It’s been a long 16 years since Bon Jovi was last compiled, when Cross Road arrived for the holiday season of 1994, two years after Keep the Faith capped off a near-decade long run of dominance for the Jersey rockers. As it turned out, it was the first act of Bon Jovi’s career. A subdued second act followed in the ‘90s, with Jon Bon Jovi flirting with a solo career once again before returning to the fold late in the decade, with the band setting out for a decade of professionalism, sometimes cresting into the charts -- usually with the assist of a canny country crossover -- sometimes not. Greatest Hits condenses the highlights of this journey in a mere 16 songs, just two longer than Cross Road -- its simultaneously released cousin, Ultimate Greatest Hits, adds a disc with 12 additional songs -- and two of those are new tunes that are unlikely to show up on any subsequent best of. What’s left is indeed the cream of the crop, albeit presented almost randomly, opening with the twin hits “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” before winding through “It’s My Life,” “Have a Nice Day,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “Bad Medicine,” and “Runaway,” finding time for extracurricular detours like Jon's solo “Blaze of Glory” and his duet with Jennifer Nettles, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” There are hits missing, but you’d need to consult a chart book to figure out what they were, and if their absence matters, pick up the Ultimate Greatest Hits instead, which has another ten hits, mostly from the ‘90s on (“Keep the Faith,” “Lost Highway,” “Bed of Roses,” “These Days”), plus two additional new songs that will likely not make any subsequent best-of. But what these two collections prove is that less is indeed more: there’s nothing left unsaid on that first disc, no hit that would be missed; it tells everything.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine