USA TODAY article
|At 51, Bon Jovi courts respect as artist, humanitarian
On a new song called What's Left of Me, one of the world's biggest rock stars channels the voices of a farmer, a factory worker, a military veteran, even an unsuccessful musician — ordinary folks, all struggling to adapt to changing circumstances in our country.
The star, in case you're wondering, is Jon Bon Jovi; the track is from his band's 12th studio album, What About Now, out March 12. Like many of Bon Jovi's previous hits, it has a do-or-die spirit that evokes both frustration and invincibility, urging us to strive hard and dream big. But for the singer/songwriter, there's also a topicality that's typical of the album — "a strong social overview," as he puts it.
It's late afternoon, and Bon Jovi and his bandmates are taking a rehearsal break days before launching the group's Because We Can world tour (named for Now's driving first single) at the Mohegan Sun resort and casino. Lounging on a sofa in his dressing room, Bon Jovi seems relaxed and fit. He turns 51 on Saturday, but he still has the movie-star smile and luxuriant hair that made him one of rock's reigning sex symbols in the '80s.
Granted, the locks are shorter and more tastefully layered than they were back in the day, befitting a star whose image has evolved in ways that few who once dismissed his group as a "hair band" would ever have predicted — and not just in the musical arena. In recent years, Bon Jovi has drawn attention for his political and social activism, campaigning for Democratic presidential contenders dating back to Al Gore and, in 2006, starting the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, aimed at helping families and people who face economic hardship.
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