One of the things I learned is that the band actually put out some heavier tracks than many people think, both during their formative, pre-fame years and after their first commercial crest in the late 1980s. With that in mind, I picked out some Bon Jovi tunes that I think will appeal to hard rock and metal enthusiasts who like heavy music and raging guitars.
1. GOOD GUYS DON’T ALWAYS WEAR WHITE (1994)
Released as part of the movie soundtrack to The Cowboy Way, which co-starred Woody Harrelson and Kiefer Sutherland, this is a high energy anthem with attitude: “I ain’t got no apology/Just because I don’t look like you/Talk like you, think like you/Judge and jury, a hangman’s noose/I see them in your eyes.”
2. WE RULE THE NIGHT (1985)
This was recorded in 1985 but not released until 2004 as part of their box set 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong. On their first two albums, Bon Jovi was searching for their musical identity, and this sounds like their attempt at echoing Iron Maiden. It’s an unusual but fun entry in their catalog.
3. UNDIVIDED (2002)
The metallic opening track of Bounce dealt with overcoming the grief and loss felt at the devastation of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Heavy and powerful.
4. FEAR (1992)
The words here deal with people trapped in a bad place but trying to overcome the fear that keeps them from trying to escape. A raw, gritty tune and one of the best from their best album, Keep The Faith.
5. HEY GOD (1995)
The opening track to the underwhelming These Days is a driving number that invokes The Cult and echoes the fiery attitude from their previous album Keep The Faith. The characters in the lyrics question a greater power in the face of daunting life circumstances that do not abate, and Jon’s intense vocal performance echoes their anguish.
6. HOOK ME UP (2002)
Bounce, the follow-up to the band’s successful comeback album Crush, did not have the same commercial appeal as its predecessor. It was an odd mix of more commercial rock tunes and harder edged numbers like this one, which dealt with overcoming isolation. There are some nice chugging guitars from Sambora here.
7. ROULETTE (1984)
The song directly following the hit “Runaway” amped up their debut album with a melodic anthem that fit in nicely within that golden era of American hard rock. There are big vocal harmonies matched with Sambora’s guitar histrionics. This was co-written with keyboardist David Bryan and was revived live on their 2010 world tour for The Circle.
8. IF I WAS YOUR MOTHER (1992)
From Bon Jovi’s hardest rocking album Keep The Faith comes this gritty, grooving stomper that features a boisterous chorus and raucous soloing from Richie Sambora.
9. RAISE YOUR HANDS (1986)
Propulsive hooks, squealing guitars, an epic solo, and gang vocals in the chorus. A big ’80s anthem from their multi-platinum breakthrough album Slippery When Wet.
10. UNBREAKABLE (2005)
This commercial but still hard-edged anthem of self-empowerment appeared as a bonus track on various non-American editions of the album Have A Nice Day. It is also one of those rare tracks co-written with Bryan, who really should be used more. His collaborations usually sound epic.