Deep Tracks: Bon Jovi – The Radio Saved My Life Tonight

The Radio Saved My Life Tonight

Many Bon Jovi fans are well aware of their rigorous touring schedule in the ‘80s. The band basically toured non stop from the time Slippery When Wet was released all the way through the tour supporting New Jersey. Spending over two consecutive years on the road would take a toll on anyone – notice that there is a significant break in album releases after New Jersey. This song’s genesis is the down time time after New Jersey when the band members were resting and considering their futures. This is a deeply personal song that has clear therapeutic undertones. It sounds like lyricist Jon is thinking about stopping his music career and resting for a good long time. The exhaustion he is feeling is clear:

I’ve got something on my mind
I’m just a little bit depressed
I tried to blame it on the rain
But it was in my heart, I guess
I was feeling like a stranger
As I drove through through my hometown
Past the signs that read the boyhood home
Of a place that’s long gone now

This sounds to me like he is considering quitting and moving on to something else. In my wildest fantasies I dream of being a rock star. I even tell my high school students that no matter how much I like them and love teaching, I would drop it in a second to go on tour and be a rock star. Honestly, I have no idea what that life would be like, but based on “Wanted Dead or Alive” and this song, it has to be a difficult, exhaustive existence. None of us really knows what someone else’s life is actually like – unless you are a high school English teacher, you have very little idea of what I do everyday; just like I have no clue what this band’s life is like on the road. Fortunately for all of us, music is the thing that saves him, “The radio saved my life tonight / Old song that DJ played made me feel alright / I made it home by my dashboard light.” Lucky for all of us the band kept pushing on and continue to make great music.

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