[Note: Bon Jovi was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.]
In a successful music career that has lasted more than thirty years, Bon Jovi has kept a stable lineup, influenced multiple genres of music (including country), and stayed relevant and popular during shifts in popular taste. And they got their success the good way, through hard work in the studio and on the road, a commitment to their fans, and the ability to overcome some of the worst excesses of the rock & roll lifestyle. Yet for all this, Bon Jovi belongs in an era where their brand of pop-metal, which spawned numerous imitators, is perhaps viewed by part of the critical establishment as being too commercial and therefore they remain excluded from the honor of being part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which could use some more legitimacy by including such obviously stellar acts itself.
Bon Jovi’s Contribution
Bon Jovi’s contributions to Rock & Roll have been many and varied. These contributions include popularizing pop-metal in a way that combined solid hard rock chops with popular appeal. Their work with songwriter Desmond Child brought him to prominence and made him a sought after producer. They helped Cher’s comeback in the late 1980’s, singing backup on her hit song “We All Sleep Alone.” In addition to this, the band also helped inspire many successful acts to enter country through their own successful and critically acclaimed work on their own and in collaboration with Jennifer Nettles. They have also previously been nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, and already two of the members of Bon Jovi have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and so there is already some recognition that they are worthy, just not enough for induction yet. But 100,000,000 Bon Jovi fans can’t be wrong, right ?
Why Bon Jovi Is A No-Brainer For The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
First, we must look at Bon Jovi’s influence in terms of pop-metal as well as pop-country. Bon Jovi’s work in the 1980’s has inspired numerous bands, from the postgrunge of Nickelback to bands like Bowling For Soup, the Goo Goo Dolls, and All-American Rejects. Providing a way to combine hard rock sounds with solid hooks proved enduringly popular to both bands and fans. Additionally, in the 2000’s, their work helped inspire numerous artists like Jewel and Darius Rucker to enter country from the pop-rock ranks. Besides the genre and music influences, there is the undeniable popularity of the band. Each of their eleven studio albums has sold over 2 million copies worldwide, besides the popularity of their compilation albums and even a platinum-selling box set. They have four #1 hit singles, six additional top tens, and seven additional top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 , not to even mention their success on other genre charts and internationally. Between the influence and the sales, the induction of Bon Jovi is a no-brainer, one of the more obvious among the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s many snubs.
Why Isn’t Bon Jovi In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
There are really only a couple of reasons why Bon Jovi would appear to have been neglected so far as far as entry into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is concerned. It is possible that they are not thought to have had enough influence on massively popular bands (or that the bands they influence are not ones that the critics view highly). In addition, it is possible that the popularity of Bon Jovi may work against it in terms of being thought of as critically relevant (despite the other honors, including a Grammy Award, that they have received). At any rate, neither of those reasons are ultimately good enough to deny Bon Jovi their well-earned place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Verdict: Bon Jovi has more than three decades of popular success, has inspired many other bands with their blend of pop sensibilities and rock chops, and they have done the hard work in touring and working in the studio to keep their career up. Here’s hoping that their induction happens sooner rather than later, as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has a lot of snubs that they need to take care of.