Do What You Can

Album: Bon Jovi: 2020 (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • Bon Jovi frontman Jon Bon Jovi wrote this song during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. During that time, the vast majority of Americans were living in various degrees of quarantine and isolation. Fear and uncertainty dominated the zeitgeist. Bon Jovi felt it was his duty as a musician to record a song about it.

    He started things off with an Instagram post on March 19 showing him doing dishes at JBJ Soul Kitchen, a New Jersey restaurant he owns. The caption of the post read, "When you can't do what you do, you do what you can." The implication was that he couldn't perform live because of the lockdown so he helped out at his restaurant instead.

    After that, he recorded himself playing the first verse and the chorus of this song. He then asked his fans to share their pandemic experiences on social media with the hashtag #DoWhatYouCan.
  • The song is full of images of life from the pandemic, with the chorus urging us to do the best we can for ourselves and for each other during difficult times.

    When you can't do what you do, you do what you can
    This ain't my prayer, it's just a thought I'm wanting to send
    Round here we bend but don't break, down here we all understand
    When you can't do what you do, you do what you can
  • Jon Bon Jovi first performed the finalized version of this song on April 22, 2020, for the Jersey4Jersey benefit special, which also featured Bruce Springsteen, Halsey, Tony Bennett, SZA, and Fountains of Wayne all performing from their homes.

    Bon Jovi (the band) added their instrumental parts later, also from their homes.
  • The music video pays tribute to the resilience of New Yorkers as we see Jon Bon Jovi performing the song in an empty Times Square during lockdown.

    "Shooting a video on nearly empty streets of Manhattan amid a global crisis really told the story of 'Do What You Can' from the place where I lived it," Jon Bon Jovi said in a statement. "And I know those empty streets look similar to so many parts of America battling this pandemic. But the story of everyday heroes showing amazing courage was inspiring to see and the video, much like the song, has a great deal of hope in it too."
  • Bon Jovi released a duet version featuring Jennifer Nettles. The Sugarland singer's previous collaboration with Bon Jovi, "Who Says You Can't Go Home," topped the Country chart and earned them a Grammy in 2007 for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.

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