Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi)
best known as the lead guitarist for Bon Jovi,
handles harmony and background vocals, and joins
front man Jon Bon Jovi in writing most of the band’s songs over the course of their twenty-five
year run. He has also released two solo albums, Stranger In This Town in 1991, and Undiscovered
Soul in 1998. Sambora attended Woodbridge High School. His main influences were Eric Clapton,
Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, and Joe Kmiecik.
Richie played on a recently released album called Lessons from a band called “Message”.
album was recorded in the early 1980s. His guitar work is also featured on the track Misery on
Pink’s 2001 album Missundaztood with Steven Tyler.
In 2004, Sanctuary Records released a self-titled album which had been recorded in 1978 by
Shark Frenzy, documenting Sambora’s first recorded material.
The mix tapes had been damaged
in a flood and it had taken band member Bruce Foster to remaster them for them to be released so
many years later.
Richie got his first guitar when he was just 12 years old. Throughout his career as a guitarist,
Richie has displayed an impressive knack for feeling out a guitar solo to the point that it not only
follows the key of the song, but the chord progression as well.
His technique displays remarkable
variety – his soloing in “Wanted Dead or Alive” is laden with artificial harmonics, whereas his riffing
for “Livin’ on a Prayer” makes extensive use of palm muting. Developing his guitar technique in an
era laden with wild soloing inspired by Eddie Van Halen, Richie developed a unique style of speed
and precision but it took him a few attempts to impress Jon Bon Jovi.
When Jon first saw Richie
play he didn’t think he was good enough: however he soon changed his opinion after working
with Richie. Richie was also one of the first 80’s mainstream guitarists to make use of the talk-
box. Talk-box was also used by other guitarists, notably Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Jeff Beck, Joe
Perry of Aerosmith, and Peter Frampton. The talk-box can be heard clearly in “Livin’ on a Prayer”
and “It’s My Life”.
Outside of Bon Jovi, Richie has released two solo albums and numerous songs for movie
soundtracks (Banger Sisters, On The Line). He also made a cameo in the movie “On The Line”.
His first solo outing was “Stranger In This Town”, a blues-influenced album that was received well
by many critics and guitar affectionados. Eric Clapton made an appearance on the album but it did
not fare too well commercially. Richie later admitted that this was due to the fact that he was
writing songs from an artistic point, rather than writing a radio oriented album.
album did establish Richie as a top rate guitarist, revealing a different side of him that was not
widely recognizable during Bon Jovi’s 80’s heyday. His blues influences would later be present on
some of Bon Jovi records as well, notably on 1995’s “These Days”.
“Undiscovered Soul” was Richie’s second solo album, released in 1998. The album was produced
by Don Was.
He lives in California and married actress Heather Locklear in 1994. They had a daughter Ava
Elizabeth in October 1997. In February 2006, Locklear filed for divorce.
He has appeared in several movie and TV cameos, notably the film ‘On The Line’ as ‘The Mick’,
and the ‘Chris Isaak’ show as himself. Recent ventures have seen him compose television theme
tunes for both Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. He is a shareholder of the Philadelphia Soul,
an Arena Football League football team.
Over the years, Richie has been an ardent fundraiser for many charities, such as Dream Street, the
Steve Young Foundation and Michael J Fox’s Parkinson’s charity.
1 Every Road Leads Home to You 125
2 Ballad Of Youth 76
3 In It For Love 73
3 Stranger In This Town 73
5 Father Time 68
6 One Light Burning 62
7 Rosie 55
8 Hard Times Come Easy 53
9 Seven Years Gone 49
9 Church Of Desire 49
11 Made In America 45
12 Weathering the Storm 39
12 Learning How to Fly With a Broken Wing 39
12 Undiscovered Soul 39
15 Nowadays 38
. . .