Friday Song: “It’s My Life”

Bon Jovi delivers joy and rebellion in a minor key, with talk box and references aplenty.

Songs in a minor key usually come across as melancholy or distressed in some way. However, Bon Jovi’s 2000 hit, “It’s My Life” is a celebration from start to finish despite being in C minor.

Bon Jovi’s first major hit after their dominant run in the 1980s, “It’s My Life” performed exceptionally well outside the US, hitting #1 in many countries, including Austria, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland.

Richie Sambora returned to using a talk box to get the howling growl you might also recall from the band’s 1986 chart-topper, “Livin’ On a Prayer.” The lyrics also call back to that song with the line, “For Tommy and Gina, who never backed down.” The song references Frank Sinatra, another favorite son of New Jersey.

(Point of trivia: Peter Frampton builds all of Sambora’s talk boxes — he was one of the most prominent modern guitarists to master it.)

The song was performed or used for a number of occasions after it was released, including at the 2001 “Concert For New York” to benefit victims of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. The band played it at the closing ceremonies of the 2002 winter Olympics from Salt Lake City, at the beginning and end of the 2002 NFL season, at the pregame festivities of the first game, and then again in the closing ceremonies at the Super Bowl.

In 2009, the song was mashed up with Usher’s “Confessions” in the TV show Glee, and this version outperformed the original on the US charts.

The video was selected as Video of the Year by VH1 (while featuring some nice 2000 tech, including synchronized cameras firing in an arc), and the song was chosen as one of the greatest songs of the year by ASCAP. The video surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube in 2021.

Also, who knew Tommy was left-handed?

The actors playing Tommy and Gina went on to strong careers. Shiri Appleby (Gina) is an actor/producer/director with plenty of credits, and Will Estes you might recognize from Blue Bloods, playing Jamie Reagan opposite Tom Selleck.

“I only want to live while I’m alive” is a great lyric.