Bon Jovi’s original line-up reunited on stage Saturday night for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Guitarist Richie Sambora, who left the band in 2013 and original bassist Alec John Such who quit in 1994 took the stage with their former bandmates to deliver a fiery performance of some of Bon Jovi’s biggest hits. This was first time since a one-off performance in 2001 that they have played together in public.
Bon Jovi was inducted into the Hall of Fame by shock jock and self-proclaimed ‘King of All Media’ Howard Stern. In an interview prior to the ceremony in Cleveland, Jon Bon Jovi explained why he chose Stern to induct the band. “Our careers have paralleled in a lot of ways – whether it was the ups or the downs – we’ve come through everything together and we do this at this point because we love the people we work with,” he said on Stern’s show. “And the truth is nobody knows not only me but the members of the band as well as Howard.”
It’s an honor to be here tonight, ladies and gentlemen,” said Stern in his induction speech. “I’ve known them since they’ve started, and aside from the incredible music accomplishments, they are some of the nicest men I ever met. No stupid rock and roll attitude, just humble and gracious. Whenever I would see them over the years, even with multi-platinum success, they each had a smile on their face in a welcoming way. An appreciation for their craft and their fans. In addition to music, their charity work feeding the homeless and helping the American Red Cross, lending a hand to the Special Olympics; that’s a rare humility and I love them for that. Great group. Iconic band.”
However in typical Stern fashion, he didn’t keep it serious for long, moving from the complimentary to the crass and back again. “First of all, we’ve got Jon Bon Jovi, a great frontman extraordinaire. The very definition of a rock star. Yes, the man who singlehandedly destroyed most of the ozone layer in the Eighties with Aqua Net hairspray.” The masterful and powerful drums of Tico Torres. David Bryan, a true showman on keyboard. Alec John Such, what a great bass player. And by the way, John Such, one of the best names in rock & roll. In fact, I’ve often said the band should’ve been called John Such, but we know whose ego could not deal with that. Then of course, the extraordinary talents of their current bassist, the great Hugh McDonald, who was with Jon back in the days of “Runaway.” And last but not least, my friend, Richie Sambora. One of the greatest guitar players in the world; masterful songwriter. And, you know this is true, the man with the biggest penis in Bon Jovi. How do I know that? The boys had a measuring contest early on, Richie won, but I don’t wanna get into the anaconda penis discussion. This isn’t the right time for that. We’re going to be inducting Richie in the penis hall of fame next week. Hope you all come.”
The band became eligible for the Hall of Fame a little less than a decade ago and were first nominated in 2011 but didn’t make the final cut. When Jon Bon Jovi got up to speak he said he had been working on this speech for years. Some days I write the ‘Thank you’ speech, sometimes I write the ‘Fuck you’ speech. In the end, it’s all about time. It took a lot of people to get us here tonight.”
In a recent interview with Stephen Colbert, Bon Jovi explained how moved he was to have been selected. “It truly does mean a lot. We had been looked over a couple times, and it’s really an honor to consider you being in the same building as the greatest of the greats, whether it’s Elvis or the Beatles or the Stones. Just the idea that the music that you made has been known to generations of people makes you feel good.”
For Bon Jovi fans the highlight of the evening was the band’s performance. “You know where you are?” asked Jon as the band took the stage. “You’re at a Bon Jovi concert. Out of your seats.” The group then ripped into some of their biggest hits including, “You Give Love A Bad Name,” “It’s My Life” and a newer single “When We Were Us” from the 2016 reissue of This House Is Not For Sale which Sambora performed live for the first time, sharing a microphone with Bon Jovi. They closed their set with “Livin’ On A Prayer” with Sambora on talk box and the audience enthusiastically singing along.
When the performance ended the band members all hugged and raised their hands in unison.
Check out Howard Stern’s full speech below: