Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Runaway" by Bon Jovi

Song#:  1801
Date:  02/25/1984
Debut:  92
Peak:  39
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Jon Bongiovi had been playing in bands and in clubs since he was a teen. His cousin Tony Bongiovi co-owned a recording studio and that gave Jon an opportunity to work up some demos. One of his songs, "Runaway," got the attention of a New York DJ who wanted to get the song recorded for their station compilation of new local artists. A quick team of musicians were assembled and knocked the song out. Credited to Jon Bongiovi and the Rest, the tune started to get traction on the radio and soon Jon was forming his own band. They attracted the attention of Mercury Records and the newly christened Bon Jovi were on their way. They recorded their self-titled debut album and issued this song as its first single. It was a hit at Rock reaching #5 and soon it crossed over to Pop and found its way just inside the Top 40.

ReduxReview:  That keyboard lick at the top of the song certainly grabs your attention. Then you have Jon Bon Jovi's voice and a solid chorus to round out the tune. Overall, it adds up to a tasty track. I'm surprised it didn't do better, but edgier rock was still just a minor year or two from really becoming mainstream, so the Top 40 showing was decent. Their debut album was alright and had a couple of good cuts, but this song gave hints that this band had something and were on the right track.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Having played shows with his new band under his own name, once signed to Mercury, Jon wanted an actual band name. Their initial choice was Johnny Electric, but then a friend of their manager suggested they just be called Bon Jovi, which was similar to other big two-named bands such as Van Halen. They took the advice and moved on to record their debut LP.  2) The pickup band that initially recorded "Runaway" for the radio station compilation consisted of established musicians including drummer Frankie LaRocka (of Scandal), Roy Bittan (keyboardist for Springsteen's E Street Band) and Hugh McDonald, who would end up being Bon Jovi's bassist beginning in 1994.


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