Every band has their own “big break” story; some are very similar, while others are fairly unique. Categorize Jon Bon Jovi’s as unique, even one of a kind. The Jersey rocker called into Scott Shannon’s inaugural shift as CBS-FM’s new morning show host — which included interviews with various guests, including former morning show anchor and founding member of the Monkees, Micky Dolenz — and recalled the moment which became the catalyst to jump start Bon Jovi‘s career.
“The way I went about getting a record deal was different than most. I had sent my tapes around through various record companies and I didn’t get any answers from anybody,” said Bon Jovi, recalling the struggles he was confronted with in 1983. “I was frustrated and then I thought to myself, ‘Who is the loneliest man in the music business?’ And my head rang back and it said, “The DJ!'”
That radio station was WAPP, known as The Apple 103.5. The station had recently switched to an album-oriented rock format, competing with WPLJ and WNEW-FM.
“They were so new, they didn’t have a receptionist,” recalls Bon Jovi. “So I knocked on the DJ’s window.” That DJ was Chip Hobart, who suggested Bon Jovi submit his song to a compilation record the station made, highlighting local artists and endearing them to the community. “I was against it initially because the last thing I wanted to do was have a singles deal.” But the track — “Runaway” — gained traction and airplay across the country, leading to the band signing a major label deal.
“[I] dropped out of their contest and signed with what is now Island/Def Jam — then Polygram, the same label — for 30 years,” added Bon Jovi.
Bon Jovi went on to talk about the band’s fearless approach to touring around the world, his new photo book, titled Work, recalled opening up the new MetLife Stadium with several sellout shows, his Fighting Irish football playing son, and much more.
Listen to the full interview below: