the bar. The idea was to create a T -shirt with the words 'Slippery When Wet' on it, in the style of a road sign. Then we had it worn by a voluptuous girl and voilà: a classic album cover.”

The photo shoot takes place with all the band members, the album is ready and the market begins. Already 300,000 copies have been sold. But censorship falls. Too suggestive, the album is withdrawn and must be revised.

He (Jon) arrived at my studio, and upon entering, without even saying hello, he said: 'Garbage bag, sprayer.' I followed his orders. I spread the black trash bag and sprayed water mixed with oil. Then Jon wrote the words 'Slippery When Wet' with his finger. As he left, he said: 'Here's their cover.'”

Bon Jovi in ​​Moscow, hard rock as a cultural weapon

If artists like Elton John, Billy Idol and Iron Maiden had already performed on the other side of the Iron Curtain, never had an event as important as the Moscow Music Peace Festival been organized.

While the Wall still stands in Berlin, diplomatic relations between the two Blocs are softening. It's here “Relaxation” – a political operation led by the new Soviet president Gorbachev. In this period of opening to the West, Moscow welcomes the biggest rock stars for a weekend for a unique festival.

“As a kid, at school, we were told it was the bad guys. We can’t go there, no one goes there. There’s no record there”says Jon Bon Jovi in ​​an interview broadcast in the documentary.

However, here they were in the capital of the USSR from August 12 to 13, 1989, monitored by the KGB for peace, love and rock n' roll. “They weren’t monsters like they tried to make us believe. They were just people,” explains David Bryan, the band's keyboardist. And if no one in the crowd spoke English, everyone sang their songs in unison. Bon Jovi perform alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe, Cinderella, Skid Row and Scorpions – who compose “Wind of Change” following the festival.

But if the money earned by the organizers is directly donated to the association “Make a Difference” who struggles with drug addiction, the documentary reveals that the messengers were far from being the best students. Sex, Drugs and Rock n'roll!

An affair of state: Jon Bon Jovi's hair

Blue eyes, sparkling smile and impressive hair, Jon Bon Jovi was a big heartthrob. The fans were crazy about him. If his stage brothers advised him not to announce his marriage to the public – for fear of scaring girls away from concerts – the biggest drama was hair. In the 90s, American channels were on repeat: Bon Jovi cut his hair. Even CNN dedicates a banner to him. Sporting a haircut similar to that worn by Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio – darlings of these ladies – Bon Jovi must answer for his action. Why did he cut his hair? After all, what's a rocker without a nice head of hair?

Jon Bon Jovi loved the movie Elvis

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Odyssey begins in 2022 as the group of sixty-year-olds prepare to start their final tour. Despite their boundless energy, old age is making itself felt. Like an athlete, Jon Bon Jovi trains his vocal cords weakened by illness and age. “At sixty, we look back and ask ourselves: 'Have I become the man I wanted to be?'”

For the singer, it was out of the question to end up like the King. Sitting on his terrace, he asks the documentary teams if they have seen the film Elvis by Baz Luhrmann. For him, it was a revelation. He realized Elvis' impact on his career. Like him, he wanted to sing until the end without losing his voice.

“I realized that I had forgotten how much I was aware that in my career, Elvis had carried me. Lots of things that we see in the film directly touched my life.”

But in the face of old age, the secret of Bon Jovi's success is to have embraced modernity. The rise, the fame, the family life, the philanthropy, the dissonances within the group, the documentary still has so much to reveal to the public. Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Odyssey is available on Disney+.

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