Jon Bon Jovi co-owns the Philadelphia Soul Arena football team. He's acted in John Carpenter's Vampires ("He's unstoppable . . . unless we stop him!") and Young Guns II (in the indelible role of "pit inmate who gets shot back into pit"). He's given speeches at Oxford University ("Passion plus perseverance equals possibility -- let me break it down") and the American Music Awards ("The guitar gave me hope"). Yet he's still best known as a self-proclaimed rock cowboy, wanted dead or alive. Given that this will be his legacy, it's time to compare Bon Jovi to other cowboys of lore:
Jon Bon Jovi
Real name: John Francis Bongiovi Jr.
Cowboy qualifications/special talents: Rides a steel horse; capable of simultaneously seeing and rocking a million faces; can concentrate power into ballad form.
Political views: Campaigned for John Kerry; champions underdogs such as diner waitresses and dock workers; new album contains vague protest tunes.
Real name: Robert James Ritchie
Cowboy qualifications/special talents: Can detect porcine scent for up to a mile; answers to "Hoss"; employed the late little person Joe C as a Sundance Kid-style sidekick.
Political views: Took a shot at fellow cowpoke Bon Jovi, challenging him to play for troops in Iraq. Probably the only attendee at last year's Republican National Convention who appeared in Buttman at Nudes a Poppin' 9.
Real name: Marion Michael Morrison
Cowboy qualifications/special talents: Portrayed a cowboy so often and so definitively that even the western-attired male prostitute from Midnight Cowboy intoned his name with awe.
Political views: Posthumously drew the ire of Public Enemy, who labeled him a racist for his on-screen killings of thousands of Native American warriors and Japanese soldiers. Supported Richard Nixon and Vietnam. Released a 1973 album called America, Why I Love Her. Though the record contains only readings of patriotic poems, it compares favorably with anything Bon Jovi or Kid Rock has generated in the past five years.
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