Originally released on August 7, 1990, Jon Bon Jovi’s solo debut, Blaze Of Glory, proved to be a runaway success. Eventually earning a double-platinum certification, it quickly rose to No.3 on America’s Billboard 200 on the back of its million-selling, US chart-topping title track.
Not a bad result, bearing in mind that Bon Jovi hadn’t even intended to make a solo LP at this juncture. In fact, “Blaze Of Glory”’s origins lay in Hollywood Brat Pack actor Emilio Estevez’s request for permission to use (the band) Bon Jovi’s US Top 10 hit “Wanted Dead Or Alive” as the theme song for Young Guns II: the second in a series of westerns in which Estevez portrayed legendary outlaw Billy The Kid.
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When Estevez reached out, Bon Jovi’s crew were on a much-needed hiatus following the grueling 16-month tour in support of their multi-platinum fourth LP, New Jersey. Jon Bon Jovi was, however, intrigued by Estevez’s proposal, even though he reputedly felt that “Wanted Dead Or Alive”’s lyrics were inappropriate. Instead, he quickly sketched out an impassioned new song, “Blaze Of Glory,” and performed it acoustically for Estevez and film producer John Fusco, who was then on location in New Mexico on the Young Guns II shoot.
Suitably impressed, Estevez, Fusco and his production team agreed that “Blaze Of Glory” should be the film’s theme song. A vivid slice of rootsy blues-rock further accentuated by fork-tongued slide guitar, jaw harp, and a gutsy Bon Jovi vocal, the track quickly captured the wider American public’s imagination and topped the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released as a single in June 1990.
Inspired by Young Guns II’s overarching themes of redemption and betrayal, Bon Jovi penned a new batch of songs that quickly morphed into a full-length LP. Overseen by producer Danny Kortchmar (Neil Young; Don Henley), the Blaze Of Glory sessions were a star-studded affair, with living legends such as Jeff Beck and Little Richard sprinkling stardust on tracks such as the hard-driving “Billy Get Your Guns” and the bluesy “You Really Got Me Now,” while Elton John duetted with Bon Jovi on the show-stopping, piano-framed “Dyin’ Ain’t Much Of A Livin.”
Blaze Of Glory yielded a second US Top 20 hit courtesy of the potent, Tex Mex-flavored “Miracle” and it went on to enjoy sustained Transatlantic success: the LP scooping a gold disc in the UK, while its titular single netted a Golden Globe at the 1991 American Music Awards. Stylistically, the record’s content also proved to have a lasting influence, with not only “Blaze Of Glory,” but also the swaying “Santa Fe” and the world-weary, Bob Dylan-esque “Blood Money” pointing the way to the widescreen ballads and intense rawk epics that would dominate Bon Jovi’s agenda when they reconvened for 1992’s Bob Rock-produced Keep The Faith.