There is no doubt the following shall rankle the emotional sensibilities of classic rock fans everywhere.
So be it.
But it is those deeply embedded emotional sensibilities that always serve to preclude a more sober, objective, and even detailed analysis of the perception of reality manufactured and sold to the public through the spectacle of professional entertainments. As indicated in the last installment of this ongoing series of articles, the true nature of the pop music industry does not at all resemble the general public’s misinformed impressions.
Much like narcotics addicts, most rabid fans of popular music merely crave their emotional hit – in depth analysis be damned. Caught up in the glittering spectacle of light and sound, critical thinking is an afterthought, if not wholly sacrificed. Reason is often a foreign concept to fanatics. Many fail to realize the music business is not predicated on merit or talent index, but nepotism, and many of those stars idolized and even worshiped are often found portraying the role of more than one celebrity personality. The wholesale monopolization of an entire industry by an elite group of ruling families allows for such a practice to not only exist, but persist.
This installment shall deal with one of classic rock’s most iconic performers, a performer who during the heyday of their career was idolized and worshiped as New Jersey’s favorite son.
But, it was all a lie.
And no folks, we’re not talking about Bruce ‘the boss’ Springsteen.
The decade of the ‘hair band’ dominated eighties had not yet dawned, and MTV had not yet become a reality. But the birth of one of pop music’s most iconic rock stars was on the horizon – or so the concocted biographies claim. During the era of the late 1970’s, New York’s Record Plant served as a major hub for the pop music industry. Although a mere low level employee and all-purpose studio gopher at the Record Plant – as the story often goes – one young man was determined nothing would stand in the way of fulfilling his great dream of rock super stardom.
According to the biography of the star that would become known to the world of pop music as Jon Bon Jovi, America’s future rock god was born the son to two former Marines, barber John Francis Bongiovi and Playboy bunny turned florist (huh?), Carol Sharkey in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. While growing up , Jon attended St. Joseph High School. After graduation, Jon went to work for his uncle Tony Bongiovi at New York’s prestigious recording studio Record Plant cleaning toilets or scurrying to get coffee for the producers at the mixing desk busily directing sessions. It was there and then the germination of what would become his self-titled debut record was just beginning to fulminate in his mind. Or, so the public has been led to believe.
One shall notice the prevalence of military personnel written into the biographies of many pop and rock stars, including Jim Morrison, whose father was the Admiral commanding the American Fleet in the South Pacific during the Gulf of Tonkin hoax (See: Actors in history’s grand stage play Part IX). There is also Elvis Presley’s long-time manager Colonel Tom Parker, who history books fail to mention was a member of the Joints Chiefs of Staff in Washington D.C., and a specialist in psychological operations. It is also very worthy of note that St. Joseph’s High School was founded by the Jesuit order, a connection that keeps popping up again and again when it comes to the biographical details of many of American history’s renowned figures.
Regarding Bon Jovi’s ‘mother’, the former Marine and Playboy bunny turned ‘florist’, it must be pointed out that the late Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, not only had connections to the military, having served in what was termed a ‘chairborne’ infantry unit in the nation’s capital during the second world war, but also possessed well-documented connections to CIA. In truth, Hefner and Playboy were nothing more than a front for a CIA ‘honey pot’ , a sexual entrapment and blackmail scheme for high level politicians, Hollywood stars, and visiting foreign diplomats and dignitaries.
In other words folks, Hefner was a high class pimp and human trafficker for the Washington D.C. cocktail set. It has also been well documented that the pornography industry is deeply entrenched with the international narcotics and armaments trades, illicit activities which the Jesuit controlled CIA are heavily embroiled. The recording industry has been known to serve as a money laundry to wash the illicit profits. Once the money is washed through the books of the record companies, the transactions appear on the corporate quarterly reports as legitimate profits.
Bon Jovi’s first single was a Christmas Carol to R2-D2!
It is said that during the late night and early morning hours – those rare instances when the Record Plant had not been booked with another session – the young Bon Jovi, with guitar in hand, would tinker with the rough-hewed mixes of some demonstration tapes he had previously recorded. One of those rough mixes, was a song that would eventually launch the young dreamer’s stellar career – a three minute slice of adrenaline charged pop rock entitled ‘Runaway’.
Unknown to many, Jon Bon Jovi’s self-entitled debut album featuring the minor radio hit ‘Runaway’, which did not feature performances from any of the original members of the band later heard on subsequent albums, was not his first professional recording. While he was still toiling as a studio intern, an opportunity came about in 1980 for Bon Jovi to appear on his first professional recording effort, however inauspicious the end result may have been. Released on the now defunct RSO label, and produced by Bon Jovi’s accomplished cousin Tony, Jon sang lead on a Star Wars inspired holiday themed ditty entitled “R2-D2, We wish you a Merry Christmas.” For those interested parties, please feel free to listen and sing along:
Around this time, the producer of an iconic shock rock act called Kiss, Bob Ezrin, would quite often utilize the Record Plant to book sessions. However, just after the platinum level success achieved by the band’s landmark album ‘Destroyer’, Kiss had arrived at a career crossroads and faced two immediate problems; their guitarist Ace Frehley had been dismissed from the band, and with plummeting record sales and their seventies rock heyday clearly on the wane, the band was looking for a new sound that could rejuvenate a flagging career, providing them with some much needed momentum during those short years preceding the heralded arrival of the MTV era.
The band had chosen the Record Plant as their main headquarters from which to hold auditions in the hope of discovering and eventually hiring a permanent replacement for the departed Frehley. In addition to future eighties rock pin-up Billy Squire and even rock guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen, one of the young hopefuls Ezrin presented to the band was a youthful New York native by the name of Richie Sambora. Though Kiss would eventually choose Vincent Cusano aka Vinnie Vincent as their new lead axeman, Sambora would later claim he in fact had been chosen as the band’s replacement guitarist, but ultimately chose to decline on the basis of alternative musical and career considerations.
According to Kiss front man Paul Stanley, Sambora informed the band’s management he was looking to sign with an act that possessed a more “blues based sound.” To which an amused Stanley quipped upon recollection in a recent tell-all biography of the band he helped make famous, while conceding the band Bon Jovi would go on to create some popularly memorable music selections, their entire discography “would never be confused with that of Howlin’ Wolf.”
Contrary to public opinion, the music industry is a very incestuous business, and when one endeavors to dig beneath the thin facade of biographies created by the record companies, one finds a curious entanglement of relationships regarding all facets of the industry. The young star in the making, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sambora, with the Record Plant serving as the nexus point in their budding musical relationship, struck up an affinity that would spawn an award winning and stadium headlining act well met with more than a modicum of public hysteria.
However, Bon Jovi’s biographical account would have the public believe – as usual – that the career beginning of the future rock and roll hall of fame inductee was the result of mere chance, when it was most likely prearranged. The music business is a multi-billion dollar industry, after all, and nothing, folks, is left to chance.
But there are other noticeable anomalies when it comes to the story of Jon Bon Jovi.
Employing a keen eye for detail, one always notices a common denominator in terms of narrative when it comes to celebrity biographies. Although this tactic is not confined to the biographies of pop music icons, the public is always led towards the perception the biggest stars have somehow overcome the limitations of humble economic or social limitations to scale the heights of fame and fortune. At least in the case of Jon Bon Jovi, his entire biographical sketch turns out to be not only dubious, but total rubbish.
Though this may sound incredulous, before Bon Jovi became renowned as one of America’s celebrated pop and rock stars, he had already been somewhat famous – and had worked professionally under another pseudonym.
How is this possible, one may ask?
The Bee Gees
The pop super group the Bee Gees, a legendary harmonizing vocal trio of Gibb family siblings, are perhaps best remembered for their stellar chart topping late 1970’s Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack. What is lesser known is that they were stars in Australia and New Zealand long before then. Born and raised on the Isle of Mann, the Gibb brothers formed their first musical group in 1958, and soon after, they booked and worked their first professional engagements in Manchester, England as the Rattlesnakes. But their first chart topping successes came when the entire Gibb family moved almost half-way around the world to Queensland, Australia, then to the now defunct suburb of Cribb Island, which in 1980 was taken by eminent domain to build Brisbane Airport.
But it wasn’t until the band returned to England in the fall of 1967 at the behest of music industry heavyweight Sir Robert Stigwood, that the group began to experience more than marginal international notoriety. As the paisley adorned 1960’s faded, the emergence of the early 1970’s witnessed the band notching a string of successful hits, and as accomplished songwriters, were often employed as song doctors for other popular artists in both the UK and the US. Meanwhile, the youngest male sibling of the Gibb family, Andy, began making his own way on the road to pop success, following much the same career pattern as his elder brothers.
In 1975, Andy Gibb had recorded an entire album’s worth of material that was released on a major recording label, but the record met with little pubic acclaim. Choosing to take a career trajectory similar to that of his brothers, Andy journeyed to Australia under the guidance of the ubiquitous Sir Robert Stigwood, where he fronted a band called Zenta. After several well attended live performances, Andy’s well-scrubbed teen idol gleam and smoothly delivered tenor began to catch on with the Australian press and the record buying pubic. Curiously, upon listening to some of Andy’s live performances with Zenta, one noticed the singer in the midst of attempting to develop a more rock oriented and rougher vocal delivery, a marked difference from the more smoothly nuanced falsetto evidenced on previous studio recordings. Was Andy Gibb in fact already preparing for a change in musical direction, image, and identity that had perhaps been prepared for him in advance by his masters in the music industry?
With the performances featured in the following pair of videos, the first of which is an Andy Gibb live televised performance from Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special, one shall notice the almost ethereal quality of Gibb’s falsetto vocal delivery. The latter video features Jon Bon Jovi performing his debut 1984 single, ‘Runaway’. Pay especial attention to the vocal audio just prior to when the recorded track begins to fade out. Bon Jovi pushes his vocal into a dramatic upper register falsetto. The shimmering and almost angelic vocal quality is stunningly identical to that heard on the previous live performance from Andy Gibb.
Although Jon Bon Jovi was never heard again utilizing this vocal quality on subsequent recordings throughout the eighties, what is heard during the waning moments of his debut 1984 hit single one believes to be rather telltale in combination with the positive results of facial recognition software analysis. Perhaps even more intriguing still, are the following lyrics from 1987’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”:
It’s all the same, only the names will change
Everyday, it seems we’re wasting away.
Another place where the faces are so cold
I drive all night just to get back home
I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride, I’m wanted, DEAD OR ALIVE
And to think, this was a mere one year before the alleged death of Andy Gibb, nearly simultaneous with the emergence of a new rock superstar, Jon Bon Jovi.
Coincidence? Not a chance.
What seals the deal is this: Gibb’s long-time partner in romance, Victoria Principal, and Jon Bon Jovi’s wife Dorothy, are in fact portrayed by the identical host actress Lesley Gibb. This is the key method of operation as to how the identity of host actors, whether it be within the entertainment sphere of Hollywood, politics, and the music industry are kept tightly compartmentalized. The secret of a host actor’s various celebrity career identities are effectively kept from the public, and from any unforeseen legal difficulties by the utilization of siblings posing as lovers or in many cases marital spouses.
Yes folks, believe it or not, the late Andy Gibb and American rock and roll icon Jon Bon Jovi are indeed, one and the same.