Early Life and career

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Posted on Sun, 03/01/2015 - 11:34am
by Angie Spray

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Sambora was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the son of Joan (née Sienila), a secretary, and Adam C. Sambora, a factory foreman. He is of Polish descent and was raised Catholic. He grew up in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey and attended Woodbridge High School there, graduating in 1977.

He played basketball in high school, where as a junior, he helped Woodbridge High win a Group 4 State title.

His first instrument was the accordion which he began to play at the age of 6. He began playing the guitar at the age of 12 following the death of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix in 1970. From his early days Sambora was strongly influenced by blues and 60s rock and roll. His most important influences were The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Joe Kmiecik, George Harrison, and B. B. King. He was also influenced by Spanish classical music and began a lifelong love of the Spanish guitar. Furthermore, he had stated that psychedelic soul singer Janis Joplin had a big influence on his musical style during her career in the late '60s and early '70s. Classical music directly inspired several of his songs, such as The Answer which was originally written on piano. He also plays many other instruments, such as drums, bass, saxophone, piano etc. The first time he performed on stage was at a CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) dance when he was a teen.

He has said that he is color blind to red, brown and green.

Early Career and Bon Jovi

Sambora was a guitarist for the band Message, and with that band he gave out an independent record, which was re-released in 1995 under the name Message, and in 2000 as Lessons. He was in band "Mercy" that was signed to Led Zeppelin owned record label Swan Song Records, and "Duke Williams & the Extremes" who were signed to Capricorn Records. Sambora was also in an improvisational club band called "Richie Sambora & Friends". He was part owner of a club in New Jersey and at age 19 owned his own independent label "Dream Disc Records". His first professional tour was as an opening act for Joe Cocker in the early 80s. Shortly before joining Bon Jovi in 1983, he auditioned for KISS, to be Ace Frehley's replacement.

Bon Jovi added Sambora to replace original lead guitarist Dave Sabo. Sambora went to a show and, after being impressed by Bon Jovi, approached him and told Jon Bongiovi that he thought they should work together. They immediately hit it off as friends, and Sambora was invited to a rehearsal. By the time Jon arrived, the band was sounding better than ever and Sambora was hired on the spot.

Sambora has occasionally taken over as lead vocalist on Bon Jovi songs, most notably "I'll Be There for You" and "These Days" when played live on the BounceHave a Nice Day and Lost Highway tours, while on The Circle Tour he performed "Lay Your Hands on Me" and "Homebound Train". He has also performed his solo hit, "Stranger in This Town" during live performances. One of the live performances of "Stranger in This Town", recorded during the Keep the Faith Tour, was released on Bon Jovi's CD single "Dry County" in 1994.

Solo albums

Sambora's first solo album was 1991's Stranger in This Town, a blues-influenced album that was received well by many critics although commercially a relative flop, some say because the tone of the record was not appealing to Bon Jovi fans. Eric Clapton played the lead guitar on track Mr Bluesman, backed by Sambora on acoustic guitars. He did a short US tour in support of the album, featuring Tony Levin (bass), Dave Amato (guitar), Crystal Taliefero (percussion) and Bon Jovi bandmates Tico Torres (drums) and Dave Bryan (keyboards). "Ballad of Youth" was released in the UK in summer 1991 and despite plugs from The Friday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1 the song barely skimmed the top 75.

Undiscovered Soul was Sambora's second solo album, released in 1998. The album was produced by Don Was. In support of Undiscovered Soul, Sambora toured Japan, Australia and Europe in the summer of 1998. The band featured Richie Supa (guitar), Ron Wikso (drums), Kasim Sulton (bass), Tommy Mandel (keyboards), Everett Bradley (percussion; Japan only), Gioia Bruno (percussion; Australia only) and Crystal Taliefero (percussion; Europe only).

Fourteen years after his previous solo album, Sambora announced via his Twitter page that recording of Aftermath of the Lowdown had been completed with hopes that the album would be released in July 2012. Photographs were published of Sambora working in a recording studio. The new album was produced by Luke Ebbin, who produced Bon Jovi's Crush and Bounce albums. Aftermath of the Lowdown was released in September 2012. 

Sambora announced in early 2015 that he is working on a new album in collaboration with fellow musician and girlfriend Orianthi.

Other Work

Recent ventures have seen him compose television theme songs for both Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. He (along with Jon Bon Jovi) is part of the Ownership Group of the Philadelphia Soul, an Arena Football League football team.

Sambora made a cameo appearance in The Sims Superstar.

Sambora is featured on the track "Baby Rock Remix" from LL Cool J's 2008 album Exit 13.

He made a guest appearance on Bo Diddley's 1996 album A Man Amongst Men, playing guitar on tracks "Can I Walk You Home" and "Oops! Bo Diddley".

In 1999, Sambora was a guest vocalist on the Stuart Smith album Stuart Smith's Heaven & Earth, performing a cover of Deep Purple song "When a Blind Man Cries". Also in 1999, Sambora played the guitar solo on the track "Why Don't You Love Me" on the album Tuesday's Child, by Canadian singer Amanda Marshall.

Sambora also played on an album called Lessons from a band called Message. The album was recorded in the early 1980s.

Sambora sang "Long Way Around" for the 1997 Steven Seagal action film Fire Down Below. The song, written by Seagal and David Pomeranz, appears in the final scene. In a 1998 interview Sambora said his version is in the film itself but a different person's performance of the song is included on the film's soundtrack album, despite Sambora's name appearing on the album credits. Sambora also recorded the song "One Last Goodbye" for movie The Banger Sisters, and covered Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" for the soundtrack of 1990 comedy The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.

His guitar work featured on the track "Misery" on Pink's 2001 album Missundaztood with Steven Tyler.

In 2004, Sanctuary Records released a self-titled album which had been recorded in 1978 by Shark Frenzy, documenting Sambora's first recorded material. The mix tapes had been damaged in a flood and band member Bruce Foster had remastered them for release many years later.

Sambora co-wrote several tracks and played guitar on Australian rock/pop artist Shannon Noll's third album Turn It Up. It was released in Australia in September 2007.

To coincide with his solo album Aftermath of the Lowdown, Sambora and friends performed as the house band on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS for one week (December 3–7, 2012). Several guests sang along with the band over the week, including Craig Ferguson (singing Sugar Daddy), Denis Leary, Eddie Izzard and even Larry King sang the Late Late Show theme song.

Personal life

Sambora married actress Heather Locklear in Paris on December 17, 1994. Daughter Ava Elizabeth Sambora was born in 1997. Locklear filed for divorce in February 2006 citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized on April 11, 2007. Just nine days later, on April 20, Sambora's father Adam died of lung cancer. Sambora resides in Los Angeles and owns a beach house in Laguna Beach also Philadelphia as well as other properties.

From 1987 to 1988, he dated model/actress Stacey Alden (Lehua Reid). The Bon Jovi songs "Bad Medicine" and "I'll Be There For You" were written about this relationship.

In 1988, Sambora dated Brat Pack actress Ally Sheedy. Their relationship lasted for only nine months.

From 1989 to 1992, he dated entertainer/actress Cher, for whom he has also written and produced songs.

After Heather Locklear filed for divorce in February 2006, Sambora began to date actress Denise Richards. Their relationship lasted a year. However, they rekindled their romance in 2011. They broke up again in 2012.

Richie is now dating his ex Michael Jackson, and Alice Cooper guitarist and successful solo artist Orianthi.

Substance problems

On June 7, 2007, it was announced that Sambora was entering an "undisclosed rehab facility in Los Angeles" for treatment related to alcoholism. Following his release, he told an interviewer, "I was just drinking too much and I needed to get my life together. I'm still in therapy and stuff like that, but it's good. I'm great. I feel fine." In the Bon Jovi documentary "When We Were Beautiful", Sambora talks candidly about his addiction to painkillers following a slip in his bathroom. He credited his bandmates and mother with helping him through the difficult time.

On March 26, 2008, Sambora was arrested for drunk driving in Laguna Beach, California. At the time, his ten-year-old daughter and her friend were both in his Hummer. He was pulled over at 10:52pm after an officer noticed his car "weaving on the road", but was "quiet and cooperative and didn't cause any problems". At his May 2008 arraignment, he pled no contest "to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher", was fined $390, placed on probation for three years, and was required to attend a driver's education course.

On April 28, 2011, it was announced that Sambora had made the decision to enter rehab again. Sambora was absent from the band for thirteen shows during the Bon Jovi Live tour, and Sambora's guitar and vocal duties were handled by well-known session musician Phillip "Phil X" Xenidis during those shows. This is Sambora's second stint in rehab and was announced just a week after he finished probation for drunk driving charges. Sambora returned to join the band in June 2011 in Zagreb, Croatia for the start of the European leg of the tour.

Public service and recognition

Over the years, Sambora has been an ardent fundraiser for many charities, such as Dream Street, the Steve Young Forever Young Foundation and Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease charity. He has donated money privately to various cancer charities since the death of his father, including both hospitals where his father was treated, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and M D Anderson. Sambora's fundraising with the charity Stand Up For a Cure allowed for three mobile full service hospital units to be brought to the streets of New York, two of which were named after his parents, respectively.

In May 2004, Sambora was bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Kean University where he attended the awards ceremony and gave a speech of acceptance. He attended Kean University as a freshman, but dropped out to pursue a career as a professional guitarist and session musician.

Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 18, 2009.

On November 24, 2009, Sambora launched charitable effort You Can Go Home in his home town of Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, which unveiled a street renamed Richie Sambora Way. He also donated funds to renovate part of his alma mater Woodbridge High School, which opened a new weight room, the Adam Sambora Fitness Center, dedicated to Sambora's father.

On May 7, 2012, Sambora was recognised by the Midnight Mission charity for his work, dedication, and support to their cause, with the Golden Heart Award.

 

Attribution

Richie Sambora - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richie_Samborahttp://creativecommons.org/li...