“Runaway” is one hell of a song to start this series with.
There is so much meaning you can attribute to this first single from Bon Jovi
– and I will bite my teeth into that in a minute, so that will definitely be done.
But aside from the context of how this song was created, and how it landed as opening song on the very first and self-titled Bon Jovi album
Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi (1984),
it is also the only song that has been on the setlist consistently, almost as consistently as Bon Jovi’s biggest 80s hits from late 1986 and up.
So even though this single was never the mega-hit as those other songs were;
It has a special place in Bon Jovi canon, and by having it played for 35 years straight, it should probably have its own thesis written about it, and not a small blogpost which is just meant as the back story of my first #dailybonjoviyoga video, which I will shoot for my YouTube.
Runaway is the only Bon Jovi song that has been consistently played live for 35 years (with pre-pandemic 2019 as the last touring year), despite never having been their biggest single and dating from before the band was known.
And that makes Runaway a strong point to own your own history.
To be aware of what once was, but also to choose, tell, and in Bon Jovi’s case hammer HOME those facts using your own narrative.
A narrative is a story that you make from events mixed with what you believe or choose to be the way it should be looked at.
And now I m getting to the context of how the song was made, to see how choosing a narrative works.
Because Runaway is not a Bon Jovi song.
It was a song from Jon Bon Jovi solo, then still recording under his own name John Bongiovi. The other songs he released in those years were reissued later under several names one of them being the The Power Station Years.
They are reissued by the studio/ his father’s cousin Tony Bongiovi, and are (as far as I know) not official records.
So all songs were left behind so to speak, except one;
Which had been Jon Bon Jovi’s game changing song.
In 1982 he had pitched it himself to a new radio station, where they were still so in startup phase that they did not to even have a receptionist so he could walk straight up to the booth of the disc jockey.
The song became a hit, and the radio station turned out to be active in multiple states which then picked it up, and that’s how Runaway by John Bongiovi became a local hit/ hit in America.
So far not so much a chosen narrative, these are all facts.
When two years later, the band Bon Jovi was formed and they were at the studio for their first record, they chose to include Runaway. The song stayed exactly the same, all musicians on Runaway are the musicians from the Power Station Years.
And now here’s where the narrative steps in;
From I believe mid-90s, Jon introduces Runaway on concerts by counting back the years to 1982. You can find that video at the top of this page, and if it has been removed just check YouTube searching for
Bon Jovi live Runaway time machine
In this introduction Jon counts back to 1982, commemorating the moment he asks the dj to play the record and adds:
“And in 3 minutes and 30 seconds you’re gonna see, a rock n roll star”
Just like Jon screams “Stop!” when the time machine has landed at 1982;
Because what was that?
That was a narrative.
The more humble version of that same story of Runaway could also have been;
“Runaway was a song that really opened doors for me. So when in 1984 we were making our first album, we chose to put it on there because we wanted people to know who we were, you know,”
(this is all fiction, me, Suzanne, making up a story, Jon Bon Jovi never said these words)
“But after the 80s we stopped playing our first two records.”
So that would have been a totally different narrative to the story of Runaway, and there is even a third version where Runaway is pretty much shamed into not being good enough.
It goes like:
“Runaway was a good song at the time. But we all hated the video, and none of the other guys had played on this song you know. It was a good start, but it wasn’t a Bon Jovi song.”
So you see how these two other stories, other chosen narratives, just suck the life right out of you?
Even though the fact that the band at many points in its history has failed to be a real band, and two original members have dropped out, something which may not have happened if someone had listened to Richie Sambora trying to get it through to Jon Bon Jovi’s head that they were
An American Rock n Roll BAND
Can you see that choosing to include Runaway to be on the record, to keep playing it,
and to make it Bon Jovi canon to know how this was the song that started it all;
How that narrative has got as much pitfalls on a band-level as it has perks on a success-level?
That’s a narrative.
That’s choosing your perspective, and taking massive responsibility for the choices you have made.
That’s saying in a studio in 1984:
“Runaway is READY, it is GOOD, people know it! And we’d be fools to not put it out there, and kick start our career!
That’s saying every night on stage, since the mid 90s:
“The story of that “punk” becoming Jon Bon Jovi?
OF COURSE we’re gonna use that every night to spice up our show!”
So, what have you got on the shelves that is frickin’ READY?
And that OF COURSE you should be using, and milk it for the next 35 years?
Go GET THAT!
Rock Star Writer
Daily Bon Jovi Yoga
will be the first Daily Bon Jovi Yoga video I create
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YouTube playlist of The Power Station Years: