Bon Jovi

As Samb­ora re­unites with Bon Jovi at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Martin Cooper checks out Richie’s slick and ex­cit­ing style.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON ROCK -

Bon Jovi has been around for 35 years since Jon Bon Jovi formed the band, adding Richie Samb­ora (gui­tar), David Bryan (keys), Tico Tor­res (drums) and Alec John Such (bass). Af­ter the first two Bon Jovi al­bums achieved only mod­est suc­cess so Jon, Richie and the boys were head­ing to­wards their po­ten­tially fi­nal chance third al­bum be­fore be­ing dropped by Ver­tigo. So un­der the watch­ful eye of pro­ducer Bruce Fair­bairn they set about giv­ing their third al­bum their best shot. That 1986 al­bum Slip­pery When Wet went on to sell over 12 mil­lion in the US alone, and the tour that fol­lowed grossed nearly 25 mil­lion dol­lars and in­cluded a head­line set at Mon­sters Of Rock, Don­ing­ton. The al­bum in­cluded Livin’ On A Prayer, which Jon had orig­i­nally wanted to give away as he didn’t think it was a strong enough song for Bon Jovi to re­lease.

More huge com­mer­cial suc­cess fol­lowed af­ter the re­lease of New Jersey in 1988, but af­ter spend­ing the best part of five years liv­ing in ho­tels and are­nas the band needed a break. Jon and Richie recorded solo al­bums in the early ‘90s be­fore re­con­ven­ing for Keep The Faith in 1992. The al­bum didn’t sell as well as the pre­vi­ous two, but the grunge era was dawn­ing so five mil­lion sales and con­tin­ued sold-out sta­dium tours were still a huge sign of suc­cess for Bon Jovi.

They have con­tin­ued to play to huge crowds around the world, year af­ter year, and also con­tin­ued to re­lease clas­sic songs along the way, such as It’s My Life in 2000.

Richie Samb­ora left the band mid tour in 2012 af­ter as Jon put it “fail­ing to show up to work any­more”, and was re­placed by ses­sion man Phil X, with the live line-up be­ing com­pleted by John Shanks on gui­tar. Bass player Hugh Macdon­ald had also taken over from Alec John Such in 1994, and con­tin­ues as bassist to this day.

Richie’s gui­tar style is more in­flu­enced by Eric Clap­ton than Ed­die Van Halen, and Clap­ton ac­tu­ally guested on Samb­ora’s Stranger In This Town solo al­bum. How­ever, with Bon Jovi’s hey­day be­ing the mid 1980s it’s no sur­prise that there’s plenty of gui­tar hero shred­ding on the band’s big­gest songs. With that in mind the track this month fea­tures some clas­sic E Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic riffs, big chords and a melodic solo that ends with a clas­sic E Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic scale flour­ish (E-G-A-B-D) high up the fret­board.

Richie has great blues-rock feel with lovely vi­brato, great pick­ing, slinky legato, and lots of string bends, so give it all you’ve got!

Jon had orig­i­nally wanted to gi ve away Livin ’ On A Prayer as he didn ’t think it was a strong eno ugh song for bon jo vi!

Richie re­united with Bon Jovi for their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in­duc­tion

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