Richie Sambora is showing that he has what it takes to be the best Bon Jovi wedding singer ever. The longtime guitarist from the famous New Jersey rock band performed the band’s signature hit, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” at his nephew’s wedding, and his rendition blew away Jon Bon Jovi’s ill-fated version a few days ago.
TMZ posted a video of former Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora enthusiastically singing the band’s signature song at his nephew Shane Ahern’s wedding in Los Angeles. Sambora is accompanied by his longtime musical collaborator and girlfriend, Orianthi, and unlike Jon, they are clearly enjoying the performance as they urge the other wedding guests to sing along. While Richie didn’t bring the guitar he is playing in the video to the wedding, he reportedly borrowed it from the DJ.
Richie Sambora’s “Livin’ On a Prayer” wedding song is a far cry from Jon Bon Jovi’s uncomfortable performance a few days ago. The Bon Jovi frontman was recently pressured into singing his band’s biggest hit at a Florida wedding where he was a guest. Jon joined the wedding band for the song after Miami singer Lourdes Valentin pressured him into singing with her jazz quintet, and the rocker looked like he hated every minute of it.
Jon and Richie co-wrote their most famous song more than 30 years ago, and it sold more than 12 million copies. But after decades of making music together, the duo went their separate ways. Jon recently told CBS News that Richie Sambora just stopped showing up to work with the band during their tour three years ago.
“I haven’t seen him in over three years,” Jon said earlier this year. “He just didn’t show up for work anymore. And that’s the truth of the matter.”
Richie Sambora previously told Entertainment Tonight that he left the band’s 2013 tour because he wanted to spend more time with his teen daughter, Ava Sambora.
“My daughter looked at me and said, ‘Dad, I need you.’ She’s getting ready to go to school,” Sambora said at the time. “Currency of love and happiness outweighs the currency of money.”
But that doesn’t mean Richie Sambora has ruled out reuniting with his former bandmates sometime in the future. Last year, Sambora told ABC News Radio he would “never say never” to a reunion of the band’s original lineup.
“I’m not ruling it out, because I think I would do it a lot for the fans there, because they were so important to us,” Sambora told ABC. “I wouldn’t want to go out and do those long tours anymore, but… I love those guys, man, and I’m not shunning it whatsoever… Man, we had a run. Thirty years is a run.”
In the same interview, Richie said he simply “needed a change” and explained that he wanted to focus on his solo work, where he can be responsible for lead vocals. Fans know that although Jon has always been the lead singer of Bon Jovi, Richie definitely has his own set of singing chops. And the wedding video proves he’s still got it.
Of course, the song in question, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” was recently a point of contention for Richie Sambora. A recent Billboard article about the song omitted the fact that Richie is the co-writer of the Bon Jovi anthem, and Sambora was apparently not very happy about it when he read the article. According to Page Six, Richie read the article while he was at the Billboard Power 100 party in Beverly Hills earlier this year, and when he realized the story didn’t even mention his name, he became upset.
A few months later, it looks like Richie Sambora is showing who’s boss when it comes to belting out “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
Take a look at the video below to see Jon singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” at the Miami wedding.
[Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Clear Channel]