It’s impossible to acquire a “complete” Bon Jovi collection; trust me on this. Even Jon Bon Jovi doesn’t have a complete Bon Jovi collection. Up to a certain point in time, it’s fun to collect as many B-sides and bonus tracks you can get your hands on.
The second single from “best of” album Cross Road (1994) was “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night”, and it was a pretty clear indication of where the band would go on their next album These Days. But — surprise bonus — this single doesn’t have the studio version (that you already own) from Cross Road. It has an uncredited live version instead! Added bonus — Alec John Such on bass. He had yet to be replaced (on stage, anyway) by Hugh McDonald. This is probably the only live version of the hit with Such on bass.
Make no mistake, “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night” is a great song. There’s a Bon Jovi niche for acoustic rock songs with down-on-your-luck/inspirational lyrics. “My life’s a bargain basement, all the good shit’s gone.” This is Jon’s bread and butter. He wouldn’t know a bargain basement if he was shopping for old Bon Jovi singles in one, but he does this kind of rock really well. This is one of the last of his must-haves of the genre.
Another rare one, “Good Guys Don’t Always Wear White”, is a studio track with the well-worn cowboy motif. It’s from the movie The Cowboy Way featuring Jon’s old Young Guns buddy Keifer Sutherland. Unexpectedly, this one is an intricate hard-driving rocker, with a Sambora riff that he could take pride in. Tico Torres is absolutely on fire on the kit. That guy can lay down a groove while throwing in challenging patterns just for fun. Why can’t Bon Jovi rock like this anymore? This track feels more honest than the hard luck songs.
Two more live songs finish the CD. These two are from Montreal in ’94: “With A Little Help From My Friends” (Joe Cocker style) and “Always”. The reason Bon Jovi can get away with “A Little Help From My Friends” is Richie Sambora, who always brings the soul and the integrity. That’s not to say that Jon sucks. Check out the note he holds at 3:57. The man had lungs back in 1994! The demographics of the audience are obvious: “Always” is almost drowned out by a sea of high-pitched screams! It’s one of their last ballads that really deserves that kind of cheering though.
A great single is one that you can list to independently of the album, and doesn’t sound like a bunch of miscellaneous bonus tracks. This single is like that. There’s no wasted space, no filler, and no tracks you can get on the albums. The live stuff is high grade and the studio track is extremely valuable for its hard rocking nature. This is more like an EP than a single, but it’s all semantics. Let’s just call it:
A bitter picture in your mind.
No, it don’t matter what I say,
I hear you bitchin’ when I walk away.
I’ll never be what you want me to be,
You tell me I’m wrong but I disagree,
I ain’t go no apology.
Just because I don’t look like you, talk like you, think like you,
Judge and jury, a hangman’s noose,
I see them in your eyes.