- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2012

Jon Bon Jovi celebrates his 50th birthday on March 2. The American musician is best known as the lead singer of the rock band Bon Jovi, formed in 1983, with hits including “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “Always” and “It’s My Life.” In the past three decades, the band has performed before 34 million fans around the globe at stadiums and arenas. Its Circle Tour drew 4 million fans in 2010 and was the biggest tour in the world and the second-biggest tour in 2011. This week, the List looks at the band’s top 10 best songs.

  • 10. Runaway (1984) — This New Jersey’s boy’s dream did not end at that Lincoln Tunnel. With this song, Mr. Bon Jovi finally got the breakthrough hit for the band. It was the first single from its self-titled debut album.
  • “Ooh, she’s a little runaway, Daddy’s girl learned fast”
  • 9. Lost Highway (2007) — The band’s flirtation with country music paid off. The album “Lost Highway,” made in Nashville, Tenn., debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, the band’s first album to do so. The title track spoke to country fans and loyal Bon Jovi fans, too, and the single peaked at No. 15 on Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks.
  • “So I drive, watching white lines passing by, With my plastic dashboard Jesus waiting there to greet us”
  • 8. Miracle (1990) — This was the second single from Mr. Bon Jovi’s debut solo album, “Blaze of Glory.” Mr. Bon Jovi’s underlying optimism comes through in the song, which charted at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • “Gonna take a miracle to save us this time, And your savior has just left town”
  • 7. Blaze of Glory (1990) — This song was the theme for the film “Young Guns II.” It was a solo hit for Mr. Bon Jovi and not released by the band. The track is notable for the performance of Jeff Beck on guitar. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains a crowd favorite at Bon Jovi concerts.
  • “I’m what Cain was to Abel, Mister catch me if you can, I’m going down in a blaze of glory”
  • 6. You Give Love a Bad Name (1986) — This was the first single from the album “Slippery When Wet” and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Bon Jovi’s first No. 1 hit. In 2009, it was named the 20th-greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.
  • “An angel’s smile is what you sell, You promise me heaven, then put me through hell”
  • 5. Bed of Roses (1993) — From the album “Keep the Faith,” this song was written by Mr. Bon Jovi in a hotel room while he was suffering from a hangover. It reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • “I wanna lay you down in a bed of roses, For tonight I’ll sleep on a bed of nails”
  • 4. I’ll Be There for You (1989) — In the decade of big hair, this beloved ballad from the album “New Jersey” was the band’s fourth No. 1 hit on the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
  • “I’ll be there for you, These five words I swear to you”
  • 3. Always (1994) — This power ballad rose to No. 4 on the charts and was the best-selling single from the album “Cross Road.” It was written for the film “Romeo Is Bleeding” but was pulled from the soundtrack because Mr. Bon Jovi decided he didn’t like the film. The song took a toll on Mr. Bon Jovi’s voice and is rarely performed live.
  • “This Romeo is bleeding. But you can’t see his blood”
  • 2. Livin’ on a Prayer (1987) — There’s nothing wrong with embracing cliches. This light-metal hit is a big favorite among hard-core fans. The song helped sell 28 million copies of the “Slippery When Wet” album worldwide and spent four weeks at the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
  • “Tommy used to work on the docks, Union’s been on strike, he’s down on his luck”
  • 1. It’s My Life (2000) — When you are feeling down and depressed, just turn up the volume and yell out the chorus of this song. It was the first single from the album “Crush.” It was the top song in five European countries but reached just No. 33 in the U.S. The worldwide hit was the beginning of a creative renaissance for the band and appealed to a new generation of listeners.
  • “This ain’t a song for the broken-hearted, No silent prayer for the faith-departed”

Special mentions: “Radio Saved My Life Tonight,” “Undivided,” “(You Want to) Make a Memory,” “Dry Country,” “Stick to Your Guns,” and “Have a Nice Day.”

Compiled by John Haydon
Sources: Billboard, AOL Music, The Washington Times, Detroit Free Press, Blogcritics.org Music and bonjovi.com.