Renowned rock band Bon Jovi is finally being honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and it’ll be none other than Howard Stern who’ll induct them at the ceremony later this year. The announcement was made on Wednesday morning’s Stern Show during Jon Bon Jovi’s interview with Howard.
“I am so honored that you asked me. I am thrilled to do it," Howard told Jon.
Jon explained he spent a lot of time considering who should be the one to induct him and his band into the Rock Hall, but in the end he knew it had to be Howard. “Our careers have paralleled in a lot of ways and whether it was the ups or the downs, we’ve come through everything together,” Jon said on the air. “Nobody knows not only me but the members of the band as well as Howard.”
Hear the full story of how Jon asked Howard to induct Bon Jovi into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (below).
For decades, Bon Jovi has been dropping by the Stern Show, performing live in studio and telling Howard stories about how the band came to be. It took some time before the soon-to-be Hall of Famers found success as rock stars, with Jon informing Howard how many of the band members were still living at home even while they were writing their third studio album “Slippery When Wet.” He recalled writing “You Give Love a Bad Name” in Richie Sambora’s mother’s basement next to her washing machine.
“This is where the world starts to change for all of us,” Jon said. “We all came together and everyone’s life changed.”
Once “Slippery When Wet” hit store shelves, Bon Jovi instantly became one of the biggest acts in rock and roll. The album had a string of hit singles, including "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer,” both of which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
As good as the album’s sales were, Jon still wonders what might have happened had the record company released it with its original cover. That earlier version featured a photo of a sexy girl wearing a wet cut-off T-shirt framed by a hot pink border. Jon told Howard when he heard the description of that album cover over a phone call, he nearly threw up.
“I’m puking. I’m going, ‘My career is over if we put out a hot pink album cover,’” Jon recalled.
The label gave Bon Jovi just two days to come up with a better cover for “Slippery,” so Jon decided to go with something simple: a garbage bag.
“I took my fingers and squirted water, wrote ‘Slippery When Wet,’ and said, ‘Here’s your album cover,’” Jon said of how he hand-wrote the title onto a wet garbage bag. Photographer Mark Weiss captured the now iconic cover. To date, the album has sold over 12 million copies in the U.S. alone.
For Jon, one method for making a song a hit is to start off singing the chorus. His motto of “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus” has proven to work in much of Bon Jovi’s music. He’s also noticed, after a lifetime of touring the world, that American audiences only know the lyrics to a song’s chorus by heart while the words of a song’s verses hardly ever get remembered. He put Robin Quivers to the test on Wednesday as she tried singing “Livin’ on a Prayer.” While she knew the first verse has something to do with a guy name Tommy being on a dock, she couldn’t recite the hit song word for word.
“Welcome to America,” Jon said with a laugh.
Check out Robin singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” (below).
The successes of Bon Jovi have undoubtedly earned them the status of rock legends. So, why then did it take so long for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to recognize the band? For Jon, it no longer matters.
“In a weird way I’m glad that it took a while. I can appreciate it more,” he told Howard. “For those who didn’t want us in, they should have let me in nine years ago. I might’ve retired by now.”
Retiring from music might have been impossible for Jon, but he admitted on Wednesday that not too long ago he was prepared to turn his music career into a pastime in order to start a new chapter in his life as a professional sports team owner. In 2014, Jon and a group of investors were in the process of buying the Buffalo Bills. A GQ story released in October alleged Donald Trump, who was also supposedly interested in purchasing the NFL franchise, devised a behind-the-scenes plan that many believe cost Jon the deal to buy the Bills.
“I’m brokenhearted because I would have loved it,” Jon told Howard, saying at the time he was ready to relocate to Western New York. “I think that we could have done a lot of amazing things.”
His aspirations of owning an NFL team are now behind him with his professional focus still squarely on his music. On Wednesday, he played his latest single for Howard, “When We Were Us.”
“It’s a personal song,” Jon told Howard. “It’s about the band.”
No matter what happened in the past, come April, Jon said he’s looking forward to standing on stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with each and every member of that band (including former members Richie Sambora and Alec Such). And while he’s dreading the flight to Cleveland, Howard is looking forward to standing on stage alongside Bon Jovi, as well.
For all info on Bon Jovi’s upcoming tour dates, visit BonJovi.com.