Disclaimer: I’m sorry if I offend any Jon Bon Jovi fans throughout this post, as these are strictly my opinions and Richie Sambora was the reason why I got into Bon Jovi in the first place.
Richie Sambora hit it big when he became the guitarist for Bon Jovi. From 1983 to 2013, Sambora helped lead singer Jon Bon Jovi co-write some of the band’s biggest hits including “I’ll Be There For You” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Being Jon’s right-hand man in the band, Sambora found a way to stand out with his soulful voice, impeccable playing, mad talkbox skills, passion, and sense of humor. Though he only released three studio albums in his long career in the music industry, they deserve some recognition. With that said, today I’ll be counting down my top 10 Richie Sambora songs.
10. “Learning How to Fly With a Broken Wing”
Unlike his previous two studio albums, Sambora took a more hard rock approach with Aftermath of the Lowdown (2012). I honestly prefer his blues rock sound better because of the emotion he put into those songs, but Aftermath of the Lowdown had some good tracks. “Learning How to Fly With a Broken Wing” is not only a rocking tune, but it has a positive message too. And that’s what’s awesome about Sambora’s music, most of his songs contain a positive message.
Undiscovered Soul (1998) wasn’t just a blues rock album as it incorporated more genres such as reggae and country, but its main focus was blues rock (at least that’s what it says on Wikipedia haha). I didn’t like that album as much as Stranger in This Town (1991), but it did have a variety of different songs to choose from, which was cool. They even had this fun dance song called “Chained;” everytime I hear it, it makes me want to dance in a bar or at a wedding. With some flavorful guitar work, it’s just a fun and relaxing track that you can’t help but sway your head to the groove.
8. “Downside of Love”
“Downside of the Love” is the story of my life. Ok, maybe that’s not true, but it’s freaky how true these lyrics are. Sambora sang about life not having guarantees and love not being an easy path to go down; I feel you dude! It’s the most blues-oriented track on Undiscovered Soul, which is why it’s one of my favorite songs on the album. His voice screams blues singer and that’s why this song fits him perfectly.
7. “You Can Only Get So High”
Sambora always tells a story with his songs, and with “You Can Only Get So High,” he’s singing about his struggles with substance abuse. But the lyrics can be interpreted to fit any scenario whether that’d be a bad breakup or a bad day at school, it doesn’t matter as long as the listener can connect with the song. While I love Sambora’s blues-oriented tracks, his ballads are just as brilliant and beautiful.
6. “If God Was a Woman”
First of all, Sambora must really have a thing for blondes; he even wrote a song about them. What’s cool about “If God Was a Woman” is that Steven Tyler plays a harmonica for this track, which was a nice touch. Also, the lyrics are playful and very clever: “If God was a woman / Would she kiss and tell / Would we wind up in heaven / Or would we all burn in hell.”
5. “If I Can’t Have Your Love”
Sambora can literally sweep any woman off their feet and this song is living proof! “If I Can’t Have Your Love” is an outtake from Stranger in This Town, but it was released on a Bon Jovi box set called 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong (2004). Thank you Richie Sambora for releasing this track into the world because it is a masterpiece. Sambora and a piano make a great combination, and it makes the song more heartbreaking.
Did Sambora really know a girl named Rosie, did he write the song about somebody he knew, or did he just make it up? Either way, who cares, “Rosie” is a banger! Sambora means serious business when he starts growling and I’m all down for it. Honestly, I never got why the ladies fancied Jon so much when Sambora was OBVIOUSLY the pretty one; I guess he was overlooked because Jon was the frontman. What a shame; I’d pay big bucks to see Sambora live, or better yet, have Sambora be the new lead singer for Bon Jovi since Jon can’t sing anymore.
3. “Seven Years Gone”
This song hit me hard because high school through the first three years of college were the hardest years of my life. It’s strange how life can go by so quickly, huh? Once again, Sambora tells a story through his songs and anybody can relate to the lyrics. “Seven Years Gone” is my favorite song from Aftermath of the Lowdown, and it shows that Sambora is a fighter, meaning he can overcome anything life throws at him.
2. “River of Love”
I’m so upset that I never got to see Sambora perform “River of Love” live on tour because he used a talkbox, for goodness sakes! He sang “river of love” through the talkbox; if that’s not bada**, then I don’t know what is. The chorus is so dang catchy and Sambora takes an interesting approach with the lyrics (“If you’re a little lovesick / Woman I got the cure / Let me be your preacher / And you can be my whore”). That’s fine, though, Sambora had the power to win any woman over because he was a babe! Don’t even get me started on those growls!
1. “Stranger in This Town”
Just listen to “Stranger in This Town” and you’ll understand why this dude deserves more recognition for his talent. I connect with this song because I’ve always felt like an outcast and that no one knew I existed. For Sambora, being in Bon Jovi wasn’t easy because he’d be overlooked by Jon. It’s like Sambora was speaking to me through this song because we related on those levels. Also, that bluesy guitar solo is the best guitar solo I’ve ever heard because it’s so heartfelt and beautiful.
There you go! Those are my top 10 Richie Sambora songs. I could’ve easily picked 10 songs from Stranger in This Town, but that wouldn’t be fair to his other albums. I do prefer that one, though, because I like him better as a blues rock singer. But Sambora writes good songs either way, so I’ll leave it at that.
Let me know in the comments below what your top 10 Richie Sambora songs are!
Take care and see ya real soon!