"Runaway" was Bon Jovi's first hit...so first...so early, in fact, that it was a hit before there really was a Bon Jovi!

Jon wrote it in 1980 or 1981 (I have found conflicting information) with early collaborator George Karak.

The original "Runaway" was recorded by Jon, and a bunch of studio musicians, for the "Power Station Demos."

The ensemble, known as "Jon Bongiovi & The Rest," included Jon's neighbor, Dave "The Snake" Sabo, on lead guitar. Sabo would go on to become the lead guitarist for "Skid Row."

Then, "Runaway" was recorded (again) in 1982....more on that, in a moment.

"Runaway" became a....runaway...Jersey hit around 1983, when it was included on both a New Jersey station, and Long Island radio station's "unsigned" and "local" bands albums!

At this point, Bon Jovi (as it then existed) was a popular live band here in New Jersey....but still struggling.

All that would change...when "Slippery When Wet" was released...

Runaway. Cut #1. (Craig Allen photo).
Runaway. Cut #1. (Craig Allen photo).

The "Runaway" we hear on the 1984 debut album...is the version recorded in 1982.

It was performed by Jon and a group known as "The All Star Review." This included bassist Hugh McDonald (who would unofficially join Bon Jovi in 1995), guitarist Tim Pierce, and keyboardist Roy Bittan. The keyboard intro was written by Mick Seeley, then of "John Bongiovi And The Wild Ones"...and later with another band that is a New Jersey 101.5 friend...Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes!

"Runaway" was the first song to be released from the self-titled "Bon Jovi." It made the top 40 charts (#39/1984).

In 1986, Jon shared his disdain for videos...in particular, the "Runaway" video: "If you wanted to torture me, you'd tie me down and force me to watch our first five videos." He says that they were made at a time when the band didn't know anything about videos...and others made the decisions. Bad decisions.

Instead of making a video that reflected what the song was about, Jon says that the director decided to "put a concept to it with his little niece in it. It's the worst piece of (expletive) I ever saw in my life."

Watch it...(above)...and come to your own conclusion.

And, while Bon Jovi usually favors the better known-hits of later years when playing live...

"Runaway" is the one song from the early years that they consistently perform LIVE!

The video above shows the guys performing this Jersey classic at Met Life Stadium in 2013!

Enjoy this early Bon Jovi crowd-pleaser again, on New Jersey 101.5 and nj1015.com!