Music Monday: October 18, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the blog for this week’s Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

On October 17, 1980 Bruce Springsteen released “The River”. As a fan of The Boss I adore all his music but this one holds a particularly special place in my heart. The first time I saw him sing, it was the title track from this double album. I was completely mesmerized by watching him & hearing the heartbreaking lyrics to that incredible song. It solidified my love & admiration for this incredible man for life.

I saw him perform that track in the film “No Nukes” based on the concerts of the same name which took place the year before. Next month all 13 songs from Springsteen’s appearances from the two day benefit concerts in 1979 will finally be released. In honor of this occasion, today’s song is one of the tunes he & The E Street Band performed during those shows. It is the first track from his 1975 paragon of perfection, “Born To Run”. From the moment I heard these lines, I knew my life would never be the same.

What else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind
Blow back your hair
“.

No Nukes picture

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Thunder Road” (1975, written by Bruce Springsteen).

Stay well.

Welcome, October!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” – Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne Of Green Gables.

October quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

This month has always held so much wonder and promise for me.  Most kids look forward to Halloween and I was not any different.  And when I was older I remember getting lost in the beautiful changing colors of the leaves as I walked home from school after sports practice or a club meeting.  And because it would start to get dark early I would also get to see even more pretty vibrant colors in the sky as the sun went down.

sky

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

With each step I took all I could hear was the sound of the fallen leaves as they crunched under my feet.  As I passed by the houses on each block I walked down I could see people inside as they turned their inside lights on while the smell of wood burning fireplaces filled the cool refreshing autumn air that caressed my face.  Every one of my senses was completely enveloped by all the season had to offer.  And I loved every second of it.

btr

(Born To Run cover photo by Eric Meola.)

October was the month I bought Born To Run & became part of Bruce Springsteen’s world.  It was the month I learned to how to decorate for Halloween first with my mother when I was a child  and later on my own.  It was the month I looked forward to the night my dad would bring home a big orange pumpkin & watch him first draw then carve a big smiling face on it.  And the sweet aroma of it warming from the candle he would place inside of it is something I find unbelievably nostalgic as I carry on that tradition in my own home each year.

carved pumpkin

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

October is the month that took me to Vermont for the first time after years of putting it off.   It introduced me to so many wonderful things including green pumpkins, rustic & elegant antiques & junk stores, white gourds & goat’s milk everything.  It remains the best trip of my life.  And I swoon over each one of my cozy sweaters & blankets as I pull them out of their storage containers each year.  The first time I put the heat on in my home & in my car is when I know the month is in full swing & suddenly all is right in my world.

green

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

This glorious month has taken on other meanings over the years, some very good & others incredibly sad.  But no other month of the year brings back the amount of happy memories as this one does.  And no other month holds the same promise for more magic to occur.  Wishing you all the happiest October of your lives!

Stay well.

Happy birthday, Bossman!

Today Bruce Springsteen turns 72 years young. Born September 23, 1949 in Long Branch, NJ and raised in nearby Freehold, the world was introduced to this genius in the making courtesy of his first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., released in January 1973. The rest, as they say, is rock & roll history,

Boss 2

Bruce Springsteen poses on the Sunset Strip in front of a billboard for Born To Run in 1975. Photo by Terry O’Neill.

No one else’s music ever reached me the way his has. Since I discovered it when I was only 12 years old, I thought about him like my older brother who moved out before I was old enough to know him but he kept in touch by writing me these incredible poetic letters set to music. They were about life, heartbreak, betrayal, moments that “just don’t come”, mind-numbing thankless blue collar jobs that barely pay the bills and cashing in a few of your dreams when the promise of life skips over them, to name a few.

He also shared the happiness of the friends he met along the way including Crazy Janie & Her Mission Man, Mary who liked to dance when Roy Orbison songs played on the radio, Sandy on the boardwalk on the Fourth of July, the barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain, all the people out in the streets and, of course, The Big Man. My unbelievably gifted brother made quite a life for himself and took me along for the ride. And they remain some of the greatest times of my life.

So happy birthday, you beautiful deep prolific talented man. May you see 100 more. You will have my heart always. And thanks for sharing it all with me.

Bruce

Bruce Springsteen in 1975 from his Born To Run photo shoot by photographer Eric Meola.

Bruce Springsteen: “Drive All Night” (1980, written by Bruce Springsteen).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 543

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?

blog Sept 2021

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

Today’s song is one of the best parts of Bruce Springsteen’s live shows. It is from his second album, The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle. It was released in the same year his debut came out on January 5, 1973. Both records were critical favorites but neither sold well commercially until after the success of Springsteen’s paragon album, 1975’s Born To Run.

The first time I saw him live he changed the lyrics to today’s track. It was a little tongue in cheek moment to reflect the craziness of his soaring popularity after the ginormous hit of 1984’s Born In The USA.

The original lyric went like this:

Well tell him this is his last chance
To get his daughter in a fine romance
Because the record company Rosie
Just gave me a big advance
“.

The concert version went like this:

Well tell your parents
That I’m really clean
Because I’m on the cover
Of People Magazine”
.

And if that were not a great moment to witness at my first Bruce show all by itself, that beautiful man took it one step further. He put his head in a bucket of water and sprayed all of us lucky enough to be standing in front of the stage. I had been formally baptized into the religion known as The Boss. Can I get an amen?

Bruce 1973A

Bruce Springsteen circa 1973. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” (1973, 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.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 527

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?

Aug 2021 blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

Forty-six years ago today the most important record of my life came out. Born To Run was released on August 25, 1975. As I have written many times before, this album is my heart. Bruce Springsteen’s masterpiece changed the trajectory of my life. I loved music before I heard this record, without question. But I became consumed by it because of BTR.

The musicianship, the poetry, the pageantry of his storytelling, the characters and his cautionary tales about life, loss, betrayal & the inevitable roads life will sometimes take us down all led to a phenomenal place I now know as home. This record brought light to the darkest place I knew, hope to replace despair, joy to remove unimaginable sadness and peace for a shattered heart. There are no words adequate enough to thank someone for all of that. Not to mention how great it was to find another person who loved the magic of the night just as much as I did.

And you’re in love with all the wonder it brings
And every muscle in your body sings
As the highway ignites you work nine to five
And somehow you survive till the night
“.

BTR outake in color

A rare picture in color from the 1975 BTR sessions by photographer Eric Meola. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Night” (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.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 331

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

When I remember the albums that changed my life while I was growing up, Born To Run, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, Elton John’s Greatest Hits & Let It Be are amongst the first ones I recall. But before I heard any of them, I was in love with another one that I did not even know existed. I only knew I was in love with songs like “I Feel The Earth Move” and “It’s Too Late” and the woman behind them when I was only a little kid. It was not until I heard today’s song that I finally sought out the album all three songs were a part of. It was Tapestry by Carole King, released 50 years ago today, Feb 10, 1971. It was not only transformative in teaching me about great music, it also taught me how talented one person-a woman-could be. She wrote & performed her own songs, arranged them and played her own accompaniment as well.

King, who was born Carol Joan Klein in NYC 79 years ago on February 9, 1942, started playing piano as a child. She learned from her mother who played as well. King met her songwriting partner & future husband, Gerry Goffin, when they were both students at Queens Community College and were married in 1959 when King was 17. Soon they became songwriters at the Brill Building & after the success of 1960’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” they were on their way. Ten years later King recorded her landmark album, released before she turned 30 years old. And by 1977, it had spent a record breaking 302 weeks on the Billboard albums chart.

I adore several female artists and each has her own gifts. Aretha Franklin is the undisputable Queen of Soul, Linda Ronstadt’s voice has an undeniable power & range all its own and Joni Mitchell is an eloquent poet & story teller. But King has an unbelievable gift and uniqueness that separates her from a group even that distinguished. And the songs from her 1971 album are absolutely invaluable to music. Happy birthday, Carole King. And happy anniversary to the beautiful Tapestry.

“Traveling around sure gets me down and lonely
Nothing else to do but close my mind
I sure hope the road don’t come to own me
There’s so many dreams I’ve yet to find
“.

Tapestry

Carole King’s iconic 1971 album, Tapestry. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Carole King: “So Far Away” (1971, written by Carole King).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 295

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?

Shakespeare music

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

In the 2015 CNN mini-series, “The 1970’s”, the eighth episode explored the music of that decade. What they got wrong? I do not recall any mention of Eric Clapton at all. What they got right? The meaning of Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Born To Run”. The show called it “an anthem to save your soul”. Amen. But the first step to that phenomenal record was his debut album introduced to the world 48 years ago today.

Greetings From Asbury Park NJ was released on January 5, 1973. This record would change my world forever, even though I did not know it at the time. It was the way a 23 year old Springsteen, who lived one state over from me, was introduced to the music scene. And when our worlds collided once I discovered his 1975 masterpiece album, Born To Run (BTR), it did not take me long to backtrack and discover the record that started it all. The original version of “Blinded By The Light” is on it (three years before Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s version was a hit in 1976) along with “Growing Up” featured in Adam Sandler’s 1999 movie “Big Daddy”, amongst others. But the song that spoke the loudest to me is today’s pick. It is a well told story of Bruce and a few of the colorful characters in his world. I think of it as the bluesy jazzy prequel to his rock opera “Backstreets” from BTR except while that song does not have a sax part in it at all, today’s track features The Big Man from beginning to end. (Speaking of Clarence Clemons, January 11th will mark his 79th birth anniversary. We miss you, Big Man!!!) .

Springsteen may not know me but he has been one of my closest friends for most of my life. Along the way he has introduced me to his family, his heroes, the members of The E Street Band & all the characters in his songs. And despite how life changing BTR has been in my life, the group from today’s song is the one I feel the closest to. Wild Billy, Killer Joe, G-Man, Crazy Janey, her mission man & Hazy Davy dancing “all night to a soul fairy band”…..who wouldn’t want to hang out with a group like that? I think of them as a cross between grown up versions of The Peanuts characters & a bunch of people living on their own version of The Island Of Misfit Toys. But instead of Charlie Brown’s teacher’s incoherent voice, we have Bruce telling us stories in an eloquent fascinating way with his guitar in tow. And I have the seat next to his every time. It stands as the original and best virtual hangout ever. 

Crazy Janey and her mission man were back in the alley trading hands
‘Long came Wild Billy with his friend G-Man all duded up for Saturday night
Well, Billy slammed on his coaster brakes and said, “Anybody wanna go on up to Greasy Lake?
It’s about a mile down on the dark side of route eighty-eight, I got a bottle of rose so let’s try it
We’ll pick up Hazy Davy and Killer Joe and I’ll take you all out to where the gypsy angels go”.

Greetings from Asbury Park

Bruce circa 1973

Top: Bruce Springsteen’s debut album. Bottom: Springsteen circa 1973. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Spirit In The Night” (1973, 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.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 274

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?

Christmas sled

(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.

This past weekend my great love Bruce Springsteen was the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live”. He was nothing short of fabulous during his performances of two songs, “Ghosts” &”I’ll See You In My Dreams” from his new album, Letter To You. I must admit I was hoping he was going to do one of his two Christmas songs but alas, it was not to be. So I will share one today.

“Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” is his most famous holiday track and I adore it, of course. And as a Long Island girl who worships The Boss, I love that he recorded it while he was on tour for my favorite album, Born To Run, at Long Island University’s C.W. Post Campus on Dec. 12, 1975.

Bruce cw post

The concert poster for the Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band show at Long Island University’s C.W. Post Campus on Dec. 12, 1975. Credit: Joseph Kivak from an original picture by Eric Meola. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

But his other holiday tune is an R&B Christmas standard first recorded in 1947. It has been a favorite of mine since I heard Otis Redding’s 1967 version while I was discovering his music as a teenager. Springsteen’s cover was included on the 1987 compilation album, A Very Special Christmas, and I have been swooning over it ever since. And it is another gem recorded on Long Island as well. He recorded it at my home base, my teenage stomping grounds, the place I saw my first of many concerts & spent hours watching NY Islanders games at-The Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY-on New Year’s Eve 1980. That is just too special for words.

Another symmetry that I love? He & Redding are two of my great musical loves, each recorded only two Christmas songs in their careers and they share one in common. Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley & B.B. King are a few of the other artists who have recorded their own bluesy renditions of this song and all three absolutely shine. But today’s rocking version by The Boss is all his own.

I feel real good tonight
And I got music on the radio
I feel just like I wanna kiss you
Underneath my mistletoe
“.

Bruce

The Big Man Clarence Clemons (L) and The Boss Bruce Springsteen (R) circa 1988. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Merry Christmas Baby” (1980, written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 191

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?

Bruce quote

(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.

Today is one of those days I am most thankful for. It was 71 years ago today that Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen came into the world and began his ascent to become The Boss. His poetry, music, intellect, soul & heart changed the world as a whole but my existence especially as I was someone who needed a place to reclaim my hope and faith. He gave it back to me and more with every note he sang and every word he wrote. And he continues doing that today. His latest album, “Letter To You” will be released on October 23.

During his VH-1 “Storytellers” performance, Springsteen said his “Born To Run” album was an invitation to his audience to join him on his pilgrimage.  If that was true then his follow up, “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”, was about letting us see even more of the truth behind the songs and life itself.  This album did not contain a block party feel good song like “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”.  Instead it had the clash between Adam & Cain, the mind numbing soul robbing existence of factory life, people living with something that they just cannot face until they “cut it loose or let it drag ’em down”, fearing the moment you finally get something you need because then “they send someone to try and take it away” and our hero in Candy’s Room instead of at the screen door watching Mary dance across the porch.  By the end of the first verse of today’s song when Springsteen asserts himself with the line,  “Pretty soon, little girl, I’m gonna take charge” all I could think was I am ready.  And swoon. 

And he does just that in today’s song by showing us how to take control of the uncontrollable moments in our lives.  It is my favorite from the album and another life lesson about how buying into what everyone tells you is the meaning of happiness is never going to work for you if you hear a voice inside you telling you there has to be more.  You just have to be brave enough to close your eyes and jump into the unknown for that proverbial leap of faith.  With Bruce, nothing seems unattainable.  He has proven that with all he has accomplished in his 50 year career. And with the sage words below I try to remember and live by everyday.  Happy birthday, Bossman.  May you see 100 more.  And thank you for everything.            

Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted
“.

Bruce Springsteen in 1978 photographed by Frank Stefanko. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “The Promised Land” (1978, 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.

Stay well.

.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 162

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?

Bruce quote

(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.

I have not yet finished celebrating the recording anniversary of the “Layla” album (see Day 159) only to find an even bigger milestone upon me.  Forty-five years ago today-August 25, 1975-another album that changed my life was released.  Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” is my heart.  It claimed it when I was 12 years old and has never let go.  He was 25 when it came out, and a year younger when he wrote lines like “You’re scared and you’re  thinking we ain’t that young anymore”. from “Thunder Road”.  He explained why in 2005 on VH1’a “Storytellers”:  “These songs were written in 1974, which is only two years after the end of the Vietnam War and nobody was that young anymore”.

On the same show he said this album was “his big invitation to his audience, to himself, to anybody that was interested to a long earthly journey. Hopefully in the company of someone you love, people you love and in search of a home you can feel a part of.”  So glad I went along for the ride. It was like taking the road less traveled and realizing it was the best one after all.  I will love Bruce forever.  He is home to me.

In an interview on BBC Television in 2016, Springsteen said he spent six months writing this album & six months recording it and as it went on it developed into this very big piece of music.  That is putting it mildly.  Today’s song is one of two on the album that does not feature a sax solo by The Big Man.  As much as I love to hear his signature sound, his absence is barely noticeable in this exquisite symphony.  This song is another one of Springsteen’s cinematic masterpieces that is like a six hour mini-series disguised as a six minute song.  It features colorful characters, dark imagery & tells the story of betrayed friendships in an absolutely heartbreaking way.  Every part of the song is a work of art, but if one instrument stands out, it is Roy Bittan’s piano.  His playing is astonishing.  As The Bossman has been for me virtually all of my life.  Swoon.

Blame it on the lies that killed us, blame it on the truth that ran us down
You can blame it all on me Terry, it don’t matter to me now
When the breakdown hit at midnight there was nothing left to say
But I hated him and I hated you when you went away“.

BTR 1

One of the pictures taken by Eric Meola during the “Born To Run” photo session in 1975.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen:  “Backstreets” (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.

Stay well.