Wednesday, 9 April 2014
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Feature-SPRINGSTEEN TO THE AMERICAN DREAM
(Featuring lyrics from my own songs in dedication)
"Greetings from a seaside town that looks like Asbury Park/You can see the light of those same last laugh amusements after dark/Another round for me & the boy from New Jersey/I want to hear just one more story"-Another Round For Me & The Boy From New Jersey.
"WE NEED YOU"!! A man shouts from his car passing by the boss on what was not just another ordinary day in New York City. Raw and ravaged after the September the 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001 that destroyed this great cities landmark and broke it's heart, this terrible terrorist attack did more than change the world for the worse. It also saw many men and women lose their lives and many families lose their friends, sons, daughters, husbands and wives. It's almost impossible to believe its been over a decade since this black day in world history. Now some kids who lost their parents as children will be parents themselves. Nothing could ever erase the hurt and pain, but there is always help and from the completion of the Freedom Tower to the city uniting together from firefighters to members of the public doing their part, the greatest, most famous city in the world has rose again. Still, when the city needed a little more hope the everyday folk wanted to turn to the man from neighbouring New Jersey who has been with them in the blue-collar, bootcut jean trenches of everyday honest and humble work everyday despite the million album sales. They needed their true boss back and as Bruce Springsteen heard this mans cries from the sidewalk he decided to take action and do what he's best as...write songs for the people. It had been almost a decade since rock and rolls greatest hope and this generations American icon had released an album (1995's acoustic and atmospheric 'The Ghost Of Tom Joad') but with 'The Rising' he gave one of his classic catalogue career's best albums. With it's anthemic call to open arms title-track to his lament to the towers ('Empty Sky' and 'My City Of Ruins') and his writing from the perspective of both sides who had lost lives on this fateful day ('You're Missing' and 'Paradise') this album was really what the city of New York and the world watching and feeling an affinity to this place-even without ever visiting-needed. Once again Bruce put the heart of the people into the soul of his work and carried their hopes, fears, dreams and devotions on his broad, boss shoulders.
The soundtrack to the cities recovery may not have been as heroic as the efforts of the emergency services and families trying to restore freedom and a foundation but it certainly was as heartfelt and wasn't just another record. It set something off in the boss himself too as he then went on to release six albums (and counting) since in a decade or so after following his extended hiatus. A break which began in the late eighties when he fired his E Street Band before his solo outing through the 'Tunnel Of Love' following the very public divorce of his private life. Still showing he was 'Tougher Than The Rest' Bruce soldiered on and released two underrated and great albums in '92 ('Human Touch' and 'Lucky Town') before giving way to 'Greatest Hits' and compilation packages like the epic and fan-endearing vault of 'Tracks'. Still since 'The Rising' reunited him with the people and his own band off E Street, Springsteen has gone stellar with a songbook that even rivals the great Bob Dylan one as he puts himself next to the legendary likes of Neil Young, Johnny Cash and his inspirations Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Modern great singer/songwriters like Ben Harper, Norah Jones, Ryan Adams, Beck and more can only watch in inspired influence like The Killers and The Gaslight Anthem at the legacy this man is leaving with every album or three hour stunning concert set that proves all night that he's still got it...and more to boot. The only middle-age, out of this world time talent that could come as prolificlly close is the artist known as Prince, but even the reign of the purple one knows the boss is king. From the acoustic 'Devils & Dust' of political punching that may as well have been the second coming of Tom Joad's ghost to the old irish testament of 'We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions' in honour of the recentely dearly departed Pete Seeger, Sprinsgteen keeps going through love and loss. He even sadly lost his soul and saxaphone and his 'Born To Run' right hand man with the death of Clarence Cleamons in 2001 following the loss of another family member in the dynamic Danny Federici. Still through the turmoil and tragedy E Street's lights our kept on through the might of Max Weinberg and Soprano stars and many more family members who may not carry the name Springsteen but hold his heart and street address.
A Rage Against The Machine from the Nightwatchman has also seen Tom Morello join this band on tour following Steve Van Zandt's 'Lillyhamer' television sessions. Steve may be a long way from Miami but he's still part of Springsteen's concert communion. Still, Morello's mastering gives the second-wind and streak of Springsteen's 'second-career' more youthful revolt and epic exuberance than Bruce dancing at 60 like Muhammed Ali in the boxing ring himself. The greatest now has a raging sidekick and you can hear and feel just how good this sounds on Springsteen's latest 'High Hopes' that takes this title-tracks and other B-sides, leftover and concert takes (like 'American Skin (41 Shots)' a Diallo tribute rewoke in honour of Trayvon Martin who was killed by a nightwatchman last year) to a whole new album that is a fresh, new feel and more than just another catalogue compliation. So much magnificent material from 'The Risings' leftover 'Harrys Place' (it seems the album preferred visiting 'Mary's Place') to the alive cover of Suicide's 'Dream Baby Dream' that sounds as good as Cash covering Nine Inch Nails 'Hurt'. So much material in fact that the man is going to release his best extended play since his 'Blood Brothers' one (that featured the original inspiration of 'High Hopes'). Going all Spacey with 'American Beauty', that looks to be classic Sprinsgteen viynl from it's girl on the cover on the bonnet of a classic car to the 'High Hopes' leftover album leftovers themselves in 'Hey Blue Eyes' and 'Mary, Mary' that escape the cutting room floor shackles. These outstanding outtakes will find themselves next to 'Chimes Of Freedom' and 'Magic Tour Highlights' (which featured the first time Morello and Springsteen got together on the riff raging remake of 'The Ghost Of Tom Joad' that can also be found on new 'Hopes') among the best E.P.'s of a man that has a classic catalogue in itself when it comes to compliations, live albums, bold and beautiful bottlegs and even studio albums from sessions that are better than most artists albums. Just like the double 'Promise' that came from the 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' (an album title thats inspired a script this writer is penning) and finally gave fans 'Because The Night' , a classic that birthed Patti Smith's career. Now don't get us started on the hits this guy writes for other like Prince, because nothing compares to him.
You'd think that was enough but this is a man that has relased real 'Magic' since 2007 for what arguably may be the best time and tracks of his career. From the Obama rally calling change of 'Working On A Dream' to the 'Wrecking Ball' swing of 2012 this is the man who is the new Mr. January, relasing albums to start the slow-C.D. crawl of a year that generally likes to recover from its hetic Christmas/fall November release celebration before the Grammy party. Springsteen defines and dominates it all, changing the industry that needs his inspiration whilst refusing to change into something he's not in the process. Always expanding but keeping his core sound and moral belief integrity intact. In 40 years this guys has released almost 20 full albums and countless more compilations for the record. From his 'Touch'/'Town' like double start in 1973 with his 'Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.' and 'The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle' to the moment his career was 'Born To Run' with his biggest and most iconic album and single that was his legendary careers birthright. After the megastardom came 'Darkness' and his trip down to 'The River' twice, before things got real with his one man trip to 'Nebraska' accompanied by only his acoustic his heart and a lot of hurt. With four of his top albums in a row the man showed just how much range he had ripping through lifes raw realities and sparing a change in sound for the everyman despite earning the career that could have seen him alienated to the Hollywood hills or maddening mansions. The only 'Mansion On A Hill' worth its salt was one worth singing about for the man whose given us everything, even the right to bootleg. If only we could hear him go 'Electric Nebraska' like Dylan in the eighties...who knows, maybe one day. His top five before E Streets slide through the 'Tunnel of Love' was completed with his classic and most commerically successful release 'Born In The U.S.A.' with a classic look of a bandana wrapped around his head and at the peak of his powers and fame this man made new friends and even had time to pull Courtney Cox on stage for a dance in the dark. Even today from t-shirts in tribute to even some (I'm sorry) terrible but testament tattoo's you can see the blue jeans and red and white flag of this American classic, but when you really read between the lines of the title-track anthem you really begin to see who Springsteen is singing for.
The people, all over the world, regardless of race or creed. Everyone has their favourite Sprinsgteen song whether its a love ballad or a song that rocks a world of wrong to its conscious core. For example, this writer-who has even wrote songs dedicated to this man (the title of this article being one)-has the lyrics for 'Secret Garden' (you can imagine I loved him playing it live in the U.K recentely for the first time in years...and no it wasn't for me, but boy would I wish it was) on the wall of his bedroom (adorning his man cave with the decoration of many a classic Springsteen viynl kindly given to me by my gracious girlfriends generous pops). There for everyday reminding, get up and go inspiration next to Abraham Lincoln's "Whatever you are, be a good one" quote as he tries to turn his waiting on life into a writing one from the bored boardwalk walk of his own seaside town like Asbury Park, complete with the electric lights and broken down rides of its own amusement park. As great as this small town is the Springsteen dream of leaving town with the girl of your dreams in a classic car for real America is still one this man holds as dear as the love of his life he found, following a life searching for inspiration that guys like Springsteen influenced. The boss has been there for me on many a dark night, lonely graveyard shift walk home to the early night of an early start the next day. That's just me and it may be crazy to some that a song from Tom Cruise's 'Jerry Maguire' in all the wonderful work this man has done is the one that moves me (although the epic 'Devils Arcade' also moves me to tears of tribute) but that is just me and for you it could be anything. This is a guy that has done so much with his career from the big 'Hungry Heart' and 'Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)' fond hits to the soundtrack success of everthing from 'I Am Sam' to the credit of starting Jack Nicholson movies with the marvellous 'Missing'. This is a man who found an Oscar with his sublime 'Streets Of Philadelphia' classic and it's movie montage mixing video from a Tom Hanks (arguably the American actors equivalent of the boss) movie, and that song isn't even considered top-ten for some Springsteen die-hards or better than his wonderful woe 'Wrestler' devotion for a Mickey Rourke modern-day classic. This is a man who writes live records for the 'Wrecking Ball' tearing, take-down of sports stadiums and then completely reworks them for the acoustics of albums he names in that honour. As big businesses swing through peoples pride and glory, the man who brought 'Glory Days' to those same people on a stellar Superbowl Sunday is their for the people in the seats and not the zeroes on the cheque. Now that's a true hero.
You can find greatness anywhere you go with the tracks of Springsteen's career. From 'Atlantic City' to the fabolous falsetto and formidable range that the high-notes of 'The Complete' 'Lift Me Up' reach. From 'Happy' to 'Trouble In Paradise' or 'Jungeland' to 'Tenth Avenue Freeze Out' ,there are songs you know and songs you're about to love. This guy even turned 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' into a new classic and continues to leave people something to start the deep and dark winter of a year that follows the taking down of the Christmas tree. Searching for just one Springsteen song is like vacuuming through pine-needles, but in this space of sound your playlist or old cars C.D. changer (can you believe we're saying that now in this day and age he still dominates) is full of fond memories from a man who has never given us reason to switch the dial since his songs where first turned and tuned into the radios airwaves for the record. This is a true American beauty and legend. We could list all his songs, live sets, or outtakes that haven't made their own compilation yet and we could write down article after article of the pages of long and lasting lyrics that make his songbook more of a story one, but you either know or are about to learn for yourself you how much this mans pen and paper has wrote for the heart and soul for not only every part of himself but every man and woman, boy and girl from Terry to Frankie and of course Wendy. It's his everlasting kiss of his underrated great guitar hero playing to the steam that rises of his iconic silhouette like smoke as he plays Harmonica down 'The River' through epic sets from Glastonbury to a local Jersey bar where we hear another story, hanging on to every word of his lyrics and epic introductions. We don't need an autobiography (yet...as we stand on the shelf) as the amazing tributes from Clinton Heylin's quote and bootleg research to Robert J. Weiserman's mixtape of by-the-song inspired chapters of life tell us. Words just can't do justice to this man, not even the personal song lyrics of my own that I leave you with not as a trite plug but a pure tribute to what one man has not only done to one kid but everyone else in the world. Whether a Jersey boy or a girl young or old from all over the world, this is the inspired legacy that the legend of Springsteen continues to leave for the hard-working people as their ends meet. The working class hero with the heart and spirit of a God, Springsteen is there for us and all that we can overcome and become and that is what this great life of love is made of. That is the true American dream.
"We'll take a ride in a classic car & talk about girls we loved & lost/Through a tunnel of love until valentines day can't get enough/Or when we're tougher than the rest/A man who may not be my brother but sure is best/As we hear clearly through stereo/All the places on this you and me journey we can truly go."-New Jersey Soul.