Greg Sandow
December 11, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Guide to Bon Jovi

The guitarist’s a true romantic. The drummer propels the music with a colossal beat. The singer, sounding every bit as if he means it, cries, ”Baby, I want you like the roses want the rain.” If a band like that makes your heart pound, try these past albums:

*BON JOVI (1984) The big beat, plus honest hooks — everything that later made them famous. B+

*7800 FAHRENHEIT (1985) Harder, darker, not quite as fresh. B

*SLIPPERY WHEN WET (1986) Their breakthrough to stardom, with ”Livin’ on a Prayer” and other exuberant, even compassionate (check the lyrics) hits. A-

*NEW JERSEY (1988) More hits (”Lay Your Hands on Me”), but diluted by Jon’s cowboy fascination and by an often self-conscious Jersey back-streets vibe. B

*BLAZE OF GLORY (1990) Jon’s Young Guns solo album, thin if you don’t share his cowboy thang. C+

*STRANGER IN THIS TOWN (1991) Gotta love Richie Sambora’s solo meditations for their brooding mood. But only a few of the songs stand out. B-

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