Frontmen in knife sharp competition

By: Lars Brander            From: OKEJ - No. 24, 1988            Translated by: Louise

Joey and Jon - Who will win the battle for the Swedish public?

In America they still are a bit behind the colleagues from New Jersey, but here in Sweden the race is much closer. Bon Jovi have already been here, EUROPE are on their way - which band will win the battle for the record buyers? You shall never compare people to someone else. That is so dangerous. One time, a long, long time ago, I compared EUROPE to Treat, and then a not completely unknown Swedish guitarist got so mad that he threatened me with a lawsuit.

And I mean that saying that someone is better than the other, and that this band so easily can outplay the other, that is naturally very difficult and ends up being a matter of personal taste and likes. So comparisons are not to be done, really, but what can you do when the head editor gives you a direct order?

Joey Tempest vs. Jon Bon Jovi - Joakim Larsson from Upplands Väsby in a hot duel with Jon Bongiovi from New Jersey. As a beginning we can settle this, the likenesses between the boys are many:

Both Joey and Jon are like they want to be seen! - as singers / songwriters more than heavy rockers in a more traditional way.

Both work hard as frontmen to get an audience and have also, at least until now attracted the same band of people.

EUROPE went through the beginning in Upplands Väsby, won a pop band competition and got a record contract.

Bon Jovi made a name for themselves in New Jersey, went on a club tour which didn't seem to ever end, and in that way they got themselves a contract with Polygram in July 1983. The first album was released the year after, and later on Jon and the guys went on a tour with Scorpions that cleared the road for them.

Four years later, EUROPE are on the road in the USA as support act for Def Leppard.

Yeah, the parallels are many and obvious. But thank God there are also a great deal that separates, and that has become clearer and more obvious even in the last few months.

Earlier both bands played in the same or at least similar divisions and genre, but then Bon Jovi released their latest album "New Jersey", and thereby withdrew themselves a bit from the heavy melodious radio rock into more fresh and "teasing" arrangements, more in the style of Bruce Springsteen, and in the people who had their second home at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. For Bon Jovi "New Jersey" is a big step in the right direction, and now there are even more reasons to consider Mr. Bongiovi as a serious songwriter and rock arranger. On a bright day he might be on the exact same level as the earlier mentioned "The Boss", believe me. And maybe they are really like someone writes in the band's latest press release: "New Jersey is an attitude. It's not a certain place or time - it's just a way of life..."

EUROPE haven't had such a good time lately. The tour with Def Leppard was of course great, and the album "Out of This World" got a completely amazing welcome from the critics, but since then the band turned down the pace and pressure in America to put all their time and effort on the countries of the Old World and maybe that wasn't so clever. The American public is not only hard to get, they also forget quickly, and "Out of This World" burst into the Billboard charts on 19th place like a rocket, turned around and started to climb down again, slowly but certain. EUROPE weren't on tour anymore, they weren't as hot and interesting - I doubt that Bon Jovi would have made such a mistake!

That means that in America, Bon Jovi still have the lead, but on this side of the Atlantic Ocean it might be harder for them. EUROPE will probably never be big in England, but they are doing great in other ways and can possibly offer the rockers from New Jersey a hard and interesting fight for the popularity and chart positions in Europe.

Even though we are Swedish, we have to remember that it's still Bon Jovi who are the BIG sensation and success. The band has so far sold about 18 million records, the album "Slippery When Wet" sold around 9 million copies alone on the American market, and on the last big American tour they gave 135 sold-out concerts in front of more than 2 million people. No other tour during 1987 brought in that much money - here EUROPE still have got some work to do.

Back to the Articles menu