Category Archives: Who’s the Boss?

Who’s the Boss? – The River

Who's The Boss?
Hi Everybody! The long wait is finally over. Time for the newest installment of “Who’s the Boss?” I can’t believe that it’s been almost 4 months since the last one – Darkness on the Edge of Town. Today, we’ll take a listen to Springsteen’s follow-up album, The River. If you are new, or missed the previous “Who’s the Boss?” articles, you can go ahead and see what this is all about.

I had heard of The River before, but I had no idea that it was a double-album. Let’s go check it out.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The_River_Bruce_Springsteen_Front_Cover.jpgOriginally, Bruce Springsteen’s album, The River, was to be released in 1979 as a single album called The Ties That Bind. But, after writing the song, “The River”, Springsteen wanted to add even more darker material to the album. The album was released on October 17, 1980. I did not read up on any information on the album before I started listening to it. So, I was not expecting the amount of dark material on the album. There are many fun rock songs on the album, then takes a dark turn. According to Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts – The Definitive Biography, 1972-2003, it was intentional to have a combination of fun and dark songs: “Rock and roll has always been this joy, this certain happiness that is in its way the most beautiful thing in life. But rock is also about hardness and coldness and being alone … I finally got to the place where I realized life had paradoxes, a lot of them, and you’ve got to live with them.”

Needless to say, this is a very interesting album. As always, you can click on the song title to listen to the song on YouTube.

Side one

1. “The Ties That Bind”

Great start to the album. It’s a good, rockin’ song. No matter how down you are, and how much you want to get away, and be by yourself, you will always have the ties that bind you to your friends, family and community.

 

2. “Sherry Darling”

This is a fun, upbeat song.

 

3. “Jackson Cage”

I’m already impressed with this album so far. This is another rockin’ song. It has that classic Bruce sound, with all instruments being heard, and some intense Bruce vocals.

4. “Two Hearts”

This is quickly becoming my favorite Springsteen studio album so far. This is another song saying that you shouldn’t be alone. This leads us to….

5. “Independence Day”

Time to slow things down a bit, which means Emo Bruce is in the house! It’s lucky for us that he had music as an outlet for his daddy issues. In this song, Bruce has come to the realization that he and his father will never get along, so he’s going out on his own. This is a sad yet beautiful song. I’m really taking to these storytelling songs.

Side two

1. “Hungry Heart”

Ah, a very familiar song. I always liked this song. I first discovered Bruce Springsteen from his Born in the USA album. When the songs from that album got overplayed, this was a nice alternative for me.

2. “Out in the Street”

I’m liking this song. It has the same type of beat as “Hungry Heart” – not a ballad, but not a flat-out rocker. The piano is well done. And of course, you can’t go wrong with a song that features a sax solo by the legendary Clarence Clemons.

3. “Crush on You”

Another great rockin’ song. I can totally see this one getting stuck in my head. Great guitar and drums in this song.

4. “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)”

Not to be confused with the Poison song I love (Look But You Can’t Touch), this is yet another really fun, rockin’s song.

5. “I Wanna Marry You”

This kind of starts off sounding like a Spanish type of song. This is a really nice ballad. While I am beginning to warm up to emo-Bruce, it is nice to hear him singing a slow song that doesn’t make you want to hang yourself.

6. “The River”

We have arrived at the title track. This is another storytelling song, which means emo-Bruce is back. He knocked up Mary just after high school, and they have to get married, and begin their real life. This doesn’t sound like the same couple from the earlier song, “I Wanna Marry You.” This wedding here sounds depressing:

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

And it just gets worse from there.

Side three

1. “Point Blank”

This is another dark, storytelling song. And just like several of the dark songs I have heard so far, this one is about growing up too fast, and not having your dreams realized.

I was gonna be your Romeo you were gonna be my Juliet
These days you don’t wait on Romeo’s
You wait on that welfare check

2. “Cadillac Ranch”

Alright! Now we are back to some upbeat rock! I remember this song from the Live 1975-85 album. It is a great live song, but I am also loving this studio version.

3. “I’m a Rocker”

Awesome! This song lives up to its name!

4. “Fade Away”

OK, this is the total opposite of the last song. You know it’s not good when the song starts with these lyrics:

Well now you say you’ve found another man who does things to you that I can’t
And that no matter what I do it’s all over now
between me and you girl

5. “Stolen Car”

Well this song starts off more promising:

I met a little girl and I settled down
In a little house out on the edge of town
We got married, and swore we’d never part

Oh no, but wait…here is the next line:

Then little by little we drifted from each other’s hearts

Just shoot me already!

Side four

1. “Ramrod”

Alright! We’re pulled out of the doldrums! This is a fun rockin’ song. Let me take this in. I see the title of the next song, so I’m sure this high won’t last too long.

2. “The Price You Pay”

Kurt Cobain and the whole grunge movement ain’t got nothin’ on Bruce, man! All I have to say about this song is:

Now they’d come so far and they’d waited so long
Just to end up caught in a dream where everything goes wrong
Where the dark of night holds back the light of the day

3. “Drive All Night”

I can’t believe how depressing this second album is. At least this is a love song.

4. “Wreck on the Highway”

Will we close out the album with a fun rockin’ song, leaving us wanting more, or will we end with emo-Bruce. Here’s a hint:

An ambulance finally came and took him to Riverside
I watched as they drove him away
And I thought of a girlfriend or a young wife
And a state trooper knocking in the middle of the night
To say your baby died in a wreck on the highway

As depressing as these songs are, I really enjoy the storytelling.

 


Fun Facts

Fun Facts. Woo-ooo-ooo. Say it proud and Geek Out Loud, it’s fun facts

– “Hungry Heart” was Springsteen’s first U.S. pop singles chart top ten hit single, reaching number five. When Bruce wrote the song, it was actually intended to be for The Ramones. However, manager/producer Jon Landau convinced Springsteen to keep the song for himself.

– According to BruceSpringsteen.net, it was announced on October 16, 2015 that Springsteen will celebrate the 35th anniversary of The River by releasing the long awaited box set titled The Ties That Bind: The River Collection on December 4, 2015. It will contain 52 tracks on 4 CDs with a wealth of unreleased material along with 4 hours of never-before-seen video on 3 DVDs or 2 Blu-Ray discs.

Final Thoughts

Even though it may seem like I was not enjoying the dark songs, I really loved this album! This may even be my favorite Springsteen album so far. The upbeat songs just flat-out rock, and the dark songs tell good, albeit depressing stories. It’s good to have a combination of the different styles. And Springsteen did this masterfully.

The next album will be one that most of us are familiar with. I’m sure you can pretty much guess what it is. There are some songs on it that are new for me, so I am looking forward to it. And it won’t take as long to post about it.

Let me know what you think of The River,and if you have any memories from it.

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Who’s the Boss? – Darkness on the Edge of Town

Who's The Boss?
Hi Everybody! We are back with a new album for “Who’s the Boss?” If you are new, or missed the previous “Who’s the Boss?” articles, you can go ahead and see what this is all about. Kristin, from Rock Out Loud, had suggested that I start my Bruce Springsteen journey with the Live 1975/85 album. This was a stroke of genius on her part. A lot of songs from that album were also on the Born to Run album as well as today’s album, Darkness on the Edge of Town. I feel that if I had just jumped right into these studio albums first, I wouldn’t have appreciated the songs as much. Bruce’s storytelling and the emotions, that he poured into the live versions of these songs, got me warmed up and ready for the studio versions.

Now let’s get into the next album of the “Who’s the Boss?” series – Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Darkness on the Edge of Town was Bruce Springsteen’s fourth studio album. It was the follow-up to Bruce’s big breakthrough album, Born to Run. Darkness on the Edge of Town was released in 1978 – three years after Born to Run. It took so long because Springsteen got into a legal battle with his former manager and producer, Mike Appel. Without getting bogged down into too much detail, basically Springsteen was young and naive when he first signed on with Mike Appel. It turns out that Bruce was getting a raw deal on royalties, and he did not have the publishing rights to his own songs. While Bruce was getting out of that contract, he signed with a new producer, Jon Landau. Appel filed an injunction that prevented Bruce from entering a recording studio. The matter was finally settled out of court. To get more details about this, and to see the recording process of this album, I highly recommend watching the awesome documentary, The Promise: The Darkness On the Edge of Town Story – Bruce Springsteen.
Although this album did not have any high charting singles, it is one of Springsteen’s most beloved albums. It actually stayed on the charts for nearly two years and is certified triple-platinum.

So, let’s see what everybody is raving about. You can click on the song title to listen to the song/watch the video.

 


Side One

1. “Badlands”

Love! I first heard this song on Live 1975/85. The music and vocals are great. So far, I really enjoy the songs where Bruce’s voice is at a deeper tone. And of course the lyrics are awesome. Here is a perfect example,

Talk about a dream
try to make it real
You wake up in the night
with a fear so real
Spend your life waiting
for a moment that just don’t come
Well, don’t waste your time waiting

2. “Adam Raised a Cain”

I know this song from Live 1975/85. I like this song. It rocks. But, I prefer the live version. So far in this series, I kind of liked the live versions and the studio versions of songs equally. But, this is one of those instances that the live version is far superior.

3. “Something in the Night”

Time to slow things down a bit. We have another winner here. The music itself really brings me back to the late ’70s. This is angsty Bruce, who I’m beginning to like more and more.

4. “Candy’s Room”

Here is another one that I discovered on Live 1975/85. I liked that performance, and I love this studio version as well. It is a great rocker. The drumming on this one is incredible.

5. “Racing in the Street”

Another song that is on Live 1975/85. If I started the series with this album, I would be bored with this song. But as I become more educated, I know to pay special close attention to the lyrics on these slow songs. Bruce really paints a picture in his storytelling.

Side Two

1. “The Promised Land”

Not to sound like a broken records, but this is another one that I first heard on Live 1975/85. This is another classic Bruce song with incredible lyrics.

Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain’t got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted

2. “Factory”

This is Bruce being Bruce, hammering into your head that he speaks for the working man. Putting my facetiousness aside, I do like this song. I’m finding that not too many people, if any, can tell a story in song better than Bruce.

3. “Streets of Fire”

I’ve come to accept the fact that anytime there is a Springsteen song with the word “Fire” in the title, it is going to be a slower paced song.

4. “Prove It All Night”

This is a new one for me. I like this song a lot. It kind of feels like a Jackson Browne song. I love the sax solo and then how it goes into a guitar solo. I think this is my favorite of the songs that were new to me on this album.

5. “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

This song became an instant classic to me. This song is always popping up in my heat, perhaps more than any other Springsteen tune. I can’t explain it other than it is a great song.

Fun Facts

Fun Facts. Woo-ooo-ooo. Say it proud and Geek Out Loud, it’s fun facts

I have gotten all of these facts from 100.7 WZLX (a Boston classic rock station)

The album cover was shot at the photographer’s home in New Jersey.
After doing photography for Patti Smith and notable early punk rockers, photographer Frank Stefanko was given the task of shooting the album cover and inner photos for Darkness. The two met through Patti as a mutual connection. Bruce drove down to Stefanko’s house in Haddonfield, New Jersey with just a change of clothes and shot both inside the house and on surrounding streets. The cover for Darkness was shot in Stefanko’s bedroom, while a photo from the same shoot was later used for The River.

Bruce wrote 70+ songs for the album
According to Jimmy Iovine, Springsteen wrote at least 70 songs to be chosen for final inclusion on Darkness, and over 50 of them were at least partially recorded but not completed. Bruce ultimately wanted to retain the themes present in the album’s main tracks and avoid “singles” that may not have fit the narrative. But some of those songs eventually saw the light of day…

Unreleased tracks like “Because the Night” were re-purposed or given to other artists
Springsteen’s compilation The Promise contains 21 unreleased tracks that were recorded mostly from 1976-1978, many of which from the Darkness sessions. Most notable is “Because the Night”, which Bruce gave to Patti Smith and became one of the latter’s signature songs.

At least 16 songs remain unreleased
Despite the dozens of recordings that eventually saw release on the River or subsequent compilation albums, there are at least 16 known recordings that are circulating as bootlegs but have never been given an official release. These songs include “Preacher’s Daughter”, “Down By the River”, “Castaway”, “Cheap Thrills”, and “Blue Moon”.


Does anybody else like this album or have any memories you would like to share? And don’t forget, please check out my friends Steve and Kristin on the Rock Out Loud podcast. It is a lot of fun, and it is a great place to rock out and enjoy music that you may not hear on any other podcast.

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Who’s the Boss? – Born to Run

Who's The Boss?
Hi Everybody! We are back with a new album for “Who’s the Boss?” If you are new, or missed the previous “Who’s the Boss?” articles, you can go ahead and see what this is all about. The first assignment given to me by Kristin, from Rock Out Loud, was to listen to Live/1975–85. It turned out to be a 40 song project that had to be split up into three articles – Disc 1, Disc 2, and Disc 3. My next album is not as extensive as Live/1975–85, but it is just as awesome. We are talking about Bruce Springsteen’s big breakthrough album, Born to Run. Instead of a 40 song extravaganza, this album only has 9 songs. 9 awesome songs! For the last album, I gave my initial thoughts, and then gave my feelings about the songs after listening some more. For this album, I loved every song right from the beginning. So, my initial thoughts did not change for any of these songs, other than liking them more and more.

Born to Run was Bruce Springsteen’s third album, and was his big breakthrough. I had thought that this was his debut album, but Springsteen had released Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. Born to Run was released on August 25, 1975, and was a critical and commercial success. As of 2000, 6 million copies were sold. It would reach all the way to #3 on the Billboard charts. Bruce Springsteen has pretty much been a household name since this album was released. So, let’s go check this out, and see what all the craze is about. As with the previous posts, you can click on the song title to listen to it and/or watch the video.

Side 1

1. Thunder Road

This song opened Live 1975/85, and opens this album. I love this studio version.

2. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

I like this song (also first heard on Live 1975/85). If I didn’t hear this on the live album, I might not have liked this song as much. It sticks with you though.

3. Night

Never heard of this song before. I’m really enjoying this one. Pretty cool, upbeat song. As usual, Clarence Clemons is awesome. I like Bruce’s voice in this song.

4. Backstreets

This is a song that I liked right away on the Live 1975/85 album. I like this studio version just as much. And ow, he really turns it up a notch towards the end!

Side 2

1. Born to Run

Classic! Not much else I can say about this one. This is one of those songs I have always loved, and never got sick of it.

2. She’s the One

Whoa, I really like this one! They are firing on all cylinders in this song. Every instrument plays a big part, and this is another song where I love Bruce’s voice. I don’t know any details about playing music, but maybe it’s a lower key or range that he sings in some of these songs that I really enjoy.

3. Meeting Across the River

This is a little different from anything else I have heard from Bruce. It features a piano and trumpet. I think I will like this song more after a few more listens.

4. Jungleland

Holy crap! What an epic song! It is story that could be made into a movie. And the music is incredible. And the awesome sax and piano in the middle of the song reminds me of Billy Joel’s “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant”, which is a great thing! This song is over 9 minutes, which would probably explain why there are only 8 songs on the album. But, it doesn’t feel like 9 minutes. So, so good!

Fun Facts

Fun Facts. Woo-ooo-ooo. Say it proud and Geek Out Loud, it’s fun facts

– The title from “Thunder Road” comes from the Robert Mitchum film Thunder Road. Springsteen declared that he was somehow inspired by the movie despite not having seen it. As he says: “I never saw the movie, I only saw the poster in the lobby of the theater.”

– While recording “Jungleland” the closing act of Born to Run, it took 16 hours to properly set up and record Clarence Clemons solo act. When Bruce told him how long it had been, Clarence was surprised. He had believed that only about 5 hours had gone by.

– A line from the song “Night” on Born to Run goes “the circuit’s lined and jammed with chromed invaders.” The Circuit is a nickname for the drive around Kingsley Street and Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park.

– Ernest “Boom” Carter doesn’t have the same name recognition as some other E Streeters, but even if you’re only a casual Bruce fan, you’ve heard his work. Carter’s only performance with Springsteen was his drum track on “Born to Run.” Carter’s successor to the drum throne, Max Weinberg, has said that he could never reproduce Carter’s drum parts in concert and eventually stopped trying.
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Who’s the Boss? – Live/1975–85: Disc 3

Who's The Boss? Welcome back, as we wrap up the series premier of the “Who’s the Boss?” – Live/1975–85. If you missed the previous posts, you can go back and check out Disc 1 and Disc 2. So far, this has been a pretty awesome album. Let’s see if it ends strong.

Most of the songs on this disc were played at stadiums – The LA Coliseum and Giants Stadium. The last three were from The Meadowlands Arena. These are some pretty big places. Let’s see if these are pretty big songs.

The River

Recorded September 30, 1985 at the LA Coliseum

Initial thought: This song is listed at over 11:00. But, Bruce is talking for the first 5 minutes about his relationship with his father. The song itself isn’t bad. I am aware of The River album. I was expecting the song to be better, but I could probably warm up to it after a few listens.

Upon further listening: As with previous songs on this album where Bruce did a lot of talking, it took me some getting used to. Although, even from my first listen, I knew he was telling a story to set up the song. I do appreciate it much more now. And I have warmed up to this song more. There are other songs on this album that I like a lot more. However, I feel that way because those other songs are incredible. “The River” is a very good storytelling song.

War

Recorded September 30, 1985 at the LA Coliseum

Initial thought: I love this song! It is a remake of the Edwin Starr classic.

Upon further listening: This is such a perfect song for Bruce. The theme is right in his wheelhouse, and his voice is perfect for this song.

Darlington County

Recorded September 30, 1985 at the LA Coliseum

Initial thought: This is a fun song. I like it a lot. Love “The Big Man” on sax!

Upon further listening: This song just makes you want to get up and dance. Well, in my case that means it makes me want to get up and move around. So, so good!!!

Working On the Highway

Recorded August 19, 1985 at Giants Stadium

Initial thought: This song feels like a throwback a little. It reminds me of “Summertime Blues.” I’m liking this one too.

Upon further listening: Another winner! I love these rockin’ songs!

The Promised Land

Recorded September 30, 1985 at the LA Coliseum

Initial thought: This isn’t bad. It’s not great either.

Upon further listening: I have no idea why I didn’t love this song the first time I heard it. It’s one of my favorites now. One sign of a great song is when you can’t get the song out of your head – and you don’t mind. This one really sticks with me. The lyrics are incredible, and the music is outstanding.

Cover Me


Recorded September 30, 1985 at the LA Coliseum

Initial thought: I kind of remember this song from the Born in the U.S.A. album. I think I prefer this live version. The band sounds awesome.

Upon further listening: I still like this song a lot. You can feel Bruce putting his all into this song.

I’m On Fire

Recorded August 19, 1985 at Giants Stadium

Initial thought: Unfortunately, I’m familiar with this song. I’m sorry, but when somebody says “I’m On Fire,” I expect to hear some screaming. At least this is not as boring as “Streets of Philadelphia,” so there’s that.

Upon further listening: I had never liked this song at all. But, as I said in a recent Top 40 Countdown which featured this song, I have warmed up to it. I have turned a corner on this song, and am liking it more and more.

Bobby Jean

Recorded August 21, 1985 at Giants Stadium

Initial thought: OK, I’m back on board now. I like this song. And it seems like this is one of those songs I would like more the more I listen to it.

Upon further listening: This has now changed to “OK, I’m still on board.” I do like this more and more. The lyrics are really good, and the music is great.

My Hometown

Recorded September 30, 1985 at the LA Coliseum

Initial thought: I love this song!

Upon further listening: Wow, that was an insightful initial thought! I love the music for this song, and once again, tells a great story.

Born to Run

Recorded August 19, 1985 at Giants Stadium

Initial thought: This is one of my all-time favorite Springsteen tunes.

Upon further listening: There’s really not much more I can say about this one. This has always been one of my favorite Springsteen songs. It sounds even better live than on the studio version I’m used to. The band really stands out in this live version.

Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

Recorded August 20, 1984 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: I think this is my favorite song on this 3rd disc. I love the sax, horns and drums in this one.

Upon further listening: Well, I think “The Promised Land” took over the honors of favorite song on this disc. But, I still love this song. The E Street Band is awesome!!!

No Surrender

Recorded August 6, 1984 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: This is kind of a somber tune. Not bad though.

Upon further listening: Somber means awesome storytelling song. I am loving this song more and more. The opening lyrics are so me:

We busted out of class had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a three minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school

Well, I didn’t really cut classes. But, I did mentally check out of school in those high school days, and did learn life lessons through music.

Jersey Girl

Recorded July 9, 1981 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: Well, this concert album started off with a slow song, and now it’s ending with one. It doesn’t sound like a song he should go out on, but I do like it a lot.

Upon further listening: What a great way to wrap up my introduction to “The Boss”! While a lot of his other slower songs on this album could get dark, this is a nice tender love song. It was originally done by Tom Waits, but Bruce but his own twist on this version

Fun Facts

Fun Facts. Woo-ooo-ooo. Say it proud and Geek Out Loud, it’s fun facts

– The Edwin Starr version of “War” was the #1 hit in the country the day I was born.

– These days, Bruce never plays “Jersey Girl” outside of New Jersey area shows. When Kristin saw last saw him, in Philadelphia, he played this, and she died. Well, maybe not literally died, or she wouldn’t have been able to tell that story. Unless she did really die, and Bruce gave her mouth-to-mouth to revive her. It does sound like he would do anything for his fans, as you will find in this last fun fact…

– A fan met Bruce Springsteen in a cinema at a screening of Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories. The fan asked Bruce to prove that he does not disregard his fans by coming to meet his mom and have dinner. Bruce accepted the invitation and is said to still visit this particular fan’s mother. (Celebrity Fun Facts and I Fear Brooklyn)


Final Thoughts

When the idea to become a Springsteen fan appeared in my crazy mind, I had no idea how much fun this would be! A special thank you goes out to Kristin from Rock Out Loud for taking up this challenge, and guiding me through the steps of becoming a Springsteen fan. She made a perfect choice of an album to start with! We got him at his best, and got quite the variety of songs. Not to mention that this album is technically an ’80s album. I would never have imagined that this would be the album to start with. To say it was a pleasant surprise would be putting it mildly. The first time listening to this album is like trying to take a little sip of water from a fire hose. But, I was able to take it all in, and I enjoy it more and more with each listen. I already knew that the E Street Band was really good. After studying this album, I am truly impressed.
Am I a Springsteen fan yet? Well, one album does not make me an official fan. Besides, what fun would that be? We have plenty of more albums to cover!

Now it is time to move on to the next album. I won’t give away which one it will be yet. I am going to digest this next album, and you will hear all about it in another couple of weeks.

In the meantime, please check out the Rock Out Loud podcast, and show them some love. You will really enjoy Steve and Kristin. The latest episode was outstanding (and not just because they started it by talking some Return to the ’80s, and reading a couple of letters from one of your fellow Return to the ’80s readers)! It was about Women Who Rock, and there is plenty of ’80s rock talk on it, which I know you will love.

And if you like that podcast, you will also enjoy Steve’s other awesome podcasts – Disney Vault Talk (which Steve does with Teresa about Disney animated films, which we all grew up on), Mark Out Loud (a wrestling podcast that Steve does with Dave, and are covering some old school Wrestlemania’s this Wrestlemania season), as well as the flagship show, Geek Out Loud. Steve is such a great host and personality, that it doesn’t matter if he has a guest or is going solo. You will be very entertained, and enjoy this podcast.


I hope you enjoyed this inaugural series of “Who’s The Boss?”. Please leave me your feedback! And please let me know if you are joining me on this journey of learning about Bruce Springsteen.

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Who’s the Boss? – Live/1975–85: Disc 2

Who's The Boss? Welcome back, as we continue with the first album of the “Who’s the Boss?” series – Live/1975–85. If you missed the first disc, you can go back and check it out. I really enjoyed that first disc, and I like it more each time I listen to it. Let’s see if Disc 2 is just as good.


As we know from the first disc, Live/1975–85 consists of performances from several different concerts. On the first disc, there were several songs that were recorded in the ’70s. From here on out, the songs were all recorded in the ’80s.

Cadillac Ranch

Recorded July 6, 1981 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: This was a pleasant surprise. This song rocks! This is a million times better than “Pink Cadillac.”

Upon further listening: I still love it! This is a fun, rockin’ party song.

You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)

Recorded December 29, 1980 at Nassau Coliseum

Initial thought: Another really good rockin’ song.

Upon further listening: I still love this one too. It really jams!!

Independence Day

Recorded July 6, 1981 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: OK, time to slow things down a bit. This would actually make a good Country song. I do like songs that tell stories. And the band is tight in this – especially when the sax solo kicks in.

Upon further listening: This song is a bit of a downer after listening to two fun songs in a row. And by “downer”, I mean “angsty”. This is a very good song. I’ll take angsty Bruce over angsty grunge any day of the week!

Badlands

Recorded November 5, 1980 at Arizona State University, the night after the election of Ronald Reagan to the United States presidency

Initial thought: Here is another song that I was aware of, but never heard. This is outstanding! I am officially happy that this album is on my iPod.

Upon further listening: I’m loving this one more and more. This is a great rocker.

Because the Night

Recorded December 28, 1980 at Nassau Coliseum

Initial thought: I love this song so much. It was one of my favorite songs when 10,000 Maniacs covered it for their MTV Unplugged appearance in 1993. I wore out the cassingle. I knew that Bruce wrote this, and that it was also done by Patti Smith. But, it was so long ago, that I forgot about it. So this was another pleasant surprise.

Upon further listening: I really can’t get enough of this song! I downloaded the 10,000 Maniacs version as well. I love both versions equally.

Candy’s Room

Recorded July 8, 1981 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: Another winner! Again, Max Weinberg is incredible on drums. There is great guitar work in this too. So far, I’m liking this second disc more than the first one.

Upon further listening: I’m sticking with my initial thought on this one. This song is awesome! As much as I liked the first disc, I am liking this one better.

Darkness On the Edge of Town

Recorded December 29, 1980 at Nassau Coliseum

Initial thought: I had heard of this, but I think I mainly knew it because it’s the title of one of Bruce’s albums. I had never heard this song either. It’s not bad. It’s not knocking me off my feet, but it is pretty damn good.

Upon further listening: Out of all of the songs from this album, this is the one that improved the most in my mind. I went from “not bad” to Loving it!!! And out of all the songs on the album, this is this song that plays in my head (aka earworm) most often. And I don’t mind at all.

Racing In the Street

Recorded July 6, 1981 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: I’m a little bored by this one. The piano is good. But this is a little to slow and boring for me. Of all the great songs from this disc so far, this song had to be the one that is more than 8 minutes long.

Upon further listening: This is another song that I’m liking a lot more. I realize with Bruce’s slower stuff like this, you really need to listen to the lyrics. And after studying the lyrics, I realize the music is perfect for this.

This Land Is Your Land

Recorded December 28, 1980 at Nassau Coliseum

Initial thought: Nice recovery! I’m used to this song being done at a faster pace. But Bruce slowed this one down, and I think this is the best version of it that I have ever heard.

Upon further listening: I love patriotic songs, and this version of this song is one of my favorites. So perfect!

Nebraska

Recorded August 6, 1984 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: I heard of this album and song, but never heard the song before. This is a little slow, but tells a story. Geez, a very dark story!

Upon further listening: Very good song. Again, you need to listen more for the lyrics than the music for this one.

Johnny 99

Recorded August 19, 1985 at Giants Stadium

Initial thought: Here’s another dark song. Well, at least it was smart keeping the dark songs lumped together.

Upon further listening: Another outstanding song. This one does move a little faster than the last song. This is yet another one that I like more each time I listen.

Reason to Believe

Recorded August 19, 1984 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: The best part of this song is that it isn’t a cover of the Rod Stewart song. If I never hear the Rod Stewart Unplugged version of “Reason to Believe” again, it would be too soon. So, this song scored some points with me for not being that song. I still wasn’t that impressed.

Upon further listening: This isn’t too bad. I’m not blown away with this one, but it is pretty decent.

Born in the USA

Recorded September 30, 1985 at the Los Angeles Coliseum

Initial thought: If I had bought this album when it was originally released, this would have been the second song that I would have known so far. Of course this song is great. And I really like the guitar at the end of this song a lot. It makes this song better than the studio version.

Upon further listening: I love this song so much! As much as I loved the original version, the live version is even better!

Seeds

Recorded September 30, 1985 at the LA Coliseum

Initial thought: Woo hoo, another rocker!! Love it!

Upon further listening: I love how the disc started off with a couple of rockers, and then ends with a couple of rockers. So, so good!

Fun Facts

Fun Facts. Woo-ooo-ooo. Say it proud and Geek Out Loud, it’s fun facts

– Bruce Springsteen performed as lead vocalist for ‘The Castiles’ and ‘The Child’ also known as ‘The Steelmill’ before making a band with New Jersey based members called ‘Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J’. Later on, this band was renamed ‘The E Street Band’ with which he now performs.
(http://www.celebrityfunfacts.com/bruce-springsteen/f34b75/)

– There really is an E Street. It runs northeast through the New Jersey shore town of Belmar. According to Springsteen lore, the band took its name from the street because original keyboard player David Sancious’ mother lived there and allowed the band to rehearse in her house.
(http://mentalfloss.com/article/22830/60-springsteen-facts-bruces-60th-birthday)

– According to one of his friends, Frank Stefanko, Bruce is a great photographer and enjoys taking photographs of strange looking billboards and comic Diner signs in the New Jersey. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/22830/60-springsteen-facts-bruces-60th-birthday)


Are you enjoying this album so far? Please comment, and let me know if you are discovering this music along with me, and what you think.
And if you are already a Springsteen fan, please leave your thoughts as well! What’s your favorite album? How many times have you seen him in concert? Tell me any stories you have about his concerts.

We’ll be back to wrap up this album next week.

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Who’s the Boss? – Live/1975–85: Disc 1

Who's The Boss? Hi Everybody, welcome to the first album of the “Who’s the Boss?” series. On my quest to become a Springsteen fan, as I mentioned in the introductory article, Rock Out Loud’s Kristin suggested that I begin with the album Live/1975–85. There were several reasons for this. Among them are the fact that Bruce Springsteen has a reputation for putting on incredible live shows. Also, this album is a collection of tunes from several of his earlier albums. So, we get a little taste of everything. It also works out in that this album was released in the ’80s. We will be delving into pre and post ’80s albums. But this is a great place to start.
Since Live/1975–85 consists of 3 discs, this premiere album will be split up into 3 parts. So, let’s begin.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band released the 40-track box set Live 1975/85 on November 10th, 1986. The set either consisted of 5 records (ahhh, vinyl), 3 cassettes, or 3 cd’s. This album is not from one particular concert. These tracks span through several concerts. For each song, I will list the date and venue from which it came. Live 1975/85 became the first album since Stevie Wonder‘s 1976 set Songs In The Key Of Life to debut at Number One. This album is the second-best-selling live album in U.S. history, going 13x platinum. It only trails Garth Brooks’ Double Live, which is 21x platinum.

I can’t remember what I did 5 minutes ago. But, I do remember seeing this album in the store for the first time. It was the first box set I had ever seen. I didn’t have a job yet, so I didn’t have the money to buy a box set like that. But now, with the click of a button, this album is mine!

Now let’s play this thing! You can click on the song title if you want to listen to the song on YouTube.

Thunder Road

Recorded October 18, 1975 at The Roxy Theatre
Initial thought: I knew the title, but not the song. Usually, a concert starts out rocking. This is more intimate. It’s a different approach, and I like it! I like the song too. Good start!

Upon further listening: I already liked this song right from the start. I like it more and more with each listen. This Springsteen dude might make it big someday!

Adam Raised a Cain

Recorded July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre

Initial thought: This song has a bluesy sound to it. It rocks a little too, especially during the chorus. I love the guitar in this. Bruce has the perfect voice for the Blues. 2 for 2 so far!

Upon further listening: During my Springsteen education, I have learned that Bruce and his dad had a tumultuous relationship. With that knowledge, the lyrics are a lot more powerful.

Spirit In the Night

Recorded July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre

Initial thought: Another Rock ‘n’ Blues song. While the last song was more guitar heavy, this one is more keyboards and sax heavy. I like this one too. I’m not sure if there is a studio version of this song, but it seems like this would be a much better live song than a studio song.

Upon further listening: This one didn’t get any better, or any worse for me. I still think this is a cool live song.

4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

Recorded December 31, 1980 at Nassau Coliseum

Initial thought: OK, I have a new favorite Bruce Springsteen song, and this is it! At the beginning of the song, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. But by the time he hit the first chorus, I was hooked!

Upon further listening: Still love it!!! It is in regular rotation on my iPod.

Paradise By the “C”

Recorded July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre

Initial thought: Well, I suppose since Springsteen’s concerts are like 20 hours long, that he needs to rest his voice for a few minutes. I like how this brings the E Street Band to the forefront.

Upon further listening: I really love this band. And I believe everybody gets showcased here.

Fire

Recorded December 16, 1978 at the Winterland. The short spoken intro is from July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre

Initial thought: It might take me a few more listens to like this song. It’s not bad. But, if you’re doing something else while it’s on, you forget that it’s playing.

Upon further listening: I totally forgot that this was a Pointer Sisters song. I love the Pointers, and their version of this song is on my iPod. Now this is coming back to me. I do like this song a lot more now too. This is another one that just keeps getting better and better.

Growin’ Up

Recorded July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre

Initial thought: Nice recovery. I like this song a lot. Clarence Clemons rocks! Wait a minute. Where did the music go, and what is this yapping?! Oh my God, shut up already!! Can’t Clarence jump back in? OK, after four long painful minutes this song is finally rocking again. I would have absolutely loved this song if the four minutes in the middle were cut out.

Upon further listening: This is one of the first things that Kristin schooled me on. Apparently, Bruce is known for talking in his shows. It is all part of his storytelling. That helps a little. It seems like this would be better to see live than just listening on my headphones. That’s no a knock. Seeing him do this in person would make it feel like he’s connecting to his audience on a more personal level. I appreciate this more now, thanks to Kristin. If there is a studio version of this song, I’m sure I will love it.

It’s Hard to Be a Saint In the City

Recorded July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre

Initial thought: This song is rockin’! I like it! Especially the guitar towards the end.

Upon further listening: I love this one! So, so good!

Backstreets

Recorded July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre

Initial thought: I’m really liking the piano at the beginning. This is a pretty epic song. We have a winner here. It didn’t seem like a seven minute song.

Upon further listening: This is another song that I liked from the first time I heard it, and it just keeps getting better.

Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Recorded July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre

Initial thought: Like “Thunder Road”, I had heard of this song, but don’t ever remember listening to it. OK, this is a really good one too.

Upon further listening: This is a great, fun, upbeat song! What’s not fun about getting a girl you like to come out with you, even though her parents disapprove?! There’s nothing like forbidden love!

Raise Your Hand

Recorded July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre

Initial thought: This is a good bar song. I think I would rather listen to “Raise Your Hands” from Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. This isn’t bad though. Oh dear God! There is just over 2 minutes left in the song and he’s yapping again!  I liked the song. That was a fun one.

Upon further listening: This is another winner. I really like this one too.  The part of the song where he is talking, he is getting the crowd into the song even more.

Hungry Heart

Recorded December 28, 1980 at Nassau Coliseum

Initial thought: Finally a song I know! I always liked this one a lot. It does sound good live.

Upon further listening: I always liked this song a lot, and it is great live. Outstanding!

Two Hearts

Recorded July 8, 1981 at Meadowlands Arena

Initial thought: I had never heard this song before. I love it! Great way to end the first disc. Max Weinberg is awesome on drums!

Upon further listening: I still love this one. It really puts me in a good mood.

Fun Facts

Fun Facts. Woo-ooo-ooo. Say it proud and Geek Out Loud, it’s fun facts

– Now I have an idea to why I took an instant liking to “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).” Long time readers may know that Kiss Unmasked was one of the first albums I ever owned. There was a ballad called “Shandi” on that album. Well, according to KISS: Behind the Mask: The Official Authorized Biography, “Shandi” was inspired by the Hollies cover of “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

And special thanks to Kristin for providing the rest of these fun facts:

– Last week, one of the fun facts was that the first song Bruce learned to play on guitar is “Twist and Shout.” In relation to that, the night John Lennon was murdered (December 8, 1980), Springsteen was playing in nearby Philadelphia. He also played another show in the same place the next night, and addressed the tragedy – “It’s a hard night to come out and play, but there’s just nothing else you can do.”

– Bruce won’t have an opening band because he was actually booed (not BRUUUUUUCED) as an opening act, and he said he never wanted to put another band in a position like that.

– Bruce’s only #1 single is not sung by him… Manfred Mann’s cover of “Blinded By The Light


I hope you enjoyed this installment of Who’s the Boss?. We’ll be back with disc 2 next Monday. Please leave your thoughts and/or Bruce Springsteen memories you may have.

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Who’s the Boss? – Introduction

Who's The Boss? Hi Everybody, welcome to “Who’s the Boss?”, a new Return to the ’80s series. My introduction to Bruce Springsteen was his “Dancing in the Dark” video. I loved that song, as well as “Born in the U.S.A.” Then I discovered that Springsteen had been around for a while when I saw the episode of Growing Pains where Jason and Mike Seaver bonded over their love of “The Boss” – until Jason embarrassed Mike when they were interviewed by the local news when leaving the concert.

After that, I was only aware of Springsteen’s big hits, and never followed him closely. However, Bruce Springsteen does have an extremely rabid fan base. Some friends of mine are included in that group of people. I had heard that his concerts are incredible, and that he plays for a long time, and usually has no opening act. An amazing feat since I think I only knew about 6 or 7 songs by him!

Then came the Rock Out Loud podcast! I just wrote a whole article dedicated to that podcast, so you can go check that out. Basically, I love all the same music that the hosts, Steve and Kristin, listen to. Except Kristin is a HUGE Springsteen fan. I was thinking that she was just a fan because she is from New Jersey. I’m not sure if this is true, but I think if you are in New Jersey and don’t admit your love for The Boss, then you will be thrown out of the state. However, her passion for Bruce is definitely genuine. Steve and I have the same taste of music, and he was starting to like Springsteen more and more. Around a time that they were talking a little Springsteen, I was hanging with some friends who are Springsteen fans. A day or two later, an idea struck me.

I decided to challenge myself (and Kristin) by seeing if she could turn me into a Bruce Springsteen fan. She accepted this challenge. Along my quest of discovering who is “The Boss,” Kristin is giving me the albums in order of how I should listen to them. For this series, I am going to list each song, and write my initial thoughts as I listen to each song. Then I am going to forward these thoughts on to Kristin. Then she will either agree with my assessment, or let me know if I am missing the point. And if you listened to the most recent (as of this posting) Rock Out Loud episode – “When Love and Hate Collide,” you know that Kristin, thankfully, is not going to be afraid to lay the smackdown on me if I trash any song that a respectable Springsteen fan shouldn’t be trashing. As with most albums that you listen to for the first time, some songs are great the first time you hear them, and some take a few listens in order to grow on you. And a new element here is that Kristin can help me hear some songs in a different way, which may change my opinion. So for each album, I’ll give my initial thoughts, and then let you know if my opinion changed one way or another.

I figured the first album would be Born to Run, or one of his other earlier works. Wrong! There’s a saying that I love – “Go big, or go home.” Kristin shares this same sentiment. My first homework assignment – Live/1975–85. Just in case you’re not familiar with that one (yet), it is a 3 disc live set. I was not expecting that, which is totally awesome! This is going to be more fun than even I imagined! Beginning on Monday, we will take a look into that album. It will be split up into three different articles – one for each disc.

In the meantime, here are some facts that I have learned so far in my quest to discover Who’s the Boss:

(I can’t get this jingle out of my head from another GOLiverse podcast, Disney Vault Talk – Fun Facts. Woo-ooo-ooo. Say it proud and Geek Out Loud, it’s fun facts)

– Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born September 23, 1949, in Long Branch, New Jersey. was raised in a working-class household in Freehold Borough. (Biography.com)

– Realizing her son’s interest in music, his mother got an $18 guitar for the 13-year-old Springsteen. His family’s financial situation was so tight that later when she bought a $60 Kent Guitar for her son, she had to take a loan to do so. (Celebrity Fun Facts)

– The first song Bruce Springsteen learnt to play on his guitar was ‘Twist and Shout’ by the Beatles. (Celebrity Fun Facts)

– In his adolescent years, when the Springsteens were living in New Jersey, their house was near a Nestle Factory. Bruce now reminisces that in those days, when the wind was just right, he could smell the chocolate all day long. (Celebrity Fun Facts)

– An outsider and recluse in school, Springsteen frequently got in trouble at his Catholic elementary school. “In the third grade, a nun stuffed me in a garbage can under her desk because she said that’s where I belonged,” he said. “I also had the distinction of being the only altar boy knocked down by a priest during mass.” Several years later, he skipped his own high school graduation because he felt too uncomfortable to attend. (Biography.com and Celebrity Fun Facts both refer to this)

– Bruce Springsteen is known to his fans as ‘The Boss’, but he is not particularly fond of this nickname. The name comes from the time when Springsteen and his band used to play for clubs in the 60s and resulted from him taking on the duty of collecting their nightly earnings and distributing them among the members. Before that time, he was called ‘Doctor’. (Celebrity Fun Facts)

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