Founding member Jon Bon Jovi began to play piano and guitar at thirteen with his first band, called Raze. He was enrolled in an all-boys Catholic school, St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey, but left to attend public school at Sayreville War Memorial High School. At sixteen, Bon Jovi met David Bryan (born David Bryan Rashbaum) and formed a 12-piece cover band named Atlantic City Expressway after the New Jersey highway. They played at New Jersey clubs, even though they were minors. Still in his teens, Bon Jovi played in the band John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones, playing local clubs like "The Fast Lane" and opening for known acts in the area.
By mid-1982, out of school and working part-time in a women's shoe store, Bon Jovi took a job at the Power Station Studios, a Manhattan recording facility where his cousin, Tony Bongiovi, was a co-owner. Bon Jovi made several demos (including one produced by Billy Squier) and sent them out to many record companies, but failed to make an impact.
In 1983, Bon Jovi visited the local radio station WAPP 103.5FM "The Apple" in Lake Success, New York. He spoke directly to the D.J., Chip Hobart, who suggested Bon Jovi let WAPP include the song "Runaway" on a compilation album of local homegrown talent. Bon Jovi was reluctant but eventually gave them the song on which Bon Jovi had used studio musicians to play on the track "Runaway" (originally written in 1980). The studio musicians who helped record "Runaway" were known as The All Star Review. They were: guitarists Dave Sabo and Tim Pierce, keyboardist Roy Bittan, drummer Frankie LaRocka and bassist Hugh McDonald.