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Jon Bon Jovi: 'It's been a life well spent' and 'a work in progress'

Jon Bon Jovi discusses his career and the documentary "Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
1 of 5 | Jon Bon Jovi discusses his career and the documentary "Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, April 24 (UPI) -- Jon Bon Jovi said the docuseries Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, premiering Friday on Hulu, made him proud of his life as a musician due to his song catalog and performance history.

The four part series traces the origins of his band from 1984 through its leader's recent vocal surgeries.

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"It's been a life well spent thus far, but it's a work in progress," Bon Jovi, 62, said at a recent Television Critics Association panel. "I was lucky enough to have a dream and be able to pursue it, and I still am pursuing it."

Bon Jovi had a hit with "Runaway" off its debut, self-titled album in 1984. It was 1986's Slippery When Wet that launched the hit songs "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Wanted, Dead or Alive."

"At 20, when I got a record deal, I didn't have a lot else to write about other than high school," Bon Jovi said. "To grow with your public, I think you have to tell your truth and not pretend to be something you're not."

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"Livin' on a Prayer" was an anthem for working class couple Tommy and Gina struggling to get by. They also were mentioned in a later song, "It's My Life," about persevering against life's difficulties.

"Wanted" began a western motif that Bon Jovi explored further in his solo soundtrack to Young Guns II. Love songs like "I'll Be There For You" and "Bed of Roses" expressed regret over letting a partner down.

Bon Jovi said he remains proud of his 40-year catalog of songs from which to make set lists at concerts, and he is pleased to hear from international fans who connect with his music, including some world leaders.

"I received a two-page handwritten, long-form letter from President Zelensky telling me what 'It's My Life' has meant to the people of Ukraine," Bon Jovi said. "Holy [expletive]. To realize that the effect that some of these songs have had on cultures is humbling."

The band and the music industry have evolved over 40 years, and Bon Jovi said that the group also adapted to evolving technology -- from cassette tapes to CDs and streaming music.

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In the business, Bon Jovi added, the band has outlasted many executives.

"When record company presidents come in, I say, 'I'll see you on the way out,'" he said. "I've seen them come in, and I've seen them go. I've seen the buildings come and go. I've seen the name changes come and go."

In addition to Sambora, Thank You, Goodnight also interviews band members David Bryan, Tico Torres, Hugh McDonald and Phil X. Bon Jovi said he encouraged them to speak their truths and asked director Gotham Chopra to include those in the final cut.

"That stung and then I got over it," Bon Jovi said. "By being able to truly speak the truth without fear of repercussion or bruised egos, it makes you appreciate it more."

Throughout the four episodes of Thank You, Goodnight, Chopra also follows Bon Jovi through medical appointments and vocal lessons. He had vocal cord surgery in 2022 because of an atrophied vocal chord.

"The strong one was pushing the weak one aside," he said.

By Part 4, Bon Jovi still was working his way back up to a live performance that could match his past touring days. He has a new album, Forever, coming June 7 but has not yet decided whether he can tour again.

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"I can write you a song, I can perform as well as anybody, but I need to get my tools back," Bon Jovi said. "If I can't go out and do 2 1/2 hours a night, four nights a week, [I'll say] 'Thank you, goodnight.'"

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