Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


2nd thoughts

Bon Jovi says ‘Thoreau is Like Ralph Emerson’

ThoreauMy good friend Jim (Happy Birthday, yo!) once hipped me to a deep dark truth about Jon Bon Jovi and the record indus­try. Apparently, New Jersey’s sec­ond favorite rock god, was forced to rewrite one of his ear­ly hits, Your Love is Like Bad Medicine. Instead of the refrain every 80s teen knew whether they want­ed to or not, accord­ing to Jim’s sources, Bon Jovi wrote the song this way:

Thoreau is like Ralph Emerson
Ralph Emerson is what I read

Funny, eh?

I love that sto­ry and repeat it often. I par­tic­u­lar­ly like telling it with a straight face to mem­bers of the unof­fi­cial “Bon Jovi Haters and Doubters Club” — you know ’em, they like to talk about the unpar­al­leled great­ness of Death Cab For Cutie, et al.

Get this straight, I am no Bon Jovi fan myself (and no Death Cab hater), but I do get it. It’s big, loud, sweaty, rau­cous fun music with nice hooks and get ’em sexed up atti­tude and lyrics. I don’t own a note of it.

I am, how­ev­er, a bit of a Thoreau fan. Emerson not so much — a lit­tle too pro­to-new-age for my tastes, though occa­sion­al­ly he turns a phrase that’s worth a pon­der or two. Like the one that came up on my scenic quote cal­en­dar a few days before my 40th birth­day:

Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appear­ances and you always may.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nice one Ralph.

Just in time for Jim’s birth­day, a few days after my own, a Thoreau quote appeared on the same cal­en­dar.

Pursue some path, how­ev­er nar­row and crooked, in which you can walk with love and rev­er­ence.

-Henry David Thoreau

Not such bad med­i­cine, that.

Rock on, Jim.

2 Responses to “Bon Jovi says ‘Thoreau is Like Ralph Emerson’”

  1. Laura Damkoehler » August 28th, 2009

    I sure wouldn’t kick Jon Bon Jovi out of bed for eat­ing crack­ers…

  2. kenneth » August 28th, 2009

    Reminds me of the old Neil Young vs Lynryd Skynyrd “feud”

    Members of both Neil and Skynyrd’s crews had a cor­re­spon­dence book club set up and would exchange books between fes­ti­val gigs.

    An argu­ment about which was more impor­tant to Southern Lit- 43’s The Glass Menagerie or Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird 1960 broke out after two impor­tant sum­mer tour­ing shows.

    Young thought the Glass Menagerie was more impor­tant to 20th Century Southern Lit than Lee’s book which the Skynyrd band mem­bers and crew were more fond of.

    That’s why they wrote Freebird after hear­ing Young’s Old Man, which was *not* writ­ten about some old fore­man on his Santa Cruz ranch, but from ther per­spec­tive of Laura Wingfield as she sees Jim:

    Old man take a look at my life
    I’m a lot like you
    I need some­one to love me
    the whole day through
    Ah, one look in my eyes
    and you can tell that’s true.

    Eventually Ronnie Van Zant real­ized Young was prob­a­bly cor­rect, but would still get his goats by writ­ing dis­mis­sive “zingers” in his lyrics as a response.

    That’s how we got the fol­low­ing as “Freebird”:
    Applause Harper Lee’s ‘Bird, now
    Dismiss ‘Bird and you’re deranged …

    Oh and btw, and Poison’s hit “Talk Dirty to Me” was writ­ten about Henry Miller, and came out a year before Bon Jovi’s bad med­i­cine, but nev­er gets the cred­it it should.