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Rock's Bon Jovi Captures Country Fans

It seems hard to believe, but it's been 20 years since Bon Jovi exploded onto the music scene.

Over that time, the group has become one of the most successful rock bands in history.

Now, front man Jon Bon Jovi is proving he can be a little bit country, too.

A song he wrote along with Bon Jovi band-mate Richie Sambora, "Who Says You Can't Go Home," hit the top spot on the country charts and stayed there for two weeks.

It as the first time a rock crossover hit had ever gone that high on country's lists.

"(It was) the 'Good Ole Bon Jovi Boy Band,' " Bon Jovi joked Monday with co-anchor Julie Chen of The Early Show.

"It's a nice little accolade, isn't it?" Bon Jovi observed. "It's a good story to tell your kids some day, and to tell your mother and father when they said, you know, country music was the way to go, not rock music. All that kind of, 'Can't hear the lyrics, what are you saying?' stuff."

Bon Jovi says he "really think about" how the song would be received at country music stations. "I think my initial reaction to this concept was, 'We'll make a little video, maybe CMT will play it. It will be that "one-and-one makes three," maybe.' You know? It wasn't that calculated. I'm not that smart. It was kismet. It was meant to happen and it did, and that's the end of it.

"It is a -- a nice little thing, if you consider how many of my peers, or even my heroes -- had written a song that may have crossed over, or may have been covered, and they never went the distance, you know. There was no Beatles song, Stones song, anything like that ever made it to the -- to No. 1, you know? So, it's nice."

Bon Jovi chose up-and-coming country singer Jennifer Nettles of the group "Sugarland" to do the song with him.

"She's very happy. One thing I didn't realize, and I was sort of afraid to ask prior, but read it, Sugarland, with the success of this debut record, hadn't had a No. 1 single, so this is her first No. 1.

"This is my sixth, and it feels just as good as the first time. But nonetheless, it's not my first time at the dance.

"It's broadening. Every — every day is an — an opportunity to write another memory, you know?"

Bon Jovi admitted, "It took me about 20 years to be able to write that lyric as honestly as it came out. Why people are relating to it the world over in different radio formats is because it's that honest. And it took me that long to realize there's only so far away from home that you can run until eventually you're on your way back home."

The song helps shed light on other dimensions of Bon Jovi's life: businessman, but more importantly, philanthropist. He's devoted his time and money to help the homeless, and recently received a Help USA award for his work with Habitat for Humanity. For people who were not aware

The video for "Who Says You Can't Go Home" features a real construction site in northern Philadelphia.

How did that come to pass?

"I've owned an Arena Football team in Philadelphia for three years now," Bon Jovi said. "I engaged my partner in a conversation and said, 'The way we're going to ingratiate ourselves here is to make a difference in the community.' We wanted to help bring back the neighborhood some of our players were actually from. And the site in north Philly was picked, and the band took its budget from the video, and I contributed the rest."

The song is also being used in tourism commercials to promote Bon Jovi's home state of New Jersey.