Bruce Springsteen – The River

My friend Dave from A Sound Day wanted some bloggers to pick a song that has lyrics that we liked or can relate to. He stated, “I just want you to pick one song that you think has fantastic lyrics, or one you like because of the lyrics, and say a bit about why you love it.”

I went through many songs to get to this one. Dylan songs mostly before I realized this one hit home. This was the title track to Bruce’s 1980 double album. I picked this song because it is so easy to relate to. I’ve known friends who have lived this song. This is not a party starter song by any stretch of the imagination. The lyrics are downright sad because they are so damn real. It contains one of my favorite Springsteen lines “And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat.

I grew up in a small town with a population of around a thousand or so at the time. The jobs there were dead-end jobs and the pay was even worse. I saw a cycle even at an early age by seeing parents and their kids doing the same thing generation after generation. Nothing wrong with that but they hated doing what they were doing. It was enough inspiration for me to explore and find new things…and to get out. Some of my friends never made it out. They are doing now what they swore they wouldn’t do before.

I saw my sister get into the same position as the Mary character in the song. It ended many years later in a divorce but at least she is happy now so there are good endings. Her son was the best thing that happened to her. The funny thing is I ended up moving back near that town but I’m doing what I want to be doing not in a job or rut that I hate. Some of my friends are not in that position.

I came to realize…it wasn’t the location at all. It was and still is a nice small town…no that wasn’t it. It was the expectations at the time set upon every one that made it seem pre-ordained for bad choices to happen.

The wedding in the song relates to Springsteen’s sister, who got married when she was still a teenager. She knew it was about her and her husband the first time she heard it. It was also based on conversations Springsteen had with his brother-in-law. After losing his construction job, he worked hard to support his wife and young child but never complained.

The song’s lyrics are outstanding. Even the opening lines are so close to how I grew up. I did grow up in a valley. “I come from down in the valley,
Where mister when you’re young, They bring you up to do like your daddy done.” So it’s easy to relate to.

Bruce saves the best for last though. He is talking about the dreams we have when we are younger about what we are going to do in life until life wakes us up with a bang…at least that is what I interrupt.

Now those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse

The song didn’t chart in America or Canada but did make it to #35 in the UK. The album was #1 in the Billboard album charts, #1 in Canada, and #2 in the UK.

The River

I come from down in the valley
Where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do like your daddy done
Me and Mary we met in high school
When she was just seventeen
We’d ride out of that valley down to where the fields were green

We’d go down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride

Then I got Mary pregnant
And man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse
And the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles no walk down the aisle
No flowers no wedding dress

That night we went down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we did ride

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain’t been much work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
Now I just act like I don’t remember
Mary acts like she don’t care

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse
That sends me down to the river
Though I know the river is dry
That sends me down to the river tonight
Down to the river
My baby and I
Oh down to the river we ride

Bruce Springsteen – Merry Christmas Baby

There have been many versions of this song but this one is the one I listen to the most. The dynamics in this version are 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 compilation 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!

Favorite Rock Lyrics 3

I again took all of your suggestions and now we have a post that we made together. Thank you for all of the suggestions. I usually don’t repeat artists on one post but we had 3 Neil Young requests…I used two and the other one will be on the next.

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Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free Janis Joplin/Kris Kristofferson

Image result for creedence clearwater revival

Met myself a coming county welfare line, I was feeling strung out, Hung out on the line…Creedence Clearwater Revival

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He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week / All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek…Kinks

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Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…The Beatles

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As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes. And say, Do you want to make a deal?…Bob Dylan

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Set my compass north, I got winter in my bloodThe Band

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And the sign said, The words of the prophets, are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls… Simon and Garfunkel

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They say that Cain caught Abel rolling loaded dice,
ace of spades behind his ear and him not thinking twice…Grateful Dead

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When I said that I was lying, I might have been lyingElvis Costello
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Though nothing will keep us together/We can be heroes/Just for one day…David Bowie

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It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win…Bruce Springsteen

Image result for chuck berry

The motor cooled down, the heat went down, and that’s when I heard that highway sound…Chuck Berry

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We were the first band to vomit at the bar, and find the distance to the stage too far…The Who

Peter, Paul & Mary Tour Dates & Concert History – Songkick

Shule, shule, shule-a-roo, Shule-a-rak-shak, shule-a-ba-ba-cooWhen I saw my Sally Babby Beal, Come bibble in the boo shy Lorey… Peter, Paul, and Mary

Little Feat | Discography | Discogs

But then one night at the lobby of the Commodore Hotel, I chanced to meet a bartender who said he knew her well, And as he handed me a drink he began to hum a song, And all the boys there, at the bar, began to sing along…Little Feat

Throwback Track of the Day: “Cripple Creek Ferry” | Microphone Memory  Emotion

 But me I’m not stopping there got my own row left to hoe; just another line in the field of time Neil Young

You are like a hurricane there’s calm in your eye and I’m getting’ blown away…Neil Young

Roddy Frame

When I was young the radio played just for me, it saved me… Roddy Frame

Bruce Springsteen – Working On The Highway

I probably won’t be commenting today…yesterday I felt terrible and it seems I have the flu…just wanted to let you know.

This song has grown on me through the years. It was my least favorite on Born In The USA when it was released but I started to like it.

Springsteen has always been prolific…he picked 12 songs out of the 70 demos for the album and of course, this one made the cut.

This song is about the only song not released as a single off of Born In The USA. I’m being sarcastic but not really. There were 7 top ten hits off of this album. Springsteen hit the mass’s jackpot with this album. It’s not my favorite album by him by any stretch but it has a friendly radio sound.

Born In The USA was the album I listened to endlessly from 1984-1985. You heard it everywhere you turned. A friend of mine (a big Bruce fan from the old days) saw Bruce in 85 and he was depressed that Bruce was no longer a cult performer. The horse was out of the barn so to speak…The public knew and knew him well. Bruce and that bandana were all over the news and any magazine you read.

In 1985 I went on my graduation trip to Florida. The Born In The USA cassette tape was playing in my car where some buddies were riding with me on our senior trip. There are certain songs that take you back to a time. Walking On Sunshine, Glory Days, Working On The Highway, and Darlington County all connect me with that trip.

The album peaked at #1 in America, Canada, New Zealand, and The UK.

Working On The Highway

Friday night’s pay night, guys fresh out of work
Talking about the weekend, scrubbing off the dirt
Some heading home to their families, some looking to get hurt
Some going down to Stovell wearing trouble on their shirts

I work for the county out on ninety five
All day I hold a red flag and watch the traffic pass me by
In my head I keep a picture of a pretty little miss
Someday, mister, I’m gonna lead a better life than this

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway

I met her at a dance down at the union hall
She was standing with her brothers, back up against the wall
Sometimes we’d go walking down the Union tracks
One day I looked straight at her and she looked straight back
So I’m

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway, woo

I saved up my money and I put it all away
I went to see her daddy but we didn’t have much to say
“Son, can’t you see that she’s just a little girl
She don’t know nothing about this cruel, cruel world”

We lit out down to Florida, we got along all right
One day her brothers came and got her and they took me in a black-and-white
The prosecutor kept the promise that he made on that day
And the judge got mad and he put me straight away
I wake up every morning to the work bell clang
Me and the warden go swinging on the Charlotte County road gang
I’m

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway, ooo ooo ooo

Favorite Rock Lyrics 2

Everyone seemed to like the first one so I thought I would bring it back. I did list many of the lyrics that you suggested in the comments on the other post…SO… this post was written by all of us…and uh…the ones that actually wrote the songs!

Bob Dylan

Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear, it’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there... Bob Dylan

Rolling Stones

The sunshine bores the daylights out of me…Rolling Stones

Who

I asked Bobby Dylan, I asked The Beatles, I asked Timothy Leary, but he couldn’t help me either, they called me the Seeker…The Who

Grateful Dead

Cows are giving kerosene, the kid can’t read at seventeen, the words he knows are all obscene, but it’s alright… The Grateful Dead

band

You take what you need and you leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best… The Band

Trogg

Wild thing you make my heart sing you make everything groovy… The Troggs

Springsteen

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away… Bruce Springsteen

ACDC

Rich man, poor man, beggar man thief you ain’t got a hope in hell, that’s my belief… ACDC

Beatles - Rocky Raccoon

The farther one travels the less one knows the less one really knows …The Beatles

Leonard Cohen

My friends are gone and my hair is grey I ache in places I used to play …Leonard Cohen

John Lennon

Whatever gets you through the night … John Lennon

Replacements

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung …The Replacements

Led Zeppelin 1976

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face and stars fill my dream I’m a traveler of both time and space… Led Zeppelin

Kinks

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for Lola La-la-la-la LolaThe Kinks

Queen

She keeps her Moet et Chandon in her pretty cabinet “Let them eat cake”, she says just like Marie AntoinetteQueen

van morrison almost independence day

Shammy cleaning all the windows singing songs about Edith Piaf’s soul… Van

neil young after the goldrush

You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon… Neil Young

Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968

Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again…Simon and Garfunkel

Favorite Rock Lyrics

Here are some cool lyrics to some songs. My all-time favorite is the first one…I’ve used this one over and over whenever at work and in our world. I could have filled this up with Dylan lyrics but I wanted to spread the wealth.

The Who | Music legends, Music pics, Rock and roll

Meet the new boss/same as the old boss…The Who (No truer words have been spoken)

What isn't shown in The Beatles: Get Back — Class A drugs, Yoko baiting and  the dodgy accountant | Times2 | The Times

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…The Beatles

Chuck Berry: 20 Essential Songs - Rolling Stone

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walking toward a coffee-colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry

Jimmy Webb on John Lennon's Lost Weekend, Frank Sinatra - Rolling Stone

And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time…Jimmy Webb

How Peter Gabriel Conquered the World With 'So'

You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a fire…Peter Gabriel.

Grateful Dead - Wikipedia

Shake the hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan… Grateful Dead

Revolutions: Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet" - YouTube

I wasn’t looking too good but I was feeling real well… Rolling Stones

Johnny Cash photographer reveals truth behind San Quentin Prison shot

But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die… Johnny Cash

Bruce Springsteen – The Highlight Reel (1973-1975) – Pretty In Sync.

We learned more from a three-minute record, than we ever learned in school…Bruce Springsteen

Why Hank Williams Won't Be Reinstated in the Grand Ole Opry - Rolling Stone

The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky… Hank Williams Sr.

The Band Shares Previously-Unreleased "The Weight" From Royal Albert Hall,  1971 [Listen]

I just spent 60 days in the jailhouse/for the crime of having no dough…The Band

lynyrd skynyrd - one more time

I drank enough whiskey to float a battleship around… Lynyrd Skynyrd

Jimmy Buffett

I blew out my flip-flop stepped on a pop-top/cut my heel had to cruise on back home… Jimmy Buffet

Bob Dylan

She knows there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all… Bob Dylan

Bob Seger

Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then… Bob Seger

TW

In Jersey, anything’s legal, as long as you don’t get caught… The Traveling Wilburys

Ricky Nelson

You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…Ricky Nelson

Kinks

Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain and celluloid heroes never really die… Kinks

Welcome To Graceland

My son had never visited Graceland and his girlfriend is visiting so I thought it would be time to go. I’ve been 2 times before…once in the 80s and again in the mid-nineties. We stayed in the Exchange Building in Memphis…a building that is 112 years old. If you are looking for a place in Memphis, it’s listed under Air B&Bs…I would recommend this place…love the architecture.

We got to Graceland on Saturday and it was crowded of course…and the price has more than doubled in the past 10 years from what I read. It’s now $77 (80 with tax) dollars per person for a house visit plus the planes and different exhibits. Compared to the 90s…it’s enough items to keep you busy at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours easy…still that is steep when you have a few people.

You get through the house in 30 minutes or so…at least we did. It’s the huge new complex they built to house most of his items that takes a lot of time.

I’m going to show as many pictures as possible but two exhibits surprised this Beatles fan. They had a section called “Icons” and the artists that were influenced by Elvis. They had many things on loan from The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. I got to see the piano that John Lennon wrote a lot of Double Fantasy on and a vest and Marshall amp from no other than Jimi Hendrix. Also a James Brown outfit, KISS items, Joe Perry, Buddy Holly, and a leather jacket from Bruce Springsteen.

You can google Graceland and get most of the pics inside the house but here are a few…I like the yellow man cave. After this, we took a walk on Beale Street which was really cool. Next time I’m allowing more time. Sun Studios and Buford Pusser’s place in McNairy country are places I wanted to see also.

You should be able to click on the pictures and see all of them one at a time if you want.

Here are some of the exhibits

Last but not least…Elvis’s outfits…it looked like a giant doll’s house.

Bruce Springsteen – Johnny Bye Bye

This is one B side that I have listened to more than the A-side.

I was playing in a band at a Summer Festival in the 90s. This song was on the setlist combined with Bruce’s Cadillac Ranch went over well. The subject matter is dark but truthful.

The song is credited to Chuck Berry and Bruce because Bruce rewrote the Berry song Bye Bye Johnny to fit his story. Chuck’s song follows the same character heard in Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” Johnny is now a grown man who boards a bus to start his life.

Bruce’s version is about Elvis Presley who died a little earlier. Bruce was a big fan of Elvis but saw what fame and isolation did to him.  After the glory had left…the lifestyle caught up with Elvis with tragic results. The song was released as a B side to “I’m On Fire” in 1985. I’m On Fire was the 4th single released from Born In The USA. Johnny Bye Bye  It was recorded in April 1982 during the “Electric Nebraska” sessions. That was when the band tried to recreate the Nebraska acoustic demos but they could not capture what Bruce wanted.

Springsteen performed this several times live during the River and Born in the USA tours. It is a haunting song to listen to. The keywords are the last lines of the song…”You didn’t have to die, You didn’t have to die.”

Bruce Springsteen: “The type of fame Elvis had . . . the pressure of it, the isolation that it seems to require, has gotta be really painful”

Chuck Berry’s original

“Johnny Bye-Bye”

Well she drew out all her money from the Southern Trust
And put her little boy on the Greyhound Bus
Leaving Memphis with a guitar in his hand
With a one-way ticket to the promised land
Hey little girl with the red dress on
There’s a party tonight down in Memphis town
I’ll be going down there if you need a ride
The man on the radio says Elvis Presley’s died We drove to Memphis, the sky was hard and black
Up over the ridge came a white Cadillac
They’d drawn out all his money and they laid him in the back
A woman cried from the roadside “Ah he’s gone, he’s gone”
They found him slumped up against the drain
With a whole lot of trouble running through his veins
Bye-bye Johnny
Johnny bye-bye
You didn’t have to die
You didn’t have to die

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