Jon Bon Jovi turns 50
(CBS News) Rock superstar Jon Bon Jovi turns 50 Friday.
His hair may be shorter, but he and his band are still packing stadiums around the world. And when you watch him, it's easy to see how time flies when he and his fans are having fun.
Rock 'n' roll was a way for New Jersey born Bon Jovi to change his blue-collar life.
Alan Light, a contributor to Rolling Stone magazine, said, "Jon was one of those kids with a dream who saw rock 'n' roll as their way out of the working class life, and who saw music as a way to articulate the stuff they were thinking about and get to the life they wanted to have."
With the help MTV, Bon Jovi and his band rose to stardom in the 1980s with hits like "Runaway" and "You Give Love a Bad Name."
"His appearance and the appearance of the group, I think was essential because MTV was a big deal," Carol Miller, a disc jockey with New York station Q104.3. "They looked good, but they also sounded good."
Light added, "These were really well constructed and well recorded songs and they can still get up today and sing 'Living on a Prayer.'"
But when Kurt Cobain's band Nirvana arrived on the scene in 1991, Bon Jovi was pressured to change his sound to attract the grunge crowd.
"The minute grunge came in it was like 'it has to be grunge, it has to be grunge,'" Miller said. "I think a lot of radio programmers were looking to put grunge on their stations."
In a 2006 interview with "Sunday Morning," Bon Jovi said "(Cobain) kicked in the teeth of the music industry as it was. ... We didn't chase that bandwagon."
Bon Jovi re-emerged in 2000 with the power anthem "It's My Life."
The song helped re-establish and redefine the band, Light said. "(The song said,) 'We're still alive...we're still here.'"
"When I was growing up somebody who was 50 was like 'whoa, they're old and now you look at somebody who is 50 and look at Bon Jovi, you know what, he looks better than people who are 25," Maria Milito, another disc jockey from Q104.3 in New York, said.
Miller added, "If he's 50, then 50 is the new 20."
Songwriter and producer Desmond Child said Bon Jovi is more driven today than ever. He said, "There's so much more he wants to do."
"When you love what you do I really think that adds years to your life," Milito said. "And you know he loves to get on stage."
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