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Daniels, Neil: The Bon Jovi Encyclopaedia (book)

You've got to be a hardcore fan of a given band to read an encyclopedia devoted to practically every nuance of said band's career. Considering I am arguably a bigger Bon Jovi supporter than my esteemed SoT colleagues, I was assigned to review this 284-page A-to-Z distillation of everything Bon Jovi. From lengthy band-member profiles, album reviews and tour dates to affiliated artists, songwriting collaborators and significant venues, author Neil Daniels leaves practically no territory uncovered. There are even entries for "rehab" ("In 2007, during his divorce from Heather Locklear, Richie Sambora spent two separate stints in rehab") and "humanitarianism" ("Bon Jovi have received widespread acclaim for their commitment to helping others").

Additionally, there are plenty of vintage photographs including a rare group studio shot featuring "unofficial" bassist Hugh McDonald and interviews with the likes of band fashion designer Ray Brown and former Gentle Giant front man/Bon Jovi A&R man Derek Shulman. Daniels even sparks interest in Sambora's pre-Bon Jovi band Shark Frenzy and reminds readers that Billy Squier produced Jon Bon Jovi's "Runaway" demo at Manhattan's Power Station Studios in 1982. An admitted fan who claims Slippery When Wet as his favorite Bon Jovi album, Daniels also is brutally honest (read: surprisingly negative) in his assessment of certain songs, albums and incidents surrounding the band.

In some cases, though, the British writer whose work appears in Powerplay and Fireworks magazines skirts controversy. He refers to two disturbing allegations of plagiarism against Bon Jovi in 2008 (under "plagiarism," of course) and reprints a lengthy e-mail from one of the accusers that charges Jon and guitarist Sambora with stealing song ideas from demo tapes from "aspiring musicians who trusted them with their creations for a shot at success." No updates on the charges or a rebuttal from the Bon Jovi camp are included. And Daniels completely misses on some key details, neglecting to mention, for example, that guitarist Dave Amato (who once was part of a solo Sambora touring band) replaced Gary Richrath in REO Speedwagon two decades ago. He also could have used a proofreader, referring to Bon Jovi's 1994 anthology Cross Road in plural form and calling drummer Tico Torres "Ticco" more than once.

But for the most part, the Bon Jovi Encyclopaedia should please serious fans. And like all decent rock books, it generates renewed interest in the music. I even pulled out some CDs I hadn't spun in years, namely the solo debuts of Jon Bon Jovi (Blaze of Glory) and Richie Sambora (Stranger in the This Town). Plus, now I know who Dina Carroll is.

Added: May 10th 2009
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Neil Daniels Web Site
Hits: 1999
Language: english

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