Jon Bon Jovi’s Mother ‘Wanted to Crawl Under the Seats’ the 1st Time She Saw Him Perform: ‘It Was Horrible’

Jon Bon Jovi, whose real name is John Francis Bongiovi Jr., is one of the most influential people in the rock music industry.

Besides creating and fronting the Grammy Award-winning group Bon Jovi, the rockstar also has numerous acting credits — he’s starred in both films and TV shows, including The West Wing and U-571 — and leads his own charitable foundation.

Yet before he was a global celebrity, Bon Jovi was just a budding  musician who recently revealed that his first performance was “horrible” and embarrassed his mother. 

Jon Bon Jovi formed the rock band Bon Jovi in 1983

Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

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Bon Jovi first learned to play the guitar when he was seven years old, reports Britain’s Love It Loud.  This sparked his initial love for music, and he began listening to classic stars like Elton John and Bruce Springsteen. The British news outlet notes that Bon Jovi formed his first band, called Raze, while he was still in high school. 

His next band, the Atlantic City Expressway, had more success, reports, but his big break came in 1980.

“In 1980, Jon recorded his first single, Runaway, at his cousin’s studio, with back-up by studio musicians,” explains “A local radio station included the song on a compilation tape, and it began to get frequent airplay. The success of Runaway got [Bon Jovi] noticed, and he realized that he’d need more than session players if he wanted to capitalize on his success.”

In 1983, he formed his eponymous band Bon Jovi, who was quickly signed to a label and released their first album in 1984. The rest is proverbial history. According to Billboard, the band is successful “by any metric used to quantify a group’s success — ticket sales, awards, branding, chart-topping albums and steady global growth.”

“Since 2000 the band has sold 13 million tickets and grossed nearly $1 billion at the box office,” adds the outlet. 

The band Bon Jovi recently released their newest album ‘2020’

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Bon Jovi has been married to his high school girlfriend since the late 1980s. “They have four children, Stephanie, Jesse, Jacob and Romeo Jon,” reports

More recently, Bon Jovi and his group released their 15th studio album entitled 2020. As its name suggests, the album was released in 2020 after numerous COVID-19 pandemic-related delays. “On some level, Jon Bon Jovi has always wanted to be Bruce Springsteen,” says Stereoboard‘s music critic in a review of the latest album. “With Bon Jovi’s 2020 he has attempted to craft a prescient socio-political effort that hits with the same emotional force as something from the pen of the Boss.”

Despite the successes of Bon Jovi and his band, he wasn’t always so well-received by audiences. In fact, the singer reveals his first performance was embarrassing. 

Jon Bon Jovi’s first performance embarrassed his mother

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Actor Justin Long hosts the Wondery podcast Life is Short with Justin Long. During a recent episode, Long interviews Bon Jovi.

“Did you sing in school and church? Did you always have an aptitude for that?,” asks Long.

“I always liked it,” replies Bon Jovi. “I don’t know that it always liked me or the teachers believed I had any future in it. I don’t think that I was ever in their top three for anything.”

Bon Jovi laughs and says he was recently talking to his mom about his first performance.  “I was just having a conversation with my mother,” says Bon Jovi. “And she recalls the story much differently than I do, but she then admitted to the truth. She said, ‘Remember the first time you came off the stage at a talent contest with your first band?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I remember, you told me you wanted to crawl under the seats and that it was horrible.'”

Bon Jovi says his mother initially denied that she ever said that. “And then about 20 minutes later,” says Bon Jovi, “she goes, ‘Yeah, I think I did.'”