Jon Bon Jovi has never been known as the most technically gifted singer in the rock ‘n’ roll canon. Instead, Bon Jovi was always notable for how he was able to make the most of a limited range, making the most of charisma and smoke and mirrors when belting out his band’s massive choruses. These days, though, Jon Bon Jovi is going viral for all the wrong reasons, and people seem to be both horrified and concerned at the state of his voice.
Bon Jovi returned to the road at the beginning of April, spending a month on a North American arena tour. The reviews have not been good. In the past few weeks, videos of Bon Jovi shanking notes have gotten heavy traffic on TikTok and YouTube, to the point where the Asbury Park Press, Jon Bon Jovi’s local paper, has run a story speculating on why Jon Bon Jovi’s vocal performances have been, as one TwinCities.com review termed it, “shockingly poor.”
The Asbury Park Press quotes voice and voice pedagogy associate professor Matt Edwards, who says, “Bon Jovi should check in with a laryngologist and get his vocal folds looked at. There’s all kinds of things that can creep up and cause problems, many of which we have no control over.” Edwards notes that Jon Bon Jovi had to stop singing for two weeks last October because of a COVID-19 infection and says that his vocal issues could have something to do with prolonged COVID effects. The Darkness leader Justin Hawkins also posted a YouTube video commenting on what’s going on with Bon Jovi’s voice. Hawkins says that the videos of Bon Jovi are “sad” and suggests that he might need to take more rest time before playing more shows.
For some idea of what we’re talking about, here’s Bon Jovi suffering on the mic on “You Give Love A Bad Name” in Houston on 4/26:
That was the third song in the setlist, so it’s not like Bon Jovi’s voice was wearing down over the course of a long show. Here’s “Wanted Dead Or Alive” in Raleigh a few weeks earlier:
And there’s also been some speculation that Bon Jovi was lip-syncing while performing “Living On A Prayer,” sometimes with his back to the audience:
Get well soon, Jon Bon Jovi!