Bon Jovi is the debut album of American rock band Bon Jovi, released on January 21, 1984. Produced by Tony Bongiovi and Lance Quinn, it is significant for being the only Bon Jovi album on which a song ("She Don't Know Me") appears that was not written nor co-written by members of the band. The album charted at No. 43 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
Aside from hit single "Runaway", songs from the album were rarely performed live after the band released their breakthrough album Slippery When Wet in 1986. However, on the band's 2010 Circle Tour, songs including "Roulette", "Shot Through The Heart" and "Get Ready" were performed. The song "Shot Through the Heart" should not be confused with the much more well-known "You Give Love a Bad Name", an unrelated song from Slippery When Wet.
The album was ranked the 11th best rock album of 1984 by Kerrang! magazine.
In 1980, Jon Bon Jovi started to work at Power Station Studios, a Manhattan recording facility where his cousin, Tony Bongiovi, was a co-owner. Jon made several demos and sent them out to many record companies, but failed to make an impact.
In 1982, Jon went to local radio station WAPP 103.5FM "The Apple". DJ Chip Hobart listened to Jon's demos and loved "Runaway", deciding to include it on the station's compilation album of local homegrown talent. The studio musicians who helped record "Runaway" were known as The All Star Review. They were: guitarist Tim Pierce, keyboardist Roy Bittan, drummer Frankie LaRocka, bassist Hugh McDonald, and additional singers David Grahmme and Mick Seeley (supposedly, Seeley also composed the distinctive keyboard riff that opens the song). McDonald would later unofficially replace Alec John Such as Bon Jovi's bassist.
The song began to get airplay around New York. Jon signed to Mercury Records, part of the PolyGram company. He wanted a group name and the A&R staff at PolyGram came up with Bon Jovi.
In March 1983 Bon Jovi called David Bryan (then Rashbaum), who in turn called bassist Alec John Such and an experienced drummer named Tico Torres. At that time Bon Jovi's lead guitarist was Dave Sabo (a.k.a. The Snake), who later formed the group Skid Row. Dave Sabo was eventually replaced by Richie Sambora.
The band recorded the album (originally titled "Tough Talk" but renamed it after the record company decided it was wiser to issue the album as a self-titled release) at Power Station Studios. It was produced by Tony Bongiovi and Lance Quinn. Most of the songs are written by Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan and Sambora. "Burning for Love" and "Come Back" were the very first songs written for the album. Three singles were released from the album: "Runaway", "She Don't Know Me" and in Japan only, "Burning for Love".
AllMusic rated Bon Jovi three-and-a-half out of five stars. Leslie Mathew, who reviewed the album, said: "The songs may be simple and the writing prone to all clichés of the form, but the album boasts a pretty consistent hard rock attack, passionate playing, and a keen sense of melody."