Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
We are now at the four month mark of the pandemic. Four months!!! One hundred & twenty days. And some states-namely California, Florida & Texas-are seeing a staggering increase in new cases that are breaking the records set only three months ago. It is just too much to bear. I am clinging tighter than ever to what makes me happy as opposed to what is going in the world right now. And what makes me the happiest is music.
It has always been in my life and I have loved it since I was a young child. But my intense love affair with it began the first time I heard the “Born To Run” album in its entirety. I was compelled to buy it after hearing two songs on the radio. One was “Backstreets” and the other is today’s pick. I only heard half of this one that day but it was enough to show me it was a party set to music. I may not have been invited to it, but I was welcomed in and asked to stay. I learned about the history of the incredible band and how “The Big Man”, Clarence Clemons, came to join them.
Once I started going to Springsteen’s concerts, I discovered this was one of the highlights of the show and it led to the band’s introductions. It also became a moment of reverence and reflection after Clemons passed away in 2011 to keep his memory and his presence very much a part of the band he meant so much to. And to the legions of fans like me who would never forget how he & Springsteen encouraged all the women in the audience to wave back when he sang the line, “All the little pretties raise their hands”. Sometimes it leaves such a lump in my throat when I realize I will never see that moment again in person, but I am so incredibly grateful I had the chance to do so many, many times. And out of all the times I did see it, in addition to the hundreds of clips of this song recorded live that are all over YouTube, one of my favorite performances of this song was when he & The E Street Band performed it live at Springsteen’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on March 15, 1999 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York. Until I attended The E Street Band’s induction ceremony in 2014, that is.
In his speech honoring his band, Springsteen expressed his regret in not insisting his band get inducted with him in 1999. He told the story of how he and friend/E Street guitarist Steven Van Zandt fought about this but Springsteen, blaming his ego, felt he earned the right to be honored and inducted on his own. So in 1999 the band stood by him as if nothing happened which showed incredible professionalism, loyalty and friendship on their part. But with the deaths of band keyboardist Danny Federici in 2008 and then Clemons, Springsteen was heartbroken that they did not live to see that honor (Federici’s children and Clemons’ widow accepted on their behalfs). Part of his speech in 2014 included these beautiful words:
“We’ve hurt one another in big & small ways but in the end we kept faith with each other. I told a story with The E Street Band that was and is bigger than I ever could have told on my own…that is the hallmark of a rock & roll band. The narrative you tell together is bigger than any one you could have told on your own.”
With all the lessons Springsteen has taught me through his music, that was one of the saddest. But today’s song is still one of my all time favorites. Now I feel expected to attend the party. I will always love how much history I have with it and how it taught me decades after first hearing it that we all must learn to live with big regrets, even those crowned The Boss.
“When that change was made uptown
And the Big Man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raise their hands
I’m gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half.”
Born To Run album photos by Eric Meola. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Bruce Springsteen: “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” (1975, written by Bruce Springsteen).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.