Runaway (Bon Jovi song)

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Bon Jovi Runaway.JPG
Single by Bon Jovi
from the album Bon Jovi
B-side"Love Lies"
ReleasedFebruary 1984 (US)
1982 (hit version)
Bon Jovi singles chronology
"She Don't Know Me"
Music video
Runaway at

"Runaway" is the debut single by American rock band Bon Jovi. It was originally recorded in 1981 for the so-called "Power Station Demos" at the beginning of singer Jon Bon Jovi's career, featuring the vocalist backed by session musicians.

The song became a surprise hit in 1983 on WAPP-FM (now WKTU), leading to the formation of the first proper lineup of Bon Jovi for a short tour.


The track was recorded in 1982 at the Power Station recording studio, and released to radio in 1983.[5] Jon Bon Jovi chose studio musicians who were recording with other artists using the studio at the time—these musicians became known as "The All Star Revue", which included: bassist Hugh McDonald (who would join Bon Jovi in 1994 as an unofficial member); guitarist Tim Pierce (who was working on a John Waite record with producer Neil Giraldo); drummer Frankie LaRocka; and keyboardist Roy Bittan. The keyboard intro was written by Mick Seeley—then of John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones and later with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes—who also performed backing vocals on the track with David Grahmme.

In 1983, local radio station WAPP 103.5FM "The Apple" had a contest, held in conjunction with St. John's University, to search for the best unsigned band. After the song won the contest, it became a radio hit in the summer of 1983.

"Runaway" became the first single from the band's self-titled debut album. It hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 at #39 in early 1984 and became the band's first Top 40 hit in the US.[6]

A dance/club remake of "Runaway" was released in July 2008[7] by "DJ Freddy Retro featuring Jim Davis Jr." on Casa Records.[8]

One night, after a show, guitarist Richie Sambora found Bon Jovi backstage and told him he should be the guitarist for the group. Bon Jovi wrote him off and did not think much of it but told him to learn the material and show up for rehearsal. Sambora was early and had learned all the given material, which impressed Bon Jovi.

The music video was directed by Mike Cuesta (not to be confused with TV producer Michael Cuesta) and featured Jennifer Gatti in one of her earliest roles.[9]

Live performances[edit]

In latterday live performances, Jon Bon Jovi has been known to do a short guitar solo near the end of the song instead of hitting the high notes at the end; something only done in the 1980s, as heard on the vintage performance featured on One Wild Night: Live 1985-2001.

After the band attained worldwide fame in the mid to late 1980s they largely dropped earlier material from live performances, in favor of more well known and accomplished material. However, "Runaway" is a song of which they remain proud. For well over 20 years, it has been the only song from the bands' first two albums to be performed on a regular basis. "I still think a couple of the songs hold up," Bon Jovi said of the debut album in 2007. "'Runaway', definitely."[10] A few others have been played live over the years, notably during The Circle Tour in 2010; however they were extreme rarities when they appeared and were not regularly performed.

Covers & samples[edit]

Rapper Tru-NC released an updated hip-hop version of the song in 2011 with the same title. It tells a story about Tommy & Gina getting evicted from their apartment. The song is available to download for free at Tru-NC's Reverbnation page.

American rapper Immortal Technique samples the synthesizer in the track "Young Lords" from his album The Martyr (2011).

Mississippi rapper Tito Lopez samples the song on his own track "Married to the Mob" on his mixtape Tito Be Killing These Bitches 3. Finnish melodic death metal band Blind Stare covered the track on the digipak edition of their Symphony of Delusions album.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song was made available to download on November 9, 2010 for use in the Rock Band 3 music video game in both Basic rhythm, and PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar / bass guitar, and standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to three-part harmony or backup vocals.[11][12]
  • The song was featured on a MasterCard television commercial and in the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
  • A portion of the song is heard during a scene of the seventh episode of the second season of the Netflix series Stranger Things.[13]
  • A song that is featured in the Transformers 2018 prequel, Bumblebee.

Track listing[edit]

US Vinyl, 7
1."(A) Runaway"3:54
2."(B) Love Lies"4:08
UK Vinyl, 7", Single
1."(A) Runaway" 
2."(B) Breakout (Live)" 


Chart (1984-1985) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 39
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[15] 23


  1. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (March 2, 2013). "Top 10 Bon Jovi Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  2. ^ Elliott, Paul (April 24, 2019). "How to buy the very best of Bon Jovi". Classic Rock. Retrieved September 6, 2021.
  3. ^ Popoff, Martin (2014). The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade. Voyageur Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-7603-4546-7.
  4. ^ Reily, Emily (February 5, 2018). "9 Hair Metal Videos That Taught Us How Much School Sucks". Riot Fest. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  5. ^ Bon Jovi - self-titled album (1984) CD liner notes.
  6. ^ "Allmusic (Bon Jovi charts & awards) Billboard singles".
  7. ^ "Amazon.Com: Runaway single".
  8. ^ "TuneCore: Casa Records".
  9. ^ Runaway at IMDb
  10. ^ Blake, Mark (August 2007). "My brilliant career: Jon Bon Jovi". Q #253. p. 67.
  11. ^ Kohler, Chris (September 11, 2010). "Bon Jovi Rock Band Tracks Upgraded with Pro Keys, Guitars". Wired. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  12. ^ Snider, Mike (June 10, 2010). "Rock Band 3: What's New, What's Notable". USA Today. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  13. ^ Ahr, Michael; Cecchini, Mike; Crow, David (November 12, 2017). "Stranger Things 2: Complete Easter Egg and Reference Guide". Den of Geek. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  14. ^ "Bon Jovi Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  15. ^ "Bon Jovi: Runaway" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved August 30, 2021.