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Bon Jovi took their name from lead singer Jon Bon Jovi (born Jon Bongiovi), who spent his adolescence playing in local Jersey bands with David Bryan (born David Rashbaum). Jon’s cousin Tony Bongiovi owned the celebrated New York recording studio the Power Station and Jon spent many hours there, working as a janitor and recording demos after hours, sometimes supported by members of the E Street Band or Aldo Nova.

One of those demos, “Runaway,” became a hit on local New Jersey radio and led to the formation of Bon Jovi the band, as Jon and Bryan were supported by guitarist Dave Sabo, bassist Alec John Such, and drummer Tico Torres. “Runaway” spurred a major-label bidding war, leading to a contract with Polygram/Mercury in 1983. Before the group entered the studio, though, Bon Jovi replaced Sabo with Richie Sambora, a working guitarist with a long résumé, including a stint as a member of Message.

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