Bruce Springsteen – Merry Christmas Baby

There has been many versions of this song but this one is the one I listen to the most. The dynamics in this version is great.

This Dec 31st, 1980 performance of Merry Christmas Baby was recorded at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, during The River Tour. The song was played in its E Street Band arrangement. It was released in November 1986 as the B-side to WAR. This was the lead single from the Live/1975-85 box set.

Although Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley covered “Merry Christmas Baby” before Bruce did, it sounds like he based  his version on Otis Redding’s 1968 version.

Lou Baxter wrote this song but it was called “Merry Christmas Blues” and Charles Brown took it home to work it out. He rewrote it with the new title. Baxter wanted Charles Brown to record it the way Charles rewrote it and it became a big hit with Brown singing with Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers.

Then the music business struck again…The company promised Charles he would have a co-writer credit but of course, it didn’t happen and Johnny Moore had his name listed on the song instead. Charles never got paid royalties for the song. It was originally released in 1947 and peaked at #3 in the Charts.

Moore died, largely unknown, in the 1960s. Brown, meanwhile, became renowned as a pioneer of the laid-back, piano-driven style of West Coast blues and was recognized as an early influence on Ray Charles; he had a renaissance in the 1990s, touring with Bonnie Raitt.

Charles Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 but died before the induction.

It was also on a complication album A Very Special Christmas of various artists released in 1987.

Merry Christmas Baby

Bring it down, band!

Now, I just came here tonight to say…
I just wanna say…
I just wanna say…

Merry Christmas baby, you surely treat me nice
Come on, merry Christmas baby, you surely treat me nice
I feel just like I’m living, living in paradise

Now listen
Now you see, I feel real good tonight
And I got music on the radio
And I feel real good tonight
And I got music on the radio
And the boys in the band are playing pretty good!
Now, I feel just like I wanna kiss you
Underneath my mistletoe

But now listen
Santa came down chimney, half past three
With lots of nice little presents for my baby and me
Merry Christmas baby, you surely treat me nice
And I feel like I’m living, just living in paradise
Come on boys!

Well now, Santa came down chimney, half past three
With lots of nice little presents for my baby and me
Merry Christmas baby, you surely treat me nice
I feel like I’m living, I’m living in paradise

And I just came down to say
Merry Christmas baby
I just wanna say, merry Christmas baby
I just wanna say, merry Christmas baby
I just wanna say, merry Christmas baby
And happy New Year, too!
Oh yeah!
Play it boys, go!
Merry Christmas
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-happy New Year
Ohhhh!

Oh yeah!
Merry Christmas baby!

Gary U.S. Bonds – Quarter To Three

I must admit I never heard of Bonds until Bruce Springsteen wrote a song for him called This Little Girl on Bond’s 1981 Dedication album.

Bruce covered this song in the seventies live. One performance in paticular was outstanding… the 1979 No Nukes concert encore (at the bottom).

I like Gary’s version a lot because of the party atmosphere which contrasts to the smoother records at the time.

After listening to the lyrics…I wondered who Daddy G was…Daddy G is Gene Barge, tenor saxman in an instrumental group called The Church Street Five, which released a song called “A Night With Daddy G” that reached #111 in February 1961.

Bonds’ real name is Gary Anderson. His label boss, Frank Guida, changed it to “U.S. Bonds” for his first single, New Orleans, as a play on the posters asking Americans to “buy U.S. savings bonds.” Pretty clever, but too many people, including many DJs, got it wrong and thought it was the name of a group. His next single, “Quarter To Three,” was initially issued as U.S. Bonds but soon changed to Gary U.S. Bonds, along with his subsequent releases.

The writing credits on this song go to Bonds and the three men who wrote the instrumental on which it is based…A Night With Daddy G.  They would be Gene Barge (Daddy G), Frank Guida, and Guida’s engineer and songwriting partner Joe Royster.

Daddy G was a popular guy…he got another mention a few months later when he showed up in the lyric to The Dovells song “Bristol Stomp,” where they sing about how they “rocked with Daddy G.” That song went to #2 in 1961.

The song went to #1 in the Billboard 100, #3 on the R&B Charts, and #7 in the UK in 1961.

From Songfacts

In this song, Gary U.S. Bonds sings about staying up till quarter to three in the morning, dancing to the swinging sax of Daddy G.

Like Bonds, The Church Street Five were signed to Legrand Records, owned by former record store owner Frank Guida. Bonds wrote a lyric for the song and recorded it (with Daddy G on saxophone) as “Quarter To Three.” In June 1961, it went to #1, where it stayed for two weeks.

Bruce Springsteen, a big fan of Bonds, played this at many of his concerts in the ’70s before and after his rise to stardom. When Springsteen played The Palladium in New York City on October 29, 1976, he brought Bonds on stage to perform the song. By this time, Bonds had long fallen out of favor (his last Hot 100 hit was in 1962 with “Copy Cat”) and stuck on the cabaret circuit. Springsteen worked at a breakneck pace for the next few years, but found time after the release on his 1980 album The River to work with Bonds, resulting in a successful 1981 comeback album for Bonds called Dedication.

Springsteen wrote a lot more songs than he could record, and three of them went to Bonds: “This Little Girl,” “Your Love” and the title track. Springsteen and members of his E Street band also played on the album and worked on the production. “This Little Girl” was a hit, going to #11 in the US and reviving Bonds’ career. When Springsteen brought Bonds on stage a few times in 1981, the crowds were far more familiar with him. In 1982, Springsteen and his band worked on another album for Bonds: On the Line.

Bonds sued Chubby Checker in 1962, claiming he stole “Quarter To Three” for his song “Dancin’ Party.” The case was settled out of court.

Quarter To Three

Don’t you know that I danced
I danced till a quarter to three
With the help, last night, of Daddy G
He was swingin on the sax like a nobody could
And I was dancin’ all over the room
Oh, don’t you know the people were dancin’
Like they were mad
It was the swingin’est band they had ever had
It was the swingin’est song that could ever be
It was a night with Daddy G
Let me tell you now
I never had it so good
Yeah and I know you never could
Until you get hip with that jive
And take a band like the Church Street Five
Oh don’t you know that I danced
I danced till a quarter to three
With the help last night of Daddy G
Everybody was as happy as they could be
And they were swingin with Daddy G
Blow Daddy

Let me tell you now
I never had it so good
Yeah and I know you never could
Until you get hip with that jive
And take a band like the Church Street Five
Oh don’t you know that I danced
I danced till a quarter to three
With the help last night of Daddy G
He was swingin on the sax like nobody could
And I was dancin all over the room
Oh don’t you know the
Dance, do bee wa dah
Dance, do bee wah dah
You can dance, do bee wah dah
You can dance, dance, dance

Raspberries – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)

This is my second song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. The Raspberries  Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).

 Bruce Springsteen: “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) should go down as one of the great mini-rock-opera masterpieces of all time”

In the nineties I bought the Raspberries greatest hits. I listened with headphones to each song until I heard this one. I stopped and listened to it repeatedly. It’s one of those songs that goes beyond other songs…It is truly a pop-rock symphony. I was amazed that I never heard this before.

Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) is an epic, ambitious, grand, lofty, extravagant, and brilliant song from the Raspberries. They were swinging for the fences when they made this song and they hit it out of the park. It’s on the album Starting Over released in 1974.

Put some headphones on and listen to this completely to the very end… When I hear it, I think this is what it would sound like if The Who, Beach Boys, and Beatles made a song together…this would be it. Musically you have a little of everything. Sliding bass lines, tasteful guitar licks, great vocals, a sax solo that gives way to more lyrics as the song morphs into an AM radio sound… and then comes a solo piano.

Stay until the very end because they dupe you into a fake ending and the drums will come in as if the world is going to end. Then… a Beach Boys final huge crescendo wave will wash over you like a warm summer moonlit night. It’s a wall of sound of ecstasy that you wish would go on forever.

The song is about trying to make it in the music business. It’s Eric Carmen singing with desperation wanting a hit record on the radio. After this album, the Raspberries were no more. This was Eric Carmen at his absolute best before he went solo and became an ordinary pop singer. He would never try anything this ambitious again.

Certain songs we all know are timeless. In a perfect world this one deserves to be on that list. I don’t use the word masterpiece a lot but I would consider this song one. The musical arrangement is second to none in terms of arrangement, production, and harmonies.

Although “Go All The Way” was their big hit of their career…this one is in a different league and they never equaled it. Most people don’t know this song and it’s a musical injustice. I only hope more people discover it.

The three best power pop bands of the early to mid-seventies were Big Star, Badfinger, and The Raspberries. Badfinger were the most successful (and they paid dearly for it), Big Star wasn’t even known, and The Raspberries had one top ten hit with few very good minor ones. All three of these bands were too rock for pop radio and too pop for rock radio…in varying degrees they fell into the cracks of history… none of them had long careers.

John Lennon was said to be a fan of the group. He was producing Nilsson’s Pussycats at the same time The Raspberries were making this album at the Record Plant. John supposedly was blown away by Overnight Sensation.

The song peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100 and #22 in Canada in 1974.

Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)
Well I know it sounds funny
But I’m not in it for the money, no
I don’t need no reputation
And I’m not in it for the show

I just want a hit record, yeah
Wanna hear it on the radio
Want a big hit record, yeah
One that everybody’s got to know

Well if the program director don’t pull it
It’s time to get back the bullet
So bring the group down to the station
You’re gonna be an overnight sensation

I’ve been tryin’ to write the lyric
Non-offensive but satiric too
And if you put it in the A-slot
It’s just got to make a mint for you

I fit those words to a good melody
Amazing how success has been ignoring me
So long
I use my bread making demos all day
Writing in the night while in my head I hear
The record play
Hear it play

Hit record, yeah
Wanna hit record, yeah
Wanna hit record, yeah (number one)

Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark

This song kicked off Brucemania in 1984. Born in the USA along with Thriller and Purple Rain ruled in the 80s.

This one is not my favorite off the album but I did like it. Considering the times it was the best sounding song to lead off with.  All together Born In The USA had 7 top ten singles….I didn’t know what to think at first…I liked this and Cover me but it was when the title track was released…that is when I was sold when I heard Springsteen sing Born in the U.S.A..

This song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #3 in Canada, #28 in the UK, and #2 in New Zealand.

This was the last song written and recorded for the Born In The U.S.A.. His manager Jon Landau didn’t hear a lead off single from the album at the time and asked him to write something that could be that song. Bruce was not in the mood for hearing this…he said “Look, I’ve written 70 songs (he had written 70 songs for the album). You want another one, you write it.” After giving it a while he sat in his hotel room and wrote about himself at that time…about the isolation that fame had given him since The River.

The next day Landau had the song he was looking for…so  for the first time Bruce set out to make a video. It was directed by Brian DePalma, the video was filmed during Springsteen’s concert at the St. Paul Civic Center in Minnesota on June 29, 1984. Courtney Cox, who was planted in the audience, got the role of the adoring fan in the front row who gets to dance on stage with Bruce. Many Springsteen fans were upset that he didn’t get a true fan from the audience.

Springsteen did “Dancing In The Dark” midway through the show, so by that time he was warmed up and the crowd was worked into a frenzy. To get the shots, Springsteen did the song twice, with DePalma repositioning his cameras after the first take.

This song won Springsteen his first Grammy. In 1985, it got the award for Best Male Vocal… also in Rolling Stone reader’s poll, this was voted Single of the Year in 1985.

From Songfacts

Springsteen wrote this about his difficulty writing a hit single and his frustration trying to write songs that will please people. His struggles pour out in the lyric, where he feels like a hired gun dying for some action. He even addresses an industry trope, which he surely heard many times before:

They say you gotta stay hungry
hey baby I’m just about starving tonight

Ironically, the song was a hit single – the biggest of his career in terms of US chart position. (Although Manfred Mann’s cover of Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light” made #1.)

Springsteen was doing just fine, with six successful albums in his discography and an unparalleled concert reputation. He had over 70 songs written for Born In The U.S.A., but Landau wanted a guaranteed hit to ensure superstar status for Springsteen. “Dancing In The Dark” provided just that spark; released as the first single (the only one issued ahead of the album), it started the fire that was Born In The U.S.A. Springsteen’s songs were soon all over the radio, and he found a whole new audience. Unlike many rock artists who are accused of selling out when they hit it huge, Springsteen’s star turn was welcomed (for the most part) by his faithful, who had spent many years spreading his gospel.

The video was Springsteen’s first to get heavy airplay on MTV, and it introduced him to a new, mostly younger audience. As for Cox, a few years later she landed a role on the sitcom Family Ties, and went on to star in the wildly popular TV series Friends.

The lyric is rather bleak, as Springsteen sings lines like, “Man I ain’t getting nowhere, I’m just living in a dump like this.” It doesn’t have a happy ending, but by the end of the song, he seems intent on taking some action, looking for just a tiny bit of inspiration to set him on his path – after all, you can’t start a fire without a spark.

By the last verse, there’s a touch of existentialism, as he puts things in perspective: “You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart.”

The deep, philosophical message was lost on most listeners who were entranced by the catchy beat (the video didn’t exactly push a deeper meaning either). Springsteen got a similar reaction to his song “Born In The U.S.A.,” where the message was lost in the music. That one bothered him, as the song is about the plight of a Vietnam veteran returning home to hostilities and disregard.

This song sent the Born In the U.S.A. album on a Thriller-like run of chart success, with the next six singles all reaching the US Top 10. The tally, in order of release:

“Cover Me” (#7)
“Born In The U.S.A.” (#9)
“I’m On Fire” (#6)
“Glory Days” (#5)
“I’m Goin’ Down” (#9)
“My Hometown” (#6)

The original concept for the music video was to have Springsteen literally dancing in the dark – shot against against a black background. Jeff Stein was the director, and Daniel Pearl, famous for his cinematography on “Every Breath You Take,” was the director of photography. Pearl and Springsteen got in a kerfuffle over how he should be shot, with Springsteen wanting a filter and Pearl insisting on hard lighting. Bruce walked out after a few takes, and ended up shooting the video with Brian DePalma. A few years later, despite his efforts to avoid Springsteen, Pearl found himself working on the “Human Touch” video. Pearl says that Springsteen apologized for the “Dancing In The Dark” debacle and asked to work with him again, as he realized Pearl was right about the lighting.

The single was released on May 3, 1984 and reached its US chart peak of #2 on June 30, which was before the video hit MTV. That week, “The Reflex” by Duran Duran held it out of the top spot; with MTV support, “Dancing In The Dark” looked like a sure bet for #1, but then Prince and his crying doves showed up, ruling MTV and the airwaves, and keeping Springsteen’s song at #2 for the next three weeks.

In 1985, Tina Turner performed this on her Private Dancer tour. Her version appears on the album Tina Turner – Live in Tokyo.

A rather intriguing cover of this song was by the group Big Daddy, who hit #21 UK with their version. The concept behind Big Daddy is that a band crash landed on an island while out on tour in the late ’50s or early ’60s, and when they were rescued in the early ’80s, tried to revive their career. Music had changed drastically by then, so they started covering ’80s music in the only style they knew how to play. The result is a kind of modern Pat Boone sound.

According to Rolling Stone, this is is the only Springsteen song that Bob Dylan ever covered, and he only did it once: at the club Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut, on the night of January 12th, 1990. Dylan flubbed most of the words and the performance was so rough that most people in the audience didn’t seem to realize what song it was until the band hit the chorus.

Dancing In The Dark

I get up in the evening
and I ain’t got nothing to say
I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain’t nothing but tired
Man I’m just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

You can’t start a fire
You can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
even if we’re just dancing in the dark

Message keeps getting clearer
radio’s on and I’m moving ’round the place
I check my look in the mirror
I want to change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man I ain’t getting nowhere
I’m just living in a dump like this
There’s something happening somewhere
baby I just know that there is

You can’t start a fire
you can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
even if we’re just dancing in the dark

You sit around getting older
there’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me
I’ll shake this world off my shoulders
come on baby this laugh’s on me

Stay on the streets of this town
and they’ll be carving you up alright
They say you gotta stay hungry
hey baby I’m just about starving tonight
I’m dying for some action
I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction
come on now baby gimme just one look

You can’t start a fire sitting ’round crying over a broken heart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
Hey baby

Bruce Springsteen – Spare Parts

Bobby said he’d pull out Bobby stayed in
Janey had a baby it wasn’t any sin
They were set to marry on a summer day
Bobby got scared and he ran away

This song was off of the 1987 album Tunnel of Love. This is really the last album I really loved of Springsteen. He has had some good albums since but this one was an end of an era to me.

It was not released as a single in America.  It did peaked at #26 on the Mainstream Rock Charts.

This album is a more grown up Springsteen after just being married and as you can tell from some songs on the album…heading for a divorce. This song is a in your face song with a great blues harp.

Spare Parts features LA Blues artist James Woods on harmonica…he got the gig through co-producer Chuck Plotkin whom he has known since high school.

James Woods: “Chuck said, Jimmy, do you still have your blues musician’s Union card?” “I did this chugging thing that is sort of a trademark of mine,” “I wish I was louder in the mix” (laughs).

James Woods got a lot of subsequent session work afterwards, “because I was the first non-E Street cat to play harp on a Springsteen record.”

From Songfacts

The studio version of this song runs 3:44 seconds, but there is a much longer version (available on YouTube) recorded live in Sheffield in 1988 for the Bruce Springsteen: Video Anthology 1978-1988, which was released in January 1989. In the extended piano introduction Springsteen explains: “This is a song about a woman struggling to understand the value of her own independent existence… trying to find something new, and beautiful and meaningful in her life today.” The first verse is sexually explicit in a covert sort of way. 

The live version features Nils Lofgren on slide guitar and backing by a full brass section. Although singer-songwriter Springsteen is not renowned for his guitar work, The Boss lets rip at the end of this track with a guitar solo.

Spare Parts

Bobby said he’d pull out Bobby stayed in
Janey had a baby it wasn’t any sin
They were set to marry on a summer day
Bobby got scared and he ran away
Jane moved in with her ma out on Shawnee Lake
She sighed Ma sometimes my whole life feels like one big mistake
She settled in in a back room time passed on
Later that winter a son came along

CHORUS
Spare parts
And broken hearts
Keep the world turnin’ around

Now Janey walked that baby across the floor night after night
But she was a young girl and she missed the party lights
Meanwhile in South Texas in a dirty oil patch
Bobby heard ’bout his son bein’ born and swore he wasn’t ever goin’ back

CHORUS

Janey heard about a woman over in Calverton
Put her baby in the river let the river roll on
She looked at her boy in the crib where he lay
Got down on her knees cried till she prayed
Mist was on the water low run the tide
Janey held her son down at the riverside
Waist deep in water how bright the sun shone
She lifted him in her arms and carried him home
As he lay sleeping in her bed Janey took a look around at everything
Went to a drawer in her bureau and got out her old engagement ring
Took out her wedding dress tied that ring up in its sash
Went straight down to the pawn shop man and walked out with some good cold cash

CHORUS

Famous Rock Guitars Part 3

Now we continue our quest of famous guitars and the artists cherish them… Here was Part 1  and Part 2.

Bruce Springsteen and  Neil Young’s guitars

Bruce Springsteen’s Guitar

Bruce has stuck with this guitar from the first album until now. You see this guitar on his Born to Run album. When I saw him in 2000 he was playing it. Bruce bought this in 1972 in Phil Petillo’s Neptune New Jersey guitar shop for $185. Now the guitar  is said to be worth between $1 million and $5 million…pretty good investment Bruce!

The guitar is a composite assembled from parts from at least two other Fender guitars. The bolt-on neck dates from a 1950s Fender Esquire guitar. The Esquire decal on the headstock indicates that the neck came from the single-pickup variant of Fender’s more-popular two-pickup Telecaster. The body is a 1950’s Telecaster

The guitar had been originally owned by a record company and was part of the payola scams of the 1960s. It was rigged with four pickups wired into extra jacks that would each plug into a separate channel on the recording console.

Petillo removed the extra pickups and returned the guitar to original Telecaster shape before he sold it Springsteen, but a huge side effect of the routing was that the Tele was now really light, giving it a sound a feel unlike any other.

Bruce had Peillo modify it over the years. He added his  triangular Precision Frets, a six saddle titanium bridge, and custom hot-wound waterproofed pickups and electronics so they could better survive a sweat-soaked 4 hour show.

Bruce has now retired the Esquire from road duty, so these days Springsteen plays clones on stage, but still records with the original.

Neil Young’s “Old Black”

Neil Young is known mostly as a singer songwriter but he is a hell of a guitar player. He is one of my favorite rock guitarists. He doesn’t play lightning quick and that is a good thing…it’s playing with feel that many guitar players forget about.

Neil Young acquired Old Black in 1968 through a trade with Buffalo Springfield member Jim Messina, who traded Old Black for one of Young’s orange Gretsch guitars (Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins).

The guitar made a humming sound so he dropped it off at a guitar shop in LA. When he came back, the shop had closed for good and lost one of the pickups. To replace the lost pickup, Neil added a Gretsh pickup that didn’t quite sound the way he wanted, but it stayed that way until Larry Cragg found an old Firebird pickup and installed it. Then Old Black was restored to its former glory and that Firebird pickup is still installed on the guitar today. It was roughly resprayed to jet black, and received a new Tune-o-matic bridge (not available when the guitar was produced) and a B-7 model Bigsby vibrato tailpiece.

The neck pickup has always been the original P-90 pickup, but it is covered by a metal P-90 cover. Neil is still playing Old Black to this day and he said he will until he dies.

Gary U.S. Bonds – This Little Girl

I bought this single in 1981 and I still have it somewhere. After the opening chord (Abm) is strummed Gary US Bonds kicks into a very good Springsteen penned song. It peaked at #11 on the Billboard 100, #15 in Canada, #43 in the UK, and #11 in New Zealand. It came off the album Dedication.

This song was one of my favorite early 80’s hits. You could easily hear Springsteen singing this as well.

Bruce Springsteen, a big fan of Bonds, played his songs at many of his concerts in the ’70s before and after his rise to stardom. Gary had a #1 hit in 1961 with the song Quarter To Three.

. This was a comeback for Bonds and he was backed by members of the E Street Band and The Asbury Jukes. Bonds influenced Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt musically growing up.

I liked this song the first time I heard it…This bouncy song fit’s Gary’s voice and style perfectly.

“This Little Girl (Is Mine)”

Here she comes
Walkin’ down the street
You know she’s walkin’ just like
She’s walkin’ to come and see me
Oh, she’s so young and she’s so fine

I know what’s on your mind
Know what you want to do
But if you mess with her
I’m gonna mess with you
You better watch your step
You better stay in line

This little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl
This little girl
This little girl is mine

Oh-oh, this little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl
This little girl
This little girl is mine

Well, if the world was mine to do with
What I want to do, sir
Well I’d wrap it up in a bow
And give it all to her, yeah
And all my love
All of the time
You know I’d hold her tight
I’d never let her go
And late at night
You know I’d love her so
Yeah, I’d treat her right
So she’d never mind

This little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl
This little girl
This little girl is mine

Oh-oh, this little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl
This little girl
This little girl is mine
Mine, mine, mine

[Instrumental Interlude]

Hey, you better watch out
I’m telling you the score
Are you going to be sweepin’ your
Broken heart up off the floor
Oh, and that ain’t all
I’m telling you my friend
I know what’s on your mind
Know what you wanna do
But if you mess with her
I’m gonna mess with you
You like the way she moves
You like to watch her walk
You better listen up
‘Cause man this ain’t just talk
You better watch yourself
You better stay in line

Now, mister I said
This little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl is mine
This little girl
This little girl
This little girl is mine

Oh-oh, this little girl
This little girl
This little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl
This little girl

This little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl
This little girl
This little girl is mine

Yeah, yeah, yeah
This little girl is mine
Oh-oh, this little girl is mine
Oh-oh this little girl
This little girl
This little girl
She’s mine all mine

Now, this little girl is mine
Oh-oh this little girl is mine
Oh-oh this little girl
This little girl
This little girl is mine, mine, mine, mine

Bruce Springsteen – Brilliant Disguise

God have mercy on the man
Who doubts what he’s sure of

I was 20 years old when I heard that lyric for the first time and a chill went through me. Brilliant Disguise I would play over and over again.

Springsteen sings this from the viewpoint of a man who is conflicted over a romantic relationship. Although he claims the song is not directly about him, Springsteen was having problems in his marriage to his first wife, Julianne Phillips, and they divorced soon after.

This was the first single off Tunnel Of Love, an album Springsteen recorded in his home studio in New Jersey. Tunnel of Love is one of my favorite albums by Springsteen. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, Canada, and the UK.

The song peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100, #9 in Canada, and #20 in the UK in 1987. 

Bruce Springsteen: “I guess it sounds like a song of betrayal – who’s that person sleeping next to me, who am I? Do I know enough about myself to be honest with that person? But a funny thing happens: songs shift their meanings when you sing them, they shift their meanings in time, they shift their meanings with who you sing them with. When you sing this song with someone you love, it turns into something else.”

Brilliant Disguise

I hold you in my arms
As the band plays
What are those words whispered baby
Just as you turn away
I saw you last night
Out on the edge of town
I wanna read your mind
To know just what I’ve got in this new thing I’ve found
So tell me what I see
When I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
Or just a brilliant disguise

I heard somebody call your name
From underneath our willow
I saw something tucked in shame
Underneath your pillow
Well I’ve tried so hard baby
But I just can’t see
What a woman like you
Is doing with me
So tell me who I see
When I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
Or just a brilliant disguise

Now look at me baby
Struggling to do everything right
And then it all falls apart
When out go the lights
I’m just a lonely pilgrim
I walk this world in wealth
I want to know if it’s you I don’t trust
‘Cause I damn sure don’t trust myself

Now you play the loving woman
I’ll play the faithful man
But just don’t look too close
Into the palm of my hand
We stood at the alter
The gypsy swore our future was right
But come the wee wee hours
Well maybe baby the gypsy lied
So when you look at me
You better look hard and look twice
Is that me baby
Or just a brilliant disguise

Tonight our bed is cold
I’m lost in the darkness of our love
God have mercy on the man
Who doubts what he’s sure of

Joan Jett – Light of Day

Bruce Springsteen wrote this and gave it to filmmaker Paul Schrader for his 1987 movie starring Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett as a brother and sister who lead a garage band.

Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett performed this in the movie. The song was released as a single credited to “The Barbusters” the name of the group in the film.  The song is a duet with Fox and Jett, but the single was just Jett accompanied by her band, The Blackhearts.   

 Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played Hammond organ on this song.  Light Of Day peaked at #33 in the Billboard 100 in 1987.                                                                                                                                                                                  From Songfacts

This is one of Springsteen’s live favorites. He often performs an inspirational extended version, preaching lines like “I can not offer you eternal life, but I can offer you life right now.”

Bruce performed this at a 1992 concert for MTV. Part of their “Unplugged” series, Springsteen insisted on playing electric and calling it “Plugged.” The set was released as an album in England.

The title was used as the name of a benefit concert Springsteen played at The Stone Pony, a small club in New Jersey, in 2000. Proceeds went to The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Michael J. Fox, who starred in the movie Light Of Day, has Parkinson’s.

Springsteen performed this with Joan Jett at two benefit concerts in New Jersey in 2001. Proceeds from the shows went to victims of the September 11 attacks.

In 2000, the Light of Day foundation was formed, taking its name from this song. Music impresario Bob Benjamin started the foundation after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, with proceeds going toward the search for a cure. Benjamin organized a series of concerts to raise money, which proved very successful. Springsteen has performed at many of these events to lend his support.

Light Of Day

Well I’ve been out of the woods for six days and nights now
Well I’m a little hot wired, but I’m feeling alright
I got some money in my pocket and a long lean ride
I got to make it down to Galveston by Saturday night, now

Well I’m a little down under, but I’m feeling O.K.
Got a little lost along the way

I’m just around the corner to the light of day
Well, I’m just around the corner to the light of day

Been driving five hundred miles, got five hundred to go, yeah
I got rock and roll music on the radio
I got a brother on a rig just off the gulf coast
He says the girls down there, well they’re really the most, man

Well I’m a little down under, but I’m feeling O.K.
I got a little lost along the way

Just around the corner to the light of day
Just around the corner to the light of day
I’m just around the corner to the light of day
I’m just around the corner to the light of day

Well I got thrown out of work on the Kokomo
Don’t ask me what I’m doing, I don’t know
I hope he wasn’t joking when he wrote me that letter
Things can’t get any worse, they got to get better

Well I’m a little down under, but I’m feeling O.K.
I got a little lost along the way

I’m just around the corner to the light of day
Just around the corner to the light of day
Just around the corner to the light of day
Just around the corner to the light of day

Bruce Springsteen – When You’re Alone

It’s just nobody knows baby where love goes
But when it goes it’s gone gone

I was reading posts a while back and Vinyl Burn reviewed the album Tunnel Of Love. That brought back a lot of memories of that album…and this song. This was the studio follow up to the huge Born in the USA album. Bruce had married actress Julianne Phillips in 1985 and she filed for divorce in 1988…a year after the release of Tunnel of Love. The album reflects some of the turmoil that was going on.

He later toured after the album was released and the E-Street Band backed him up as usual. After the tour, Bruce told the band that he would not need them for the foreseeable future. It wouldn’t be until 10 years later in 1999 that they would regroup and tour again.  

I saw Bruce in 1996 on a solo acoustic tour and he played this song and it was the only song he played off of Tunnel of Love.

The album was released in 1987. Tunnel of Love peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart, #1 in Canada, #1 in the UK. It peaked at #6 in New Zealand.

The song was not released as a single.

When You’re Alone

Times were tough love was not enough
So you said sorry Johnny I’m gone gone gone
You said my act was funny
But we both knew what was missing honey
So you let out on your own
Now that pretty form that you’ve got baby
Will make sure you get along
But you’re gonna find out someday honey

When you’re alone you’re alone
When you’re alone you’re alone
When you’re alone you’re alone
When you’re alone you ain’t nothing but alone

Now I was young and pretty on the mean streets of the city
And I fought to make ’em my home
With just the shirt on my back I left and swore I’d never look back
And man I was gone gone gone
But there’s things that’ll knock you down you don’t even see coming
And send you crawling like a baby back home
You’re gonna find out that day sugar

When you’re alone you’re alone
When you’re alone you’re alone
When you’re alone you’re alone
When you’re alone you ain’t nothing but alone

I knew someday your runnin’ would be through
And you’d think back on me and you
And your love would be strong
You’d forget all the bad and think only of all the laughs that we had
And you’d want to come home
Now it ain’t hard feelings or nothin’ sugar
That ain’t what’s got me singing this song
It’s just nobody knows baby where love goes
But when it goes it’s gone gone

When you’re alone you’re alone
When you’re alone you’re alone
When you’re alone you’re alone
When you’re alone you ain’t nothing but alone

Bruce Springsteen – Independence Day

But they can’t touch me now
And you can’t touch me now
They ain’t gonna do to me
What I watched them do to you

Great song by Bruce Springsteen that was written and recorded in 1977 for the Darkness on the Edge of Town album…but Bruce later included it on The River. They Ain’t Gonna Do To Me What I Watched Them Do To You. Lines like this keep me coming back to Bruce. This is one of the strongest songs on that album and one of my favorites of Springsteen.

According to Bruce’s autobiography and his song introduction, this song is about Springsteen’s relationship with his dad. They didn’t get along, but later in life, Bruce realized his father worked very hard to support his family and came to appreciate his efforts. Bruce can also thank his dad for inspiring the rebellious spirit that led him to follow his dreams. Determined not to work a typical factory type job like his dad, Springsteen followed his dreams and made music for a living.

Bruce Springsteen: “I could never talk to my old man, he could never talk to me, my mother couldn’t talk to him. So I was glad when I finally got old enough and I started to live alone. Then for about ten years I never saw my folks that much. And just recently we came back from Europe and I got a phone call a night or two later that my father had gotten sick.

I went out to California where he was in the hospital there. I started thinkin’ on the way about all the things that I always wanted to say to him and I never said and I always figured, well, someday we’ll sit down and we’ll talk about why it was the way it was when I was young, talk about why he felt the way he did. But the years go by and it never comes up. I guess it feels like a dangerous subject or something. But he got sick and I realized that he was gettin’ old and that if I had somethin’ to say to him, I should say it now.”

 

 

Independence Day

Well Papa go to bed now it’s getting late
Nothing we can say is gonna change anything now
I’ll be leaving in the morning from Saint Mary’s Gate
We wouldn’t change this thing even if we could somehow
‘Cause the darkness of this house has got the best of us
There’s a darkness in this town that’s got us too
But they can’t touch me now
And you can’t touch me now
They ain’t gonna do to me
What I watched them do to you

So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day
All down the line
Just say goodbye it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day this time

Now I don’t know what it always was with us
We chose the words, and yeah, we drew the lines
There was just no way this house could hold the two of us
I guess that we were just too much of the same kind

Well say goodbye it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day all boys must run away
So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
All men must make their way come Independence Day

Now the rooms are all empty down at Frankie’s joint
And the highway she’s deserted down to Breaker’s Point
There’s a lot of people leaving town now
Leaving their friends, their homes
At night they walk that dark and dusty highway all alone

Well Papa go to bed now it’s getting late
Nothing we can say can change anything now
Because there’s just different people coming down here now
And they see things in different ways
And soon everything we’ve known will just be swept away

So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
Papa now I know the things you wanted that you could not say
But won’t you just say goodbye it’s Independence Day
I swear I never meant to take those things away

 

 

Bruce Springsteen – Atlantic City

I bought the Nebraska album when it was released when I saw the video for this song. Bruce recorded this album on a Tascam 4 track machine as a demo for the band. He tried to do the songs with the E-Street band but they just didn’t sound as good as the demo.

After carrying the cassette around in his pocket for weeks they mastered the cassette and made the Nebraska album…it was the demo. Here is more of the complete story by sound engineer Toby Scott. https://tascam.com/us/support/news/481#:~:text=Although%20most%20people%20know%20the,%2Dtime%20recording%2Fmix%20engineer.

The album was only Bruce with an acoustic guitar with overdubs by him. It’s one of my favorite all-time favorite songs and albums by Bruce.

The Band covered this song in 1993, years after Robbie Robertson left. I like this version just as well as Bruce’s original. Levon Helm does a great job on the vocals.

The first line, “They blew up the Chicken Man in Philly last night,” was taken from a newspaper article about a mob hit in Atlantic City. The “Chicken Man” was Phil Testa, number two man in the Philadelphia Mob under Angelo Bruno.

After Bruno was murdered in his car, Testa was blown up by a bomb placed under his front porch. These hits were orchestrated by Nicky Scarfo, who took over the Philly boys so he could control the new Atlantic City gambling rackets. He made such a mess of things that he and most of his crew were either murdered or in jail within a few years.

The Nebraska album peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #3 in the UK, Canada, and New Zealand in 1982.

From Songfacts

Atlantic City is a very poor city in New Jersey where gambling is legal. When casinos were built there in the early ’80s, it was supposed to revitalize the city. The casinos made it a popular tourist destination, but the city itself continues to be very run-down. There is a stark contrast between the glamorous casinos on the boardwalk and the city itself.
Atlantic City is also a haven for organized crime, and it’s implied that the narrator, who struggles with his finances and ruminates on the inevitability of death, as taken a job as a hit man.

This was the first Springsteen song to be made into a video (unless you count live performance clips), but Bruce does not appear in it. Springsteen had no interest in making concept videos, but an executive at his label, Columbia Records, named Arnold Levine knew that Bruce could benefit from exposure on MTV and put together the clip using footage of Atlantic City. MTV was based in New York and run by radio veterans who were big fans of Springsteen, so the video got some airplay on the network, which was trying to stick to a rock format in 1982.

This is the only track from Nebraska included on Springsteen’s Greatest Hits album.

The title and many of the images are shared with a 1981 Louis Malle movie starring Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon.

Springsteen recorded this as a demo on a 4-track tape recorder in his house. After trying it with the band, he decided this and the other songs that would make up Nebraska sounded best as he originally recorded them.

The version on the album is acoustic, but the plugged-in live version is a concert favorite.

Other songs Springsteen wrote about his home state of New Jersey towns include “Freehold” and “Fourth Of July, Asbury Park.” He is wildly popular there.

This was released as a single in Europe, but not the US.

Springsteen recorded three takes, each with slightly different lyrics, on the tape he gave his manager which became Nebraska.

Since Springsteen did not tour for Nebraska, the first time this was played in concert was on the Born In The U.S.A. tour two years later.

When Bruce Springsteen toured with The Seeger Sessions Band in 2006, they played a drastically different arrangement of this song with multiple outros. This can be heard on the 2007 album Live in Dublin

Atlantic City

Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last
Night now they blew up his house too
Down on the boardwalk they’re gettin’ ready
For a fight gonna see what them racket boys can do

Now there’s trouble busin’ in from outta state
And the D.A. can’t get no relief
Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade and
The gamblin’ commission’s hangin’ on by the skin of its teeth

[CHORUS:]
Everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty and
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Well I got a job and tried to put my money away
But I got in too deep and I could not pay
So I drew what I had from the Central Trust
And I bough us two tickets on that Coast City bus

[CHORUS:]

Now our luck may have died and out love may
Be cold but with you forever I’ll stay
We’re goin’ out where the sand’s turnin’ to gold
So put on your stockin’s ’cause the night’s getting’ cold and maybe everything dies
That’s a fact but maybe everything that dies
Someday comes back

Now I been lookin’ for a job but it’s hard to find
Down here it’s just winners and losers and
Don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well I’m tired of comin’ out on the losin’ end
So honey last night I met this guy and I’m
Gonna do a little favor for him
Well I guess everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday
Comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty and
Meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Bruce Springsteen – Cover Me

Yet another hit off of Born in the USA. It took me a little longer to get into this one. This was intially my least favorite song on the Born in the USA album. It grew on me because of the guitar.

Springsteen wrote this for Donna Summer, but decided to keep it for himself after recording the demo. A fan of the disco diva, Springsteen gave her a song called “Protection.”

Cover Me would have fit Donna Summer perfectly. The song peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100, #16 in the UK,  #12 in Canada, and #7 in New Zealand in 1984.

Arthur Brown did a remix of Cover Me and Bruce liked it so much that he started to adapt parts of it live. This version peaked at #11 in the Billboard Dance/Club Charts in 1984.

The Arthur Baker Remix

Cover Me

The times are tough now, just getting tougher
This whole world is rough, it’s just getting rougher
Cover me, come on baby, cover me
Well I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me

Now promise me baby you won’t let them find us
Hold me in your arms, let’s let our love blind us
Cover me, shut the door and cover me
I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me

Outside’s the rain, the driving snow
I can hear the wild wind blowing
Turn out the light, bolt the door
I ain’t going out there no more

This whole world is out there just trying to score
I’ve seen enough I don’t wanna see any more,
Cover me, come on in and cover me
I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me

Outside’s the rain, the driving snow
I can hear the wild wind blowing
Turn out the light, bolt the door
I ain’t going out there no more

This whole world is out there just trying to score
I’ve seen enough I ain’t gonna see any more,
Cover me, wrap you arms around and cover me
Well I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me
Ah looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me
Yeah I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me

 

Bruce Springsteen – Bobby Jean

This will close out the Born in the USA weekend but I’ll cover the other songs soon. This one I really think would have been a hit if they would have released it as a single…but that can be said about a few other ones also.

This song was really poignant when I heard it because I was about to graduate and I was starting to say goodbye to a lot of classmates that I knew I’d never see again.

This was written as a farewell message to guitarist Steven Van Zandt, who left the E Street Band during the recording of Born In The U.S.A. to pursue other projects. Van Zandt returned to the band years later.

From Songfacts

Springsteen called this “a good song about youthful friendship.”

In this song, Springsteen sings from the perspective of guy going to visit someone important to him, only to find that this person – Bobby Jean – has left town. Many assumed that Bobby Jean was a girl, which changes the storyline considerably. This interpretation plays out in the 1995 Nick Hornby book High Fidelity, where the main character, a record store clerk, says: “There’s this Springsteen song, ‘Bobby Jean,’ off Born In The U.S.A. About a girl who’s left town years before and he’s pissed off because he didn’t know about it, and he wanted to say goodbye, tell her that he missed her, and wish her good luck. Well, I’d like my life to be like a Springsteen song. Just once.”

The book was adapted into a movie in 2000, starring John Cusack. Springsteen appears in the film in a dream sequence; this was his first time acting in a movie. In this scene, he closes by telling Cusack, “Good luck, goodbye,” echoing the last line of this song. The song itself is not named in the film though.

 

Bobby Jean

Well, I came to your house the other day
Your mother said you went away
She said there was nothing that I could have done
There was nothing nobody could say
Me and you, we’ve known each other ever since we were sixteen
I wished I could have known
I wished I could have called you
Just to say goodbye, Bobby Jean

Now, you hung with me when all the others
Turned away, turned up their nose
We liked the same music, we liked the same bands
We liked the same clothes
We told each other that we were the wildest
The wildest things we’d ever seen
Now I wished you would have told me
I wished I could have talked to you
Just to say goodbye, Bobby Jean

Now, we went walking in the rain,
Talking about the pain that from the world we hid
Now there ain’t nobody, nowhere, nohow
Gonna ever understand me the way you did
Maybe you’ll be out there on that road somewhere
In some bus or train traveling along
In some motel room there’ll be a radio playing
And you’ll hear me sing this song
Well, if you do, you’ll know I’m thinking of you
And all the miles in between
And I’m just calling you one last time
Not to change your mind, but just to say I miss you, baby
Good luck, goodbye, Bobby Jean

Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days

Glory Days is a true story. In this song, Springsteen sings about a chance encounter with an old friend who was a star baseball player in high school. The old friend is Joe DePugh, and the encounter really did happen.

Springsteen and DePugh were classmates at St. Rose of Lima School in Freehold, New Jersey and played baseball together in the Babe Ruth League. They were good friends but drifted apart as Springsteen pursued music while DePugh took a shot at sports (he tried out for the Los Angeles Dodgers). In the summer of 1973, DePugh was walking into a bar called the Headliner in Neptune, New Jersey while Springsteen was walking out.

Bruce went back in, where he and his old friend talked about the good old days until the bar closed. When “Glory Days” was released, DePugh was living in Vermont, where word got out that he was the subject of the song. Springsteen confirmed the story at his 30th high school reunion in 1997, but DePugh wasn’t there; they finally met up again in 2005 when they met for lunch and once again relived their glory days.

The song peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100, #17 in Canada, #34 in New Zealand, and #17 in the UK in 1985. The song was released in 1984 and really popular through 1985 and remains popular to this day.

 

On my way out … Joe DePugh's story | Editorials | vtcng.com

If you want to read about Joe DePugh here is a link:

https://www.vtcng.com/waterbury_record/opinion/weekly_editorial/on-my-way-out-joe-depugh-s-story/article_eefdcfbc-0804-11e2-8c64-0019bb2963f4.html

From Songfacts

This is one of Springsteen’s favorites. He almost always plays it at the impromptu bar gigs he is famous for on the Jersey Shore.

In concert, Springsteen often extends this to over 10 minutes. Perhaps the most compact version he ever played was at halftime of the 2009 Super Bowl, when he squeezed four songs into a 12-minute set.

Springsteen: “The first verse actually happened, the second verse mostly happened, the third verse, of course, is happening now.”

Originally, this contained a fourth verse which mentioned Springsteen’s father working on the Ford assembly line.

Springsteen performed this June 25, 1993 on the last David Letterman Show on NBC. Letterman is a huge fan but had never had Springsteen on. Bruce did go on the show a few more times after it moved to CBS.

This was one of seven US Top 10 hits on Born In The U.S.A. The band first recorded it in 1982, but it was not released until the album came out.

The video was directed by John Sayles, who also did Springsteen’s promos for “Born In The U.S.A.” and “I’m On Fire.” In the video, Springsteen plays a cross between the character telling the story and the guy he’s singing about.

The full version of the video starts with Springsteen working construction (in real life he never had a job outside of music). In his reverie, he recalls his days playing baseball. Amid the scenes where the E Street Band is playing the song in a bar (Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey), we see him reminiscing with his glove and trophies from the glory days. At the end of the video Springsteen is on the field pitching to his son until his wife comes by in a station wagon to pick them up. It’s pretty clear that Springsteen was never much of a pitcher – his form is terrible. He was a right fielder when he played.

Julianne Phillips, who was Springsteen’s wife at the time, plays that role in the video, appearing in just one shot where she comes to get her boys. Patti Scialfa, who became the next Mrs. Springsteen in 1991, had joined the E Street Band in 1984 and gets a lot more face time in the clip.

On the day Springsteen released his album The Rising, he played a concert on The Today Show. This was the only song he played that was not on the new album.

Glory Days

I had a friend was a big baseball player
Back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
But all he kept talking about was

Glory days, well, they’ll pass you by
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days

Well there’s a girl that lives up the block
Back in school she could turn all the boy’s heads
Sometimes on a Friday I’ll stop by
And have a few drinks after she put her kids to bed
Her and her husband Bobby well they split up
I guess it’s two years gone by now
We just sit around talking about the old times,
She says when she feels like crying
She starts laughing thinking about

Glory days, well, they’ll pass you by
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days

Think I’m going down to the well tonight
And I’m going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it
But I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
A little of the glory of, well time slips away
And leaves you with nothing mister but
Boring stories of

Glory days, well, they’ll pass you by
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days
Yeah, they’ll pass you by
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days