‘Wild Thing,’ Sam Kinison, Bon Jovi, Skid Row and Billy Squier

Sam Kinison at Giants Stadium in 1989.

Sam Kinison at Giants Stadium in 1989.

In 1988, wildman comedian Sam Kinison appeared in Bon Jovi’s video for “Bad Medicine,” and Jon Bon Jovi guested in Kinison’s video for “Wild Thing.” (Both clips got major play on MTV.) Still, it must have been a shock for fans attending Bon Jovi’s June 11, 1989 concert at Giants Stadium when, late in Bon Jovi’s set, Kinison joined the group, as well as opening acts Skid Row and Billy Squier, for a truly chaotic version of “Wild Thing.” Check it out below.

If you’re looking for candidates for Bon Jovi’s most important show in their home state, this one should be at or near the top of the list. This was Bon Jovi’s first headlining appearance at Giants Stadium. The group was touring in support of its 1988 album New Jersey, and called the tour the Jersey Syndicate Tour. Skid Row, a Jersey band that Bon Jovi had discovered and championed, was starting to make a major name for itself, too.

Kinison, who died in 1992 at the age of 38, was more or less at the peak of his own popularity in the summer of ’89, too.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.

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