You Say It's Your Birthday: Jon Bon Jovi

It is also Lou Reed's birthday today.

Today is the birthday of Jon Bon Jovi (given name: John

Francis Bongiovi), who was born in 1962 in Sayreville, New Jersey. Bon Jovi and

his eponymous band began as a pop-metal outfit in the mid-1980s, spinning tales

about runaways and bad women over whirls of guitar; in later years they've

toned down, sticking to more straight-ahead rock.

Jon Bon Jovi was a

working-class New Jersey kid who didn't take much interest in school; he worked

a job sweeping floors at New York City's Power Station, allowing him to meet

and occasionally record with big-name acts like Aldo Nova and the E Street

Band. He formed an early band, including keyboardist David Bryan and guitarist

Dave Sabo, playing clubs and recording an early version of "Runaway."

When

the band signed with PolyGram, Jon was asked to Americanize the spelling of his

name to Bon Jovi; guitarist Richie Sambora auditioned for the group and

replaced Sabo, who went on to play with Skid Row. The band -- comprised of Bon

Jovi, Sambora, Bryan, bassist Alec John Such and drummer Tico Torres --

released its self-titled debut in 1984, and "Runaway" went to #39 on the pop

charts. They followed a year later with 7800 Farenheit, which included

"Only Lonely."

Bon Jovi's success was moderate, and the frontman wanted

something more. He hired on writer Desmond Child to help them compile a hit

record that would be in tune with East Coast teens. The result was Slippery

When Wet, which went to #1 in 1986 and spawned two #1 singles, "You Give

Love A Bad Name," and "Livin' On A Prayer" (both co-written by Child), as well

as a #7 hit with "Wanted Dead Or Alive." Bon Jovi followed the same recipe on

1988's New Jersey, another hit-driven record with songs like "Bad

Medicine" and "Lay Your Hands On Me." Later that same year, Bon Jovi married

his high school sweetheart, Dorothea Hurley, in Las Vegas.

Bon Jovi

traveled to the Soviet Union with Skid Row, Ozzy Osbourne, Cinderella and the

Scorpions to perform at the Moscow Music Peace Festival in 1988; the show was a

smashing success. The band toured for some 18 months before pursuing solo

projects. Bon Jovi recorded Blaze of Glory, the soundtrack to Young

Guns II, with Elton John, Jeff Beck and Little Richard. Sambora also took a

solo spin with Stranger In This Town, but by 1991 the group was back in

business. Keep The Faith was released in 1992, and a best-of album

appeared two years later. The band made a move towards adult-friendly rock with

their 1995 release These Days. Meanwhile, Bon Jovi made his acting debut

(aside from a cameo in Young Guns II in last year's Moonlight and

Valentino and the band released

Other birthdays: Mike Pender (the

Searchers), Keith Potger (Seekers), George Benson, Lou Reed, Eddie Money, the

late Karen Carpenter, Dale Bozzio (Missing Persons), Jay Osmond (Osmonds), John

Cowsill (Cowsills) and Mark Evans (AC/DC). -- Beth Winegarner