6 Really Hard-Rocking Bon Jovi Songs

New Jersey’s Bon Jovi have always been known for melodic, hook-laden anthems and dramatic ballads. They’ve scored a lot of hit singles across the decades, even beyond their ’80s heyday, and frontman Jon Bon Jovi is always trying to find ways to stay relevant. While the band has never been metal, they have occasionally cranked out a heavier tune than one might expect. Here are six great examples of Bon Jovi at their hardest.

“We Rule the Night” (outtake from 7800 Fahrenheit, 1985)
Recorded during the sessions for their sophomore album but finally released on their 2004 boxset 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong, “We Rule the Night” is essentially Bon Jovi’s attempt to sound metal. In this case, it felt a lot like Iron Maiden. It’s not a bad song, but it’s clear the band were not comfortable trading in this style of heavy rock. At the time, they were still developing their sound. Richie Sambora certainly had the guitar chops to be able to pull something like this off, but in the end it’s a fun curio to listen to so many years later.

“Fear” (from Keep the Faith, 1992)
When Bon Jovi released their fifth album Keep The Faith, it followed an extended hiatus and group therapy sessions to get the band back together and in sync. This platter was a little grittier and funkier than some of their previous work. This included the hard-hitting, quasi-metallic “Fear,” which is about people trying to escape the environment they’re trapped in but afraid to break out of. Each verse to chorus built up from subdued to powerfully intense, with Jon Bon Jovi’s vocals among his most aggressive. Along with “If I Was Your Mother,” this is one of the heaviest tracks on the album and one of Bon Jovi’s heaviest songs. It features some punchy production from Bob Rock of Metallica and Mötley Crüe fame.

“Good Guys Don’t Always Wear White” (from soundtrack of The Cowboy Way, 1994)
Featuting muscular guitar chords, hard-charging riffs, and raunchy Bon Jovi vocals, this track is a perfect fit for the frontman. He first showed off his cowboy fetish with his first solo album Blaze of Glory, which featured songs from and inspired by the movie Young Guns II. He had a brief cameo at the beginning of that film. There’s a nice wailing solo from Sambora in the middle of this soundtrack selection which is passionately high energy from start to finish.

“Hey God” (from These Days, 1995)

The opening track to Bon Jovi’s sixth album contrasted quietly tense verses and amped-up choruses. Plugged into the alt-rock zeitgeist of the time, it was also imbued with Sambora’s bluesy roots. An angsty six-minute track, “Hey God” found Bon Jovi railing against the injustices of the world and questioning the Almighty. I get down on my knees / I’m gonna try this thing your way / I seen a dyin’ man to proud to beg / Spit on his own grave / Was he too gone to save / Or did you even know his name / Are you the one to blame / I got something to say. This was the second Bon Jovi album where social issue songs emerged as the frontman sought to explore a more thoughtful mode in the vein of fellow Garden State rocker and personal icon Bruce Springsteen

“Undivided” (from Bounce, 2002)
This heavy, crunching track opened up the follow-up to their comeback album Crush. Released in a post-9/11 world, this song took on a very serious theme – exploring American solidarity in the wake of the Twin Towers terrorist attack. Yet while the song clearly was inspired by something specific, the singer remarked at the time it could also be applied to people in other dire circumstance in other parts of the world. Hence why specific names and references did not emerge in this anthem of unity. There was both a specific and universal message at play.

“Bullet” (from The Circle, 2009)
This album was seen by some as a harder rocking return to Bon Jovi’s roots, but clearly with more mature lyrics. An edgy track acting as a plea for sanity in a world rocked by gun violence, “Bullet” was inspired by the tragic murder of actress and singer Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother, and nephew by her estranged brother-in-law in October 2008. What is the distance between a bullet and a gun / God are you listening or have you just given up / We need forgiveness / We all need a lot of love.

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