“Runaway” is a single by American rock band Bon Jovi. It was originally recorded in 1981 for the so-called “Power Station Demos”. These were primarily made by an ensemble simply known as John Bongiovi & the Rest. One night after a show, Richie Sambora found Bon Jovi backstage and told him he should be the guitarist. Bon Jovi wrote him off and did not think much of it but told him to learn the material and show up for rehearsal. Sambora was early and knew the material and Bon Jovi was impressed.
The track was recorded in 1982 and released to radio in 1983 by Jon Bon Jovi and studio musicians known as “The All Star Review”, which included bassist Hugh McDonald (who would join Bon Jovi in 1994 as an unofficial member), guitarist Tim Pierce, drummer Frankie LaRocka and keyboardist Roy Bittan. The keyboard intro was written by Mick Seeley, then of John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones and later with Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, who performed backing vocals on the track with David Grahmme.
In 1983, local radio station WAPP 103.5FM “The Apple” had a contest, held in conjunction with St. John’s University, to search for the best unsigned band. After the song won the contest, it became a radio hit in the summer of 1983.
“Runaway” became the first single from the band’s self-titled debut album. It hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 at #39 in early 1984 and became the band’s first Top 40 hit in the US.
A dance/club remake of “Runaway” was released in July 2008 by “DJ Freddy Retro featuring Jim Davis Jr.” on Casa Records
In latterday live performances, Jon Bon Jovi has been known to do a short guitar solo near the end of the song instead of hitting the high notes at the end; something only is done in the 1980s, as heard on the vintage performance featured on One Wild Night: Live 1985-2001.
After the band attained worldwide fame in the mid to late 1980s, they shed material from their pre-stardom albums in their live sets, in favor of more well known and accomplished material. However, “Runaway” is a song of which they remain proud. For well over 20 years, it has been the only song from the bands’ first two albums to be performed on a regular basis. “I still think a couple of the songs hold up,” Bon Jovi said of the debut album in 2007. “‘Runaway’, definitely.” A few others have been played live over the years, notably during The Circle Tour in 2010; however, they were extreme rarities when they appeared and were not regularly performed.
The song was made available to download on November 9, 2010 for use in the Rock Band 3 music video game in both Basic rhythm, and PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar / bass guitar, and standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to three-part harmony or backup vocals.
The song was featured on a MasterCard television commercial and in the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
A portion of the song is heard during a scene of the seventh episode of the second season of the Netflix series Stranger Things.
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