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Good Lyrics and Strong Ballads Keep Bon Jovi on Top of Charts 18 February 2006
Twenty years later, rockers still drawing sold-out crowds.

Source: The Ledger

The rock'n'roll landscape is littered with leftover hair-band rockers from the 1980s who saw their careers go flat once the gel ran out and the sheen wore off. But unlike other groups from the era, members of Bon Jovi succeeded in trading such early-band trappings for journeyman rock status.

The whammy-bar histrionics and tousled hair of "Runaway" (their first hit song) has long since evolved into the mature sight and sound of 2000's "It's My Life" and current hit, "Who Says You Can't Go Home."

Consider this: Nearly 20 years since their first heyday, the New Jersey rockers' ninth studio album, "Have a Nice Day," debuted at No. 2 on the charts last year and has sold more than 1 million copies so far.

And the group's current tour, which lands in Tampa tonight and Saturday, has sold out most dates so far, including multiple-night runs in such cities as Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Toronto.

Namesake leader, singer and New Jersey flag-carrier Jon Bon Jovi points, somewhat predictably, to the songs themselves as the reason.

But the sincerity that he, guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan and drummer Tico Torres bring to such songs as "Can't Go Home" can't be overestimated.

"It's not nostalgia, and it's not rehashed reunion or anything silly, you know what I mean?" Bon Jovi told the Toronto Sun. "We've had our ups and downs, mind you, but in the grand scheme of things, it's been positive.

"It's really humbling to do what you love to do and do it at the level that we do it at."

Guitarist Sambora, a key architect of the group's sound along with Jon Bon Jovi, acknowledges that the band's older hits play a role in bringing fans back, initially at least.


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