Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

From 1975, please enjoy The Hollies and their forever gorgeous cover of Bruce Springsteen's "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).'

I should add that I have an amusing story about how seeing the Hollies perform this at the lamented Bottom Line nightclub led to my NOT meeting the Boss, but I'm too lazy to recount it today. Buy me a drink next time you see me and maybe I'll tell the tale.

In the meantime, enjoy the holiday.


Anonymous said...

I've always loved their harmonies. They sounded just as good without Nash.

Anonymous said...

Real nice take on this song. The harmonies on the studio version are very lush. In a way, the blend of their voices reminds me of an accordion, if that makes sense to you.

I don't care about the so-called "Boss." So no drinks for you. Guess you'll have to settle for Bruce Juice. He's the "Butt" to me. Just look at his 1984 album cover. He's too "important" for me.:-)

Happy and Irreverent 4th

Vickie Rock

steve simels said...

When I return from Divshare hell, I'll post some stuff that may change your mind about the guy from New Jersey.

Brooklyn Girl said...

When I return from Divshare hell, I'll post some stuff that may change your mind about the guy from New Jersey.

I've heard the theory that this may be an East Coast/West Coast thing. I'm also from Joisey, and I'm solidly in the Bruce camp. From the get-go, his music captured everything I grew up on and loved. But you already knew that. :-)

Anonymous said...

Bruce has plenty of fans on the West Coast too, many of whom are in high places. I'm just not one of them. Which is not to say I haven't seen him a time or eight.

He was most exciting in the beginning. I confess, I still have some of those early bootlegs. I also have an original poster from the Roxy 1975 gig which is a bit tattered.

I didn’t allow the giant wave of hype that launched his “Born to Run” album and career cause suspicion. But maybe I should have.

Please don't take my opinion personally, but I haven't bought Bruce's cornball act for a long time. I feel the raps are contrived and scripted. His tunes are only a little less corny than Harry Chapin's.

But that's just my opinion. The guy bores me and it sounds like he needs to poop. I do like his economic and powerful guitar playing though.

In concert, his adoring arena fans are more sickening than deadheads. The tie-dye crowd may be having a religious experience accompanied by the most incompetent and inconsistent band to ever gain a live reputation, but at least they generally shut the hell up while they’re tripping on the so-called “looseness.”

I know Bruce's arena fans can't be as stupid as they act, right? Since the 1980’s I find his crowds to be among the most annoying ever. Drunken construction workers at football games behave better. Maybe the few arena shows that I have attended were the exception, but the crowd did act like a bunch of morons.

The last Bruce album I bought was Nebraska. I haven’t cared since. Quite frankly, I'd rather buy a Nils Lofgren album. His double live import "Code of the Road" was incredible. Also he’s one of the nicest, most gracious guys in the industry. But a guy’s gotta make a living so Bruce is “The Boss.”

The last time I saw Bruce was on the solo Tom Joad tour. Two nights at the Wiltern just left me cold.

I got fifteenth row center seats for the 1999 reunion tour given to me. They were for all four nights of his Staples Center run.

I gave them all away. I had better shows to go to on those days like Tom Petty, Jimmy Page & the Black Crowes, Lucinda Williams and Brian Wilson.

The people I gave the tickets to all complained about the terrible sound at Staples. I think Bruce may have been the first concert at the venue. It was atrocious. One of my friends taped one of the shows. Awful.

Keith Richards said this regarding Bruce: "If there was anything better around, he'd still be working the bars of New Jersey."

That's harsh. But you gotta love it.

Vickie Rock

Brooklyn Girl said...

Got it. You don't like Bruce.

Why do I like him? Bruce revitalized pure American rock & roll from before 1964, everything that I grew up with and loved, and for that I am eternally grateful. The wretched excess of the 70s were really getting to me, and he was a breath of fresh air. And he was passionate about what he was doing, which was equally refreshing.

Yes, the cover of "Born in the USA" is crass commercialism. I would bet, after the relatively limited success of "Nebraska", that the record company put a huge amount of pressure on him to put out something that would sell billions of copies, which "Born" certainly did. I could even argue that the cover photo is a "fuck you" to the music business.

Oh, and "Nebraska"? Supposedly it is based on the writings of Howard Zinn.

I'll take Keith's comment with a grain of salt.

And as far as fans are concerned, Bruce's are no bigger a bunch of jerks than most. Except maybe the people who pay $600 (and up) for a Stones ticket. That's a whole other class of jerk.

steve simels said...

Keith also said he thought Richard Marx might have some talent.

His taste is no more reliable than anybody else's...

Anonymous said...

Brooklyn Girl: A chacun son gout.

You make some good points. I understand and respect your love for Bruce’s work. But can you clarify exactly how he revitalized pure American rock & roll from before 1964? What does that mean? I never really heard any echoes of that in his own work until The River. But maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying.

For the most part, and especially in concert, I feel the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. But that’s just me. You won’t find me hollering Bruuuuuuuce! at the top of my lungs for the 2 hours plus he’s on stage. Even if I worshiped him I wouldn’t do that.

I always thought rock ‘n’ roll was supposed to be sort of excessive and wretched. Little Richard and Jerry Lee weren’t exactly tasteful. But I surmise you are referring to self-indulgent solos, rampant drug use, progressive rock run amuck, side-long epics and perhaps the glitter/glam scene.

Bruce did two fine albums in 1973. But I think Landau was wrong when he made “the future of rock ‘n’ roll” statement. Bruce is kinda his own genre. Admittedly, I like some of his songs. But he has a major tendency toward excessive romance and drama in his themes.

For me, “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” works. It doesn’t seem too over-thought. And it sounds great blasting from the radio even after all these years.

But even though he released a pair of fine albums in 1973, they’d be pretty low on that year’s playlist for me. Despite some up-tempo songs , they’re not very danceable. And of the slow ones, “Spirit In the Night,” is the only one with any sensual feel. It’s just not very sexy or primal stuff.

If Bruce was rescuing us from The New York Dolls, Raw Power, Tyranny and Mutation, Lark’s Tongue In Aspic, Viva Terlingua, Paris 1919, Berlin, For Girls Who Grow Plump In the Night, Mott, Closing Time, Honky Tonk Heroes, For Your Pleasure, Innervisions, Aladdin Sane, GP, 10cc, Mickey Newbury’s Live at Montezuma Hall, Countdown to Ecstasy, Over-nite Sensation, The Smoker You Drink, Quadrophenia, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut, Man’s Back to the Future, Selling England By the Pound, Yeah!, Cosmic Slop, Burnin’ and Band On the Run, I don’t want to be rescued. Bruce’s gonna have to go to the back of that line. (Yes, I used my Excel database of my record collection to check for 1973 releases).

With regard to the “Born In the USA” cover, I wasn’t trying to say anything about it other than it was a picture of his butt. That’s why I started calling him “The Butt.” For a similar reason I started disrespectfully referring to Phil Collins as “The Head” around the same time. Ever see his attractive album covers?

I knew about the Howard Zinn influence. I’m not a fan of the guy. I don’t follow anybody’s party line. I don’t think Bruce is smart enough to know the guy has an agenda and bends the facts to suit it. I think he takes it at face value.

Nevertheless, I kinda liked Nebraska, as far as Bruce goes. Zinn, or no Zinn, Springsteen tended in this direction anyway. At least his heart is in the right place. He fancies himself the new Seeger/Guthrie.

Also, has Bruce always had a southern flavor to his speaking and singing voice? Is that a New Jersey accent? It seems incongruent.

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

With regard to the ridiculous Rolling Stones ticket prices: I know! Cha-ching! I last saw them at the Wiltern in 2002. I couldn’t pass up a small venue gig like that. I know a guy from my outlaw days who can get me comp tickets to just about everything. He’s super well connected with most of the local venues. He scored me a couple freebies.

Before the show, people in the crowd were telling me they paid as much as $1200 apiece for their tickets through “agencies.” I told them nothing was worth that.

I was disappointed in the show. I didn’t like the setlist. Solomon Burke couldn’t save the day either. They seemed uninspired. "Hand of Fate" was only ever good with Wayne Perkins.

But maybe I was just pissed off that they had taken all of the seats out of that wonderful old theater and made it a standing room only venue just days before. It used to be one of my favorite L.A. venues till they did that.

From 1965 until 1999, I’d seen the Stones at least once on every tour. I’ve seen them great and terrible. But after I heard the ridiculous prices that they were charging for stadium tickets, I boycotted them.

That is until this year when someone tipped me that they were playing the Echoplex, a 500 capacity place. They only played an hour but Mick Taylor showed up for the gig and did Love In Vain and Midnight Rambler with them toward the end of the set. It was pretty exciting and I was very lucky to be there, but I’ve seen them a lot better.

The Richard Marx thing seems totally out of character for Keith. But it is a true statement. The guy does have "some talent." That's not necessarily an endorsement. Was that after he fell out of the coconut tree?

I have a friend who said that Keith and Ronnie were doing blow like crazy when they were cutting some tracks in Burbank about ten years ago. He was shocked because of their age. Me, not so much.

Vickie Rock

Brooklyn Girl said...

Brooklyn Girl: A chacun son gout.

Yes, that's right.

What I meant by his revitalizing American rock & roll is that everything that influences his music pre-dates the Beatles.

His accent is south Jersey.

I could continue with this but I don't want to, since it really has nowhere to go. Bruce certainly doesn't need me to defend anything about him, including his intellect, his musical choices, his album covers, his performances, or the behavior of his fans. I like him. You don't. End of story.

Anonymous said...

Brooklyn Girl:

OK. Gotcha. Time to put a fork in it.

But, actually, it's not that simple. It's more like you like him and I used to like him. I have a love/hate and subsequent indifference thing going on.

You stated that everything that influences his music pre-dates the Beatles. But being as he was 14 when the Beatles invaded, wouldn’t that, and what followed, have a huge effect on him?

Didn’t his earliest band cover all post Beatles stuff with a huge nod to the British Invasion from Donovan to Jimi Hendrix? Weren’t they even influenced by the Vanilla Fudge and Cream?

When he got his real career into gear weren’t his songs far too wordy to be compared with the Golden Age? For me, the only characteristic of his early music which pre-dates the Beatles is the fact that his band employs a sax. But so did a lot of sixties music. From the Funk Brothers to the Barkays to the Mar-Keys to the Dave Clark Five.

And in concert, when Bruce does covers, he seldom does anything from the pre-Beatles era.

To me, in the beginning, he seemed like a singer-songwriter with jazz, R&B and heavy West Side Story leanings. But you really can’t dance to most of the early stuff.

Listen to “Badlands” and “Promised Land.” They aren’t for dancing. They’re for marching. And I ain’t marching anymore.

Bruce has been a sacred cow for some. Not me. I’d rather see someone who takes chances, like Elvis Costello or Neil Young.

Also what Bruce and CBS did to some of his biggest fans in the early 1980’s was the height of hypocrisy. Those bootlegs he sued about were a labor of love. Rather than put them out himself, he decided to ruin the lives of some of his biggest supporters.

Talk about greed run amuck! The damages he sought and won were absolutely ridiculous! A few of his fans with limited resources could never prevail against CBS and The Boss. The jerk should have thanked them for increasing his legend. And if he didn’t like it, he should have just released them.

And this from the guy who in 1978 cheerfully said this before one of his radio concerts, “All you bootleggers out there in radio land, roll your tapes!!"

CBS and The Boss released a live box set a few years later which was notably short of the stuff he sued about. I don’t know how he feels now, but he should be ashamed of himself for the anguish he caused a few of his most evangelistic fans.

So, yeah. That had a big effect on the way I feel about him. I know a few of the people he fucked under. Who can take the guy seriously after that?

Vickie Rock

Just saw Todd Rundgren and I’m not sure how I feel about it.