By Joey Bartolomeo
November 16, 2009 12:00 PM

ca. 1970

“I got thrown out of Catholic grammar school for fighting,” says the Sayreville, N.J., native (on his communion day).


In this photo, he danced with high school steady Dorothea (now his wife of 20 years) at the Jersey shore. Their secret to longevity? “Part of it, in all honesty, is that I go on the road and get out of her hair,” he admits.


The band’s early look–Bon Jovi cut that top himself–is “embarrassing,” says the 47-year-old dad of four, with (from left) Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, ex-bassist Alec John Such and guitarist Richie Sambora. “I won’t do that again.”


The band’s first gold record was “a big deal,” says Bon Jovi, feted by (from left) mom Carol, brothers Matt and Tony, Dorothea, and dad John Sr. at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Sports Complex.


“I was pleased to give something back for free,” says Bon Jovi, who played for about 50,000 fans in New York City’s Central Park. Up next? A 2010 world tour for his band’s new album, The Circle, kicking off Feb. 19 in Seattle. (They also just released a book, Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful, and a Showtime film of the same name.)


After becoming Arena Football League champs in 2008, his Philadelphia Soul squad–like the rest of the AFL–shut down. But Bon Jovi, Soul co-owner since ’03, says, “We’re trying to bring the league back. It ain’t over until I say it’s over.”


“I don’t care about looking cool like these guys–it was cold!” he says of bundling up next to (from left) U2’s The Edge, Bruce Springsteen, Bono and Usher at the Obama inaugural concert in D.C.