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Bruce Springsteen Part 2



Bruce Springsteen Part 2

I’m not the first nor last to state that the legacy of Springsteen’s music is a gift for not only the present listeners to enjoy but the distant future ones as well. I talk about this all the time, history shows we consistently don't fully appreciate many a talented artist during their lifetime, someone will be recording and no doubt blogging about his music in 3018.  While we don't have to pass the hat, I just don't think he gets the credit he deserves. Sounds silly perhaps as he has had amazing success and a remarkable career thus far, but you may be surprised to know he has never had a number one hit single on the Billboard charts. Not that Billboard is the benchmark for greatness but it does reflect popularity, even if just briefly. His highest charting song was “Dancing In The Dark” which peaked at #2 on June 30, 1984. He has had a total of 26 songs chart and 12 hit the top 10. I draw a comparison to Chuck Berry, with one exception he didn’t chart at #1 on the Billboard Pop charts. But we hear and see constant references to his music 60 plus years later, while many others who charted ahead of him are relative unknowns. I don’t think it's ever been about charts or even record sales with Bruce, having said that no one has had the same success with their albums, Bruce has consistently been in the top 5 for sales and the Billboard Top 200 album chart with rare exceptions. This says a lot about Bruce and his fans, it’s about the experience and the story and if you get a pop song out of it that’s ok too.

Bruce’s fourth album was “Darkness on the Edge of Town”(1978). Full of amazing guitar and songs with intense lyrics, a great representative song is “Badlands”. All songs are written and performed by Bruce Springsteen.

A bootleg live cover from Bon Jovi (1993)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msh8N6A_Mf8
As you may know, Springsteen's backing group is the 'The E Street Band' and has had some membership change over the years but at the heart were Garry Tallent (bass), Clarence Clemons (saxophone), Roy Bittan (keyboards) and Max Weinberg (drums), Daniel Paul "Danny" Federici (organ, accordion, glockenspiel), Steven Van Zandt (guitar, vocals) who left in 1984 until 1995 and was replaced by Nils Lofgren (guitar, vocals) and of course future wife Patti Scialfa (vocals, guitar) was added at that time as well. Some past members include; Vini Lopez, David Sancious and Ernest Carter.

I’ll never forget watching Clemons imposing 6’ 5” stature blasting away on his tenor sax. The “Big Man” was a prominent member of the band for good reason and is sorely missed.



“The River” released in October 1980 was his first and only double album, co-produced by Steven Van Zandt. A blend of solemn and cheerful R&R at the same time, and that was by design.

Speaking of charts this album hit number one in both Canada and the US with the track “Hungry Heart” reaching #5. Originally written in one sitting after Joey requested he write the Ramones a song after Bruce saw them play in 1979. Springsteen’s producer and manager Jon Landau and Johnny Ramone urged him to keep for himself.

“Hungry Heart”  Minnie Driver (2004)
“Cadillac Ranch" Features some great Clarence on sax, this is one of the 'cheerful' rocking tracks.
Warren Zevon, a close friend and collaborator of Springsteen covered this live in concert.
Bruce’s sixth album was 'Nebraska' (1982), written by Springsteen and initially recorded solo as a demo to be played for the E Street Band. They did the album but Jon Landau along with his engineer and producer thought the stark solo version was better. To date the band version has not been released.
“Atlantic City”, Covered more than 30 times.
“Atlantic City”  Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Ed Sheeran
The Band from the Album 'Jericho'(1993)
Springsteen’s seventh album was 'Born in the U.S.A.' (1984), he wanted to write something ‘a little more commercial’ and the result being his most successful in terms of sales with over 27 million sold worldwide (eating my words mentioned above). I’ve talked about the title track already in the July 4th edition of my blog. But there are plenty of great tunes to talk about.
“Glory Days” Another fan favorite, myself included. We all likely have our own glory days to reminisce about as long as that’s not all you talk about like the guy in this song. Somewhat autobiographical this song starts recounting a meeting with one of his old Little League baseball pals. Guilty as charged with my group of five buddy’s who have been friends for coming up to 45 years, though we keep creating new days to remember…


“Glory Days” Andra Day from the Cars 3 soundtrack. She reminds me a bit of Ricki Lee Jones, and some other Jazz and Soul singers, she's quite good.
Ricki Lee Jones
“Dancing in the Dark” was apparently an effort to get some exposure to the Dance Clubs. I’d say it worked as the song remix went to #7 on the Dance Music/Club play charts. Bruce’s second most covered song at over 65 versions.
“Dancing in the Dark” Dance remix
“Dancing in the Dark”   Mary Chapin Carpenter (1999)

“I’m on Fire” There are some very odd interpretations of the lyrics of this song, I think the video speaks for itself. Springsteen’s most covered song at over 80 versions.
Johnny Cash (2000)
James Bay
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaRMbNw85zY

Click here for a playlist of all the videos

Music Trivia. What song did Bruce Springsteen write for his idol Elvis Presley?
"Fire". Unfortunately Elvis passed away before hearing the demo he was sent, subsequently the song was cut from the 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' album as it wasn't a good fit, and given to Robert Gordon to record with Link Wray. Bruce played piano on the record (I confess I had no idea about any of this when I bought the RG album 'Fresh Fish Special' in 1978). Later that year it became a big hit for the Pointer Sisters reaching #2 in the US and #3 in Canada and #1 in some European markets. Once again Bruce is 'out-charted' with his own song!

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