Richie Sambora

Richard Stephen “Richie” Sambora (born July 11, 1959) is an American rockguitarist, producer, musician, singer/songwriter who is the longtime lead guitarist of the popular rock band Bon Jovi. He and frontman Jon Bon Jovi form the primary songwriting unit of the band. He is also a solo artist, having released two solo albums; Stranger in This Town in 1991, and Undiscovered Soul in 1998.

Early life

Samora was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey the son of Joan, a secretary, and Adam, a factory foreman. Sambora is of Polish and Italian descent and was raised Catholic. He grew up in Woodbridge, New Jersey and attended Woodbridge High School there, graduating in 1977. He began playing the guitar at the age of 12 following the death of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix in 1970. From his early days Sambora was strongly influenced by blues and 60s rock ‘n’ roll. His most important influences were Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry and George Harrison. He was also influenced by Spanishclassical music and began a life long love of the Spanish guitar. Classical music directly inspired several of his songs, such as The Answer which was originally written on piano.

Career

Sambora played guitar for and auditioned for Kiss and Poison then named Paris. He was also a guitarist for the band Message, and with that band he gave out a record, which was re-released in 1995 under the name “Message”, and in 2000 under the name “Lessons”. Bon Jovi added Sambora to replace original lead guitarist Dave Sabo. Sambora went to a show and, after being impressed by Bon Jovi, approached him and informed him that he thought they should work together. They immediately hit it off as friends, and Sambora was invited to a rehearsal. By the time Bon Jovi arrived, the band was sounding better than ever and Sambora was hired on the spot.

Sambora has occasionally taken over as lead vocalist on some Bon Jovi songs, most notably “I’ll Be There for You” and “These Days” when played live on the Bounce, Have a Nice Day and Lost Highway tours, while recently, on The Circle Tour, he has been performing Lay Your Hands On Me and Homebound Train. He has also performed “Stranger In This Town”. One of the live performances of “Stranger In This Town”, recorded during the Keep the Faith tour, was released on Bon Jovi’s CD single “Dry County” in 1994.

Recent ventures have seen him compose television theme songs for both Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. He (along with Jon Bon Jovi) is part of the Ownership Group of the Philadelphia Soul, an Arena Football League football team.

Sambora made a cameo appearance in The Sims Superstar.

Sambora is featured on the track “Baby Rock Remix”, from LL Cool J’s upcoming album “Exit 13”.

His first solo outing was Stranger in This Town in 1991, a blues-influenced album that was received well by many critics although commercially a relative flop partially due to the more adult tone of the record that was not instantly appealing to Bon Jovi fans. Eric Clapton played the lead guitar track on the song Mr Bluesman, backed by Sambora on acoustic guitars. He did a short US tour in support of the album, featuring Tony Levin (bass), Dave Amato (guitar), Crystal Taliefero (percussion) and Bon Jovi bandmates Tico Torres (drums) and Dave Bryan (keyboards). Ballad of Youth was released in the UK in summer 1991 and despite plugs from The Friday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1 the song barely skimmed the top 75.

Undiscovered Soul was Sambora’s second solo album, released in 1998. The album was produced by Don Was. In support of Undiscovered Soul, Sambora toured Japan, Australia and Europe in the summer of 1998. The band featured Richie Supa (guitar), Ron Wikso (drums), Kasim Sulton (bass), Tommy Mandel (keyboards), Everett Bradley (percussion – Japan only), Gioia Bruno (percussion – Australia only) and Crystal Taliefero (percussion – Europe only).

He made a special guest appearance on Bo Diddley’s 1996 album A Man Amongst Men, playing guitar on the tracks “Can I Walk You Home” and “Oops! Bo Diddley”.

In 1999, Sambora appeared as a guest vocalist on the Stuart Smith album Stuart Smith’s Heaven & Earth, performing a cover of the Deep Purple song “When a Blind Man Cries”.

Sambora played on a recently released album called Lessons from a band called Message. The album was recorded in the early 1980s.

Sambora sings “Long Way Around” (background audio) during the final scene in the 1997 Steven Seagal action movie Fire Down Below and is featured on the movie’s soundtrack.

Sambora also recorded the song “One Last Goodbye” on the soundtrack for the movie The Banger Sisters. He also covered Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary” for the soundtrack of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, released in 1990.

His guitar work is also featured on the track “Misery” on Pink’s 2001 album Missundaztood with Steven Tyler.

In 2004, Sanctuary Records released a self-titled album which had been recorded in 1978 by Shark Frenzy, documenting Sambora’s first recorded material. The mix tapes had been damaged in a flood and it had taken band member Bruce Foster to remaster them for them to be released so many years later.

Sambora co-wrote several tracks and played guitar on Australian rock/pop artist Shannon Noll’s third album, called Turn It Up. It was released in Australia September 15, 2007.

Public service and recognition

Over the years, Sambora has been an ardent fundraiser for many charities, such as Dream Street, the Steve Young Forever Young Foundation and Michael J Fox’s Parkinson’s disease charity. He has donated money privately to various cancer charities since the death of his father, including both hospitals where his father was treated, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and M D Anderson. Sambora’s fundraising with the charity Stand Up For a Cure allowed for three mobile full service hospital units to be brought to the streets of New York, two of which were named after his parents, respectively.

In May 2004, Sambora was bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Kean Universit where he attended the awards ceremony and gave a speech of acceptance. He attended Kean University as a freshman, but then dropped out to pursue a career as a professional guitarist and session musician.Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 18, 2009.

On November 24, 2009, Sambora launched the charitable effort You Can Go Home in his home town of Woodbridge, New Jersey, which unveiled a street renamed Richie Sambora Way. He also donated funds to renovate part of his alma mater Woodbridge High School, which opened a new weight room, the Adam Sambora Fitness Center, dedicated to Sambora’s father.

Personal life

Sambora with Heather Locklear
Sambora married actress Heather Locklear in Paris on December 17, 1994.[17] Daughter Ava Elizabeth Sambora was born October 4, 1997, who also speak a lot of spanish. Locklear filed for divorce in February 2006 citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized on April 11, 2007. Just a few days later, on April 20, Sambora’s father Adam died of lung cancer Sambora resides in Los Angeles and owns a beach house in Laguna Beach as well as other properties

On June 7, 2007, it was announced that Sambora was entering an “undisclosed rehab facility in Los Angeles” for treatment related to alcoholism Following his release, he told an interviewer, “I was just drinking too much and I needed to get my life together. I’m still in therapy and stuff like that, but it’s good. I’m great. I feel fine.” In the Bon Jovi documentary When We Were Beautiful, Sambora talks candidly about his addiction to painkillers following a slip in his bathroom. He credited his bandmates and mother with helping him through the difficult time.

On March 26, 2008, Sambora was arrested for drunk driving in Laguna Beach, California. At the time, his girlfriend and ten-year-old daughter were both in his Hummer. He was pulled over at 10:52pm after an officer noticed his car “weaving on the road”, but was “quiet and cooperative and didn’t cause any problems.” At his May 2008 arraignment, he pled no contest “to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher”, was fined $390, placed on probation for three years, and was required to attend a drivers education course.

Richie Sambora

Sambora in 2008
Background information
Birth name Richard Stephen Sambora
Born July 11, 1959 (1959-07-11) (age 51)
Perth Amboy, New Jersey, United States
Genres Hard rock, Heavy metal, Glam metal, Country Rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals, mandolin, bass, keyboards
Years active 1980–present
Labels Mercury
Associated acts Bon Jovi, Message, Dean Fasano
Notable instruments
Kramer RS Signature Model
ESP SA-2 Lennox Sambora signature model
Martin signature acoustic
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