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- E Street Radio to salute Mojo Nixon, the late, great, Springsteen-dubbed "King of DJs"
February 24, 2024 [Read on for your exclusive first look at Bruce Springsteen's "fan-letter" to Mojo Nixon.] Bruce Springsteen's handwritten envelope addressed to Mojo Nixon, "the 'Mojo Man,' King of DJs," containing Springsteen's handwritten "fan-letter" to Nixon about his E Street Radio Guest DJ episode image courtesy of The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon Our friends at SiriusXM's E Street Radio and Outlaw Country - the country-music satellite-radio channel initially launched by Stevie Van Zandt - have joined forces for a super-cool tribute to the late, great Mojo Nixon, Outlaw Country's beloved "Loon in the Afternoon." Nixon died at 66 in his sleep on February 7, aboard the Norwegian Pearl while hosting the annual Outlaw Country Cruise. The late, great Mojo Nixon - Outlaw Country's "Loon in the Afternoon," unintimidated by the channel's stern founder photo courtesy of Jeremy Tepper Mojo Nixon is gone far too soon, but he's left behind a great legacy of wildly hilarious, provocative, and often simultaneously thought-provoking music produced mostly during the first half of his life and career (a period well-covered by the documentary film The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon.) And then during the second half, he also became a satellite-radio personality who could be equally wild, funny, profane, and insightful. Not surprisingly, Nixon was a major fan of Bruce Springsteen, whom he liked to call "The Freehold Fireball." The first Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper album included their cover of the Nebraska outtake and rare-for-years B-side "The Big Payback." Hearing Springsteen's version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" also inspired Nixon to record his own version of the song with Skid Roper. And check out his 1997 solo-demo, Nebraska-meets-psychobilly version of "Badlands," available only via the official Mojo Nixon YouTube channel. You couldn't find any stronger evidence of a true believer's heart beating behind all of that wild hilarity. In 2008, Mojo Nixon took his Springsteen fandom into another realm by recording a Guest DJ session for E Street Radio. Music writer, radio personality, and Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh - now retired from E Street Radio but at the time a key programming-team member and on-air personality in launching, sustaining, and expanding the channel - has called it "the best Guest DJ show E Street Radio ever had." Bruce Springsteen himself also contacted Marsh to request a recorded copy of the show. This, no doubt, happened after Springsteen first heard Nixon's Guest DJ session on his car-radio, as it aired on E Street Radio while he drove to a rehearsal-session with the E Street Band. That first encounter with Mojo Nixon's Guest DJ session led Bruce to write and send to Nixon his own one-page "fan-letter" (no better term for it, really,) delivered in an envelope hand-addressed by Springsteen to "the 'Mojo Man,' King of DJs." (See image above.) We at Letters To You are simultaneously moved, honored, and thrilled that Mojo Nixon's camp has allowed us to share below the complete contents and imagery of Bruce Springsteen's fan-letter with our readers first, before it's soon shared more widely online: Mojo, 8:30 in the A.M. I'm drivin' to Asbury on my way to rehearsal. I pop on Sirius & the Mojo Man is dj'ing an hour of E St. Radio. You had me rippin', laughing out loud in my car. The Red Rocks story, man it really rained. It was great hearing somebody's experience from the other side of the stage... And all the rockabilly stuff in a row...what a wake-up call. We will continue glorifying the "pompatus of love." Best & thanks Bruce image courtesy of The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon If you want to hear for yourself the Red Rocks story, all the rockabilly stuff in a row, and more on "the pompatus of love," even if you've heard it all before, you're in for a really big treat. Next week, E Street Radio (SiriusXM channel 20) will begin presenting a special re-broadcast edition of Mojo Nixon's Guest DJ session. Here's a listing of all of its currently scheduled airdates and times: Monday, February 26 at 11am ET Tuesday, February 27 at 4pm ET Wednesday, February 28 at 9am ET Thursday, February 29 at 6pm ET Friday, March 1 at 10am ET Saturday, March 2 at 5pm ET Sunday, March 3 at 8am ET SiriusXM subscribers also will be able to listen to the special re-broadcast of Mojo Nixon's Guest DJ session on-demand/online via the SiriusXM app. Special thanks to Scott Ambrose Reilly (aka "Bullethead,") Jim Rotolo, Jeremy Tepper, and Vinny Usuriello
- Springsteen Archives' 2024 American Music Honors event scheduled for April 24
February 23, 2024 On Tuesday, The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University officially announced the date and honorees for its 2024 American Music Honors event. As per the announcement, the annual American Music Honors ceremony "celebrates artists who have demonstrated artistic excellence, creative integrity, and a longstanding commitment to the value of music in our national consciousness." The 2024 honorees are: Jackson Browne - "a long-time social justice, environmental and educational activist who has supported everything from anti-nuclear alternative energy resources to political freedom in Central America" Dion DiMucci - "whose landmark recording of 'Abraham, Martin, and John' became an activist anthem in the late 1960s and beyond" John Mellencamp - "who, together with Willie Nelson and Neil Young, created Farm Aid in 1985. The social activism reflected in Mellencamp’s songs helped catalyze Farm Aid, the organization that has addressed the struggle of American family farmers that continues to this day" Mavis Staples - "who, in the 1960s, was on the frontlines of the civil rights movement and continues to use her music to support racial equality in America" “The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music is proud to honor these musically, culturally, and politically important artists,” said Robert Santelli, Founding Executive Director of the Springsteen Archives. “All four artists—John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Mavis Staples, and Dion—have contributed mightily to the American music canon and have demonstrated how the power of song can act as an agent for positive change in our country.” The 2024 American Music Honors will take place in West Long Branch, NJ at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre. Little Steven’s Disciples of Soul will serve as the event’s house band, as they did at last year's initial American Music Honors event. Award presenters will include Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, and 2023 American Music Honors recipients Darlene Love and Stevie Van Zandt. Tickets for the event will go on sale to the public on Tuesday, March 26 at 12 pm ET. Further information about tickets, etc. will be shared later at the website for The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University. For questions about sponsorship opportunities, please email email@example.com
- A tip of the hat from (and to) Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes
February 20, 2024 Over this past weekend, to help celebrate The Stone Pony’s 50th Anniversary, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes played two sold-out "Requests From The Hat" shows at the Pony on Friday, February 16 and Saturday, February 17. Here's photographer-writer Mark Krajnak's full report on both performances: The actual hat stayed on Southside’s head for about a minute. Walking on stage at about 8:15 p.m. on Friday night in his Ray Ban sunglasses, custom Converse All Stars, faded blue jeans, an open button-down shirt and a top hat, Southside Johnny cut quite a figure. A cross between Abe Lincoln – hey, it was Presidents' Day Weekend – and a rock ‘n roll magician, perhaps. One ready to emancipate you from the workweek while bringing on the Jersey Sound for which Johnny, the Asbury Jukes, and The Stone Pony are known. The sold-out weekend - billed as Requests From The Hat (that top hat that John was wearing, apparently) - was even more than that for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes on Friday night. It was Night One of two shows at The Stone Pony to help the legendary little seaside bar celebrate its 50th Anniversary, a celebration that started in the previous week with proclamations and panels. But Friday night was also about the music - a rollicking, frolicking, fun night of Jukes jams for the standing-room only crowd, one that extended way into the Pony’s back bar. The band kicked the weekend off with a Tom Waits cover, "Hang Down Your Head," and then immediately worked into "I Played The Fool." For the next two hours, what was old was new again and the Asbury Jukes owned the joint once more. “I’ve been up here sweating for fifty years,” Southside Johnny said at one point, while up there sweating once again. Later, before launching into "Talk To Me" and "Havin’ A Party," "Uncle South" said, “When we first started playing here, it was just another bar, it was so small.” Gripping the microphone as he’s done thousands of times, he continued, “I want to thank the Stone Pony and Butch (Pielka, original co-owner of The Stone Pony who passed away in 2018), Jack (Roig, Butch’s partner, who was in attendance on Friday) and Caroline (O'Toole, current General Manager), and all the people who kept it going because it's a pretty good goddamned place to play! So thank you, Stone Pony, for being here fifty years!” No one in attendance – including local musicians Brian Kirk, Bobby Mahoney, Billy Walton, and Destinee Monroe - would disagree with that statement. By Saturday morning, a quick-moving winter storm had dumped a few inches of the white stuff across Central New Jersey. But by Saturday night, down the shore, everything was all right again. There was no significant snow on the roads or sidewalks to impede anyone getting to The Stone Pony for Night 2, though there was a stiff and cold winter wind whippin' down the boardwalk through Little Eden. When the doors opened to The Stone Pony, the line stretched down the block, under the slideshow that was playing out on the side of the Pony. People were anxious to get inside, not only in anticipation of the night of music to come…but to get out of the cold! And get in they did. The Pony was packed, it seemed, even more so than the previous night. Southside and the boys took the stage at about the same time as the night before, 8:15, and immediately launched into "All I Want Is Everything," parlaying that into "Angel Eyes" and "Forever." The music sounded great, as usual, but there did seem to be some technical difficulties. At one point, South tried his harmonicas, but something wasn’t working – the amp, perhaps, - and he put them down. He continued without them. A bit later is when things got pretty scary. Johnny again tried his harmonicas, which still didn’t work. Seemingly annoyed, he flipped them to the floor and walked offstage and out the side door, leaving the rest of the band to continue on for about four and half minutes. Returning to the stage, Johnny gave it another go. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Shortly after returning, he stumbled a bit, knocking down his mic stand over and putting a hand on his chest, turning to the side stage. It was then that the Jukes' security man, Peter Fox, jumped onstage to help John. They went out offstage and out the side door of the Pony into the chilly night. That was the last the packed house would see of Southside for the evening. (Fortunately, we eventually learned that Johnny just got hit with a sneak attack of dehydration. By Sunday afternoon, band spokesman James Sliman was quoted in The Asbury Park Press, stating that Southside was “now resting at home, but is fine.”) During this time, Bobby Bandiera, booked to be a special guest on this night anyway, got called into action earlier than expected. While Jeff Kazee held the fort down himself for a song or two, Bobby, his dark jeans and bomber jacket, grabbed his guitar and soon got in the mix. Sans Johnny, the Jukes still did a great job finishing out the night, the true professionals that they are, with Jeff and Bobby trading vocals on different songs. Mark "Love Man" Pender did a sultry version of "Let’s Get It On," and Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg kicked it up with "When You Dance." A couple of times during the evening, Fox whispered in Kazee’s ear with updates about Johnny. At one point, Jeff let everyone know that Johnny was doing okay. The show went on. When the Jukes took their final bow, they sent the gathered faithful back out into the winter night smiling and happy…but also sending good thoughts to Southside Johnny, and no doubt dreaming about those warm summer nights when they’ll celebrate once again with the band. Setlist for Night One (2/16/2024) - "Hang Down Your Head," "I Played the Fool," "Coming Back," "Got To Get You Off My Mind," "Tell Me (That Our Love's Still Strong)," "Lost," "Little Girl So Fine," "I Can't Dance," "Without Love," "You Mean So Much To Me," "Just A Gigolo," "Walk Away, Renee," "Love On The Wrong Side Of Town," "You Can't Always Get What You Want"/"Loving Cup," "When Rita Leaves," "My Funny Valentine," "I'm Not That Lonely," "Say Goodbye To Hollywood," "Better Days," "The Fever," "She's Still In Love," "Trapped Again," "I Don't Want To Go Home" - Encores: "Talk To Me," "Havin' A Party" Setlist for Night Two (2/17/2024) - "All I Want Is Everything," "Angel Eyes," "Forever," "Next To You," "Passion Street," "Still In Love," "Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday," "Love On The Wrong Side Of Town," "Broke Down Piece Of Man," "When You Dance," "Say Goodbye To Hollywood," "Further On Up The Road," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "I'm A Man," "Let's Get It On," "C'mon Caroline," "Great Balls Of Fire," "Hold On I'm Comin'," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," "I Don't Want To Go Home" - Encores: "Talk To Me," "Havin' A Party" Southside Johnny - vocals, harmonica; Jeff Kazee - keyboards, vocals; Glenn Alexander - guitar; Chris Anderson - trumpet; John Conte - bass; Doug DeHays - sax; John Isley - sax; Neal Pawley - trombone; Tom Seguso - drums; with special guests Bobby Bandiera - guitar, vocals (Night Two only;) Mark "Love Man" Pender - trumpet, vocals; Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg - trombone, vocals All photos are by Mark Krajnak, JerseyStyle Photography and used with permission. Want to see more of Mark's photos from these two Asbury Jukes performances at the legendary Stone Pony? Click here to view his full slideshow of photos.
- You mean so much to us, baby...Sending our best wishes to Southside Johnny
February 18, 2024 February 17, 2024 photo by Mark Krajnak - used with permission We're sending our best wishes out tonight to Southside Johnny Lyon, seen above in action yesterday at The Stone Pony, shortly before last night's onstage sneak-attack of dehydration during Night Two of Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes' special 50th-anniversary "Requests From The Hat" shows at the Pony. “He's now resting at home, but is fine,” band spokesman James Sliman told The Asbury Park Press. We're so very glad to hear it, of course, and we also are looking forward to sharing our contributing writer/photographer Mark Krajnak's expanded photo-report from both of this weekend's concerts. Despite last night's health-related hiccup, Southside and his band still delivered two fine evenings of their classic Asbury Park rock and soul mix, with some extra help from two other Jersey Shore legends (and former Asbury Jukes,) Bobby Bandiera and Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg. Stay tuned for Mark's complete photo-report, coming soon...
- Havin' a party... with proclamations, a symposium, and more to come, all celebrating TheStonePony@50
February 14, 2024 February 8, 2024 photo by Mark Krajnak - used with permission EDITOR'S NOTE: Legendary Asbury Park, NJ live-music venue The Stone Pony officially turned 50 on February 8, but the celebration certainly hasn't been limited to just one day, with multiple proclamations issued on the day itself, a symposium this past Saturday, and even more celebrating to come this weekend, all of it taking place inside the "hallowed grounds" of the Pony itself. First up, check out our contributing photographer Mark Krajnak's great photos from the February 8 Pony@50 Proclamation Day... February 8, 2024 photo by Mark Krajnak - used with permission February 8, 2024 photo by Mark Krajnak - used with permission Stone Pony Manager Caroline O'Toole (center left) with Springsteen Archives Director and Asbury Park, NJ Councilmember Eileen Chapman (center right,) surrounded by other elected officials from the New Jersey State Legislature, Monmouth County, and Asbury Park, holding multiple proclamations saluting the Pony @50 on 2/8/2024 photo by Mark Krajnak - used with permission The Stone Pony's longtime House DJ Lee Mrowicki, sporting one cool tee on 2/8/2024 photo by Mark Krajnak - used with permission On Saturday February 10, The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music held an afternoon symposium inside the Pony, entitled Celebrating The Stone Pony Anniversary: Spotlighting 50 Legendary Years of Music Memories. Contributing writer Lisa Iannucci was there. Here's Lisa's report: "We made sure the songs were danceable because that was our job. If the audience danced, they drank. They didn’t dance, you were out of work." -Stevie Van Zandt, writing in Unrequited Infatuations about his mid-1970s work with John Lyon and their Blackberry Booze Band (later renamed Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes) as The Stone Pony's house band Saturday's Symposium was hosted by the Archives' Executive Director, Robert Santelli, who also participated in some of the panel discussions. Each of the four panels - moderated respectively by Santelli, Archives Director Eileen Chapman, and journalists Jean Mikle (who also served as a panelist later in the day) and Nick Corasaniti (more on Corasaniti below) - was focused upon a different time period in the Pony’s history, beginning with the purchase of the former restaurant/beer garden/disco joint by Jack Roig and Butch Pielka in 1974. In addition to Corasaniti, Mikle, Roig, and Santelli, others who participated in various panels were promoter Kyle Brendle, Asbury-based photographer Danny Clinch, Pony house DJ Lee Mrowicki, current Stone Pony manager Caroline O'Toole, and music promoter Ken Viola, along with original members of bands and/or house-bands that played the Pony over the years: Gordon Brown (Mr Reality, Samhill, Highway 9,) Harry Filkin (Cats on a Smooth Surface, The Diamonds,) Lance Larson (Lord Gunner) Jon Leidersdorff (The Outcry, Blowup,) David Meyers (Blackberry Booze Band,) Jim Monaghan (Bums in the Park, WNEW-FM,) and Tony Pallagrossi (Asbury Jukes and The Shots,) The symposium also was filmed for future viewing by visitors to the Springsteen Archives' new building, anticipated to open in 2026. photo by Mark Krajnak - used with permission After an introduction from Santelli, there was a keynote address by Nick Corasaniti of The New York Times, who discussed his introduction to the Pony in the 1990s. Corasaniti published an oral history of the venue in the Times in 2018, which he’s following up with a full-length book to be published on June 4. It was a long afternoon loaded with reminiscences, tall tales and some great background and history of the iconic venue. Here, from my notes, are some of the highlights: The Jefferson Hotel was the place to be after hours. Lance Larson introduced Bruce Springsteen to the place, and when the bars closed at three a.m., that’s where everyone went, with Larson announcing “To the Jeff, Jeff, Jeff!” photo by Mark Krajnak - used with permission The week that Bruce was on the covers of both Time and Newsweek, he was seen waiting in line to get into the Pony, checking his pants pockets for money to pay the cover. The Stone Pony struggled until the Jukes made it onto the radio in 1976, for the live broadcast, that changed everything. Cleveland International Records executive Steve Popovich was instrumental in getting them on the air. After that, DJs like Scott Muni would hang out there. In 1982, after hanging out at a couple of their shows, Bruce asked Bobby Bandiera (whom he had never met) if he could sit in with Cats on a Smooth Surface. Bruce was thinking about what songs they could play, and one day at rehearsal, to their amazement, he performed “Jersey Girl” for the band, just as if he were onstage. The guys in Cats were admittedly not very familiar with the song prior to that and had certainly never played it before. Jean Mikle, columnist for The Asbury Park Press and denizen of the Pony’s famous “back bar,” remembered being back there with friends one night as usual, when Bruce jumped onstage for a jam. They all stood on chairs so they could see him, and “Someone came up and told us to get down,” she said, “but then they saw it was us [regulars] and let us stay there.” Gordon Brown reminisced about playing a show the night the Pony closed for the first time (1991.) At the end of the night, he watched Robert Santelli carrying the stained glass from behind one of the bars out the back door (for transport to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) and it was then that it sunk in with him that The Stone Pony really was closing. Harry Filkin: "We didn’t know what to make of the Jukes - everyone was wearing hippie clothes and tie-dyes, and the Jukes had on stacked heels and pimp hats." photo by Lisa Iannucci - used with permission Tony “Boccigalupe” Amato: "Asbury Park isn’t really a sound; it’s an energy." Jack Roig: "Bruce was the catalyst [of the scene,] but the locals were the structure." photo by Mark Krajnak - used with permission Tony Pallagrosi: "Steven created the distinctive Asbury Jukes sound. The Jukes would play obscure R&B and expose you to great music that no one else would play... If there is a Sound of Asbury Park, Steven Van Zandt is at the center of it." Jack Roig, Lee Mrowicki, Tony Pallagrosi, Harry Filkin and Lance Larson were standouts among the informative panelists, who provided both essential background and fascinating highlights from the Pony’s long history. There were multiple stories of chance meetings, wild nights and drunken escapades as participants tried to get at the essence of what made the place special. For nearly four hours, they tried to nail it down, but it was Roig, along with Brown, who best summed up what being at the Pony felt like, and what the place meant to them. ”Asbury Park was a mess [in the ‘90s], but we learned how to be a band here [at the Pony],” said Brown. “It was an escape, and a place where you could create an identity within a music family.” Roig agreed wholeheartedly, adding, "It was a family.” photo by Lisa Iannucci - used with permission “Every writer wishes they could be there to see history, and I was,” said Santelli towards the end of the last panel. Indeed, many of us were there at the time, and yeah, it kind of did feel like that back then, though our main motivation for going to The Stone Pony was really just hanging out with friends, and enjoying the bands we loved and the music we could hear nowhere else in the venue like no other. The Stone Pony, in essence, was a locals bar that welcomed folks from all over who were willing to make the pilgrimage, a hangout spot with great music where you could make friends who loved that music and that scene just as much as you did, a place where you met and talked to your favorite bands not as “rock stars,” but as fellow music fans. It’s no longer that type of a venue. Tastes change, and social media and streaming video, amongst other amusements, have eaten away at the audience for live original music and drastically diminished the numbers of regular locals (and not-so-locals) who just show up to hang out. But from the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s, on any given night, The Stone Pony was the place where just about anything could happen. And for those who were there in those days, it was magic. ...And the celebration continues into this weekend, with two sold-out special 50th-anniversary "Requests From The Hat" shows by Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes on Friday and Saturday. We'll be covering those events, too, with a special photo-report from Mark Krajnak. Stay tuned...
- It was sixty years ago today... Celebrating The Beatles' first appearance on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW
February 9, 2024 "Ed said the words 'the Beatles' better than anybody else in the world. He’d wind up on the 'the,' quickly punch and emphasize the 'Beat,' and then he was outta there on the 'les.' All rushing by me while jolting my system with ten thousand watts of high-voltage anticipation. I sat there, heart pounding, waiting for the first real look at my new saviors, waiting to hear the first redemptive notes come peeling off the Rickenbacker, Hofner and Gibson guitars in their hands. The Beatles... The Beatles... The Beatles... The Beatles... The Beatles... The Beatles... an 'it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive' mantra and simultaneously the worst and most glorious band name in all of rock ’n’ roll history." -Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run On the evening of this date in 1964, which was a Sunday night back then, The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. More than 40% of the U.S. population was watching. Sixty years later, there still has been no single musical act's television appearance - including Super Bowl halftime performances - that has gotten a larger percentage of U.S. viewers than The Beatles' initial Sullivan Show appearance. It launched the "British Invasion" of the 1960s, when The Beatles and a deluge of other English bands that followed them - including The Dave Clark Five, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Manfred Mann, The Animals, The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, and The Kinks - dominated and transformed U.S. airwaves with their hit records and television appearances. Thousands of U.S. teenagers were inspired to form their own bands and conduct their own British-influenced musical experiments in garages and basements across the land, as well. Some of those teenagers grew up to become Bruce Springsteen and key members of the E Street Band, including Stevie Van Zandt and Max Weinberg. (For more from Springsteen, Van Zandt, and Weinberg on The Beatles' enduring E Street influence, click here and scroll down to read the archived February 7, 2014 50th-anniversary Backstreets feature.) Last Saturday, The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University got a jump-start on the celebration with its day-long symposium in the University's Great Hall, entitled Get Back to 1964... The Beatles Come to America. Panelists included authors Ken Campbell (The Beatles and the 1960s,) Rob Sheffield (Dreaming The Beatles,) Bruce Spizer (The Beatles Please Please Me to With The Beatles,) and Ken Womack (Living the Beatles Legend); May Pang (The Lost Weekend: A Love Story); radio personalities Dennis Elsas and Tom Frangione of SiriusXM's The Beatles Channel; and musicians Jim Babjak of The Smithereens, and Bob Burger and Glen Burtnik of The Weeklings. The Archives' Executive Director Bob Santelli, Director Eileen Chapman, and Curator Melissa Ziobro served as panel moderators throughout the day, with each discussion including questions and comments from audience-members, as well. Topics explored included the American music scene in the midst of The Beatles' arrival to U.S. shores, Beatlemania, the importance of The Ed Sullivan Show in reaching and building a U.S. audience, and the greatness and lasting impact of The Beatles' music. The entire February 9, 1964 episode of The Ed Sullivan Show - including commercials - was screened, too. (What a great time-capsule; seeing all of that kitschiness surrounding The Beatles' segments made it even clearer just how significant and joyous their U.S. arrival was.) Finally, the day ended appropriately with Beatles music - and lots of it - performed expertly by Burger and Burtnik on two acoustic guitars and the occasional harmonica, while the audience eagerly clapped, sang, and even sometimes danced along in support. A splendid time was guaranteed for all, and the entire symposium was filmed for future viewing by visitors to the Springsteen Archives' new building, anticipated to open in 2026. Check out our contributing photographer Jo Arlow's record of the day below. 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- Springsteen salutes and performs with Jon Bon Jovi at 2024 MusiCares Person of the Year event
February 3, 2024 Bruce Springsteen was in Los Angeles last night to help salute Jon Bon Jovi as the 2024 MusiCares Person of the Year. Dick Wingate, Springsteen's friend and one of his oldest and strongest supporters at Columbia Records dating back to the 1970s, also was there. Wingate has posted some photos and commentary on Facebook. Despite Springsteen's recent loss of his beloved mother, wrote Wingate, "Bruce told me she would have wanted him to be there. And great to see sister Pam Springsteen." Springsteen performed "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and "The Promised Land" with Bon Jovi. Here, courtesy of MusiCares, are several pro-shot images from the event, and a short sneak-peek of the pro-shot video/audio, too!
- A Ghost's Story: new "First Friday" release features Springsteen first singing Guthrie's "Tom Joad"
February 2, 2024 Once again, it's a great time to be a fan of the Live.BruceSpringsteen.net official archival-release series, which has just dropped another new release, giving us a total of four new releases within the past three months (thanks to last December's double-shot with the now-traditional extra Christmastime release.) And unlike the previous three releases, this month's release is a bona fide "First Friday" release, to boot! Akron, Ohio 1996 (recorded live at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Center in Akron on September 25, 1996) opens with Bruce Springsteen's first-ever public performance of Woody Guthrie's song "Tom Joad," a few days before he'd include the song in his setlist for a special Rock & Roll Hall of Fame event honoring Guthrie in nearby Cleveland (recordings from which were released officially on 'Til We Outnumber 'Em...) Guthrie, as Springsteen would do after him, drew much inspiration from John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath and John Ford's superb filmed adaptation of Steinbeck's classic, starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. Unlike Springsteen's more contemporary "The Ghost of Tom Joad," which had the Joad character's ghost haunting the badlands of "the new world order," Guthrie's older song provided the "backstory" of the Joad ghost's former life as a flesh-and-blood (albeit fictional) man, living in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl region and California during the Great Depression, with lyrical details derived from Steinbeck's novel and Ford's adapted film. Both Guthrie's and Springsteen's Joad songs, however, end very much in the same way, by reiterating Tom Joad's promise to always be found "wherever little children are hungry and cry, wherever there's people that ain't free." The essential point of both songs remains the same, so it makes sense that Springsteen occasionally opened some of his The Ghost of Tom Joad Tour concerts with Woody Guthrie's "Tom Joad" rather than his own "The Ghost of Tom Joad." (On one night only - February 12, 1997 in Sydney, Australia - concertgoers got to hear Springsteen perform both "Joad" songs during the show.) Springsteen's most recent public performance of "Tom Joad" occurred when he accepted the 2021 Woody Guthrie Prize. Akron, Ohio 1996 documents another great night from the ...Joad Tour. While there were no other tour debuts in the setlist that night, there were some rarities and many other special moments. Most important, you certainly won't be disappointed if you're a fan of that tour and the unique range of in-concert experiences that Springsteen was able to achieve each night very much on his own (with just a bit of occasional help from Kevin Buell on keyboards.) And as usual, mixer/masterer Jon Altschiller & Co. give John Kerns' original soundboard recordings all of the spit and polish they so richly deserve. Click here to read more about Akron, Ohio 1996 in the essay "A One-Way Ticket To The Promised Land" by Nugs/Columbia's Erik Flannigan. Click here to purchase Akron, Ohio 1996 from Live.BruceSpringsteen.net.
- Adele Springsteen - May 4, 1925-January 31, 2024
February 1, 2024 "Remember that the future is not yet written, so when things look dark, do as my MIGHTY Mom would insist. Lace up your dancing shoes, and get to work!" -Springsteen on Broadway (introduction to "Dancing in the Dark")
- More Archives activity... and "off-campus," at that!
January 26, 2024 Okay, gang, it's "field-trip" time! In addition to its upcoming online lecture presentation and Beatles-centered symposium, The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music at Monmouth University has just announced details of yet another symposium, along with the launch of a new major exhibit. Both the symposium and the exhibit-launch will happen next month, and each of them is taking place off the Monmouth University campus. The exhibit-launch is even happening outside of New Jersey...far outside of The Garden State, at that. On Saturday February 10, Asbury Park, NJ's legendary live music venue The Stone Pony - which will have just turned fifty years old, officially on February 8 - will host an early-afternoon panel-discussion presented by the Springsteen Archives and entitled Celebrating The Stone Pony Anniversary: Spotlighting 50 Legendary Years of Music Memories. The Pony's co-founder, Jack Roig, will join with legendary area musicians, concert promoters, music writers, and other noteworthy members of the music community who were instrumental in creating the history of the now-iconic and world-renowned music club, as they share intimate stories and memories from the past fifty years. Tickets for the event, priced at $30 each plus any applicable fees, etc., will go on sale today via Ticketmaster, beginning at 10am ET, and - if any are still available by then - at the Pony's box-office beginning at 12pm ET. Click here for details and to purchase tickets via Ticketmaster. One week after the StonePony@50 event, the Springsteen Archives will premiere its newest major exhibit, Music America: Iconic Objects from America’s Music History, at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, aka the LBJ Presidential Library, in Austin, TX, fittingly during Presidents' Day Weekend 2024. The exhibition will remain on display at the LBJ Presidential Library through August 11, 2024. The exhibition will feature more than one hundred objects representing the best of American music, spanning decades and genres. For the first time in one place, visitors can see everything from B.B. King’s guitar “Lucille,” the fox fur stole worn by Billie Holiday, and a handmade velvet shirt worn by Elvis Presley to Chuck D’s handwritten lyrics to “Fight the Power,” the outfit Bruce Springsteen wore on the Born in the USA album-cover, a guitar played by Taylor Swift, and a costume she wore on the Reputation Stadium Tour. By focusing on musicians and personal memorabilia from this country’s past and present, Music America chronicles the soundtrack of America. Music America is curated by the Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music in association with the New Orleans Jazz Museum and Hard Rock International, along with dozens of prominent collectors of American music ephemera. “The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music is honored to premiere Music America: Iconic Objects from America’s Music History at the LBJ Presidential Library,” said Robert Santelli, the Springsteen Archives' executive director. “Not only do we have a longstanding relationship with the library, but so much of America’s greatest music history occurred in the 1960s when President Johnson was in the White House. It seemed only natural that this exhibition, which also celebrates America’s 250th birthday in 2026, begins in Austin, one of the country’s most important music centers, and will then travel to other presidential libraries and museums across the country.” Visitors also will get to enjoy an interactive “Song Bar,” enabling them to hear performances by some of the artists highlighted in the exhibition, along with additional melodies that demonstrate the depth, breadth, and great productivity of American musicians. “I hope this one-of-a-kind collection will give visitors a deeper appreciation of the role music has played in the broad sweep of American history and encourage them to reflect on the LBJ era, a period of incredible cultural and artistic change,” said LBJ Library Director Mark A. Lawrence. “These iconic objects will bring that transformation to life and transport us to another time period, as only music can.” A partial list of artists and objects to be displayed includes: Sidney Bechet's soprano saxophone (pictured below:) Leonard Bernstein’s baton John Coltrane’s saxophone Chuck D’s handwritten lyrics to “Fight the Power” Gloria Estefan’s sequined dress from her 1996 tour Woody Guthrie’s signed “This Land is Your Land” lyrics Billie Holiday’s fox fur stole John Lee Hooker's guitar (pictured below:) B.B. King’s guitar “Lucille” (pictured below:) Madonna’s wedding dress from the “Like a Virgin” video Willie Nelson’s cowboy boots given to him by Gene Autry’s widow Elvis Presley’s 1956 Tupelo, Mississippi, concert shirt (pictured below:) Prince’s Purple Rain shirt and “Cloud” guitar Bruce Springsteen’s outfit worn on the Born in the USA album-cover Taylor Swift’s guitar and costume from the Reputation Stadium Tour Koko Taylor's red beaded dress (pictured below:) ...and last, but certainly not least, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Number One” guitar (pictured below:) Click here for more information on Music America: Iconic Objects from America’s Music History and how to see the exhibition during its six-months run at The LBJ Presidential Library, in Austin, TX.
- "Love is an angel..." - Lisa Iannucci remembers her friend and ours, Miss Holly Cara Price
January 25, 2024 EDITOR'S NOTE: Another highlight of the Light of Day Foundation's Winterfest 2024 was last Friday night's Asbury Angels induction ceremony at the legendary Asbury Park, NJ music venue The Stone Pony, which featured the induction of the late, great Holly Cara Price in the "Guardian Angels" category. We at Letters To You are pleased and honored to publish contributing writer Lisa Iannucci's special remembrance of Holly, who was a friend of Lisa's and - truly - of all of us in the fan community. On a frigid, snowy evening in Asbury Park, my friend Holly Cara Price was inducted as an Asbury Angel, an honor she richly deserved, but one of which she probably would not have considered herself worthy. Holly was a humble, self-effacing person who went from being just a fan pressed against the front of the Stone Pony stage with all the others to an actual employee, a member of the mostly unseen army that made sure the E Street Band tour train ran on time. Usually you would see her just before showtime, hustling from backstage to concert floor of some venue or another, nailing down last-minute details, and you’d smile and ponder how far she’d come, how hard she’d worked to get there, reflect on all the great times shared together in those sweaty bars and all the miles all of us had traveled on our rock’n’roll journeys. Just about everybody knew Holly on the Jersey Shore music scene, and we were so proud to see her name in liner notes or book credits. She was one of us, she was a fan, and she had made it to "the big time." I first knew of her as the writer/editor/publisher of the seminal Voice of America newsletter, which covered all things Steven Van Zandt; probably read her in Backstreets Magazine, too. I am pretty sure I first met her at (where else?) the Stone Pony, most likely at a John Eddie show. Holly could always be found at the front of any concert she attended, always blissfully in the moment, smiling, singing, dancing, enjoying life. She was a great writer and photographer, and was always busy working on a million things, but somehow always found time to drop everything and take to the road when the music called. Later on, when she worked for Steven, you’d inevitably bump into her at a show somewhere, and she was always so happy to see you no matter where you were sitting, but always especially happy to see you if you were seated near the stage. Many demands were made on Holly’s time, and many people asked her for favors, but I never did. Just being her friend was enough. Back in 2020, her ashes were supposed to go into the ocean in Asbury Park as part of her memorial celebration, but COVID restrictions did not permit. That part of the event was supposed to be rescheduled, but I don’t think it ever was. Instead, many of us celebrated her at a distance. We watched and heard remembrances from friends and family on a Zoom call, and immersed ourselves in some of the music that meant so much to her. It wasn’t what originally had been planned, but somehow, it was just what was needed. Holly would not have wanted “a big fuss” made over her anyway. Being at a Springsteen show on the most recent tour and knowing you were not going to see her was a jolt, another in a long list of reasons to always try to be present in the here and now, as Bruce always urges us to do – because really, you never know when that might be the last time you are hearing that music, dancing that dance, hugging that friend. Happy trails to you, Holly, until we meet again. Click here to read more about Holly Cara Price in her archived Backstreets.com obituary. And click here to enjoy - or re-enjoy - the moment when "Miss Holly!" received her special in-concert full-pelvic salute from Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, preserved for posterity in the Live in New York City film. (It's all cued up for ya!)
- Online next week... a Zoom presentation from the Springsteen Archives' Curator
January 25, 2024 Next week, Monmouth University Public History Professor Melissa Ziobro, who also serves as Curator of The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music at Monmouth University, will present a virtual lecture via Zoom. The lecture, entitled “Meet the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music,” will be presented on Tuesday January 30 at 7pm ET, and is hosted by The Princeton Preservation Group. Ziobro will provide an overview of the Archives' collection that features approximately 35,000 items dating from 1927 to present, the history of the collection, programmatic and exhibition efforts to date, and the ongoing efforts to stage a major traveling exhibit while planning for the 2026 museum opening in the Archives' new 30,000-square-foot building. Registration to view this online lecture is free and open to the public. Click here for more information, and to register to view the lecture via Zoom. Special thanks to Lisa Iannucci.