We asked Jon Bon Jovi: If you could choose one final song to perform in front of an audience, what would it be?

Bon Jovi standing in an alleyway
(Image credit: Mark Seliger)

With Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, a four-part documentary set to stream this week and an album, Forever, coming in June, Jon Bon Jovi has been open that the prospect of him returning to the stage is still uncertain following voice problems that led to vocal cord surgery in 2022. He's hopeful but acknowledges that "It's up to God at this point."

So, Classic Rock asks him, if worse comes to worst and he could have one final song to perform in front of an audience, what would it be? "Oh my God – just one?!" Bon Jovi says with a laugh. "That puts me on the spot...

"The first one that came to mind would be These Days, which I guess nobody would ever think, but 'These days, the stars seem out of reach/These days, there ain't a ladder on the streets/These days are fast, nothing lasts in this graceless age/There ain't nobody left but us these days' – I think that sort of encapsulates where I am at this moment in time."

Bon Jovi's voice health provides a framework for the documentary, which premieres on April 24 on Hulu in the US,  as well as Disney+ internationally and Star+ in Latin America.

The four episodes, weighing in at nearly five hours, offer plenty of historic content and commentary from Bon Jovi and his bandmates, as well as former guitarist Richie Sambora, former manager Doc McGhee and Bon Jovi's wife Dorothea, but director Gotham Chopra weaves those between scenes from the short 2021 tour during which the vocal issues became publicly evident and follows Bon Jovi through the surgery and extensive therapy that's followed. 

"It was uncomfortable," Bon Jovi acknowledges, "but all I've ever wanted to sell was the truth, and so if you're not gonna show it warts and all, don't bother. This wasn't a VH1 Behind the Music. I wasn't interested in a puff piece. Once I had realized that I'd handed the reins to Gotham Chopra and his producer and editor I was solely focused on writing a record, and then this unexpected health issue that I had to deal with. So the last thing I was considering was, 'How's this documentary going?' I had bigger fish to fry."

The new album comes out June 7 and is, according to Bon Jovi, "about joy" and – as the first single, Legendary, indicates – about taking stock of his 40-year-plus legacy. In the final track, Hollow Man, he ruminates about "What do you sing when the song's been sung?" at a time he isn't sure he'll be able to sing any of these 12 new songs for an audience.

"That's just me saying I don't know where the next chapter's going, but fill me up, lord, and let me at it one more time," Bon Jovi explains. "(Performing live) is still an if, but the if is getting smaller and further in the distance on a daily basis. But, honest to God, one day I'm on top of the world, the next day I've fallen down and scraped my nose again. Your vocal cords are as big as your thumbnail; it's something this big that I'm trying to nurse back to health, and I work very hard at it. So I'm optimistic, but nobody knows." 

Gary Graff

Gary Graff is an award-winning veteran music journalist based in metro Detroit, writing regularly for Billboard, Ultimate Classic Rock, Media News Group, Music Connection, United Stations Radio Networks and others. Graff’s work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Guitar World, Classic Rock, Revolver, the San Francisco Chronicle, AARP magazine, the Detroit Jewish News, The Forward and others. Graff has co-written and edited books about Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. A professional voter for the Grammy Awards and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Graff co-founded the Detroit Music Awards in 1989 and continues as the organisation’s chief producer.