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 340

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.

I try not to dwell on songs, singers or groups I do not like because even if I am not a fan, someone else is. I may pray for that someone else to acquire better taste in music, but I respect their right to be hopelessly misguided. Also, I realize how much work goes in to making a record from the singer to the songwriter, to the musicians, producers, engineers, record company people who release & market the song to the radio station people who will hopefully decide to play it. It is a long chain with many links. But I am human and sometimes I cannot help myself. For instance, I often write about how fabulous 1978 was for music. And it was. The year before, however, not as much.

It may have had some bright moments with #1 songs like “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye, “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac (Day 325) and “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. But the top spot in 1977 also featured irredeemably low moments like “Da Doo Ron Ron” by Shaun Cassidy, “Undercover Angel” by Alan O’Day and “Torn Between Two Lovers” by Mary MacGregor.

So when today’s song hit #1, it was significant for two reasons. The first is it knocked MacGregor’s tune out of the top spot which was the beginning of the end of that song’s central message: please be OK with me cheating on you. Now, I am not stupid, I know some people are unfaithful in relationships. However, I cannot believe it ever happened as that song suggests.

It was co-written by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) and I do not know where he got his intel on women, but I cannot imagine any one of them saying, “Let me hold you close and say these words as gently as I can” when those words were going to reveal she was hitting the sheets with someone else. The woman is going to want to be on the other side of the room while secretly wishing it was the other side of the planet. Not because she is afraid her guy will get physically abusive with her, rather to just give him the space he needs to process the heart shattering & ego destroying news.

And then for her to try to explain herself was just embarrassing. Women hate when men cheat and say “It didn’t mean anything” so how could a woman think a man needed to hear “No one else can have the part of me I gave to you”. All he hears is “There is another part you will never have because the other guy’s got that”. I remember so many older girls & young women I knew found this song empowering. They were happy the woman cheated on the man rather than the other way around. To me cheating on either side is wrong so holding this woman in high esteem was not something I was participating in. But the nerve she had to tell him “I couldn’t really blame you if you turned and walked away, but with everything I feel inside, I’m asking you to stay” Translation: I want to continue seeing you both, so deal with it. How many people of either gender would be okay with that arrangement?

The second reason why today’s song hitting the top spot was significant? It proved to be the only #1 song of Bruce Springsteen’s career to date. He released his original version in February 1973 as the first single from his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park NJ. Sadly, the track failed to chart. Three years later a group from England called Manfred Mann’s Earth Band recorded their cover of the song. On February 19, 1977 it hit #1 for one week in the U.S. So Bruce got a top selling song & MacGregor’s was on its way down. The universe always finds a way to correct itself.

Some silicone sister with her manager’s mister told me I got what it takes
She said I’ll turn you on sonny, to something strong play the song with the funky break,
And go-cart Mozart was checkin’ out the weather chart to see if it was safe outside
And little Early-Pearly came by Annie’s curly-wurly and asked me if I needed a ride
“.

Manfred

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band circa 1977. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: “Blinded By The Light” (1976, 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 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.