Bon Jovi and Chris Christie: It’s Complicated

The New Jersey rocker gave the governor permission to use his songs.

(AP Photo/Mel Evans, Pool)

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

When Chris Christie took the stage at his high school alma mater to announce his presidential run, he entered and left to the music of a New Jersey rocker. Not Bruce Springsteen—Christie is a fanatic Boss devotee—but Jon Bon Jovi. It was no surprise a Springsteen tune wasn’t used; he’s a well-known supporter of Democratic candidates and has lampooned Christie for the Bridgegate scandal.

But Bon Jovi? He, too, is a backer of Democrats. In fact, the previous night he and his wife hosted a fundraiser for Clinton: an intimate concert which cost $2,700 per person and netted in the neighborhood of half a million dollars for her campaign. In 2007, he donated $2,300 to Clinton’s primary campaign, and $4,600 to Obama after Clinton left the race. He’s donated to other Democrats as well — including Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.). And, in 2010, Obama appointed Bon Jovi to serve on an advisory council to help develop community outreach programs.

So why were his anthemic rock songs being used to sell Christie? Did the governor make the common mistake of trying to expropriate a song from a rocker who would subsequently complain and denounce the candidate. (See Donald Trump and Neil Young.)

Well, Christie did the honorable thing. He asked for permission. And Bon Jovi said yes. In a statement to Mother Jones, Bon Jovi explained, “My friendships are apolitical. And, yes, I absolutely gave him permission to use my songs.”

The back story: Though Bon Jovi has been a committed Democrat who has devoted much time and money to assisting the D—and he’s a been a die-hard fan of Bill and Hillary Clinton—he and Christie became pals during the Hurricane Sandy period. During that time, the singer was much involved in the relief effort. So when Christie asked to use his tunes—including “We Weren’t Born To Follow”—Bon Jovi put friendship ahead of politics.

But Christie didn’t use what is perhaps Bon Jovi’s biggest hit, “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Bon Jovi sang that song at the Hillary Clinton fundraiser.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend