Five Things We Learned In ‘Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story’

Five Things We Learned In ‘Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story’

Thank You, Goodnight, Hulu’s new four-part Bon Jovi docuseries, shows that rock superstardom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… except when it is. On one hand it chronicles the band’s evolution from scrappy New Jersey bar band to multi-platinum arena rock phenomenon, including all the wild times and rock ‘n’ roll heroism you’d expect. But with full cooperation from the band, who tell their stories firsthand, the Gotham Chopra-directed doc digs deep into the dark side too, all the way up to the trauma of Jon Bon Jovi’s present-day vocal struggles. Along the way, the five-hour journey yields a bounty of tantalizing tidbits from all across the band’s history. Here are just a handful.

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Jon shot lasers at his throat to save his voice

In the early 2020s, a combination of COVID aftereffects and the ravages of a life in rock ‘n’ roll conspired to give Jon Bon Jovi a whole lot of vocal trouble. Before finally resorting to surgery, he threw just about everything at it he could think of, including acupuncture, rigorous singing exercises, the efforts of three different vocal coaches, and “a boatload of vitamins.” But the measure that seems downright science fiction-like is displayed in all its high-tech glory: We see the singer standing in front of an imposing, four-headed laser device while it shoots multiple red beams straight at his vocal cords in an effort to stimulate blood flow and alleviate inflammation. There’s no word on whether he also gained any superpowers from the treatment.

The Jersey shore held hard knocks and brushes with royalty

When Jon Bon Jovi was still spelling his name John Bongiovi, he was leading Atlantic City Expressway, a soul-tinged band heavily inspired by his Jersey shore heroes Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny. The sprawling, 10-piece outfit (complete with a horn section) played covers and a few originals, hitting every bar a bunch of 17-year-olds could get into in those permissive times. The whole band would only come away from a night at Asbury Park hotspot The Fast Lane with about 150 bucks. But in 1979, when the young frontman was able to tell his high school buddies how The Boss jumped onstage with him during the band’s cover of “The Promised Land,” the bragging rights made it all worthwhile.

Jon got an early peek behind the curtain of superstardom

Hardcore Bon Jovi fans are aware that Jon’s second cousin Tony Bongiovi—producer of Talking Heads, The Ramones, and tons more—got him a gofer job at legendary NYC studio The Power Station, where he met his future producer/engineer Obie O’Brien. But many don’t know that while the fledgling rocker was there, his ground-level music-biz education (he would sometimes literally sleep on the studio floor) included watching David Bowie and Queen record “Under Pressure” and witnessing sessions by loads of other titans including The Rolling Stones, Kiss, Diana Ross, and Aerosmith.

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The band almost didn’t record “Livin’ on a Prayer”

When Jon’s writing session with songwriter to the stars Desmond Child yielded the tune that become one of Bon Jovi’s biggest blockbusters ever, the singer was initially underwhelmed. “I remember the day we wrote that not thinking much of the song,” he reveals. “When we walked out of the room I went, ‘Eh, it’s okay.’” Richie Sambora, however, could smell a hit. “Richie said, ‘Boy, you’re stupid, it’s gonna be great!’” Fortunately for all concerned, the song’s supporters prevailed. “Richie and I got on our hands and knees,” says Child, “half joking, half for real, and begged him to at least cut it.” And everybody knows how that story ended.

Bon Jovi’s maiden voyage at Madison Square Garden was scary

The band’s first-ever appearance at MSG was a game-changer on multiple levels. It’s where their future manager Doc McGhee first caught them in concert, and it was their big chance to play at the famous venue they’d grown up so close to. The opportunity came about when the planned opener for ZZ Top cancelled. The idea was to stun the audience from the jump: Richie Sambora would kick things off with a quick burst of guitar heroics. But at the crucial moment, his guitar crapped out. Bon Jovi remembers, “The crowd went from polite applause to silence to ‘ZZ Top!’ And I’m thinking, ‘Oh Christ, this is over before it starts. It was the longest 18 seconds.” The frontman desperately tossed his own axe to Sambora, and thankfully they were able to salvage the situation.

Pre-order the new Bon Jovi album Forever.

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