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"American Reckoning": Social justice movement inspires new Bon Jovi song

Island Records

Earlier this year, Jon Bon Jovi wrote a song called “Do What You Can,” inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Now, he’s written a new song, “American Reckoning,” inspired by the social justice movement sweeping the U.S. in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

The song, written by Jon and available now on all digital platforms, starts with the words “America’s on fire,” and refers directly to Floyd’s murder, with the lyrics “God damn those eight long minutes/laying face down in cuffs on the ground.” 

Jon also sings, “When did a judge and a jury become a badge and a knee,” and “Another mother’s crying as history repeats/I can’t breathe.”

Elsewhere in the song, Bon Jovi muses on the white privilege that keeps him from truly understanding the struggle of Black Americans:  “I’ll never know what it’s like to walk a mile in his shoes/and I’ll never have to have the talk so it don’t happen to you.”

In the chorus, Jon sings, “Stay alive/Shine a light/Stay alive/Use your voice and you remember me/American Reckoning.”

“I was moved to write ‘American Reckoning’ as a witness to history,” says Jon in a statement. “I believe the greatest gift of an artist is the ability to use their voice to speak to issues that move us.”

100% of the band’s net proceeds and its record label’s net proceeds from “American Reckoning” downloads through the end of the year will support Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative.

“American Reckoning” will be included on Bon Jovi’s forthcoming album Bon Jovi 2020, due out this fall. According to the band’s rep, it “takes a critical view of this staggering and historic year.”

By Andrea Dresdale
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