Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #558 - Springsteen - T-shirt reprint
Hi Mom, I feel behind again, but this is a post I have been noodling with. The other day when I went looking for this list of albums to share on Facebook (see the following), I found this Springsteen post, but like so many posts in my T-Shirts blog, the You Tube links were broken because I had not mastered embedding and Blogger changed its auto-embed feature. So I fixed the post, and I liked it so much, I want to share it on my Sense of Doubt blog with you, Mom (and others).
So, there's this thing going around Facebook. Here's the description. I cheated a little in how I defined "teenager." But these are all very important albums. Runners up would include Peter Gabriel I, U2's October, Laurie Anderson - Mister Heartbreak, and REM - Reckoning.
I am a sheep. also.....List 10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a TEENAGER, but only one per band/artist. Don't take too long and don't think too long.
Vangelis - The Soundtrack to Blade Runner
Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
David Bowie - Scary Monsters
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
Genesis - Wind and Wuthering
Pink Floyd - Animals
King Crimson - Discipline
Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express
Steely Dan - Aja
The Jam - All Mod Cons
I decided to define "teenager" as anything published before 1985, and I just re-did the list and tried to get most stuff pre-1980.
I could have added my phase with the Osmonds, David Cassidy, and Michael Jackson, or my later phase with Kansas and Toto, but this is a decent list albeit cheating a little.
Also, recently, I read an article about Springsteen in Rolling Stone. He has a memoir. I am considering obtaining it and reading it. And since my sister gave me a B&N gift card for my birthday, I may just do that this week.
Anyway, I was struck by one part:
"What do you know about women now that you didn't understand then?
[Laughs] What do I know about women that I didn't understand when I was a young man? Oh, Jesus [laughs, pauses]. When Mama is happy, everybody is happy. When Mama ain't happy, nobody is happy."
Read it here:
On to the T-shirt reprint: Originally presented as T-shirt #292.
"I will love you with all the madness in my soul..."
T-shirt # 292 - Bruce Springsteen - The Rising Tour 2002
If you have checked the blog recently, you may have discovered that I have been on vacation and enjoying time with my best friend Tom Meyers, better known as the Lord of Chaos, who was visiting. I chose all the t-shirts during his visit with him in mind. As I finish the blog, two days late (first time I have EVER been so late), I add these preface remarks about how I selected this shirt with Tom Meyers in mind.
Bruce Springsteen is one of the greatest American poets, performers, musicians, and artists of the last fifty years. He's up there with Sandberg, Frost, Woody Guthrie, and other great Americana writers/artists.
I was a BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN fan before I met my friend Tom Meyers, but I must confess that Tom's passion for Bruce Springsteen inspired me and increased my interest in "the Boss" ten fold.
My first Springsteen album was Born to Run, which my mother gave me as a gift in late 1980 or early 1981 when we went to a record store in the mall (State Vitamin), and she bought me several albums, which also included Wind and Wuthering by Genesis, Peter Gabriel's first solo album, Alan Parsons Project's Pyramid, and a few others that I no longer recall. I followed shortly thereafter by acquiring The River, Springsteen's current album at the time.
Though I have a special place in my heart for The River because of those days of listening to it in my early years of discovering music (during my college years my exploration expanded exponentially), Born To Run remains my favorite Bruce Springsteen album, and in my humble opinion, I consider it one of the best albums (not just rock music but including all albums in the modern music arena) of all time.
Rolling Stone magazine agrees. The seminal music magazine ranks Born to Run as Number Eighteen on its Top 500 albums of all time list. For me, this is too low.
I am going to indulge a bit in the examination of best albums of all time, according to two sources, before I return to an examination of Springsteen.
TOP 500 ALBUMS OF ALL TIME - THE ROLLING STONE LIST
Compare this to the British ranks by Q Magazine:
Q Magazine Top 100 albums of all time list
Rolling Stone has five Beatles albums in its top twenty and three by Dylan. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds makes number two. And though I agree that The Clash's London Calling and the Rolling Stone's Exile on Main Street belong in the top ten, I am not sure that I would rank three different Beatles albums (Sgt. Pepper, Rubber Soul, and The White Album), two by Dylan (Blonde on Blonde and Highway 51 Revisited) and Marvin Gaye's What's Going On over Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run.
The Q Magazine list makes more sense to me, though with some variations. The Brits rank the Clash's London Calling at Twentieth, with which I disagree, and Springsteen does not appear in the Top Twenty at all. However, instead of the Beatles reigning supreme in the Top Ten, Q Magazine ranks Radiohead's OK Computer as Number One, Radiohead's The Bends as Number Two, and Radiohead's Kid A as Number Ten. Revolver is the only Beatles in the Top Ten at four, Nirvana's Never Mind at three (Seventeenth on Rolling Stone's list), and other bands in the Top Ten that did not make Rolling Stone's list, such as the Stone Roses, Oasis, REM, and U2. Q Magazine actually ranks Achtung Baby over U2's The Joshua Tree, and I do not know many people who would agree with such an arrangement.
Enough recap. Any list of greatest albums of all time must include Born to Run in the Top Ten. I agree with London Calling and Exile on Main Street being in that group. But there must be other changes. Q Magazine ranks Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon as Number Fifteen and Rolling Stone has no Pink Floyd in the Top Twenty, which feels like an oversight to me. I might rank The Smiths over Oasis or the Stone Roses.
Furthermore, in discussions with my visiting friend, who has returned to this home on the eastern seaboard as I type this sentence, which is the day after the official first publication of this blog, there are other albums that must be included in a Top Ten Greatest list, such as the Who's Quadrophenia and David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. He also agreed that U2's The Joshua Tree should rank above Achtung Baby. We both agreed that the Beatles deserve one spot as does Radiohead, though not multiple spots. I feel the Jam and Talking Heads deserve spots. We both agreed that Dylan may not deserve a spot. Objectively, though I am not a huge fan, Nirvana's Never Mind probably deserves a spot, but I am not going to give it a spot. Thom Yorke actually based a great deal of OK Computer on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, and though this increases its merit, I do not know that album very well, so I am going to add an album I think is seminal and powerful, and one that I have come to love as one of my all-time favorites. And though it did not rank in my top tier in T-shirt #97, this simply proves that the method of those rankings (which I will discuss in a moment) is not as objective as rating an album as a "best of all time," and so, with a little help from my friend, our combined list goes something like this (not in order):
BEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME - MY LIST
- Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
- London Calling - The Clash
- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars - David Bowie
- Quadrophenia - The Who
- OK Computer - Radiohead
- Joshua Tree- U2
- Exile on Main Street - Rolling Stones
- Revolver - The Beatles
- Déjà Vu - Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
- Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
I wrote about my personal favorite albums using the ones I have listened to most often as my main point of criterion in T-shirt #97, and though I might defend that King Crimson's Discipline is one of the most amazing
rock albums of all time, it's still an argument I am making based on personal criteria: what I have I listened to the most, what has had the greatest impact on me, which albums have given me the greatest enjoyment? My list for T-shirt #97 contains a Top Ten albums rated with such criteria, but Springsteen does not appear in the list. However, the list above feels like a greater and more objective evaluation of best albums, and yet the selections are obviously driven by my own subjective analysis. Some would cry in frustration: "Where's Led Zep??" "What about Queen?" and so on. The arguments would really never end. So there's the list. I am three days late finishing this blog post, so I have to get a hustle on.
Here's what Rolling Stone wrote about the Boss' "masterpiece":
Bruce Springsteen spent everything he had – patience, energy, studio time, the physical endurance of his E Street Band – to make his masterpiece. There are a dozen guitar overdubs on the title track alone. "The album became a monster," Springsteen recalled. But in making his third album, he was living out the central drama in its gun-the-engine rock & roll: the fight to reconcile big dreams with crushing reality. He found it so hard to re-create the sound in his head – the Jersey-bar dynamite of his live gigs, Phil Spector's grandeur, Roy Orbison's melodrama – that he nearly gave up and put out a live album. But his attention to detail produced a timeless record about the labors and glories of aspiring to greatness.
- Born to Run
- The Ghost of Tom Joad
- Tunnel of Love
- The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle
- Live in New York City
TOM'S PLAYLIST OF FAVORITE SPRINGSTEEN SONGS (Not ranked)
- "Blood Brothers"
- "Devil's and Dust"
- "I Wish I Were Blind"
- "Stolen Car"
- "Dead Man Walking"
- "Straight Time"
- "Thunder Road"
- "Incident on 57th Street"
- "Two Faces"
- "Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"
- "Wild Billy's Circus Story"
- "All that Heaven Will Allow"
In the picture to the left, I believe I had tickets to the Ann Arbor acoustic show for the Ghost of Tom Joad tour when the Battle Creek Enquirer asked me to review the show at Miller Auditorium, so I was able to see two Springsteen shows in the same week. I do not even remember who went with me to the Ann Arbor show. I know I saw the Miller show by myself as the call to go was too last minute to find anyone to go with me, but I remember meeting someone I would date off and on that night while buying sushi at D&W, so the evening is firmly fixed in my memory.
I present two versions of my Springsteen reviews from 1996 in their entirety.
REVIEW #1 (SHORTER): Kyle Shirk of South Bend, Indiana could relate to Bruce Springsteen at the Boss's Tuesday night concert at Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo because he's been in the big guy's shoes. Eight-year-old Kyle sang "Youngstown" for his first grade class back in May when his turn at show-and-tell rolled around. He has the song, from Springsteen's latest release "The Ghost of Tom Joad," memorized, and unlike the Boss, Kyle sang it in class without a guitar.
The Shirks--Kyle and his parents Wayne and Tammy--attended the Bruce Springsteen concert along with 3400 other Boss fans from far and wide. The Shirks called yesterday to get tickets after listening to a busy signal for hours the day they went on sale. For Wayne Shirk, this is his 30th Springsteen concert. It's number two for Tammy and Kyle.
But they're a Springsteen family through and through even if Wayne has seen the Boss a few extra times. Kyle's full name--Kyle William--comes from "Reason To Believe" of "Nebraska," Springsteen's last foray into the Woody Guthrie inspired folk sound he's returned to with "Tom Joad." The Boss's "If I Shall Fall a Step Behind" from "Tunnel of Love" is featured on the Shirk's wedding video.
Wayne Shirk believes in starting Bruce fans at a tender young age of, well, birth. Kyle has grown up with Springsteen and named each tune Bruce began throughout the concert, including singing along on "Youngstown." Though Kyle sang along on a few other Springsteen tunes Tuesday night, he denies that he's working up anymore songs and has no plans to bring his musical talents to show-and-tell anytime in the near future.
For others the Springsteen concert was less of a family ritual and more of a gift. The Miller usher corps, numbering in the hundreds, competed in a lottery to earn their place at a door, said Helen Goyings, one of the lucky 50 selected in the random drawing. But for Eilene Harrison the concert was worth a little bit more: a fur coat.
Harrison put her name on a waiting list for tickets and received a call yesterday at the Oshtemo Post Office that the tickets were available. She hooted, hollered, and flung postage stamps in the air at the news. She coerced co-worker Randy Barnes to pony up his credit card to redeem himself for breaking a previous date.
"He stood me up for the Allegan County Fair," Harrison said, "so he had to redeem himself. It was either this or a fur coat. I told him that if he takes me to Bruce, it makes up for missing Vince Gill."
Some people might think Harrison settled for something of lesser value, but for the 3400 fans giving Bruce Springsteen three standing ovations Tuesday night, the concert was worth a great deal more than a fur coat
If you wandered by Miller Auditorium Tuesday night, you might have heard what sounds like BOOs but was really people yelling "BRUCE" enthusiastically between each song.
Springsteen wanted them quiet during the songs though, and he set this tone from the start. Without hype or fanfare, he strolled out on stage in the darkness, and as the lights bathed him for the first time, he held his guitar at shoulder-height, briefly, before launching into the opening chords and harmonica wails of "The Ghost of Tom Joad," his latest release.
For each tune, Springsteen tells a story either of the song's theme, such as "trying something new," or longer tales of mexican migrants, Vietnam veterans, Texan shrimp fishers, and the epic hero of Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," Tom Joad, for whom Springsteen named his album.
Though most of the songs from the new album are quiet, somber, dark songs of pain, loss, and emptiness, Springsteen varied the evening with resonant and powerful acoustic versions of some of his older hits, like "Darkness on the Edge of Town," "Born in The USA," and "Promised Land."
But fans who expected the driving electric-powered guitar force of "Born To Run" settled for the "Tom Joad" songs which comprised most of Springsteen's 18 song set and two encores of six more songs. Though Springsteen returned to some of the songs of "Nebraska," the album with which many have compared "Tom Joad," he performed a suite of "Joad" songs from the southwest: "The Line," "Balboa Park," and "Across the Border" as well as "Sinaloa Cowboys," "Galveston Bay," and "Dry Lightning" among others.
Though many fans hooted and cheered at the beginning of the concert, soon Springsteen won them over with his pleas for quiet and his ability to mesmerize a crowd with a combination of stories and music (and musical stories). His talks between songs were often as quiet as the songs themselves and sometimes just as revealing and emotionally intense. The crowd was soon spellbound.
But Springsteen delivered some humor to break the somber mood. He joked about the state of Michigan with a song dedicated for that purpose and warned against the evils of late night television and infomercials with a happy-go-lucky "Sell It and They Will Come" song.
The Boss ended his main concert after only ninety minutes and the two encores brought the entire evening to a little over two hours, well short of the marathon three and four hour concerts he's been known to do, as recently as this last January in Detroit at the beginning of the first part of the "Joad" tour.
Though "Tom Joad" has turned gold since its release almost a year ago, Springsteen joked about low record sales. Regardless of its sales, the album has earned Springsteen much recognition not only for tipping his hat to Guthrie and Steinbeck but for his gritty portrait of the dispossessed of America and his brave social commentary.
The fans in Kalamazoo's Miller Auditorium would agree. After two hours of the "World According to Bruce Springsteen," they all drove home with a great deal to think about.
I also saw the 2005 acoustic tour promoting Devil's and Dust. As I mentioned earlier, my playlist was made for the tour for The Rising, but I must have remade it prior to Devil's and Dust as that song appears on it.
- "Thunder Road"
- "Born To Run"
- "Into The Fire"
- "The Ghost Of Tom Joad"
- "Devils & Dust"
- "Independence Day"
- "The River"
- "Tunnel Of Love"
- "The E Street Shuffle"
- "Growin' Up"
- "Human Touch"
- "The Rising"
- "Streets Of Philadelphia"
- "Adam Raised a Cain"
- "Straight Time"
- "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"
I have listened to Springsteen for years and could relate many experiences and impacts with and of his music. "Thunder Road" is a personal anthem. It is by far one of my favorite things in life. I have read many articles and reviews and things about Bruce, but this blog entry is already late and it would be five times larger if I tried to capture everything. Instead, I would like to share one moment.
I saw an interview with Springsteen a few years ago on CBS' 60 Minutes television program. One thing Bruce said struck with me. I cannot remember the quote verbatim, but essentially he said that his whole life (up until then, which may have been about 2005), he had been waiting to become the man he thought he should be, when he realized that it was time to start living as the man he was, the man he had become. This comment resonated with me as I felt I had the same experience, and so I started living as the man I had become rather than the man I thought I should be, was expected to be, had hoped to be. Of course, as soon as I did that, my life changed 1000000% and now I am that man that I had been waiting for. Funny that.
THE VIDEOS - SOME OF TOM'S/ SOME OF MINE
Bruce Springsteen - All That Heaven Will Allow (acoustic) (live, Oslo, April 29th 2013)
Final publication - 1401.10 - 12:51
Reflect and connect.
Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.
I miss you so very much, Mom.
Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.
- Days ago = ## days ago
- Bloggery committed by chris tower - date - time
NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.