I have been critical of Bon Jovi, especially around their latest release What About Now. However, the band has created a lasting legacy and a lot of great songs along the way. Everyone knows the hits. They are the songs we go to the live show to see. However, there are a lot of songs that deserve more attention than what they have received.
This song has had some history. It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Falcon. The studio version was meant to be on 2003’s This Left Feels Right greatest hits package, however, it ended up on the 100,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong box set released in 2004. It was a laid back acoustic style ballad with slide guitar and all the country twang you can get into a song. An acoustic live version of the song was added to the This Left Feels Right DVD.
It was then re-worked into a great rock song for the 2005 Have A Nice Day album. The intro grabs you and makes you want to pay attention. It’s no longer a ballad, but a real rocker. This is the beauty of music. You can try different variations of the same song. The rockier Last Man Standing leaves the original version in the dust.
The theme of the song is about kids turning up to a circus/freak show act to see the last real performer of live music.
Come see a living, breathing spectacle
Only seen right here
It’s your last chance in this lifetime
The line forms at the rear
You won’t believe your eyes
Your eyes will not believe your ears
Get your money out, get ready
Step right up, yeah you, come here
I live in Australia. In most cases, the bands that come down are the large arena bands. Normally around Soundwave (February each year), I will get to some sideshows of the medium sized bands to come down for this festival.
This year I caught Bullet For My Valentine and Periphery sideshows. Last year I caught Machine Head, Times of Grace, Shadows Fall and Chimera side shows. I paid like $60 for those tickets. I saw Motley Crue and Kiss last month and paid $200 a ticket. I’m going to see Black Sabbath in a few weeks’ time and that is $160, compared to Coheed and Cambria at $60 the week before.
Basically the larger bands will try and grab more of the punters dollar as they have a larger entourage and then it will be the last man standing in the audience.
Once upon a time, rock shows where exactly that, people lined up around the side of streets just to get in. These days, it’s not like that. I have been reading articles where a lot of artists state that no new band can become a mega star like the artist of the old, and they always make reference to Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Bon Jovi, etc…
Bullshit, I say. Artists are just as relevant today as they were in the past. The difference is, in the past, artists created music and followed their muse. If they sold a million or sold a thousand it didn’t matter. These days, artists are in it for the money only. If they sell a thousand, they see it as a failure. The ones that are in it for the music end up breaking through. Adele’s first two albums where so personal, she wrote those songs as a sort of therapy to get over her relationship problems. She didn’t write them, thinking Rolling In The Deep will sell millions and 21 will move 13 million units plus. The question is what Adele will do now. Will she become another corporate money making slave?
You ain’t seen nothing like him
He’s the last one of the breed
You better hold on to your honey
Honeys, don’t forget to breathe
Enter at your own risk, mister
It might change the way you think
There’s no dancers, there’s no diamonds
No this boy he don’t lip synch
The debate, live vs. lip synch. These days, it is acceptable to lip sync if you tell the people buying the tickets that you will be lip syncing. However it is not acceptable to lip sync if you are telling the people that you are performing live. There was that whole Britney Spears debacle here in Australia when she toured last time around, as she was lip syncing and didn’t tell the paying customers that is the case.
See those real live calloused fingers
Wrapped around those guitar strings
Kiss the lips where hurt has lingered
It breaks the heart to hear him sing
The songs were more than music
They were pictures from the soul
So keep your pseudo-punk, hip-hop, pop-rock junk
And your digital downloads
Artists used to play a tonne of live shows, to build an audience, to create a buzz and to get a recording contract that promised to make them mega starts. These days, it’s not like that. Artists can create something magical in the bedroom on a laptop, and reach a global audience of millions. There is no need for the gatekeeper. Bon Jovi wrote this song around 2002/2003 and you can tell he is trying to hold on to the old ways. He’s even gone on record saying that Steve Jobs destroyed the music business and the album. What he should have been saying is that Steve Jobs added money to the music business because the legacy record labels where too stupid and clueless to innovate and do it themselves.
If you like the country style of Bon Jovi, check out the ballad version. It’s a live version that has Jon’s message in the intro about the song.
If you like the rock style of Bon Jovi, check out the rock version.
If you are a fan of Bon Jovi, check out both.