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.