Archive for Elvis Presley

A glimpse of Bruce Springsteen’s Promise

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by macmystery

Frank Stefanko's cover photo for Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town album.

Whatever mistakes NPR made in the handling of the Juan Williams situation, I forgive them.

For the next two weeks, they’ve guaranteed I can begin loving 15 of the 21 songs on Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming release, The Promise, subtitled The Lost Sessions: Darkness on the Edge of Town, a collection of 21 unreleased songs from the Darkness sessions.

NPR is streaming 15 songs individually, or you can choose to listen to them all together randomly in one stream.

No matter how you listen, the fact is that you can right here. At least until Nov. 16, the album’s release date.

Among the 15 songs are:

  • The original version of “The Promise.” Not only is this the centerpiece of THIS set, it very well may be one of Springsteen’s best, period. There was an updated version released on the 18 Tracks album, but it can’t compare to the original. Seriously, in my book, this is a top-10 Springsteen song.
  • Studio versions of “Fire,” made popular by the Pointer Sisters, and “Because the Night,” completed by Patti Smith. The lyrics are slightly different than the Smith version we’ve become used to.
  • “Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)” is basically an alternate version of “Factory,” which made Darkness. The music is essentially the same and it has that same country feel, but the lyrics are quite different. At least one line in the song, about Elvis Presley’s death, we would later see in “Johnny Bye-Bye.”
  • “Ain’t Good Enough For You” is kind of a goofy, fun, 60s-type pop song. It’s closer to something that might have made The River. But it’s not hard to see how it didn’t fit with Darkness.
  • “City of the Night” is a kind of a tight-but-mellow three-minute soul piece.
  • “It’s a Shame” has a nice guitar rhythm or groove going on between Bruce and Steven Van Zant.
  • “Save My Love,” for which there is a video that I linked to out of this post, is the only song of the 15 that was totally re-recorded. So it’s essentially a 2010 E-Street Band version of a 1978 Springsteen tune.
  • “Candy’s Boy” is one of two songs that eventually were combined and morphed into what we now know as “Candy’s Room.” (The other was called “The Fast Song” and essentially was the musical framework for “Candy’s Room”). It’s kind of slow and this version is cut from the one found on Darkness outtake bootlegs. But I really like it. why? I don’t know. I always have.
  • “Rendevous” is much the same as the live version heard on Tracks, but there are a couple of slight lyrical changes I’m not sure I like.
  • “The Brokenhearted” is a very Roy Orbison-esque song. The title gives away the subject matter.
  • There’s a heavier version of “Racing in the Street,” with some substantial lyrical differences from the track we’ve come to know. The core of the song remains the same though, and I think this one will grow on me.
  • “The Wrong Side of the Street” is another 60s pop song.
  • “Gotta Get That Feeling” recalls the Phil Spector sound, and there’s definitely an Orbison feel to it.
  • “Outside Looking In” is pure Buddy Holly.

The tracks NPR doesn’t preview are “Spanish Eyes,” “Talk to Me,” “The Little Things (My Baby Does),” “Someday (We’ll Be Together),” “Breakaway,” and “One Way Street.”

The Darkness outtakes still missing from this collection are numerous and include “The Way,” maybe one of Springsteen’s most romantic songs ever. There’s no telling if it will ever see the light of day.

Nonetheless, if you listen to these 15 tracks, and the other six on the album, I think you’ll find that even Springsteen’s cast offs during this period were gems.

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If you’re a Beatles person, today’s your day

Posted in Music with tags , , , on September 9, 2009 by macmystery
Beatle-mania returns!

Beatle-mania returns!

It’s been said there are two kind of people: Beatles people and Elvis people. Elvis people can like the Beatles. Beatles people can like Elvis. But at heart, you’re one or the other.

Well, Beatles people should have a field day today.

First, today is the release date for two Beatles box sets, containing all 14 remastered studio albums, one in mono and the other in stereo. (Entertainment Weekly reviews the set here)

Second, today is the release date for “Rock Band: The Beatles.” (Check out the opening animation here)

And third, today could very likely be the day that Apple announces the Beatles catalog will be available for download at ITunes.

(Nos. 1 and 2 are addressed here; No. 3 here.)

I’d really like to have the box set, especially the early stuff that I haven’t listened to for years … mainly because I only have it on cassette.

While the music is what I care about, the video game will be huge, I believe.

I think a whole generation of music fans/video gamers/kids could be exposed to the Beatles that otherwise wouldn’t have.

And unlike the other Rock Band games, this one allows/requires you to sing harmonies, meaning the words will become important. Unlike Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, which simply teaches you that, yes, you were right … all Aerosmith songs do eventually sound the same.

If you’re a Beatles fan, MSNBC.com/EW.com has ranked all 14 Beatles albums. See if you agree. (I like Abbey Road, personally).

And there are two separate discussions that could last forever on the Beatles’ best song (here and here).

A sign of the times

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2008 by macmystery
How is this guy not on the list?

How is this guy not on the list?

If you’ve ever read Rolling Stone or Entertainment magazine, or a newspaper for that matter, you’ve read one of those “Top 10 (fill-in-the-blank) of all-time” lists.

Top 100 songs, albums, guitarists, movies, actors, movie quotes, sex scenes, etc. of all-time.

Well, the Los Angeles Times Music Blog has issued it’s list of the top 15 songs of all-time about being broke. Given the state and direction of the economy, that’s to be expected.

Songs on the top-15 list include:

Blind Alfred Reed, “How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?”

Geto Boys, “Ain’t With Being Broke”

The Clash, “Career Opportunities”

Crystal Waters, “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)”

The Beatles, “Can’t Buy Me Love”

Bruce Springsteen, “Atlantic City”

Dolly Parton, “Coat of Many Colors”

Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Fortunate Son”

Loretta Lynn, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”

Sham 69, “Hey Little Rich Boy”

Bob Marley, “Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)”

Pulp, “Common People”

Erik B. and Rakim, “Paid In Full”

Desmond Dekker, “The Israelites”

Ruben Blades, “Adan Garcia”

The best of the rest include: Soundtrack to “Annie,” “Hard Knock Life”; Roger Miller, “King of the Road”; Townes Van Zandt, “Marie”; Stevie Wonder, “I Wish”; Ray Charles, “I’m Busted”; Randy Newman, “Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)”; Merle Haggard, “Workingman Blues”; Phil Collins, “Another Day In Paradise”; The Temptations, “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”; Gwen Guthrie, “Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent”; Elvis Presley, “In the Ghetto”; Run DMC, “Hard Times”; Donnie Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”; Clarence Carter, “Patches”; Kanye West, “Spaceship”; Jerry Reed, “She Got the Goldmine, I Got the Shaft.”

In the initial top 15, I’m very familiar with the songs by Reed, Springsteen, Marley, Parton, Lynn and CCR and understand their inclusion.

Reed’s song, recently covered by Springsteen on the Seeger Sessions, is as authentic as you get. Shortly after releasing it, his most well-known song, he died of STARVATION. I’d call that authentic.

I’m not sure the Beatles’ song fits here, and many of the others, I’m simply not familiar with.

It’s much the same for the next 16 listed … in fact, I know more songs on this list.

But just to show how these lists can be off … I think it’s virtually impossible to have a list of the best songs about being broke and not including some songs from Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. These artists chronicled the Great Depression and influenced the next generation of artists.

And how can there be so few blues artists on the list?

Just goes to show that these lists, as much as they reflect a consensus among a certain group of people, even more so they reflect the breadth, or lack thereof, of that group’s musical knowledge.

Here’s a couple songs from the list: