Where the words all rhyme

Bon Jovi

Keeping the faith: fans shine like stars at the Bon Jovi ‘Because We Can’ concert, Melbourne 7 Dec 2013

Last night, to the bemusement of everyone I know (bar a handful of fellow 80s pop tragics) I attended a Bon Jovi concert in Melbourne.

Most people don’t get my love of the formerly hirsute boys from New Jersey, seeing it as somehow at odds with my identity as a a literary type. Yet it is precisely Bon Jovi’s love of words that draws me to them.

In the world of Bon Jovi, words hold the power of life, love and death. Take for example this lyric from their 1994 power ballad ‘Always’ from Cross Road:

I’ll be there till the stars don’t shine
Till the heavens burst and
The words don’t rhyme

When running out of rhymes is placed on the same level as annihilation of the universe, you know you’re dealing with some serious logophiles.

Bon Jovi also recognises the value of those who work with words. In the single ‘In These Arms’ from 1992’s Keep The Faith, the depth of feeling for an absent lover is expressed by drawing a parallel with the creative process:

Baby I want you
Like the roses want the rain
You know I need you
Like a poet needs the pain.

Of course, writing poetry, while painful, is not as devastating as running out of ryhmes. But still.

The transformative power of words recurs as a theme in ‘(You Want To) Make a Memory’, from their 2007 album Lost Highway. A couple reunite, talk about old times, laugh at photos of ‘all that hair we had’. She doesn’t know whether to stay. He tries to talk her into it by suggesting they ‘make a memory’ and ‘steal a piece of time’. But it’s not what you’re thinking:

You can sing the melody to me
And I could write a couple lines.

As any songwriter, poet or novelist can tell you, it’s writing, not shagging, that is the stuff of memories.

I trust this post makes clear once and for all that my appreciation of Bon Jovi has everything to do with our shared love and respect for the written word — and nothing to do with this smile.


About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne-based crime writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. Her first novel, Behind the Night Bazaar won the 2004 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. She is a winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award and has thrice been shortlisted for Ned Kelly awards. Her third novel, The Dying Beach, was also shortlisted for the 2014 Davitt Award. Angela teaches writing and is currently studying for her PhD in Creative Writing at Monash University.
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12 Responses to Where the words all rhyme

  1. Bon Jovi is one of my all-time favourites and is still amazing. Yes, great smile: but actually, I think it’s become a bit weird. The cosmetic dental work is so pronounced that the teeth are almost glacier-blue white. Movie-star white would have done!


  2. You haven’t quite convinced me of the merits of Bon Jovi but I like the fact you are an out and proud fan


  3. Angela – I can’t imagine that smile has anything to do with it… And about words? I do know what you mean. There are just some people who are especially gifted with choosing words that express things in a neat, elegant way.


  4. FictionFan says:

    You almost had me convinced right up to the last line… 😉


  5. Angela, I still listen to “Always” and love the song. Thanks for this interesting post.


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