Bon Jovi is the self-titled debut studio album by 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 in which a song ("She Don't Know Me") appears that was not written or co-written by a member of the band. The album charted at No. 43 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
Aside from the hit single "Runaway", songs from the album were rarely performed live after Bon Jovi 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" 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, bass guitarist 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 replace Alec John Such as Bon Jovi's bass guitarist.
The song began to get airplay around New York. Jon signed to Mercury Records, part of the PolyGram company. He wanted a band 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 bass guitarist 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 band Skid Row. Dave Sabo was eventually replaced by Richie Sambora.
AllMusic has retrospectively 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."
The working title was Tough Talk, but the name was rejected by the record company, who insisted it should be a self-titled album so people would know it was the band's first album.
It was co-produced by Jon's father's cousin, Tony Bongiovi.
"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". "Breakout" was released as a promo EP/single.
"Runaway" was inspired by Jon's observations of his journey to and from work where he was employed at The Power Station. He would see girls his own age who'd fallen down on their luck and having to resort of prostitution.
Jon Bon Jovi hated She Don't Know Me and it's to this day the only song that appears on a Bon Jovi album that doesn't have a writing credit from him.