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I Had No Idea Bon Jovi Covered 'The Boys Are Back In Town'

Picture it: Saturday night and I'm on my way home from the grocery. Yeah, that's how I roll. Saturday night and the grocery. So my groceries are loaded, I'm back in the car and Hair Nation is on my radio. On pops Bon Jovi's "The Boys Are Back In Town." I was just floored! I knew the band did the song live in concerts occasionally back in the day, but I had no idea it was an official recording.

So many bands have covered the Thin Lizzy track, I don't know why I'm surprised when I run across another... but this Bon Jovi find really threw me for a loop! A little research and I learn the song was included on the 1989 compilation album Stairway to Heaven/Highway to Hell. That album was comprised of all the bands that played the Moscow Music Peace Festival. The Bon Jovi cover of "The Boys Are Back In Town" is also featured on the soundtrack to the movie Navy Seals (which I've never seen or even heard of by the way).

What is your opinion of this Bon Jovi cover?

Reader Comments (21)

While I mean no offense to either John Francis Bongiovi or Michael Biehn, the song and the movie exist in about the same realm. This remake is to covers what that movie is to films.
June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHim
Interesting story about Navy Seals: when my mother and step-father rented the film, they discovered that it had been filmed in and around Hampton, VA. One scene the guy dove into the river at one spot and came back up in another spot...several miles away and technically impossible to swim up that river at that point. Later on there is a funeral scene, and Mom suddenly says, "That's Daddy's tree!" See, my grandfather is buried in Hampton National Cemetery and the landmark we use to find the grave is a huge oak tree. Sure enough, the tree is in the scene.
So I guess I could say that I have a (rather distant) connection to Jon Bon

June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChessie
I'm dumbfounded that you've managed to avoid this cover tune.

One thing about Bon Jovi, On their singles, the B-sides were almost never just another album cut. You usually got a little obscure gem like a demo, an old 60's cover song, (Sonny & Cher's "Bang Bang" being the best of those,) or an acoustic version of the Bon Jovi hit of the day... (sometimes you got 2).

Back in the day of the cassette-single , one of the few times America's record industry was smart enough to ape the UK's EP driven industry.
June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
I always though hat they did an admirable job of this iconic Lizzy song.And Ace, I will have to root around and see if I can unearth "Bang Bang". Thanks!
June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGary
I always liked Thin Lizzy, but I've never been a big fan of "The Boys Are Back In Town". The Bon Jovi cover is about as good as "Navy Seals" which isn't very good at all.
June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean
what Him says.

but seriously ally, how could you not know that? "well, guess who's back in circulation?" any thoughts?
June 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
I forgot I had the Stairway to Heaven/Highway to Hell CD. I bought it used at one of my favorite local music stores...Budget Music & Video. I am sure those workers hated seeing me as I would spent hours looking through those used CDs. Good memories indeed!
June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterImpaler
I'm positive, Impaler, that those workers loved you.
June 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
I picked up the "Navy Seals" Soundtrack several years ago expressly for the Bon Jovi cover.

Always loved the original Thin Lizzy version. Bon Jovi's version is useful for everyone's 80's Hair Metal playlists. I've got it on one called "Party Metal". And I've also got it on one titled "Covered In Metal", which needless to say, is all 80's Metal covers of mainly 60's and 70's Classic Rock and Pop (as of now 200 songs and nearly 13 hours long).

Had the song been better recorded and mixed it would be even better, obviously. The guitars lack punch (seems like most of their stuff suffers from this for reasons I'm sure you can easily guess) as well as the drums sounding a bit hollow.

Sure would be cool if they did a whole remastered disc of B Sides or box set where they could salvage this and whatever else that would be worthy of the process (which isn't much, to be honest).

p.s. I'm sure I'm not alone in discovering 80's Movie Soundtracks are a great source for covers and other non-lp tracks by our favorite bands. Generally, the worse the movie, the better the soundtrack. Some of my better discoveries are Kick Axe's kick a*s (appropriately) version of the Humble Pie classic, "30 Days In The Hole", Warrant's cover of Queen's "We Will Rock You" from the 1992 film "Gladiator" (no, not that "Gladiator") and nearly the entire soundtrack of 1987's "Less Than Zero", produced by non other than Rick Rubin, including Slayer's only good song, their cover of Iron Butterfly's simultaneously laughable and monumental classic, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida". Even funnier, is the story that Slayer hates their version and will never forgive Rubin for making them do it. These clowns are so blinded by their own arrogance, they don't realize how much better it is than their original crap.
June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Oops! Kick Axe's version of "30 Days In The Hole" appears on the "Up The Creek" Soundtrack along with the title track by Cheap Trick among other great non-lp stuff. Of course, you can now find the Cheap Trick stuff on their superb Box Set, "Sex, America, Cheap Trick" which is a good thing since "Up The Creek" has never been released on CD.

Interestingly, you can also get Kick Axe's "30 Days" as a bonus track on certain cassette copies of the Canadian press of their excellent "Vices" album. Alas, it's never been put out on CD! For a quick fix, if you've never had the privilege of hearing the Kick Axe version of "30 Days In The Hole", go to YouTube.
June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Dang Ally.....Surprised to read this one. Jovi covered it for the Moscow Music Peace Record, Stairway to Heaven/Highway to Hell. I thought there were some kick a** covers on that album. My personal favorite was the Skids cover of Holidays In the Sun. WOW, this takes me back!!!!
June 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Got that album, too, Kari, and you're right -- it is a goodie!
June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
bought the Stairway CD back in '89 when it came out. Was that really 23 years ago? Anyway, was never a fan of the bon Jovi cover. My favorite song on that Cd is Motley's cover of Teaser. I am a massive Thin Lizzy fanatic, but 'boys is one of the most overplayed songs in classic rock history, and its not even one of Lizzy's best. As for bon Jovi's cover, John bon Jovi, one of the all-time pretty boys in rock history, has no business singing the lyric, "Drink will flow and blood will spill, and if the boys wanna fight you'd better let 'em."
June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob
I have this CD, but don't recall it being especially memorable. I prefer their version of 'rockin in the free world' ( which I believe is only ever live, am I wrong ? )
June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I just noticed now I had a typo. I meant "spend hours" not "spent hours".
I agree Metalboy soundtracks had lots of hidden gems on them. Sometimes you wonder though how many of those were just the singers of the band with studio musicians. I am positive "Mighty Wings" by Cheap Trick is one of those type of songs.
June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterImpaler
Impaler -- "Mighty Wings" is all Cheap Trick. If you've ever heard Nielsen's guest playing on the House of Lords album, "Sahara" or the original John Lennon "Double Fantasy" demos on which Nielsen, Zander and Bun E. Carlos perform, you'll know there's nothing they can't do.

But the issue you raise is an interesting one. Lots of producers employed session musicians for some of our favorite recordings. I know a guy who drummed on a lot of albums though, in his case, no Hair Metal -- just Punk and New Wave, which I don't find all that surprising.

I have also heard stories about session guitarists being brought in for guitar leads and then guitarists having to learn h leads for live performances.

Bob -- I happen to LOVE "The Boys Are Back In Town" and personally am of the opinion that it's their BEST song with "Jailbreak" a distant second. Also, if you've ever heard Springsteen's "Kitty's Back In Town", you'll know plagiarism isn't beyond The Boss either.
June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
It could be just that 80's style production that makes "Mighty Wings" sound like a run of the mill soundtrack song. Or it could be the heavy use of keyboards. I agree there is nothing Cheap Trick can't do. I wasn't knocking Cheap Trick as they are one of my favorite bands.
June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterImpaler
Yeah, Impaler, I hear ya. Though I personally find "Mighty Wings" amusing, it ain't what's gonna get 'em inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

p.s. What's gonna do that is their first three studio albums plus "Live At Budokan". The rest of the stuff gets a bit spotty, as the Brits would say. Though there have been some stellar moments along the way subsequent to those landmark first several records (i.e. "Everything Works If You Let It" and their phenomenol cover of Slade's "When The Lights Are Out"), they are few and far between.
June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
I had this blocked from my memory along with Briars and their attempt at heresy. Only Mastadon and their version of "Emerald" has done a proper job of covering the mighty Thin Lizzy.
June 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscott whitt
oh don't even try MB. my wife WILL cut my stones out if I EVEN try to buy into your big bag of...again.

I guess Metallicca...does
June 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfletch

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