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Even decades later, 1980s music lives on in the hearts of those who grew up on it and the generations who’ve since discovered it. Of course, Bon Jovi has consistently released new music ever since then. But there’s something special about the band’s early work, when bandmates Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora discovered the special connection they shared as songwriters.

Bon Jovi released their debut album in 1984

Over the past 40 years, Bon Jovi has released 15 albums. But the band first burst on the scene with its 1984 self-titled release. This first album featured such hits as “Runaway” and “She Don’t Know Me.” But in hindsight, it was really just a stepping stone for bigger success to follow. Bon Jovi released their second album, 7800° Fahrenheit, the next year, with hits like “Only Lonely.”

But 1986 saw the band reach what still remains its greatest accomplishment. That year, Bon Jovi released its third album, the Diamond-selling Slippery When Wet. The album features three of the band’s biggest hits, including “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.” That last track even won the band an MTV Video Music Award that year.

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora share a creative mindset

Much of the band’s success rests on the songwriting team of Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Bon Jovi even told American Songwriter that “the best collaborators are people that can pick up on somebody’s better qualities and use that to his or her advantage.”

Sambora added it takes “respect and a non-egotistical look at your own material.” 

According to Bon Jovi, Holly Knight –- the duo’s co-writer on the 1988 song “Stick to Your Guns” -–  pointed out how wild the creative connection was between Bon Jovi and Sambora. The song was featured on the band’s New Jersey album.

“[It] was just so simple to write, and Holly just sat there,” Bon Jovi told American Songwriter. “She told me later ‘I was just in a state of shock. I had no idea you guys read each other’s minds. You knew exactly what you were doing and you just went boom, boom, boom’.”

Richie Sambora might rejoin the band soon

Jon Bon Jovi and Ritchie Sambora performing in 2008.
Bon Jovi performing in 2008 I Bill Tompkins/Getty Images

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In 2013, Sambora left Bon Jovi after 30 years with the band. Although his exit was chalked up to unspecified personal reasons, fans have recently had reason to hope that Sambora might return to the fold sometime soon. He’s only since made a single guest appearance with the band in 2018, though he seems open to coming back soon.

“We’re talking about it. I don’t think there’s any reason not to [return] at this point,” Sambora told Absolute Radio in a 2023 interview. “I mean, [Jon and I] we did something… there’s not a lot of bands that did what we did. […] We have to get out there and do it for the fans really.”