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Culture

Bon Jovi Popularity Soars in Germany

Bon Jovi's new album begins a second week atop the European Top 100 Albums chart, after securing a second week at No. 1 in Germany.

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It's official: Germans love Jon Bon Jovi

As the Superman tattoo emblazoned across his left shoulder would indicate, Jon Bon Jovi's musical career seems to know no bounds. Not only has the band been one of America's most successful, longest running acts, but the ever-rising popularity of the band outside of the states, particularly in Europe, has elevated the group into a select group of truly global acts.

One market in particular that seemingly can't get enough of Jon Bon Jovi is Germany. After a three-year break, the group recently announced a spring tour that will see them performing next May in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Koblenz, Stuttgart, Munich and at the Hessentag in Kassel.

Bon Jovi's International Push

So how did it happen? I mean when one examines the width and breadth of pop-metal--how is it that Bon Jovi remained the only band left standing after the purges of the mid-nineties that saw the end of Van Halen, Poison, Guns and Roses, Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard?

Jon Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi's fan base stretches across Europe

Part of the equation might be equal parts luck and serendipity. After years of relentless touring the band took a 5 year recording hiatus between 1995 and 2000--a time when 1980's style arena rock dramatically fell from fashion.

Much to the music industry's surprise, when the reinvigorated Bon Jovi emerged in 2000 with " Crush," it appealed to a new generation of fans, especially abroad.

"We built a fan base around the world that a lot of American bands didn't take that time to do," said John Bon Jovi in 2001 interview. "In our case, when the lean years came in the States, we were always able to go to Europe or Asia, South America or Australia."

Move over Hasselhoff

Bon Jovi's second wave of European popularity came on the heels of the howling success of Crush and its run-away single "It's My Life." Like most of the band's albums, Crush had been panned by critics everywhere for being simplistic, dumb and out of touch. It was however, a huge success in Germany, where Bon Jovi's quintessential American music and American good looks actually seem exotic. Volkswagen even designed a Bon Jovi version of the Golf in 1996.

Jon Bon Jovi Album, Have a nice day

Have a Nice Day is topping European charts

Jovi's most recent Album, Have a Nice Day set a sales record for the band by selling 201,881 units during the first week, besting the band’s previous first-week peak of 159,000 units for Bounce in 2002. But the performer hardly thinks of himself as a superhero--if you ask him, he's just a regular guy from the New Jersey, albeit in leather pants.

"People used to ask me, 'What type of music do you play? Pop, hard rock or metal? and I'd always say, 'It's rock & roll', and it's the same with the 'American' tag. Yeah, it's American, but it's also just universal music," he said.

"Language hasn't held it back. Boy bands or whatever, they have limits to what they can do. But when 9 million people like your stuff, it can only be because it's thematic and universal."

From New Jersey to Stuttgart and beyond

Bon Jovi unterstützt John Kerry

Bon Jovi's songs have often taken on a political meaning

Reflecting on this vein of universalism that has been pegged to his band in recent years Bon Jovi told USA's Metro, "It was the same with 'Keep the Faith,' which came right after the wall came down in Berlin. I had no idea it would be taken as a statement about East meets West in Germany and the fall of the Soviet Union. When I wrote it, those things hadn't even happened yet, but when it came out--well, the repercussions were huge, 10 million people thought that's what it was about. Similarly, 'Living on a Prayer' was about two kids I knew in New Jersey--turns out everyone knows someone like them."

"When I was writing 'It's My Life,' I thought I was writing very self-indulgently about my own life and where I was in it. I didn't realize that the phrase 'It's my life' would be taken as being about everyone--by teenagers, by older guys, mechanics, whatever. 'It's my life, and I'm taking control.' Everyone kind of feels that way from time to time."

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