Jon Bon Jovi is 60! New Jersey rocker, philanthropist celebrates birthday
Happy birthday, Jon Bon Jovi.
It's a big one for the Sayreville native — he turns 60 on Wednesday, March 2.
John Bongiovi was born to John and Carol Bongiovi at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy in 1962. His parents met in the Marines. Dad was a barber and mom owned a flower shop – it was a blue-collar upbringing in the Sherwood Forest section of Sayreville.
Bon Jovi played Jersey Shore clubs in the ’80s in bands like Atlantic City Expressway, the Rest, and John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones.
Then a breakthrough: Bon Jovi recorded a song he co-wrote, “Runaway,” at the Power Station, owned by his cousin Tony Bongiovi in New York City. An all-star band was assembled to play on the track, including Roy Bittan of the E Street Band and Hugh McDonald, who would later join Bon Jovi on bass.
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“Runaway” found its way onto the former WAPP 103.5-FM “The Apple” as part of an unsigned band contest. Jon Bon Jovi had a hit record but he didn't have a band. David Bryan, Edison; Tico Torres, Woodbridge; Richie Sambora, Woodbridge; and Alec John Such, Perth Amboy, answered the call.
Bon Jovi has sold more than 130 million albums and is one of the few rock bands that can still fill arenas and stadiums around the world.
He's also become a philanthropist. His Soul Foundation has provided grant funding for almost 1,000 units of “affordable and supportive” housing in 11 states. Soul Kitchens in Red Bank, Toms River and elsewhere have combined to serve more than 138,000 meals, with 52 percent of their customers in-need.
“I came here to add my voice of thanks to Jon and (his wife) Dorothea for giving so much of your lives to house the homeless and feeding the hungry, training the jobless and reminding us all that underneath our differences, we’re not so different after all,” said President Bill Clinton in 2016.
Jon and Dorothea have four kids: Stephanie Rose, 28; Jesse, 27; Jacob, 19; and Romeo, 17.
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Oh, a rest stop was named for Jon Bon Jovi on the Garden State Parkway near Sayreville. That's kind of Jersey's highest honor.
Bon Jovi, the band, has 15 shows in the South and Midwest in April. The concerts are expected to be the first leg of a 2022 tour.
The music, and the mission, goes on.
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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Happy birthday, Jon Bon Jovi: New Jersey rocker turns 60