It’s hard to imagine Bon Jovi ever created anything less than epic, but band members disagree. One particular music video came out so bad that it inspired frontman Jon Bon Jovi to put video-making on his “hate list” alongside crowded elevators, sitting in traffic, and going to the dentist.
Bon Jovi recalled watching their ‘Only Lonely’ music video for the first time
In 1987 while speaking to Metal Edge, lead vocalist Jon Bon Jovi and guitarist Richie Sambora recalled the first time they saw their “Only Lonely” music video.
“We saw the ‘Only Lonely’ video in Tokyo,” said Bon Jovi. “We said, ‘$90,000 for this piece of shit?’”
Unfortunately, they didn’t have time to make any changes, and they released the music video.
“You get disgusted,” said Sambora. “It makes you not want to do them anymore.”
Released in 1985, the music video shows off the band’s big hair and poor acting skills. While the overall vision is unclear, there’s a basic storyline about a rival gang and a woman romantically involved with the frontman. Most of the video depicts the band performing on a dimly lit stage in front of a crowd of raised fists. Fortunately, the band learned their lesson and held onto creative control for their next videos.
‘You Give Love a Bad Name’ music video nailed Bon Jovi’s personality
The following year, Bon Jovi released the single “You Give Love a Bad Name” and avoided making the same mistakes. Unlike their “Only Lonely” video, they decided against adding a storyline. Instead, they filmed a live performance over the course of two days at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. Over 5,000 fans got to enjoy a free Bon Jovi concert while they filmed, and the results were phenomenal.
“We finally locked into what we want from a video,” Bon Jovi told Metal Edge. “We’re really happy with it. It finally captured us.”
The band kept creative control by using Video Assist, which allowed them to see and revise what they filmed on the spot. Even though their hair was just as big, it’s clear they had more fun filming this video.
“We wanted to be comfortable,” Bon Jovi explained. “It’s not real glamorous. It’s a lot more played down.”
The band learned the hard way that being a rockstar wasn’t as glamorous as it appeared from the outside.
Fame wasn’t as ‘romantic’ as Jon Bon Jovi imagined
There are a lot of reasons not all bands make it big, and Bon Jovi’s lead singer got candid about it back in the ’80s. As reported by Metal Edge, he pointed out that stardom is nothing how he imagined.
“It’s not as romantic as you make it out to be when you’re a kid, that’s for sure,” Bon Jovi said about the music industry. “You work hard seven days a week. As soon as you start believing your press, then move over ’cause somebody else is coming. We don’t make smart moves or dumb moves – we just move.”
Bon Jovi managed to do something right because they beat out the competition and stood the test of time! Formed in 1983, the band has been successful for 40 years.