The Truth About Hugh McDonald's Time In Bon Jovi

Lots of bands have that one guy they'd rather you forget, and Bon Jovi is no exception ... well, until very recently. 

For over a decade, at the height of their fame, the band with some of the biggest hairdos in pop music was living on a prayer that no one would notice the old guy among their ranks: Hugh McDonald. The truth about his time with Bon Jovi is that he was partly responsible for the guys' success on the radio waves, even as they were touring with their "regular" bassist Alec John Such. According to Bon Jovi biographer Bryan Reesman, who was interviewed by Forbes in 2016, it was most likely McDonald who played the bass on all the band's hit albums from the eighties and early nineties, such as 1986's 12x platinum Slippery When Wet

McDonald definitely bumped the beat on the band's first hit single "Runaway" from 1983, and he took credit for over a dozen Bon Jovi albums on his old website, which is no longer online. "There are rumors that have never been substantiated that Alec never played bass on any of those albums — that Hugh played the bass, at least starting on Slippery When Wet," Reesman told Forbes.

McDonald finally became an official member of Bon Jovi

Even though McDonald permanently joined the band after Such's departure in 1994, he wasn't recognized as an official member for almost two decades. One die-hard superfan even started a petition directed at Jon Bon Jovi on, to implore him to make Hugh an official member. "He deserves to be in the pictures, in the gallery, and there [are] a lot of people who [love] him," wrote Carlos Figueroa, the campaign's frustrated creator.

Jon finally let the world know that McDonald was an official part of the Bon Jovi family in 2018, after Hugh's name wasn't listed on the announcement for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In a nice, but somewhat hypocritical move, he himself let the Hall know that they had left an important part of the band out of the award. The Hall is easily forgiven for the mistake, since Jon himself took decades to let Hugh in. But, hey, better late than never! 

"Jon was good enough at Christmastime to surprise me by sending me a framed copy of the email that he sent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, telling them my history in the band over the years and that I deserved to be in with them," McDonald told Deseret News. "I can't even explain how much it means to me."