Bon Jovi could never catch a break with critics. When the band first showed up in the mid ‘80s, the members’ gigantic hair and toothy grins got more attention than their music. But by the end of the decade, when their hero Bruce Springsteen started scaling back and getting more introspective in his work, Bon Jovi stepped in to fill the vacancy left for an arena-packing band of New Jersey rockers stepping up for their working-class fans. Suddenly, Bon Jovi were one of the biggest bands on the planet, with the ‘Slippery When Wet’ and ‘New Jersey’ albums both going to No. 1 and selling close to 50 million combined copies. They still didn’t get much critical respect. But who cares? Decades later, the group continued to pack venues and sell plenty of records (including a string that debuted at No. 1), while earning induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
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