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Bon Jovi Readies for American Idol Appearance

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Life and love and loss and freedom. That's how Jon Bon Jovi describes the themes of his band's new album, Lost Highway, due June 19.

The band will perform a new single, (You Want to) Make a Memory, on American Idol Wednesday, May 2, following performances of its songs by contestants on the previous night's show.

Bon Jovi No one is more surprised than Bon Jovi that the band has another record so soon after the overwhelming success of Have a Nice Day, featuring the crossover hit Who Says You Can't Go Home with country band Sugarland.

"If you would ever have told me I would have a record in the fourth quarter of last year, having just completed a world tour," Bon Jovi says, "I would have said you can bet all the tea in China, it's just not going to happen.

"But because of the circumstances around our lives, they were very fruitful, and a lot of the inspiration was watching what was happening in Richie's life (bandmate Sambora split with wife Heather Locklear and is dating Denise Richards), compounded by all the good things that were happening in all our collective lives."

Bon Jovi says Lost Highway isn't a conscious attempt to capitalize on the crossover success of Who Says, which won a Grammy and became the first song by a rock band to hit No. 1 on the country charts.

"But the feeling came, and when it does, you have to know to go with it," he says. "And we went to Nashville in September, and by December, 10 of the 12 songs were written and recorded and ready for mixing. It was just in the last couple of months that, because I always do this, I pulled the record back and wrote five more, two of which made the record."

Bon Jovi thinks the crossover appeal of Who Says and the new album is the result of country radio getting closer to the band's sound, not the other way around. Two of the songs feature Big & Rich and LeAnn Rimes, and Bon Jovi says his country influences are new artists as much as the "real gods," including Johnny Cash.

"Different people, different reasons," he says. "It's all a big soup. Everybody adds a little ingredient, and that's what makes the next generation go on. You can't be a rip-off of one guy. You don't find an influence; you find your influence's influence. You take a little piece of that and a little piece of this and a little piece of the other thing, and then that's what makes you and how you get to be here for 25 years."

Today, longevity in the music industry also requires embracing multimedia opportunities to connect with audiences, such as American Idol, which Bon Jovi just recently watched for the first time.

"It's not that I didn't want to; I just didn't," he says. "I've had a lot of guys cover our songs on it, and then giving them songs subsequently for their records, but (had) never seen it. That's 30 million that watch TV, so these days, being on American Idol certainly isn't a bad thing.

"You got to get music out there however you can," Bon Jovi continues. "Radio is getting smaller and smaller; the record business is getting smaller and smaller. There are things that are fantastic, like the Internet, (but) it's tough because it's created something none of us knew 10 years ago, and you have to learn to roll with those punches. But it's not the way it used to be; it's not the record business that I grew up in."

American Idol is among just a handful of TV shows and odd performance dates in support of the album until the world tour next year. Yet Bon Jovi is busier than ever.

"Sort of like Levis, man, we're everywhere," he says, laughing.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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    Hello, Ryan Seacrest and Anderson Cooper will co-host a special on the last 50 years of pop culture as told by those who've lived it by the one and only Larry King:

    Presidents to Pop Stars Salute CNN’s Larry King in Special

    CNN’s Anderson Cooper, American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest Host Larry King – 50 Years of Pop Culture
    Presidents, celebrities and ordinary people have spoken to Larry King in more than 40,000 interviews since his extraordinary career began on a small local Miami radio station in 1957. In Larry King – 50 Years of Pop Culture, CNN looks at five decades of pop culture as Larry lived it. This two-hour CNN Presents television event premieres on Thursday, May 3, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) and is hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper with American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest.

    “Larry and his guests reflect upon a half-century of American culture – from the early days of Sinatra’s ‘Rat Pack’ to the chase of O.J. Simpson’s Bronco to American Idol – people in more than 50 original interviews talk about Larry and the times in which we all listened to and watched him,” said Mark Nelson, vice president and senior executive producer of CNN Productions.

    King’s start in broadcasting at WAHR in Miami on May 1, 1957, came when he scored his first big break as a radio disc jockey, reported the news and gave sports updates. His first talk show venue was a restaurant in Miami Beach; his first interview subject was a waitress. Celebrities and newsmakers also began stopping by, and the rest is still history in the making. Pop icons, politicians and everyday people have since found their way to sit opposite King’s chair.

    In June 1985, CNN hired King for Larry King Live. Since its debut 23 years ago, Larry King Live has remained essential television as the must-see, long-format interview destination for reports about major events, confessions from celebrities in crisis and newsmakers with something to say.

    Radio host and television personality Ryan Seacrest takes viewers along for the ride of King’s broadcast beginnings in the late 1950s and coaxes King to recall his career and pop culture milestones through 1984. Anderson Cooper reveals the rarely seen personal side of the man who mostly listens to others talk about themselves. Cooper puts into context the years of King’s national television career, the international ubiquitiousness of his program and the seminal events that have defined the last 50 years.

    “I try to ask very good questions,” King says in the documentary. “My role is ... not to make a guest uncomfortable. I'm uncomfortable if I make them uncomfortable, you don't learn a lot if you're confrontational. It's exciting [to demand]: ‘Why did you do this?!’ Well, if someone points a finger at you and says, ‘Why did you do this?!’ you guarantee, will not learn why he did this. You will not learn it. So I learned a long time ago that the best way to be is really curious.”

    50 Years of Pop Culture is part of CNN’s anniversary tribute, “King-Sized Week” of special programming beginning with CIA Director George Tenet’s first live interview, on Monday, April 30. On Tuesday, May 1, King speaks with another legendary talk show host, Oprah Winfrey. Katie Couric interviews King on Wednesday, May 2, and comedian Bill Maher toasts King, with more than 20 surprise guests, on Friday, May 4. For more information on upcoming shows or to locate past transcripts, please visit http://www.CNN.com/larryking. All programming airs at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)

    Wendy Walker is the executive producer of Larry King Live. CNN Presents: Larry King – 50 Years of Pop Culture was executive produced by Mary Ade and Bud Bultman. Kimberly Arp-Babbit, Keith Harrington, Brian Larch, Teri Lemon and Elise Zeiger are the producers. Jody Gottlieb is the executive director of CNN Productions.

    CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is one of the world’s most respected and trusted sources for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; four Web sites, including CNN.com, the first major news and information Web site; CNN Pipeline, CNN.com’s premium live video news service; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and partnerships for four television networks and two Web sites.

    -30-




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