Miss Fourth of July | series: The Box Set

In 2004 Bon Jovi created a 4-cd (1 dvd) box set with unreleased work,
called
100.000.000 Bon Jovi fans can’t be wrong”.
In this series I discuss all of the 50 songs.

I m still early in this series, yet this post may end up being my favorite one.

video: At 29:20  Jon says all there is to say about this song.
Or at least: All that he’s ready to share!

There will be times in this Box Set series, where I supply you with a fascinating origin story of the song, hail it for its profound meaning, or conduct science experiments how few sentences it took before Jon had us crying like babies;

And then there will be times when I will diligently write out, an entire speech or full verse or chorus, because I think it should be swallowed whole and that we should not be picking it apart in an effort to understand it.

Or the third option, which is my personal favorite;
I write about why the song is about sex.

And then!
Then there is apparently the one in a 100.000.000 Bon Jovi fans can’t be wrong– chance that I just might be able to deliver all three of them! 

Because after hearing Jon’s elaborate explanation on how bad he was doing when he wrote “Miss Fourth of July” and how deep his crisis, and I then read along three verses, three repetitions of the chorus, and the outro I thought:
“This is about sex and you tried to slip it by us.”

So either, you can read along and overthink it with me.
New rare video footage to support my vision will be delivered!

OR you can just take Jon’s word for it and keep it at that, and look for a video on YouTube called:
Bon Jovi | Live at Borgata Casino | Atlantic City 2004
by hAnD90 uploaded in January 2019
And start at 29 minutes 20 seconds.

This was the introduction from Jon Bon Jovi to Miss Fourth of July on the Borgota concert: 

Jon introduces Miss Fourth of July, as follows:
“This is a little something I wrote back in ’91 and a period I now refer to as the grey period. It was cloudy for about two years of my life.
It was a very interesting time because we were trying to figure out who the hell we were, as people.
The twenties were now behind me, the thirties were just coming on strong. Innocence seemed to have all be gone. But fortunately for us we got over that hump
[…]
But this is written during that period that if we didn’t get over this hump at that time we would have in fact been another one of those casualties that you hear about on “Where are the now?”.
[…]
So if you can just imagine I am in this little teeny eight by eight bedroom in Malibu California, probably either drunk or hung over, with a rented piano, and I happen to like the song more now because it doesn’t hurt as bad.
Check out the lyric, it is called The Fourth of July.”

Now, if at this point, you’re shaking your head at me.
“How can you possibly see this song as being about sex?”
Then I m going to cut you short because I too didn’t see it as being about that at this point.

Just like you, I docilely listened to the acoustic song with Jon and Richie on guitar and David Bryan on accordion.
And weeped with them over losing their youth, as the price they paid for growing up touring pretty much back to back from 1985 to 1990.
No wonder they were in crisis.

Yet there was probably already a sign that they would make it because contrary to other, I would almost say contrary to “most”, hardrock bands in the 80s, the Bon Jovi members were not addicted to heroin. 

The band Bon Jovi started in the early 80s, with Jon Bon Jovi delivering enough material for an entire record all by himself, before (after launching the single Runaway) they pulled together a band.

With their self-titled album (1984), their second album 7800 Fahrenheit (1985), their biggie Slippery When Wet (1986), and the absolutely brilliant shockingly good successor to that New Jersey (1988), under their belt and non.stop.touring.
– New Jersey was in fact even often “excused for” not being that good because they didn’t have time to properly innovate their music, while also touring –
that when that final tour finally ended early 1990;
Of course they were beat.
Of course they were stressed out.
Of course there was going to be a massive withdrawal from touring for years on end, that would pull each and everyone of the members into their personal versions of hell.

Of course it was going to be a time of staring into the heart of darkness.
Alone.

But! 
This did not mean that fans from Jon Bon Jovi, would have to miss out.
Early 1990, he joined the cast of Young Guns 2 on location, and started writing for the soundtrack.

The script and emotions it provided for him, gave him not just a sense of direction on what the music should be about;
It also gave him a mask.

He was not Jon Bon Jovi the singer who had probably lost his entire band and himself;
He was writing music to fit the script.
He later said he had put a lot of himself in that album Blaze of Glory, but at the time he hid behind the cowboy hat and leather clothes. 

So there I was (current day me, not 1990 Jon) listening to Miss Fourth of July and reading the lyrics.
And I stumble upon a lyric that makes me think that he did not have real sex, but only watched (a stripper, or a couple, or two women, something along those lines), and yet someone (I think his wife) was upset with him anyway.

This was the lyric, it is in the first verse:
“For a night I just watched and you walked out of here”

I don’t consider myself a knowledgeable Bon Jovi fan.
Just last Sunday I mixed up the intros from It’s My Life and Livin’ On A Prayer.

So I will never even remotely suggest you should take me seriously, as far as facts about the band go. I m not a typing encyclopedia, and often even fail to Google things.
But there is one area I am an expert at:
Sex.

And with Jon Bon Jovi, this usually means that I have a neck for when he’s talking about cheating. And even when I later find he was doing it “in character”, like in Always which was originally for a movie so it’s not his own story, I can’t imagine that he did not pour from his own experience when he wrote that.
But this is not about Always.
This is about Miss Fourth of July, that we are supposed to take at face value about being about an entirely sexless coming of age, or maybe coming of fame is more accurate, theme of a rock star finally returning home with almost Odysseus like pathos, suddenly realizing he no longer is the man who left, filled with hopes and dreams.

“For a night I just watched and you walked out of here”
This “baby-level” Bon Jovi fan, who cannot tell the difference between It’s my Life and Livin’on a Prayer intros, thinks Jon Bon Jovi tried to stay faithful within limits, yet got in an argument with his wife about it anyway. 

That’s the baseline I got when I started this blogpost. I had honestly not thought any further.
Until I started typing out that entire speech, which was a lot of work, I think I easily spent an hour on it.
And in that hour, the tiny bedroom in Malibu remark started to look very familiar. Even though Jon was referring to a two year period, I was suddenly certain this referred to the mansion he had rented, which he called “Disgraceland” and where he stayed when he recorded the Blaze of Glory record.
It is also the location where my favorite Jon Bon Jovi interview was located:
An MTV interview with Julie Brown, which was supposed to air on Independence Day.

(if you’re currently shouting “But that’s on the fourth of July!”; That is correct!) 

To mark the occasion Julie was dressed in America’s independence colors red and blue.
“Now I see where the white is,” Jon says as he lifts her skirt.

As soon as I saw this interview, which was early 2019, I knew for a fact that we had watched a genuine sexual attraction between Jon and Julie.
That it was both staged, and real.
Julie and Jon were hiding in plane sight.

click the photo to go to the playlist of this interview

The only problem this presents, now that I know that Miss Fourth Of July was written in the backlash of a one-night stand, or encounter, with someone special yet you can’t make it work, was that I no longer understood the sentence:
“For a night I just watched and you walked out of here”
I no longer know what that sentence means.

Yet Jon being messed up after Julie left, does explain many other lyrics. 
“Don’t say we never tried”
“I ain’t too proud to let you see tears fall from these eyes”
“Just look me in the eyes and say it meant nothing at all”
“Nothing but a heavy hit of heartbreak ;
A handful of blues”

And I know who Miss Fourth of July is.

” I used to live, but now I survive”

It took eight words.
Eight words to make us cry.

~Suzanne
Rock Star Writer
.

new: BOX SET SERIES

Miss Fourth of July
is the fifth post in
The Box Set Series

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