Atlantic and Mercury came calling. Once Bon Jovi had put together his band and began playing showcases

and opening for local talent, they caught the attention of record executive Derek Shulman, who signed John

to Mercury Records, part of the PolyGram company. John Bongiovi then de-ethnicized his last name,

changing the gi in Bongiovi to a j to make it Bon Jovi, and then removed the h in his first name to make it

Jon. He re-emerged as Jon Bon Jovi.

With the help of their new manager Doc McGhee, the band's debut album, Bon Jovi, was released on

January 21, 1984. The album went gold in the US (sales of over 500,000) and was also released in the UK.

The group found themselves opening for ZZ Top at the Madison Square Garden (before their first album

had been released), and for Scorpions and Kiss in Europe. They also made an appearance on American


In 1985, Bon Jovi's second album 7800° Fahrenheit was released, but the response was poor. The leading

British metal magazine Kerrang!, who had been very positive about the debut record, called the album "a

pale imitation of the Bon Jovi we have got to know and learned to love." Jon Bon Jovi himself later said it

could have and should have been better. The band members, in interviews, have said they will not perform

live any song off that album anymore.

The turning point came when they brought in songwriter Desmond Child for their third album, Slippery

When Wet. With Child co-writing many of their hits on this and future albums the band shot to super-

stardom around the world with songs such as "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Livin' On A Prayer", and

"Wanted Dead or Alive". Bon Jovi has said the album was named after the ubiquitous highway warning

signs, but Bryan has said the following about the album's title: "During the recording of the record we

frequently wound up in a striptease club where incredibly good looking girls were putting water and soap

on each other. They became so slippery because of that, that you couldn't hold on to them even if you

wanted to really bad. 'Slippery when wet!' one of us yelled out and the rest of us immediately knew: that had

to be the title of the new album! Originally we were going to put a picture of some huge breasts, the really

big ones, on the cover; but when the PMRC (a moral board under command of Tipper Gore, wife of former

Vice President of the United States Al Gore) found out we were in big trouble. So we made it into a very

decent cover."

The album has sold in excess of 26 million copies worldwide since its release in late 1986. On the tour that

followed, singer Bon Jovi began having vocal difficulties. The extremely high notes and unrelenting

schedule threatened to damage his voice permanently. With the help of a vocal coach, he made it through

the tour. Bon Jovi has tended to sing slightly lower pitches since then.

The next album from Bon Jovi was New Jersey released in 1988. The album was recorded very shortly after

the tour for Slippery, because the band wanted to prove that they were not just a one hit wonder. The

resulting album is a fan favorite, a pop-rock masterpiece, and a mammoth commercial success, with hit

songs such as "Bad Medicine", "Lay Your Hands On Me" and "I'll Be There For You", which are still nightly

stalwarts in their live repertoire. New Jersey was a commercial smash and became the first hard rock album

to spawn five Top Ten singles. "Bad Medicine" and "I'll Be There For You" both hit number one, and "Born

to Be My Baby" (#3), "Lay Your Hands On Me (#7), and "Living in Sin" (#9) rounded out the list. "Blood on

Blood" was also popular among fans. New Jersey was supported by video releases such as New Jersey:

The Videos and Access All Areas, as well as a massive 18-month tour, originally billed "The Jersey

Syndicate Tour". In 1989, the band headlined the Moscow Music Peace Festival. Despite the band achieving

massive success, New Jersey almost led to the end of the band as they went straight back out on the road

so soon after the heavy touring for their previous album. This constant living on the road almost destroyed

the strong bond between Jon Bon Jovi and Sambora. As mentioned in Behind the Music, the band

members note that at the end of the tour, each band member went their separate way and departed in

separate jets. It was during this time that Sambora offered the lead singer position to Billy Rogers, known

for his hit single with Ike Turner, I'm Blue. However, the band made it through and took a healthy break

before their next studio effort. To date, the album has sold 18 million copies worldwide.