News Archive September - October 2021


- October 31, 2021

If you haven't received yours yet, please read on (and fear not)!

When Unrequited Infatuations was released on September 28, we were all told to expect three to four weeks for delivery of our exclusive "Miami Steve" editions. But since it's now been a month and many customers are still waiting, we'd like to provide a status update. We've been regularly talking to customers on the phone and via email to explain and make assurances… but a post here has to be a more efficient way to let everyone know that books are not lost in the mail, to tell you they're just taking a little longer to get there, and why.

First, for anyone who has been frustrated by the delay, we want to apologize and tell you we understand. We're still waiting for our own copies, too! Personally, I haven't waited as long for something by mail since I ordered Goofy Gold from a teevee commerical back in 1978 (remember "six to eight weeks for delivery"?).

So we're also surprised by the time this is taking, and frustrated by the fact that we have little control over the speed with which these are delivered. We've been in the mail order business for around 40 years now, and we're typically able to pride ourselves on customer service and quick delivery — but this is a very rare instance in which we're not shipping the items ourselves.

The ONLY way to make the special "Miami Steve" signing happen — and we went through a number of options with the publisher — was to have the publisher's fulfillment service (Porchlight) handle the shipping of the books directly to customers. 

We readily agreed — partly because we thought it would save time, cutting out the "middleman" of having the books sent to us and then to you, as well as using a fulfillment specialist... but mostly because we wanted this "Miami Steve" thing to happen. Even just the bookplate design they showed us was too beautiful to turn down. And this plan was literally the only way to make it work.

Stevie, mensch that he is, has very kindly reached out to fans a couple times, to apologize for the delay himself. It's true he had a lot of signing to do, but we can't let him put all of this on his shoulders… there are a few factors in play. We've been assured that Porchlight is working as fast as they can, and reminded that it takes time because it's a big job (hand-placing 4,000 bookplates in the book, before packing and shipping)... not to mention the notorious slowdowns in the US Postal Service we're all hearing about, and, yes, Stevie's delay in signing due to a cracked rib.

The good news: Porchlight informed us last night that they're close to having all the books out the door, and that should be the case by next week; in addition, once the shipments are complete, we'll have all of the tracking numbers, for each individual package.

So for now we still advise patience — there's no reason yet to think a package is lost in the mail or that any other error has occurred. But after allowing time enough for delivery (supposing that yours could be one of the last shipped out next week), if yours still hasn't arrived, please contact us at orders(at)backstreets.com so we can help take care of you — because once we have those tracking numbers, we'll be able to determine your specific shipment status and delivery details.

Again, this does really come down to asking for your patience, and we appreciate it. We do think of something a wise man once said — "The release day is one day; the album is forever." And despite this wait, please know that you're going to end up with a cool-as-hell thing that very few people in the world have. Because no doubt — you will have it. We're going to make sure that, in the end, everyone who ordered this special edition receives it. Stevie has committed to that, too. If your package gets lost or damaged, we'll get it replaced. This "Miami Steve" edition WILL be on your shelf. And we hope, in the end, that will be worth the wait.

We've often said in Backstreet Records catalogs and communication, "We're huge fans too, and we'll treat you the way we want to be treated." We think about that a lot, and we always try to proceed based on that idea. In this case, the delivery is taking much longer than we, as fans, would be happy with... but in the end we rolled those dice because what we REALLY want as fans are cool, rare, fun, fan-centric things that we'd never have otherwise. To us, having the memoir signed by "Miami Steve" fit that to a T. 

But remember, we have a money-back guarantee at Backstreet Records on everything we sell. So if you don't really care about that signature and the Miami bookplate, we wouldn't blame you if you want to buy the book elsewhere in the meantime, and return ours to us for a full refund once it arrives. But if you do care... this was very simply the ONLY way to make it happen.

In any case, thank you again for hanging in there with us, and please be assured we'll be staying on top of this until everybody's got their book in hand.
- October 29, 2021 - Chris Phillips reporting


It may not be on your calendar, but an official national holiday besides Garry Tallent's birthday falls on October 27… and to celebrate the occasion, writer and Bruce Springsteen fan Patrick Gallagher has put together a playlist of all 13 Springsteen songs that explicitly mention beer. To take it one step further, he also suggests a particular brew to go with each. Only one of them ignores the "American" in American Beer Day... but considering the musical lilt that accompanies "Dear, I hear that beer flows through the faucets all night long," an exception had to be made. Check it out, cue 'em up and queue 'em up... and of course, drink responsibly.

A Springsteen playlist — and taplist — for National American Beer Day

- October 27, 2021 - photograph by Rene van Diemen, Berlin 2016

- October 27, 2021

RENEGADES: Born in the USA
By Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen

303 pp. Crown Books. $50

 Allow me, as a veteran's wife, to launch my review of RENEGADES: Born in the USA — just out today — with what is known in the armed forces as the BLUF. BLUF is the acronym for Bottom Line Up Front, a method of streamlined communication using speed and clarity when writing or speaking — sort of a militarized TL;DR.

Here's the BLUF on RENEGADES: Yes, you want this book. Yes, it is worth what you'll pay for it, be it the print or digital edition. No, you don't have to take my word for it: You can read an excerpt here and see if you're not inclined to agree.

Book jacket copy relies on superlatives, since nothing moves copies like gales of hype (though a two-part interview on CBS doesn't hurt). The promotional text of this book loads quite a bit of bait on the hook it dangles before potential readers:

…a candid, revealing, and entertaining dialogue between President Barack Obama and legendary musician Bruce Springsteen that explores everything from their origin stories and career-defining moments to our country's polarized politics and the growing distance between the American Dream and the American reality… In a recording studio stocked with dozens of guitars, and on at least one Corvette ride, Obama and Springsteen discuss marriage and fatherhood, race and masculinity, the lure of the open road and the call back to home. They also compare notes on their favorite protest songs, the most inspiring American heroes of all time, and more. Along the way, they reveal their passion for — and the occasional toll of — telling a bigger, truer story about America throughout their careers, and explore how our fractured country might begin to find its way back toward unity and global leadership.

That's a lot for a book to promise, but RENEGADES actually delivers….

Continue reading:
RENEGADES: Born in the USA
The Backstreets Review

- October 26, 2021 - Lily Burana reporting

Watch Springsteen's Late Show takeover, October 25, 2021
Bruce Springsteen made a welcome return to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night, his third time on the program, sitting down for a wide-ranging, three-act interview, followed by an acoustic performance of "The River."

Colbert began the segment by asking how Springsteen came to work with President Barack Obama on the Renegades podcast (and book of the same name, out today). Bruce joked that when Obama called him, asking to collaborate on what became Renegades, he thought the President must have "had the wrong number." Flagging the imbalance in their bona fides, Bruce offered a long list that on Obama's side ended with "first African-American President of the United States," while his own CV merely included "guitar player" and "Freehold High School graduate."

Reflecting on the state of the country at the moment, Colbert asked how Springsteen maintained a sense of hope. Bruce responded, "How do you remain optimistic? I have young kids. I have to."

Springsteen also spoke thoughtfully about the challenges, even dangers, of the musician's life, and how so many artists struggle to set boundaries. That response led to a show-and-tell segment with the guitar, Bruce's Frankenstein-ed Fender Telecaster/Esquire. He went on to tell Colbert he had played the instrument for 50 years, after buying it from the late Phil Petillo for $185.

"This guitar has been in every club, theater, arena, and stadium across America and most of the world."

The last part of their interview shifted to a discussion of The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, and how Springsteen became involved in the No Nukes shows in the first place. From there, Springsteen watched a clip of himself on stage performing "Quarter to Three" in the No Nukes encore, reacting to his own shtick and guile.

The 1979 concerts saw the premiere of one of Springsteen's greatest compositions, "The River," which he told Colbert was inspired by the music of Hank Williams along with his own sister Ginny's real-life circumstances in a fledging marriage to a husband working blue-collar jobs in the late '70s.

After a break, Springsteen returned for one more segment, an excellent solo reading of "The River," one of his best solo television performances.

- all photographs by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

Segment 1 - Springsteen returns to The Late Show to talk with Stephen Colbert about his relationship with President Barack Obama, their podcast, and their new book, Renegades: Born in the USA:

Segment 2 - Part two of the interview begins with a round of show and tell, and The Boss delivers big with THE guitar:

Segment 3 - In part three of the interview, the pair watches some footage from Bruce's 30th birthday party, also known as The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts:

Segment 4 - Springsteen wraps his full-episode Late Show takeover with a solo performance of "The River," 42 years after he debuted the song at the No Nukes shows:

- October 26, 2021

courtesy of Higher Ground

Watch nearly an hour of interviews with the co-authors from the weekend
PLUS, pre-order the book from us for a shot at limited vinyl!

Tonight is the eve of release for Renegades: Born in the USA, the new coffee table book by President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen.

While of course these two have talked to each other plenty — their early-2021 Renegades podcast, in which they did just that, forms the basis of the new book — recent days have brought their first-ever joint interviews.

For CBS News, Anthony Mason visited Springsteen and Obama at Bruce's Stone Hill Farm in New Jersey. Portions of the filmed interview were spread across CBS morning shows from Friday through this morning, with a nearly ten-minute feature on yesterday's CBS Sunday Morning as Part 1. Along with the compelling side-by-side interview, the package traces the history of the "simpatico" relationship between the President and the Boss.

Read Mason's CBS Sunday Morning feature (Part 1) as a news story on cbsnews.com, or watch below.

Part 2 of Mason's interview, another ten-minute segment, aired today on CBS Mornings:

Another joint interview was broadcast in Europe, airing exclusively on German TV station ARD. This one is virtual, with Obama and Springsteen logging in from different locations as opposed to Mason's in-person visit, but hey, we're all used to Zoom interviews at this point.

Things are jovial from the start, with President Obama noting that "I'm on Fire" is a song he's "been known to sing to Michelle, because that's kind of a sexy song," while Bruce claims that when his tour visits Germany in 2022, "President Obama will be in the backing choir."

The ARD interview was conducted by Ingo Zamperoni and can be viewed in its original English here (until October 31):

Our thanks to Flo in Germany for alerting us to the ARD broadcast; if any of our readers in other countries know of any interviews we missed, please let us know!

While the standard edition of Renegades: Born in the USA will be officially published tomorrow, a Deluxe Signed Edition [pictured right] is planned for December. Retailing for $500, the Deluxe will be clothbound, housed in a slipcase, and signed by both Obama and Springsteen.

Various retailers will have access to this signed edition — we've heard rumblings from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, of course — and we'll be trying to score some for Backstreet Records as well, though there are no guarantees. We always appreciate everyone who chooses to support Backstreets by getting your Boss stuff here, but if this big-ticket item (due December 7) is on your wishlist, we recommend jumping on it wherever you find it. If we do score some, of course we'll spread the word.

In the meantime, we're definitely carrying the standard hardcover edition, and we're taking pre-orders now through November 4. With the book due in stores tomorrow, a pre-order with us will not put the book in your hands on release day — but we've extended our pre-order period for a very good reason: there's a very limited edition Renegades vinyl LP, and we have the opportunity to give away a significant portion of them, FREE, to our customers!

Only 500 copies of this record (containing audio highlights from the podcast) are being pressed, as a promotional item for the book. Thanks to the good folks at Penguin Random House, who know that this is where the hardcore fans are, we're being given a full ten percent of the pressing to give away. Of those who pre-order the book from us, 50 lucky customers will be selected at random (using a random number generator) to have this record slipped into their package as a FREE surprise bonus.

Just be sure to place your pre-order by November 4 to have your hat in the ring for the giveaway. With 50 copies of the vinyl up for grabs, these are not impossible odds. At the moment, we've taken 130 pre-orders for Renegades, which would put current chances at better than 1 in 3 (1 in 2.6, to be precise). Of course these numbers will change, but even so, these are not Powerball odds.

We wish we could give one to everyone, of course. But considering just how limited the pressing is, we're kinda amazed (and grateful) to have so many to give away.

From a mockup of the record jacket; final may differ

Please note: we're limting the vinyl giveaway to one (1) per customer. Ordering multiple books will not increase your chances of winning a record.

Also, if you're pre-ordering The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts from us as well (every copy of which will come with a free, exclusive promotional item), we recommend placing your pre-orders separately, for fastest shipping, since we hold orders until all items are in stock.

And finally — you've seen the cover plenty, now take a look inside!

- October 25, 2021


E Street Radio's Legendary E Street Band zooms in on Mighty Max
One of E Street Radio's newest programs has quickly become one of its most compelling. Legendary E Street Band explores in-depth what makes each band member so great, both on and off E Street. The show is hosted by Greg Drew, the newest addition to the Live From E Street Nation team, who also happens to be a professional musician, manager, and tutor to other professional musicians. Greg's a longtime Springsteen fan, and his show aims to entertain and offer some fresh insights to all E Street Band fans, even the oldest and most knowledgeable among us.

photograph via maxweinberg.com

The latest episode, debuting today at 6pm ET, is devoted to the Mighty One himself: Max Weinberg. Expect to hear many tracks — live and in the studio — featuring Max at his best, played and discussed by Greg. Included will be a performance of the song that Max (during a mid-1980s The Big Beat bookstore appearance) once told Greg was (still is?) his favorite Springsteen song to play.

Legendary E Street Band, the Max Weinberg edition, will air on E Street Radio (SiriusXM Channel 20) on the following dates and times (all times ET:)

  • Mon 10/25 6pm
  • Tues 10/26 10am
  • Wed 10/27 12am & 6am
  • Thurs 10/28 6pm
  • Fri 10/29 2pm
  • Sat 10/30 12am & 4pm
  • Sun 10/31 1pm.

Also airing today at 3pm ET is the equally interesting latest episode of Growin' Up, longtime E Street Radio host Jim Rotolo's series of conversations with famous Springsteen fans. Rotolo goes one-on-one with Harlan Coben. On-demand access to the latest episodes of both Growin' Up and Legendary E Street Band, via the SiriusXM app and online listening, is coming soon, too. Just use the search engine in the app or online, typing in each show's title.
- October 25, 2021 - Shawn Poole reporting

Indianapolis, March 20, 2008 cover photograph by Ron Valle

Indy 2008 bookends Archive tribute to original E Streeter Dan Federici
The Magic tour will forever be intertwined with the illness and eventual passing of Danny Federici. A founding member of the E Street Band, Danny played his last full show in Boston on November 19, 2007. Only months later, on April 17, as Bruce and the band were in the middle of their spring 2008 leg, Danny passed away, forcing a reshuffling of several shows.

The first show after Danny's passing — April 22, in Tampa, FL — served as a public memorial. Both Boston 11/19/07 and Tampa 4/22/08 have appeared as part of the Nugs series. Today's release of Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, March 20, 2008 features the last appearance Danny Federici made with the E Street Band, when he made one last stand to guest on eight songs.

March 20, 2008 - photograph by Jason Federici

The spring 2008 leg of the Magic tour picked up almost immediately where the 2007 leg left off, with Bruce and the band playing tight, two-and-a-half hour shows of 24 songs. As at the start of most tours, Springsteen focused on material from the new album with the usual — and sometimes not-so-usual — classics to balance out the set. With such streamlined sets there wasn't much room for many true rarities. Hartford's 2008 opener was an exception, including "So Young and In Love," "Loose Ends," and "Janey Don't You Lose Heart," but typically Bruce just managed to drop a few in here and there. The true rarities would surface as the tour progressed. Like in Indianapolis.

Charlie Giordano had been filling in for Danny during his leave-of-absence following the 2007 Boston show. In March, Danny traveled with Bruce and the band from New York to Indianapolis, where Giordano still took the stage. But with "The Promised Land," the set's 12th song, Phantom Dan made his 2008 return. To that point, the show typified that leg, opening with the ferocious pairing of "Night" and "Radio Nowhere" before a strong mix of E Street classics ("Prove It All Night," "She's the One"), new material ("Gypsy Biker," "Magic"), and one rarity ("Rendezvous," in its tour debut).

March 20, 2008 - photograph by Ron Valle

At most shows, "Livin' in the Future" segued into "The Promised Land." This night, however, as the former faded out, Bruce addressed the audience: "Got a special treat tonight… C'mon out, Dan! Danny Federici!" As Charlie slipped out quietly, Danny assumed his usual station behind the organ; the fans, clearly aware of what was happening, showered him with nearly half a minute of enthusiastic applause. Then Bruce counted off "The Promised Land," where Danny's organ solo sounded more prominent in the house than usual — and of course, that was no trick of the ears.

March 20, 2008 - photograph by Jason Federici

For the next song, they went old-school for "Spirit in the Night," as Danny opened with an extended organ solo similar to arrangements from the early '70s. Again, the organ was boosted in the mix, adding to the specialness of the performance. Danny added some extra organ flourishes as the song wrapped up.

"Can't let him get away without playing this one," is how Bruce introduced Danny's signature tune, "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)," which conjures the feel and ambience of the Asbury Park boardwalk for fans worldwide (even those who have never been there). Prior to the show, Bruce had asked Danny what he wanted to play, and Danny had said, "Sandy." As Bruce recounted in his autobiography: "He wanted to play once more the song that is of course about the end of something wonderful and the beginning of something unknown and new."

Bruce brought Danny out to center stage, saying, "We'll start, just Danny and I." This performance — previously released on the Magic Tour Highlights EP in 2008 in both audio and video formats — is the most faithful to the original album arrangement played over the last 46 years, a tribute to the city that birthed the E Street Band as well as the original E Street accordionist. When the song ended, Danny left the stage to more thunderous applause, with Bruce adding to the cheers with his own "Danny!" He then promised that Danny would be back.

Then it was back to business as usual, Magic tour style, as the keyboard intro to "Devil's Arcade" signaled the start of the set-ending five-pack that concluded with a particularly passionate "Badlands."

March 20, 2008 - photograph by Ron Valle

Danny did in fact return, and they kicked off the encores with "Backstreets," which Bruce dedicated to Danny. Again, the organ was turned up loud, and it would remain so for the remainder of the show, adding to the bittersweet feeling of this special performance. Aficionados will note that Bruce opened the April 22 show in Tampa (the first show after Danny's passing) with "Backstreets," but without Giordano on organ. It was a visceral display of loss, reminding everyone just how important Danny's playing had been on the E Street stage.

Indianapolis 3/20/08 was Phantom Dan's only E Street performance of 2008, and his last, and "Kitty's Back" provided one more dedicated spot for him to shine. That he did, playing an extended solo to start the mid-song jam, even blending perfectly with the piano at the start of Roy Bittan's solo. Danny's organ-playing is central to this Wild & Innocent classic, and he added his signature flourishes one last time.

March 20, 2008 - photograph by Jason Federici

The last three songs of the set — "Born to Run," "Dancing in the Dark," and "American Land" — were typical for that stretch of the tour, but the performances still had a unique feel to them, as the longtime bandmates were performing. For a few minutes they could forget about the realities of life, and death, and just enjoy being Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Also read: Erik Flannigan's latest nugs.net blog entry, "We Closed Our Eyes and Said Goodbye"

- October 22, 2021 - Flynn McLean reporting


Bruce Springsteen will return to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday for this third appeareance on the program, following visits for his memoir in 2016 and Letter to You in 2020 [above].

This time, with a couple of upcoming releases to shine a ight on (Renegades and The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts), Springsteen is slated for both an interview and a solo performance. Tune in Monday night, October 25, at 11:35pm ET on CBS and Paramount+.
- October 22, 2021

Stone Hill Farm recently welcomed some special guests, as CBS News senior national correspondent Anthony Mason [above left] came to interview the co-authors of the forthcoming book Renegades: Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama.

Springsteen and Obama talk with Mason in a wide-ranging discussion about their lives and their friendship, about Clarence Clemons, race, politics, and of course the podcast the pair did together and their new book of the same name. Portions will air in the next few days on both on CBS Mornings and CBS Sunday Morning.

"What I do on any given evening, when I'm doing my job well, is I create a space of common values and shared narrative," Springsteen tells Mason. "For three hours, we create that place. It exists somewhere."

"And that power of storytelling is, at its best, what good politics does well, right?" Obama says. "It says, 'Here's who we are. Here's a common story we share.'"

Together, the two men talk about being outsiders in their respective fields and the influence their fathers had on them. They also discuss Springsteen's relationship with the Big Man, and the impact Clarence's death had on concertgoers for reasons that transcended the music. As Springsteen said in the Renegades podcast, the most important story he ever told was about his interracial friendship with Clarence and how it played out on stage.

"Well, it was… not intellectual. It was emotional. It was the language of heart… But it was incredibly visual," Springsteen says. "And for a long period of time, that was a story we told on stage, which was — like I say, it was more valuable than the stories I wrote in my music."

"In an ideal world, what Bruce and Clarence portrayed on stage was essentially a reconciliation, right, and… redemption that comes about," Obama says.

"That's right," says Springsteen.

A preview will be broadcast on CBS Mornings tomorrow (Friday, 10/22) with an extended interview on CBS Sunday Morning (Sunday, 10/24) and more again on the following CBS Mornings (Monday, 10/25), on the CBS Television Network and streaming on Paramount+.
- October 21, 2021 - photograph courtesy of CBS News

Javits Center, New York, NY
October 20, 2021

"How about those fucking appetizers?!?"

As entrance lines go, that's right up there with "Is there anybody fucking alive out there?" Literally: those are the first two sentences Bruce Springsteen uttered when he took the stage at last night's annual Robin Hood Foundation gala.

Springsteen was the opening act in a line-up that included Alicia Keyes paying tribute to Sir Paul McCartney and the Jonas Brothers rocking out in a grand finale concert, and it was his job to entertain a deep-pocketed audience while they dined on burrata with maple kabocha squash.

Bruce took the stage around 7:15 in fine voice and high spirits, playing a solo acoustic set consisting of "Working on the Highway" (it's first outing in almost three years), "Dancing in the Dark" and "Thunder Road."

Before "Thunder Road," Bruce introduced the foundation to anyone unfamiliar with their work: "For over 30 years Robin Hood has been finding, fueling, and creating impactful solutions to fit families, to lift them up out of poverty here in New York City. The funds raised tonight translate into real results in responding to New Yorkers living in poverty."

He returned to the stage shortly after he left it, to greet Sir Paul McCartney with a warm embrace as McCartney accepted an award from the foundation. (Sir Paul did not perform.)

If it was Bruce's job to prime his audience for an evening of generous giving, he certainly succeeded: his audience of 3,000 donated $77.5 million dollars over the course of the night.
- October 21, 2021 - Ken Rosen reporting

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Springsteen's one-soundcheck-only performance of "The Patriot Game"
As we all wait patiently (and if the vault gods smile upon us, not much longer) for the next release in Bruce Springsteen's Live Archive series, we offer an unofficial supplement to the series' most recent release, Tower Theater 2005.

One performance from May 17, 2005 that didn't make the official release came during that night's pre-show soundcheck, as Bruce delivered an extemporary but powerful solo performance of Dominic Behan's Irish folk classic "The Patriot Game," accompanying himself on pump-organ. Though not unprecedented, it's rare for a Live Archive release to include a soundcheck performance; luckily in this case, a recording of the rarity has been in circulation among collectors:

This is a song that Bruce has yet to perform in concert and, to our knowledge, has played on stage only once to date. The track first became accessible to most fans through the 2017 Springsteen bootleg compilation Odds and Sods.

In a classic example of the folk process spilling over into 1960s pop/rock and its aftermath, "The Patriot Game," which derived its melody from the traditional Irish ballad "In the Merry Month of May," was a highlight of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem's most commercially successful album, 1963's In Person at Carnegie Hall.

In 1964, Bob Dylan released a recording of his own composition "With God On Our Side," which also borrowed its melody from "In the Merry Month of May" via "The Patriot Game" as Dylan learned it from Scottish folk singer Nigel Denver. Still with us? Then in 1965, Manfred Mann released a version of Dylan's "With God On Our Side" featuring lead vocalist Paul Jones, later a major influence on Bruce Springsteen's Darkness-era singing.

Both Behan's "The Patriot Game" and Dylan's "With God On Our Side" share not just a borrowed traditional folk melody, but also a staunchly anti-war lyrical stance. Springsteen's take on "The Patriot Game," as soundchecked in Upper Darby, PA during the merry month of May 2005, connects especially well to the title track of the album he toured behind that year, Devils & Dust, which stands out as one of his most powerful songs exploring one of his central themes: the ultimate moral wrongheadedness and wastefulness of war.

For whatever reason, Springsteen decided to leave "The Patriot Game" off every one of his 2005 setlists, as well as every other setlist that's followed since then. Nevertheless, regardless of whether he ever performs the song again anywhere, at least this revelatory 2005 recording still exists.
- October 21, 2021 - Shawn Poole reporting

In February 2020, Backstreets contributor Mike Saunders wrote a feature article on Glenn Alexander, guitarist for Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. As part of that "Glenn Alexander: From Southside to Shadowland" interview, Glenn talked about his annual Pig Gig benefit for the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation (FCF) in honor of his late nephew Jay Alexander. The Pig Gig slogan is "Here's to Jay," who lost his battle with this terrible disease in 2011.

This year's Pig Gig 6 will be held in Scotch Plains, NJ, this coming Sunday, October 24, with some fantastic entertainment lined up including The Weeklings, James Maddock, Blue Americana, The Lonesome Pines, Glenn Alexander & Shadowland, fellow members of the Asbury Jukes, and a special guest, the legendary Southside Johnny.

Southside and Glenn at the Jukes' first drive-in show in 2020 - photograph by Jerry Frishman

The event runs from 2-8pm at the Italian American Club, 1976 Valley Avenue, in Scotch Plains. The cost for Pig Gig 6 is $50/person and includes all the food, beer/wine/soft drinks, and music you can handle, all for a great cause as a benefit for FCF: all event profits go directly to the charity in Jay's name to fund research in fighting this horrible, rare cancer. Tickets for Pig Gig 6 are available thru via ticketbud.com.

All guests must show proof of Covid-19 vaccination at the door to be admitted to Pig Gig 6, with no exceptions. While we respect everyone's position on the vaccine, the FCF requires everyone to be fully vaxxed at all of their events. We want all of our guests and artists to feel safe and comfortable, so we hope you understand our position. The Pig Gig is about saving lives.

The day will be filled with great entertainment, great food, tasty beverages and awesome people — a fun-as-hell time, all in the name of trying to save lives. Fibrolamellar cancer is an extremely rare cancer of the liver that attacks young adults, teens, and those in their twenties. No one has survived yet. They need money for research, and Glenn is doing everything he can to help.

For those who cannot participate in person but would like to support the cause and make a donation, please contribute online to the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation at fibrofoundation.org — and please make sure to note the donation is in honor of Jay Alexander.

Pig Gig V in 2019 raised over $16,000, and Glenn is hoping to eclipse that amount in 2021 with your assistance.

For more information, and to keep up with Glenn and Pig Gig 6, please keep visit his website, Facebook, and Twitter for all of the latest updates and info. And here's to Jay!
- October 20, 2021 - Marty Venturo reporting

Sunday, October 17, at Asbury Lanes [L-R]: Jon Stewart, Richie Sambora, Jon Landau, Stevie Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen, Nona Hendryx, and Steve Buscemi gather for TeachRock's Between the Lines benefit - Photograph by Ken Rosen

'Between the Lines' benefit gathers Springsteen and other old friends to celebrate a bestselling author and what Landau calls his "beautiful book, a true story of an incredible life"

"When I think of these kind of literary events, I do think to myself: Jersey bowling alley."

"Oh, no, I'm sorry, that's when I think of drunken fistfights."

We can forgive Jon Stewart his momentary confusion, because it was indeed a bit surreal to witness Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Steve Buscemi, Richie Sambora, Nona Hendryx, Jon Stewart, and guest of honor Steve Van Zandt arrayed on a single stage… in a Jersey bowling alley. Before an audience of only 254 attendees.

Photograph by Shawn Poole

But it wasn't just any bowling alley — it was Asbury Park's bowling alley-turned-concert venue, Asbury Lanes. And the event was in support of a very real and important cause: the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation's TeachRock project.

TeachRock empowers teachers with tools and curriculum to ensure that the arts don't vanish from our school, and it was that worthy goal that brought tonight's stars to Asbury Park — that, and their love and respect for TeachRock's founder, Stevie Van Zandt.

Because this night was also a celebration of Steven's life, career, and his newly earned status as bestselling author of his autobiography, Unrequited Infatuations.

The event (which will be available online in full in the coming months) kicked off with a solo piano performance by Low Cut Connie in fine Jerry Lee Lewis form. Jon Stewart took the stage next as the evening's host and introduced the event's centerpiece, an all-star book reading.

Photograph by Nannette Bedway for TeachRock

Richie Sambora (a surprise addition) read about The Stone Pony's rise to fame from Chapter 7 of Steve's book before recalling his introduction to his mentor at the age of 16. Young Richie worked up the nerve to give Steven a cassette after spending many evenings studying him at the Pony. "Steve didn't show me the funhouse mirror; he told me the truth…. We became fast friends. He's my brother, and I love him."

Nona Hendryx quipped, "Like every band, they needed a black girl singer" before reading about the creation of "Sun City" from Chapter 19 (and doing a mean Miles Davis impersonation). "For me to have been a part of 'Sun City' and what [Steve] went through to get it done, it was incredible," she added. "That video changed the world. It changed MTV and opened doors. [MTV] saw that they were repeating what Steven was fighting against. It was apartheid, and they were doing the same thing in the music realm."

For the younger folks in attendance, Stewart helpfully noted that at the time, "MTV was all Buggles and Pat Benatar. Mostly Pat Benatar, a little bit of Buggles."

Jon Landau discussed the working dynamic between himself, Bruce, and Steve. "We had different opinions about what to do about everything. We usually had a great deal of fun trying to negotiate them out. (Sometimes less fun.) But we all came out alive and great friends. The thing about Steve: whatever he's doing it has to be great. If it's just good, he's bored. It has to be great." Like his "beautiful book, a true story of an incredible life."

Landau also recalled a recommendation from a friend: "I was on a trip somewhere, and I got a text from Bruce:"

For his reading, Landau's selection from the memoir involved his own famous review with the "Rock and Roll Future" quote, and Stevie's interpretation of it in Chapter 9.
"Until I read [Stevie's take], I didn't know what I meant!" he admitted to great laughter. "But when I read it, it resonated with me greatly."

Steve Buscemi gave the shortest remarks but the longest — and unsurprisingly, the most dramatic — reading of the night, retelling the origin of The Sopranos from Chapter 24. And Jon Stewart closed the panel by reading Steven and Bruce's daytrip to East Berlin from Chapter 14 (with difficulty, noting that "Steve's book is phenomenal, but the font size is fucked up… torturous!"

Each panelist was an icon in their own right, but at this point they cleared the stage to make room for the evening's headliner act: a conversation between Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt. Before bringing Stevie and Bruce on stage, Stewart took a moment to share his appreciation for what Bruce and Steve meant for people like him, who'd grown up in that area. "When you listen to their music, you never felt like a loser. You felt like a character in an epic poem… about losers. I consider it one of the great honors of my life to have been inspired by them to better myself from my standing and my position, which seems to be the essence of all of their art."

Photograph by Nannette Bedway for TeachRock

Springsteen interviews Van Zandt
After a short break, Bruce and Stevie took the stage for an interview that, as all great conversations between friends do, soon lost its structure and pacing (the event was scheduled to end at "6ish" but ran until 7:15pm) as these two lifelong friends fell into easy reminiscing and raconteuring.

Bruce set the stage for their opening topic: the summer of '65, a band called The Shadows, and their "paisley-shirted, top hat, oversized tie-wearing frontman" sitting to his right.

"We were the luckiest generation ever," Stevie opened. "It was a wonderful culture for teenagers at that time. There were all kinds of places to play. Ever since The Beatles had appeared on TV, it had become a band culture."

In those days, bands were a bastion for teenagers… and young teens at that. "Not even nineteen!" Bruce marveled. "You had to hire fourteen-, fifteen-year old kids. That was what all bands consisted of."

The idea of a band "communicates friendship, and family, and team, and posse, and gang. And ultimately, community. And I wanted to be part of that community." —Stevie Van Zandt 

In the first of many insightful exchanges, Bruce and Stevie discussed their differing rock 'n' roll epiphanies. Separated in age by only two years in an era when generations were only five or six years apart, that was enough for Bruce and Steven to have separate awakenings: Bruce's was Elvis's appearance on Ed Sullivan; Steven's was The Beatles. Both agreed, however, that it was The Rolling Stones that made rock star status seem attainable.

"The Beatles revealed this new world to us," said Stevie, "and The Rolling Stones invited us in."

Bruce noted that his friend's entire life ("to my great fortune") has been dedicated to the idea of bands. Stevie admitted that he never liked the spotlight. He wasn't about "me, me, me." The idea of a band, he said, was about us: "It communicates friendship, and family, and team, and posse, and gang. And ultimately, community. And I wanted to be part of that community. Maybe it came from my love of West Side Story, but there was something about a gang, about a team, about that friendship."

"There's a great song by Dawes," Bruce added, "where he's breaking up with his girlfriend or something, and he says, 'and I wish that all your favorite bands would stay together.' The fact that Steve and I are here together side-by-side, literally 50 years after we started, and that we found each other at all… to find someone with whom you felt such a deep kinship" is a testament to that ideal.

The two friends spent several minutes discussing the origin of their friendship, and how it was cemented by their weekend sojourns to Greenwich Village and Café Wha.

"I'd drive to Bruce's house," Steve remembered, turning to him. "Sometimes we'd go up in your room. You'd already started to write songs — and it hadn't occurred to me that you could write your own songs! You really were advanced!" Steve marveled to much laughter. "You'd play some songs you had written, we'd exchange records, we'd talk about the latest songs we'd heard. You turned me on to Love, Tim Buckley… and then we'd get on the bus and go up to New York. We started to hang out together."

"It was the beginning of a thousand great arguments," Bruce said. "I wish that friendship on everyone."

Photograph by Nannette Bedway for TeachRock

Bruce then jumped them forward in time, to a snowy winter day in Asbury Park. "A man walks down the street in a Hawaiian shirt, a straw hat… all that's missing is the drink with the little umbrella. And a parrot, I guess, but he had to leave something for Jimmy Buffett. That incarnation was the one and only Miami Steve!

"To show how limited our frame of reference was at the time," Bruce continued, "Miami Steve was christened Miami Steve for a very simple reason: he had been to Miami! None of the rest of us ever had. And while he was in Miami, he was sartorially influenced to the nth degree."

Steven recalled that he had quit the music business for a time, after his friend got signed to Columbia and he himself failed to make Bruce's ensemble.

Bruce explained: "My first record… I was signed as an acoustic musician — a singer-songwriter, basically. There was no electric guitar allowed on my first album! I was trying to satisfy both John Hammond and my own instincts, which were like, 'You don't understand, this is just what I do in my spare time! What I really do is this thing with all my friends!'"

To have Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes — with Steve in them! — as the house band in your local bar in Asbury Park was an a amazing gift, a fabulous thing that really gave everyone a home here in Asbury and the surrounding area for a long, long time" —Bruce Springsteen 

But there was a series of years where they didn't play together, and in those years, Stevie joined up with The Dovells and hit the oldies circuit, meeting rock's pioneers (who were only in their 30s and 40s at the time) as the first revival of '50s culture hit with Happy Days and American Graffiti.

That experience "really completed my education," Steven said. "When that tour ended in Miami (I'd switched to Dion by then), I came back in Hawaiian shirts, started the Jukes, and said, 'I'm never going to recognize winter again.'"

"He does not like the cold!" Bruce interjected with gusto. "You go into his house, and his room is 90 fucking degrees! Wherever you go it's hot!" ("It's ironic," Steve noted, "considering where I ended up on TV," clearly thinking of Lilyhammer.)

Since Steven brought up the subject of the Jukes, they discussed that period next. Bruce testified: "To have Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes — with Steve in them! — as the house band in your local bar in Asbury Park was an a amazing gift, a fabulous thing, that really gave everyone a home here in Asbury and the surrounding area for a long, long time."

Steven's introduction of a horn section led to a rock-and-soul fusion, an intentionally Stax-influenced sound ("Southside and I wanted to be the white Sam and Dave") that ultimately and organically became "the bar band sound. It became a bigger thing than just what we were doing."

Photograph by Shawn Poole

In the meantime, Bruce had made two records "and they were both bombs." Bruce remembered thinking, "If we don't make it on this next one, I'm going back to Asbury Park for good."

"And become a Juke!" Stevie quipped off-mic.

I can't do justice to their discussion about Stevie's contributions to Born to Run without Bruce's horn sound effects, but let's just say at that stage of their experience (or inexperience), Bruce could only provide direction to his hot-shot NYC horn players by verbalizing a horn sound. That didn't really work for their brass ensemble.

"It sucks," Steven badgered Bruce.

"Well, go do something about it!" Bruce ordered.

Now remember that Steven was not yet in the E Street Band or even part of the album's production team, and Bruce seemed to still get a kick out of the scenario, sending "just a guy, who had no relation to the record whatsoever except he happens to be in the room — I just send a guy out there to talk to the greatest horn players in New York City."

Steven just thought, "I'm glad someone's going to fix this." Modestly, he downplayed his contribution: "I separated the baritone parts out, gave them some riffs, and that's it. The record is very, very simple, but it was just a matter of getting the intention. I knew what [Bruce] wanted: he wanted Sam and Dave."

After that, Bruce knew he wanted Steven in his band, too.

"Stevie was just a guy, who had no relation to the [Born to Run] record whatsoever except he happens to be in the room I just send a guy out there to talk to the greatest horn players in New York City." —Bruce Springsteen 

Writing his book gave Stevie a chance to analyze Bruce and the band's transition from Born to Run to Darkness on the Edge of Town for the first time, and he found it fascinating: "The first step in Bruce going from this shy guy who never said two words to anybody to the world's greatest entertainer (thanks to me) is him putting the guitar down. The guitar's a lot of things, but one of them is a barrier. When you put that guitar down, it's a more intimate relationship."

Bruce slowly and slyly lowered his guitar to the floor as Stevie continued: "[Bruce] reached inside himself and started to transform himself into this performer, and it was just remarkable. We played The Bottom Line… and suddenly my friend who used to be very shy and retiring is now walking on the tables and kicking people's food over!

"And at the same time, the band transformed. If you look at the pictures of the band on the first two records, they got short pants on and bathing suits. And then suddenly the band is in suits! Me and Clarence got these pimp suits — it was a transformation and a half."

It was the beginning of the E Street Band in its best-known form, Bruce said. "Max and Roy auditioned along with 30 drummers and 30 keyboardists. We insisted that everyone could sing, so they had to audition as singers also. Max and Roy managed to squeak by that part and never sang again."

Having Stevie there was important, Bruce said, because he brought "a tremendous amount of joy" to offset a tremendous amount of anxiety from his initial success.

Stevie Van Zandt: Rock star, actor, activist, bestselling author, cookie. Photograph by Shawn Poole

They talked about The River next, "a centerpiece of Steve's and my work together, when Steve officially became part of the production team. Steve had a lot of ideas about how the band should sound on record."

Stevie said that he figured out why '50s and '60s records sounded great but '70s records didn't. First, early rock drummers came out of jazz or took lessons from jazz drummers who taught them how to tune their drums. "This had become a lost art. So I had Max learn how to tune drums again."

Second, Steven realized that the older records featured drums with overhead mics, which captured the room sound. They needed the room sound, too. And they needed an engineer who understood how to capture room sounds.

Steven's wife Maureen knew a guy named Bob Clearmountain, who worked across the street from where they lived. He was about to do an Ian Hunter record, and Max was going to be on it. Stevie had Max do recon on how fast and good Bob was, and Max gave his stamp of approval. Soon enough, Bob joined the team and made a huge difference.

Next up: the European River tour and Steven's political epiphany. "Steve was all party all the time before then," Bruce noted. "Southside Johnny was all, 'No politics! Leave that shit out! This is supposed to be a respite from all that stuff.' But when we came back from that tour, a huge change began in Steve's aesthetic, and I believe that's when Little Steven was born."

Steven admitted it was a political awakening, and he became obsessed with what his country's government was doing overseas. "I started to feel like somebody should be talking about this. I grew up in the '60s, when everyone had a distinct identity. I thought maybe I'd be the political guy… and I left the band to do it."

And it mattered: Although Stevie talks about the commercial foolishness of his decision, the societal impact of it can't be overstated. Little Steven lost all fear and became twice as focused on politics, "because it was all I had. I had to make it count for something, because I'd just blown my life. It allowed me to go into some dangerous situations because I didn't have any fear at all anymore."

"We all sooner or later have some disappointment in our lives and maybe hit that wall and think your life is over. But if you can hang in there, you might just find a way to move forward somehow… If you can find a way to overcome that moment and keep moving forward, destiny will surprise you and find a use for you." —Stevie Van Zandt 

His work on "Sun City" and activism during those years raised American awareness about apartheid in South Africa and created a groundswell of support for American sanctions, leading to President Reagan's very first veto override when both Democrats and Republicans voted for it.

"That's how different the Republican party was in those days," Steve pointed out. "Republicans fought for Black people to be able to vote in South Africa. And now these days, of course, they're trying to keep American Black people from voting."

"A lot of important and good things came from Steve striking out on his own in 1984," Bruce noted. Steve agreed, adding, "Everything I've accomplished in my life has happened since I left the band. The second half of my life became a search for identity and purpose."

Steven got serious here, landing this next point with eloquence: "We all sooner or later have some disappointment in our lives and maybe hit that wall and think your life is over. But if you can hang in there, you might just find a way to move forward somehow. And don't numb yourself with dope or alcohol or commit suicide — all of which occurred to me. If you can find a way to overcome that moment and keep moving forward, destiny will surprise you and find a use for you."

Bruce offered, "I don't think Steve would have had the fullness of identity that he has now without having left the band at that time. When he came back, he came back as a different individual and had a much different and bigger place in our world and in his own. While it was difficult being apart and painful in many ways, I believe the overall picture was positive, great things that wouldn't have happened the same way."

Photograph by Shawn Poole

The event had run long, though no one but the timekeepers had noticed. Although they'd planned on 20 minutes for Q&A, there was only time for a few questions.
The first one was one fans have wanted an answer to for decades: Bruce, did you write Bobby Jean for Steve? Alas, we'll have to keep waiting: "I will never tell," Bruce deflected. "You can make up your own mind on that one."

"We'll be out there in the world again next year, I hope. And I guarantee: if you bring your children and younger brothers and sisters or grandma for that matter, they're going to see the band at its peak. It's a wonderful thing to be able to say, and a wonderful thing to be able to share with your friend. And that's a promise." —Bruce Springsteen 

The final question came from the winner of the Backstreets raffle, Ed Nigro, whose winnings not only got him into the event but also the chance to ask this of Bruce and Steven: What's the impact of being able to create so much positivity with your work?

Stevie answered first: "We achieved a miracle…. In the end, it just makes us grateful. If we had to pinpoint one particular emotion, why do we exude such positivity and put such hope into our music, it's because we are grateful for the generations who came before us and taught us how to do this, and we're grateful to the audiences that found us in New Jersey. The older you get, the more you appreciate the miracle that our lives are."

Bruce added: "Our band is unique in that it's been a healthy place to be. We'll be out there in the world again next year, I hope. And I guarantee: if you bring your children and younger brothers and sisters or grandma for that matter, they're going to see the band at its peak.

"It's a wonderful thing to be able to say," Bruce continued, "and a wonderful thing to be able to share with your friend. And that's a promise. We got so much from doing what we've done. You [the audience] changed my life. Your love and appreciation and dedication and immersion in our idea of what the world could be is a gift to us. To be able to share this side-by-side with a great, great friend and the rest of your friends is simply one of God's great blessings."

That was as fitting a note as any to end the evening on. Bruce and Steven left the stage together and left the audience with a promise of a bright future still ahead.

To learn more about the efforts of TeachRock or donate to their mission — empowering teachers and engaging students by using popular music to create interdisciplinary, culturally responsive education materials for all 21st century classrooms — please visit TeachRock.org.
- October 19, 2021 - Ken Rosen reporting

Springsteen shared that good news yesterday at the 'Between the Lines' TeachRock benefit in Asbury Park — prompted, actually, by a question our lucky Backstreets raffle winner was able to ask from the crowd as part of the package.

Watch this space for our full report from the event, which celebrated Stevie Van Zandt and his Unrequited Infatuations memoir with a little help from the friends you see above and a lot of fun stories — but in the meantime that quote just couldn't wait.
- October 18, 2021 - photograph by Ken Rosen

For anyone wondering about the status of the Live Archive (the latest release in the nugs.net series came on September 4) we've received a reassuring statement to pass along:

Rest assured work continues on the next installment of the Live Archive series. Our production schedule has adjusted in coordination with The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts release in November. Thank you for your patience.

- October 17, 2021

First of all, a sincere thanks to everyone who took part in our raffle in support of TeachRock last week. Together we raised $11,000 for the good work that the non-profit does to put rock 'n' roll music center-stage in schools, with an arts-focused curriculum (developed by Stevie Van Zandt himself) that engages students and is FREE to teachers. Find more information and/or donate to TeachRock, the primary initiative of Stevie's Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, at teachrock.org.

The winner of our raffle is Ed Nigro, from Boston, Mass, who — thanks to one $25 raffle ticket — will be attending the sold-out Between the Lines benefit in Asbury Park this weekend, where Bruce Springsteen will be on hand to interview Stevie.

Watch this space next week for our report from Sunday's event.

October 17 is not his only scheduled appearance in the coming weeks — while the idea of 2022 tour is still little more than a land of hope and dreams, we do have a few upcoming show dates, as Bruce will be lending a hand at two additional benefit events. We've just updated our Tour/Ticket Info page to bring it up to date with his gigs on October 20 (Robin Hood Benefit 2021) and November 8 (Stand Up for Heroes 15), both in NYC.

An Omaze sweepstakes supporting the Bob Woodruff Foundation will give one winner and a guest a trip to NYC for Stand Up for Heroes, including a backstage meet with Springsteen and an autographed guitar! Closes October 19 —  enter now.

Visit our Tour/Ticket Info page
for all currently scheduled Springsteen dates

- October 15, 2021

Good lovers, bad desires, and "salacious lyrical content"

The latest emanation from Stone Hill Studios is a fun playlist of great grooves and sexual innuendo, recalling one of the original meanings of "rock and roll." Volume 29 of From My Home to Yours, titled "Let's Talk About Sex," delivers with a playful mix of obvious choices (no points for guessing "Let's Get it On") and surprises, continuing Bruce Springsteen's typical M.O. for his DJ sets.

"Hello, hello, friends, fans, lovers, and listeners from coast to coast and around the world!" Bruce welcomed us into the show before diving into Salt-N-Pepa's 1990 classic and title track of this week's new set. Salt-N-Pepa's commentary on society's awkwardness around the subject of sex perfectly frames the full playlist as Bruce weaves in songs that tackle the issue in creative and euphemistic ways — back-scratching, dogs barking, sexy appliances — with narrative commentary on why those approaches have been necessary.

Yo, Pep, I don't think they're gonna play this on the radio
And why not? Everybody havin' sex
I mean, everybody should be makin' love
Come on, how many guys you know make love?

The concern Salt (Cheryl James) has about radio play finds its counterpoint and answer mid-set when Bruce introduces Hank Ballard & the Midnighters's "Work with Me Annie" by discussing attempts to ban the song from the airwaves:

Hank Ballard cut this immortal R&B record in 1954. It was immediately opposed, by the FCC, due to its salacious lyrical content, which was deemed simply too overtly sexual for the tender ears of modern America's radio-listeners; however, you cannot keep a hit record down. Despite attempts to restrict it, it went to number one on the R&B charts and stayed there for seven weeks.

Annie returns as Bruce pairs Ballard's hit with one of its answer songs, The Medallions' cover of "Annie Had a Baby," and Annie might make one think of a certain Janey: there's a lyrical connection to Springsteen's own "Spare Parts," invoking the need to "walk the baby 'cross the floor," and the general idea of suffering through the consequences of "what happens when the game gets good." Although delivered from a much more playful perspective than "Spare Parts," it wouldn't be far-fetched to think this song might have served as inspiration when Bruce was writing for Tunnel of Love.

Another obvious connection to Bruce's music is the killer groove on "My Dog Can't Bark" by "the king of them all," Muddy Waters. The riff and blues stomp of the Magic tour's take on "Reason to Believe" feels like a slowed-down version of the Muddy Waters classic.

Funky grooves abound throughout, from the playful horns of the introductory number, Tony Alvon & the Belairs' "Sexy Coffee Pot," through Slim Harpo's swampy "Baby, Scratch My Back" and, of course, the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women." Bruce used that tune as a dedication to the band's dearly departed drummer, saying:

Rest in peace, Charlie Watts. There is no better tribute to rock's greatest rock 'n' roll drummer than the vicious groove he digs on 'Honky Tonk Women.' 'Whoooo,' Mick says at the end of the Stones masterpiece, and he is correct!"

Like the previous 28 volumes, the eclectic mix of songs is the true highlight of Bruce's latest playlist, ranging from the blues to funk, hip-hop, Texas singer-songwriters, rock, and disco. It may no longer be surprising — given the covers he's performed, the musicians he has referenced in interviews over the years, his concert walk-in music, and From My Home to Yours to date — but Springsteen's ability to cohesively thread these songs together remains impressive. In Volume 29, the segue from "My Dog Can't Bark" into his own "Reno" was particularly effective, despite their vastly different tempos. Moreover, it remains fun to learn what Bruce likes, especially when his choices are surprising. Still, there are occasional misses.

Marcy Playground's "Sex and Candy" is a song I have a soft spot for, but it feels out of place here, particularly given so many "sexier" omissions from the set. From Springsteen's own catalog alone: "Fire," "The Fever," "The Fuse" — and those are just the F's! The list goes on. Given the strength of these playlists overall, it's hard to be critical of one selection, but this felt like a missed opportunity. Other than being topical, "Sex and Candy" seems to sit by itself without a broader connection. "That was Marcy Playground, from 1997, with 'Sex and Candy,'" is all Bruce says before moving on.

Another opportunity lost is the lack of commentary around "Reno," an underrated and often misread track from the Springsteen catalog. While the song has no problem speaking for itself, its inclusion in the set offered the chance for backstory, contextualization, or hell, even just funny commentary on the whole Starbucks controversy. Instead, Bruce lets it pass saying nothing more than, "That was yours truly, with 'Reno' from Devils & Dust."

Bruce's reflections on his own music and that of the artists he plays, after all, have been consistent highlights of his radio show since its inception. Volume 29 is no different, despite being another shorter set. Coming out of "Sex & Gasoline," Bruce introduces the singer, "Rodney Crowell, born in 1950, in Houston, Texas played in Emmylou Harris's Hot Band," and describes him as "another of the great line of singer-songwriters that Texas seems to produce unfailing. Great writer. Great artist." This isn't the first time Springsteen has commented on the quality of Texas musicians, and that links Crowell to the other Lone Star State songwriters with whom Bruce has performed and recorded over the years, Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo.

The follow-up is Donna Summer, introduced as "The Queen of Disco." Their version of "Protection" would have made a nice twofer highlighting the darker areas of love, but since it's sex we're talking about, Summer's "Love to Love You Baby" instead kicks off a hot three-song outro — followed up by Marvin Gaye's sultry "Let's Get It On" and Springsteen's own steamy "I'm on Fire" — to close out Volume 29. That was the second Marvin song in the set, preceded early on by "Sexual Healing," which Bruce described as "the greatest song ever written on today's topic."
Coming out of "Let's Get It On," Bruce ended the show with one more tip of the hat to the Prince of Motown:

And we have bookended our program with another great record by Marvin Gaye, who without a doubt made some of the sexiest recordings of the '70s… and that's about our show for today. I hope you've enjoyed our time together, and until we meet again, may your life be filled with sex, love, and rock 'n' roll!

May we all be so lucky.


  1. Tony Alvon & the Belairs - "Sexy Coffee Pot"
  2. Salt-N-Pepa - "Let's Talk About Sex"
  3. Slim Harpo - "Baby, Scratch My Back"
  4. Marvin Gaye - "Sexual Healing"
  5. Kings of Leon - "Sex on Fire"
  6. Hank Ballard - "Work With Me Annie"
  7. The Medallions -"Annie Had a Baby"
  8. Rolling Stones - "Honky Tonk Women"
  9. Jimmy Reed - "Good Lover"
  10. Marcy Playground - "Sex & Candy"
  11. Muddy Waters - "My Dog Can't Bark"
  12. Bruce Springsteen - "Reno"
  13. Rodney Crowell - "Sex & Gasoline"
  14. Donna Summer - "Love to Love You Baby"
  15. Marvin Gaye - "Let's Get It On"
  16. Bruce Springsteen - "I'm on Fire"

- Updated October 14, 2021 - Peter Galati reporting

"Chasin' Wild Horses" in new film co-exec-produced by Patti and Jess
Patti Scialfa Springsteen and Jessica Springsteen serve as executive producers of The Mustangs: America's Wild Horses, along with Robert Redford; Bruce Springsteen has contributed the Western Stars track "Chasin' Wild Horses" to the soundtrack of the new film, which opens this weekend.

The documentary film is being released by Virgil Films (headed by our friend and occasional Backstreets contributor Joe Amodei) and Steven Latham Productions. It details the history of wild mustangs in the U.S., the mistreatment and near-extinction of these beautiful animals, as well as various efforts to restore and sustain the current herds with an eye towards a better future for mustangs and the people who love them. Another moving sequence of the film documents the success of a program that pairs military veterans suffering from PTSD with mustangs serving as therapy animals.

The trailer:

Along with Bruce's "Chasin' Wild Horses," the film's soundtrack also contains musical contributions from Blanco Brown, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, and Diane Warren. The Mustangs: America's Wild Horses begins screening nationwide tomorrow, Friday, October 15. 

Click here to see a list of theaters,
with direct links to purchase tickets

- October 14, 2021


The Return of the Living Dead Doctor Frankensteen!
Thanks to our friend Frank Caruso, the artist who collaborated with Bruce Springsteen on the Outlaw Pete picture book, we printed up these special limited shirts for Halloween 2020, celebrating Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's October 31, 1984 concert at the legendary L.A. Sports Arena.

With the Halloween season upon us, we just remembered to dig the few remainders back up out of the crypt — not a ton left, but we do have very limited stock of all sizes from S to XXL. We have no plans to reprint this design, so put a Gory Days Tour shirt in your sack while we've still got 'em!

The shirt's illustration is Frank's artistic vision of the opening of that Halloween '84 E Street Band show in L.A., which he created just for us — you can read about in detail here.

We'll prioritize all orders that come in for the Gory Days shirt, getting them sent out right away so they'll be delivered ASAP while October is still rocking.

Plus, we also found a stack of these stickers — our Backstreets logo spookified just for the season, again by "Frightul" Frank Caruso. We'll include one free with every package we ship out in October from Backstreet Records (not just T-shirt orders), for the rest of the month or while they last.
- October 13, 2021 - all artwork and design by Frank Caruso – Check out more from Caruso on his Instagram page.

The 33"x19" poster included standard [folded] with the forthcoming 2LP set

Tell yer mama to quit yappin' in the backseat — there's a new preview clip coming for The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, and you won't want her drowning out a second of it.

"Sherry Darling," one of the 13 live performances, has been excerpted to premiere in video form on Friday morning, October 8, at 9am ET. So you can keep an eye on the countdown below, or, if the clip is already live, just fire it right up... as big and as loud as you can!

Most of us already got the sense from the initial trailer that this concert film is going to be particularly special —  a distilled, high-energy, fan-pleasing (and likely fan-making) documentation of E Street at one of their performance peaks, smack dab between the Darkness and River tours. "Sherry Darling" is further proof of concept.

We can also assure you that the entire 90-minute film is like that: the energy never wanes, the pace never falls off (if anything, tempos get faster as the performance goes along); the showmanship and musicianship, the engagement with the crowd, the dynamism and quality of the shoot and the edit — hell, the long cables in these days before wireless — it's all there, sustained, throughout, from "Prove It All Night" through the encores.

The full Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts film is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on November 19, both with CDs included; a 2LP set (without the video) will capture the audio as well.

We're taking pre-orders NOW in our online shop, where we're carrying all three formats to ship next month. And just as we've managed to score for the last several Springsteen releases, we have another exclusive bonus item to accompany this one.

Representing the spirit of 1979 is this official Springsteen/E Street Band shaped cloth patch, for Backstreets customers only, included with every copy of the new No Nukes set we send out.

It's a sew-on patch created specifically for the 2021 No Nukes release, die-cut and embroidered with silver metallic thread to echo the album cover. At 4" wide x 1.25" tall, it's a perfect size for sewing onto a baseball cap or denim jacket, if you want to put one to use. This official promotional patch comes FREE with every copy of every format — only from Backstreets. Pre-order now to guarantee yours!

2CD + DVD or 2CD + Blu-Ray
Coming on November 19, this 2 CD set features the 13 songs performed over two nights, newly remixed by Bob Clearmountain and remastered, in addition to a disc of the 13-song concert performance film, newly edited from original film footage, restored and remixed in HD. This package includes a 24-page book with rare photos and memorabilia, an essay, vintage ticket envelope, ticket reproduction, and sticker.

2LP vinyl
Also scheduled for November 19, this 2-record set features all 13 songs, newly remixed by Bob Clearmountain and remastered. No video is included here, but the gatefold LP package includes a 24-page book with rare photos and memorabilia, an essay, and a 33" x 19" poster.

Additional notes on pre-ordering
Upon release, we'll be fulfilling pre-orders straight from Backstreet Records, in the order received, working madly (and bringing in extra help, as usual for new Springsteen releases) to get them on the way to our customers ASAP. We always do our best to score product early and ship quickly. At times, we've managed to surprise customers with delivery on the day of release. But please note, a pre-order does not guarantee that we can get No Nukes immediately in your hands on November 19. We're not Amazon. But it means you WILL receive it along with the official and limited silver-and-black patch — which is something no one else has, and something we won't be able to guarantee after the pre-order window closes. Pre-ordering really helps us make sure we'll have enough stock of each format on hand (which is no small thing). Most of all, we appreciate your support of our small "All Bruce, All the Time" business!
- October 7, 2021


Today John Mellencamp celebrates his 70th birthday. Last week saw the release of the first advance single from his forthcoming Simply a One-Eyed Jack album (due in 2022), "Wasted Days" being his first-ever recorded and officially released duet with Bruce Springsteen. The accompanying music video was filmed and directed on Springsteen's property by longtime collaborator Thom Zimny [above, a still from the video].

And check it out: we've got much more coverage of the friendship and collaboration between these two icons of American music to come soon. In the meantime… happy birthday, John! We're not "counting out these last dramatic years"… just celebrating one big day.
- October 7, 2021

SVZ now the third E Street Band member with NYT Bestseller status

It's a Top Ten hit! Stevie Van Zandt is officially a New York Times bestselling author, joining Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons with that coveted status. He did it! We did it! I mean, okay, he wrote the book, and has been working his ass off to promote it (currently on a book tour in Europe)... but there's no doubt that Backstreets readers helped propel Unrequited Infatuations onto the Bestsellers list in its first week. So give yourself a pat on the back… or here, let Stevie and Maureen do it:

Haven't received your copy yet? We know it's hard to wait... but the fulfillment company (who is hand-applying the bookplate to thousands of books before packing and shipping) advised us from the start that it would take three weeks or so for delivery. Add in a USPS slowdown and a cracked rib for Stevie, and patience will definitely be required. But we're starting to hear from customers who have received theirs and are "super stoked," and we appreciate you hanging in there until yours arrives.

Got your book but not sure where the bookplate is? We've gotten a few calls and emails from customers a little freaked out that they couldn't find it, thought it was missing… but flip a few pages in and you'll see it, adhered to the title page where it wouldn't interfere with any other text or art. The shot above (from a customer who runs the Orson Welles equivalent of Backstreets, no less) shows you where to look.
- October 7, 2021

Happy birthday to one of Bruce Springsteen's most underrated (is it still? yeah, it is) records… it's not a dark ride (isn't it? it kinda is)… his eighth studio album, Tunnel of Love.

We first took that ride on down in through this masterpiece 34 years ago today, the album released October 5, 1987 on Columbia records, cassettes, and compact discs. (Wikipedia may tell you October 9, but don't believe it — and god have mercy on the man who doubts what he's sure of.)

To celebrate, enjoy this seven-minute ride back to 1987 (with thanks to Ken Rosen of estreetshuffle.com), a compilation of TV news coverage from the album's release.

This time-machine footage is a reminder that Tunnel of Love came not even a year after the enormous hype of the Live/1975-85 box set and was Bruce's studio follow-up to (as Dwayne Jackson of Channel 6 says) "his mega-hit Born in the U.S.A., which sold 18 million copies worldwide." Wisely, its roll-out from Columbia came on a smaller scale, perhaps lowering expectations for a subtler solo album and resetting the overall Springsteen narrative. But still, it's "the most anticpated record album since Michael Jackson's BAD." It's hot. It's fantastic. It's brilliant. How much "razzle dazzle" does it have? That's really a matter of personal opinion. But we think it's a masterpiece.
- October 5, 2021

"It’s just like book club but with albums!"  

The annual Bruce Springsteen edition of Monmouth University's Tuesday Night Record Club will zero in on 1986's Live/1975-85 box set, tonight at 7:30 Eastern — online, and free to the public.

Special guests Tom Cunningham, long-time host of Springsteen on Sunday on 107.1 The Boss at the Jersey Shore, and The Jersey Guy and Anything Anything host Rich Russo return to the Ken Womack-moderated panel.

The Zoom event is FREE, but you do need to register here.
- October 5, 2021

Would you like to see Bruce Springsteen interview Stevie Van Zandt — in person — and get to ask a question from the audience? 

Maybe you can if you enter now — we're proud to partner with TeachRock for this week's raffle, getting a lucky Backstreets reader (+1) into this very limited event on October 17, with some special perks.

Donate to TeachRock.org today, and you could win:

  • Two (2) seats at the sold-out "Between the Lines" event with Stevie and Bruce, a panel moderated by Jon Stewart featuring Jon Landau, Nona Hendryx, and Steve Buscemi and more
  • Two (2) tickets to the pre-show meet and greet with Little Steven
  • The chance to join a lucky few in asking a question from the audience

Enter the "Behind the Scenes" Backstreets Raffle at https://bit.ly/BTLbksts

Each $25 donation is one chance to win and is also a tax-deductible contribution that puts the arts center-stage in students' lives!

Winner will be drawn this Friday at noon and notified immediately. 
- October 4, 2021

Details for anyone waiting on Stevie Van Zandt's new book

We're receiving quite a few queries from people who pre-ordered Unrequited Infatuations from our shop and are wondering why they haven't received it yet; we hope to provide some clarification here.

In short, please don't be concerned if you haven't received your book yet — as we've tried to communicate all along, delivery is expected to take around three weeks from the publication of Steven's book, and shipping is ongoing.
If you're unclear on how any of this works, or still wondering why you haven't received your book yet, please read on! This may be more information than most people need, but for anyone who doesn't understand how this is working or would like a full explanation of the shipping process, here we go!
We always try to deliver items to our customers as quickly as possible — you should see the hurricane of activity here at Backstreets HQ when a new item comes in — but with the stress on possible. When it comes to pre-ordering, it's very rare that we can have something in your hands on the day of release. But we don't mean to promise or even imply that with a pre-order offer.
"Pre-ordering" is the act of purchasing a product that has not yet been released or produced. It allows the seller (us) to gauge demand and better predict the quantity we'll need for fulfillment; it prevents the customer from missing out on something due to short supply. Typically, you can pre-order when you want to make sure to reserve an item that will be popular and/or limited — as a lot of our exclusive items are.
Things might be different for a brick-and-mortar shop, but when it comes to mail-order, a pre-order doesn't mean that the customer will have the item via mail on the day of release (despite expectations set by a behemoth like Amazon). We ourselves often don't have the product in house until the day of release, and only then can we begin the process of fulfillment. Sometimes we've been able to receive and re-ship early enough and quickly enough that our customers have had new items on the day of release… which always feels good… but pre-ordering doesn't guarantee it. It just guarantees that you'll get it, as fast as we can get it to you, while others who ordered later could be out of luck.
The publication date of Steven Van Zandt's memoir was less than a week ago, on September 28. And release date is a release date — sometimes products are ready to ship to retailers in advance, sometimes they're not. As a very small independent shop, we typically feel lucky if we have product in our office by that date; though we always try to get it here sooner. In the case of Unrequited Infatuations, we don't actually receive the books in-house ourselves: the only way for us to make the "Miami Steve" signed bookplates offer work (and there was a lot of brainstorming) was to use Porchlight, a professional fulfillment service used by the book's publisher.
Stevie very kindly offered to sign "Miami Steve" for us, for every Backstreet Records customer who pre-ordered the book by its release date — which means that by September 28, Stevie was still waiting to hear exactly how many he needed to sign for us. And it's a lot! Of course, he'd gotten a head start — and we'd gotten a head start too, sending the first round of delivery information early to Porchlight to begin fulfillment as soon as possible. But still, these things take time — Steven signing the remaining bookplates and getting them to Porchlight, and on our end, getting the rest of the names and addresses entered into a spreadsheet and sent to the fulfillment house, where the bookplates and books are combined and shipped together to individuals.
We're glad it worked out that Porchlight is handling this one, given the huge response to the offer — more customers ordered Stevie's book from us than anything else we've ever sold, and we have to think they'll be able to get the books out faster than we would, at the volume we're talking here. There are only two of us at Backstreets HQ; when a big new item comes in, we work as hard and fast as we can to pack and ship quickly, often bringing in temporary help to pick up the speed. But mailing 4,000 copies of Stevie's book to individual addresses, with bookplates that need to be inserted by hand… we're convinced that Porchlight is doing that job faster than we ever could.
We hoped to be clear — from the very beginning, in the pre-order listing in our shop — that delivery could be expected to take two to three weeks. After recent updates from Porchlight, based on our sales numbers, that estimate was revised to at least three weeks. We apologize if you didn't see those notifications and were expecting immediate delivery.
But if you pre-ordered this exclusive signed edition from us, the benefit is that you will get it. We'll make sure you get it. Which is not something we've been able to offer to others following the release of the book on the 28th. In the meantime, we just ask for your patience as these thousands of orders are fulfilled and make their way to you.
As we've just opened pre-orders for The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, it's worth pointing out that the same deal applies: while we'll work madly to get these sets out to everyone ASAP, a pre-order does not guarantee that you'll receive No Nukes on the day of release. But it means you WILL receive it along with the FREE, official, limited-edition promotional item exclusive to Backstreets — a sew-on cloth patch with metallic embroidery — just as quickly as we can pack 'em up and ship 'em out, which is something we won't be able to guarantee after the title's release date.

As always, we greatly appreciate your support of Backstreets, and ordering from Backstreet Records helps sustain everything we do. As fellow Springsteen fans, we're always trying to score cool stuff that you won't be able to get anywhere else. And we appreciate your patience while we work to get it to you!
- October 4, 2021

Photograph by Carl Beams

For the first time in 17 years, Asbury Park's most famous icon — the massive Tillie mural that adorned the north wall of Palace Amusements — made a very brief public appearance this week. Developers removed Tillie and two companion wall murals from their storage sheds near the waterfront, hauled them onto flatbed trucks, and relocated them to a walled-in area beside Convention Hall where they now remain, covered by tarps. No announcement or public explanation was provided.

The relocation, witnessed by a handful of surprised tourists, was in stark contrast to the day in June, 2004, when hundreds of spectators watched volunteers from the Save Tillie preservation group remove the 10-ton Tillie mural from the Palace.

The preservation of Tillie, along with 32 other artifacts saved from the Palace building prior to demolition, was required by the State of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection as a precondition to redeveloping the Asbury Park waterfront. Developers agreed to restore and reuse all 33 artifacts — a requirement that, more than 17 years later, has yet to be met and largely ignored.

Following the unannounced relocation this week, Save Tillie's president, Bob Crane, said that if the relocation is being done to facilitate restoration of the murals, then "we eagerly await details on who, when, where, and how the restoration will take place." In the meanwhile, Crane said, "It is incumbent upon the developers to ensure that the new sheds they are building are secure and meet preservation standards for a waterfront environment."
- September 29, 2021

Pre-ordered Stevie's book? Wanna pre-order No Nukes? Read on for info.
Now that the pre-ordering window has closed, we want to say thank you to everyone who ordered Little Steven's memoir from us, and express our thanks to Stevie himself for doing something so cool for Backstreets customers. When he agreed to sign Unrequited Infatuations as "Miami Steve" for us, we could hardly believe it... but we'll all have the physical proof on our shelves soon enough.

Please allow at least 3 weeks for delivery: We were told, and passed the word along in our catalog listing, that delivery would likely take that long; the fulfillment company is dealing with big volume, and bear in mind that the book only came out yesterday. Plus, since Stevie decided he would continue to sign over and above his initial offer of 3,000 — to cover any Backstreets reader who wanted one — we know he still has some signing left to do. That takes time… as does shipping, especially these days. But rest assured that if you pre-ordered our special Miami Steve addition, all gears are in motion and you will receive yours.

Fulfillment is happening based on the order we received pre-orders: If you placed yours right away, there's a great likelihood that you'll receive yours sooner than someone who ordered yesterday. If you pre-ordered at the last minute, we hope you'll understand and allow additional time for yours to arrive.

If there is any problem with your book upon delivery, just let us know and we'll take care of you. With so many books being shipped out, we won't be surprised if some are damaged along the way; it happens. But even though the publisher's fulfillment company is handling the shipping, our guarantees remain: we'll replace any damaged item, and/or offer no-question-asked refunds on returns.

One thing we can't do right now is cancel an order. The pipeline is moving. But if for any reason you don't want your book when it arrives, you may of course return it to us for a refund.

If we wind up with a few such returned books in good shape, we may be able to offer a limited number of these Miami Steve-signed books again in the shop... until then, the ordering period for this special edition of Unrequited Infatuations has closed.

Pre-ordering for The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts will be open very soon — just as soon as we can get it into the online shop. Including an official No Nukes promo item exclusive to Backstreet Records! We'd planned that pre-ordering to begin today... and we may still be able to make that happen... but there's also more clerical clean-up to do for the Unrequited Infatuations orders than we anticipated, and we want to make sure we've got all of those Stevie orders taken care of and in the fulfillment pipeline before we move on to the next thing. Thanks for bearing with us, and watch this space!
- September 29, 2021


There have been two sightings of John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen together in 2021: one in April in Bloomington, Indiana, as the two recorded what we now know is "Wasted Days" together; and in New Jersey earlier this month, for the song's video shoot with director Thom Zimny.

The video for "Wasted Days" has premiered this morning, Mellencamp and Springsteen trading off lead vocals on the verses and coming together for harmonies on the chorus. This is their first-ever studio recording together. After all the years since guys beame known for R-O-C-K-ing in the U.S.A. heartland in the '80s, and even after watching footage from the 2019 Rainforest Benefit, it's still a bit mind-boggling to see the pair singing together. And heartwarming, too.

According to Mellencamp.com, "Wasted Days" is the new single from his forthcoming 25th album, which is now complete and due for release in 2022. The song is available now on various music services.
- September 29, 2021


Unrequited Infatuations is officially out today — congratulations to Steven Van Zandt, published author! Soon to be bestselling author, if we have any say... and we just might: thanks to more than 3,000 fans who have ordered his memoir through us, for our exclusive edition with the "Miami Steve" signature on custom MIAMI bookplates.

And this is a last call: our special signed edition is only available to order for this one last day, so guarantee yours now!

Tonight, the release party is a global livestream: Bruce Springsteen will be interviewing his longtime friend and bandmate Stevie Van Zandt at 8pm. If you can't make it at that time, a ticket gives you on-demand access to the stream of the event for 90 days. Visit stevieandbrucelive.com for further details and to purchase a ticket.
- September 28, 2021


It felt like people everywhere were celebrating Bruce Springsteen's birthday yesterday, with the man trending on Twitter, and of course in New Jersey, it seems they're close to making September 23 an officially recognized holiday as "Bruce Springsteen Day."

In the U.K., a big party is still ahead: Hungry Heart — a Bruce Springsteen-dedicated club night run by a couple of lovely Brits — is returning tomorrow, Saturday, September 25 in London, to celebrate Bruce's 72nd birthday. 

The event runs from 8pm to 3am — seven hours of non-stop Springsteen. But they've proven they're up to the task, which includes keeping things interesting. "It's not the same big hits played over and over," Hungry Heart founder Hannah "Burger Girl" Summers tells Backstreets. "It's B-sides, big tracks, live versions, and plenty of requests — taken via cardboard signs, of course."

This is Hungry Heart's first real-life bash in 18 months, and the night is running at reduced capacity to make sure everyone has "plenty of space, should they want it," says Hannah. But after the long Covid-related hiatus, she continues, "we suspect most people will be on the dancefloor, ready for a face full of confetti and shout-singing along to Badlands" with the rest of the crowd.

"There's nothing quite blasting Bruce out loud to make you feel good."

There will also be a photobooth on hand to get your pic with (cardboard) Bruce, and a birthday card taller than the man himself for attendees to sign. Hopefully they've budgeted for stamps.

Tickets are available to purchase in advance at hungryheartevents.com and FREE tickets are available for NHS staff — if that's you, just drop Hungry Heart an email ASAP to claim yours.

We encourage you to keep an eye on their site: along with running live events, Hannah and Jon at Hungry Heart have been holding regular, free, four-hour long livestreams to keep fans Bruced-up while concerts and tours have been put on hold. In their 24-hour "Sringsteenathon," during this time of virtual events, they raised £32,000 for U.K. charities just by playing back-to-back Bruce from their living room. Besides their own lack of sleep, "credit to Springsteen fans for giving so generously," Hannah adds.

Follow @hungryheartuk on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for online updates, and visit hungryheartevents.com to grab tickets for this Saturday and keep the birthday celebration going.
- September 24, 2021


Celebrating Bruce Springsteen Day with full No Nukes details
Leave it to Bruce Springsteen to give us a present on his birthday. As the Boss turns 72 today, we now have full details regarding the major archive release from Sony coming our way later this fall — starting with that beautiful cover above, and including a new, jaw-dropping trailer. The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, coming in November, captures yes, legendary performances from almost exactly 42 years ago, when Bruce was just on the cusp of 30… and, fittingly, today brings the full scoop.

Fans at those No Nukes shows sang "Happy Birthday" to Bruce each night, and he "complained" from the stage about getting old: "I can't go on like this!... I'm thirty years old! My heart's starting to go on me!" Of course, he can James-Brown-it-up with the best of them, but Springsteen has rarely appeared in anything but the peak of health in the decades since, right up to the age of 72… and as we wish the man a happy birthday today, we're grateful that he continues to balance vital new work with these revisitations of his glory days. No Nukes was, no doubt about it, a glorious moment in his lengthy career.

General news about a No Nukes set from the vault broke earlier this summer, but with this morning's press release we now know exactly what to expect from the The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts, coming in mid-November on Blu-ray, CD, and vinyl LP.

The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts is, most prominently, a high-definition Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band concert film premiering full footage of the band's entire setlist from the Madison Square Garden MUSE benefit concerts, including ten never-before released performances (not seen in the multi-artist No Nukes film from 1980). While the full audio has been released before in a different mix (via the Live Archive series), the vast majority of this film footage has never been seen. It's a rare chance to witness the future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, in the heart of their reputation-making rise, captured on film and presented in HD — it's simply stunning.

And we don't say stunning lightly — how about we not spend another minute yapping about it before you watch this:


The No Nukes benefit concerts took place while Springsteen and the E Street Band were in the midst of recording The River, nine months after the conclusion of their breakout tour for Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978 — in fact, these were their only performances between the Darkness and River tours.

On September 21 and 22, 1979, Bruce and the band briefly emerged from the studio to join the multi-artist MUSE bill for two nights, blowing away Springsteen-starved fans at the Garden with a pair of compressed and thrilling 90-minute sets.

Like the performances themselves, the film (which is a composite of the two) packs the intensity of a marathon Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band show into a crackling feature-length run-time. Among the highlights are then-unreleased versions of "The River" and "Sherry Darling," live staples "Badlands," "Born to Run" and "Thunder Road," plus covers of Buddy Holly’s "Rave On" and a version of Maurice Williams’ "Stay" featuring special guests Jackson Browne, Tom Petty and Rosemary Butler.

This poster, included with the 2LP set, features a wider view of the album cover shot, with the entire E Street Band visible. The folded 33"x19" poster is a standard component of the vinyl package.

Edited by longtime Springsteen collaborator Thom Zimny from the original 16mm film, alongside newly remixed audio from Bob Clearmountain, The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts represents the highest quality and best-recorded Bruce Springsteen performances from this explosive, ascendant, and rarely filmed era of the E Street Band.

In today's press release, Zimny describes his work with the professionally filmed footage from those two nights, which had been in the vaults for four decades:

A few years ago, I started re-examining the filmed archives for Bruce and the Band’s appearances at the No Nukes concerts of 1979. I quickly realized that these were the best performances and best filming from the Band’s legendary Seventies and dedicated myself to bringing out the full potential of the footage. Having worked as Bruce’s principal director and editor for the last 20 years, I can say without reservation that this newly re-edited, re-mixed and restored ninety-minute film is the gold standard for Bruce and the Band live during one of their greatest creative periods.

Noted film producer Jon Kilik actually served in the camera crew for the No Nukes concerts back then, and he penned liner notes for this release. Kilik reflects that "magic was in the air. The energy on stage and from the crowd was beyond measure and description."

For more on the shows and performances themselves, we point you to our report on the 2018 Live Archive release, which utilized a different audio mix.


Available November 16; digital rental begins November 23.

2CD + DVD or 2CD + Blu-Ray
Available November 19, this 2 CD set features 13 songs performed over two nights, newly remixed by Bob Clearmountain and remastered, in addition to a DVD of the 13-song concert performance film, newly edited from original film footage, restored and remixed in HD. This package includes a 24-page book with rare photos and memorabilia, an essay, vintage ticket envelope, ticket reproduction, and sticker.

2LP vinyl
Precise release date yet to be determined, this 2-record set features 13 songs performed over two nights, newly remixed by Bob Clearmountain and remastered. This gatefold LP package includes a 24-page book with rare photos and memorabilia, an essay, and a 33" x 19" poster.

Setlist for all:
1. Prove It All Night
2. Badlands
3. The Promised Land
4. The River
5. Sherry Darling
6. Thunder Road
7. Jungleland
8. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
9. Born to Run
10. Stay
11. Detroit Medley
12. Quarter to Three
13. Rave On

We will begin taking pre-orders in our online shop, for all three physical formats, beginning next Wednesday, September 29.

We're currently taking pre-orders for our exclusive edition of Little Steven's book Unrequited Infatuations, which he's signing as "Miami Steve" only for us, and only through this coming Tuesday, September 28.

Once the deadline for ordering Stevie's book is behind us, we'll move right on to our special offer for The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts.

And we will again have an exclusive bonus item to accompany the No Nukes release for Backstreet Records customers.

Familiar with our pewter pin for Springsteen on Broadway? The bandana for Western Stars? The custom Sharpie set for Letter to You? All are official, exclusive promotional items for Bruce's recent releases, and we've got  another one lined up, just as apropos, for No Nukes. As with the previous exclusives, it will be a FREE bonus with your purchase from us. As always, we appreciate you supporting Backstreets when new releases come out, and we try to get you something special you can't get anywhere else. So as soon as we get through the Stevie blitz, watch this space for the freebie reveal as we begin taking No Nukes pre-orders on 9/29.

For now, we'll give the last words to Jon Landau: "The Seventies were a golden period in the history of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts is the greatest document of that era we will ever have. It’s a pure rock show from beginning to end, the energy level is transcendent, and the mastery of the art and the craft of rock music is awe inspiring."

Happy birthday, Bruce. Thanks for the gift!
- September 23, 2021

See here, now: surf, sand, sweet sonics, and a superblood wolfmoon

All photographs by A.M. Saddler

SATURDAY, 9/18, Lisa Iannucci:
The proverbial stage was set for an enjoyable weekend of music over the weekend, as days of cloudy humidity yielded to clear September skies just in time for Asbury Park's annual Sea.Hear.Now festival. A year after the typical no-go of 2020, a capacity crowd of concertgoers milled about the 2021 event grounds, lounged on blankets in the sand, or settled on the grass, chatting amongst themselves and sipping a variety of alcohol-tinged seltzers and flavored water. Concert/band tees, hats, and water bottles proliferated, and bikes were locked on any and every available stationary object.

Festival-goers could wander around between three stages and choose from a variety of surf-Mex food and light beverages, and BYO water canisters were de rigueur for the environmentally conscious event (hydration stations were motion activated). The festival made impressive use of the latest consumer technology, and scannable wristbands that facilitated cashless payment made for short lines at vendors.

The Sea.Hear.Now crowd skewed millennial (with the occasional grey head), but there also were a few babies and young kids and even the occasional tweener accompanied by similarly dressed parent, and the free-spirited surfer vibe was such that you might think you were in Venice Beach but for the Stone Pony/Asbury Park tees (you could even take in some actual surfing exhibitions if so inclined).

The band lineup reflected these demographics — festival headliners Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam from the early '90s, and up-and-comers on the side stages, with the occasional local band sprinkled in. An easygoing, low-key mood prevailed — you could relax in the shade and eat a Playa Bowl, drink a tequila seltzer, and watch Asbury Park's own Ocean Avenue Stompers — a New Orleans style second line outfit — march through the crowd blasting  Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)"  before they headlined the Stone Pony later in the evening.

"Punk poet laureate," National Book Award winner, Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres — and oh yeah, one-time Springsteen songwriting collaborator — Patti Smith, 9/18/21 - photograph by A.M. Saddler

At age 74, Patti Smith seemed the anomaly in the festival lineup. That is, until she took the stage. Dressed in black from head to toe, sporting shades and a red bandanna, and supported by her legendary band (which now includes both son Jackson and daughter Jesse), she was as magnetic and dynamic a performer as ever.

"This place — Asbury Park, the Stone Pony — was my mom's favorite place for us to play… I'm playing today thinking about mom," she said, smiling.

Opening her set with a driving "Redondo Beach," Smith was in an upbeat but reflective mood. She has always possessed a poet's talent for tapping into the cultural zeitgeist, for living in the moment, so hearing this type of talk — the "I'm happy to be here" vibe — is not unusual. But she seemed especially gratified to be in Asbury Park on this spectacular early fall day, pleased to have made it through so much, to still be blissfully alive during this season of sorrow. Smith's sets are always carefully chosen to suit the circumstances of the occasion, and so the triumphal "Grateful" and "we shall live again" refrain of "Ghost Dance" were perfectly reflective of the persistent melancholy lurking beneath the surface of this tranquil, sun-drenched day.

"Free Money" served as oblique commentary on the revival of the once-blighted Jersey Shore mecca, while a wistful cover of Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings" aptly expressed both the highs and lows of her own career and the heaviness and uncertainty pervading the national mood.

"We are fucking alive!" Patti Smith, 9/18/21 - photograph by A.M. Saddler

The reflective atmosphere continued throughout the set, as Smith mentioned the day being the anniversary of the passing of Jimi Hendrix, of whom she said, "I've never seen anyone eclipse him." Concluding "Beneath the Southern Cross" by exhorting the crowd to raise their arms with her in celebration, she declared that while Jimi was long gone, "We are fucking alive!"

"Beyond the headliners, there were some mighty fine acts on the three festival stages. Reignwolf played an incendiary set in the afternoon that had this photographer slack-jawed from the intensity of vocalist/guitarist Jordon Cook. The last time I saw an unknown-to-me act blow me away like Reignwolf did, they were called The Clash."  —A.M. Saddler

Smith dedicated "Because the Night" to late husband Fred "Sonic" Smith as she often does, but there was no Bruce Springsteen guest appearance despite sightings of him the previous day an hour or so south (he had been photographed dining and hanging out with John Mellencamp in Bay Head, NJ). Concluding her set with her classic "Gloria," Smith thanked the crowd for coming and encouraged them to "stay hydrated" and to enjoy themselves. Coming from anyone else, this type of talk might have sounded trite, but it was just Patti being herself.

The effervescent Avett Brothers followed up with a solid set, their melodic and melancholy folk-rock washing over the restive crowd as a pale moon rose over the ocean in the pastel dusk.

"I really hope I can be Patti Smith when I grow up": Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder "talkin' story," 9/18/21 - photograph by A.M. Saddler

All afternoon, there had been a certain buzz in the air, though, and Pearl Jam T-shirts had been noticeably plentiful. The hour or so between sets seemed an eternity to wait for the hotly anticipated return of Pearl Jam, whose 2021 American tour had, like so many others of late, of necessity been postponed. The band had not performed live in nearly three years and would only be playing a handful of U.S. dates in the coming months. This was to be their first and only scheduled East Coast show, and even Patti Smith had said she was excited to see Pearl Jam again.

The veteran outfit did not disappoint, as front man Eddie Vedder stalked the stage with the agility and intensity of someone half his age. Their set was a satisfying mix of hits, album tracks for the faithful, and live debuts from the new Gigaton album. Highlights included a relentless "Corduroy," a crowd sing-along on "Daughter," and a snippet of Smith's "People Have the Power" dropped into a soaring "Better Man."

The hard-rocking new track "Superblood Wolfmoon" provided the perfect soundtrack to an (almost) fully moonlit evening, and photographer/bluesman Danny Clinch sat in on harp for "Red Mosquito" (Clinch and his hard-working pal Tom Donnelly are the local driving forces behind the festival).

Bruce rumors continued to float, for all the obvious reasons — the previous day's sighting, along with a soundcheck of "My City of Ruins" that afternoon, had kept hopes of a Springsteen appearance alive. But as many touring bands do, Pearl Jam was simply paying homage to the local hero whilst playing his stomping grounds, as "My City of Ruins" opened their encore set. So there was no Springsteen guest spot; there was, however, Vedder on solo acoustic guitar for the somber tune, beautifully sung in his rich lower register, accompanied by a quartet of area vocalists, whom he declared "Asbury's finest local singers."

As had transpired in the post-9/11 era, many songs in Pearl Jam's set assumed new layers of meaning, and the anthemic "Alive" spoke volumes as the band, like Patti Smith, had chosen material that reflected the current cultural moment. The night concluded with a rollicking cover of "Rockin' in the Free World."

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready having a real cool time, 9/18/21 - photograph by A.M. Saddler

The early fall timing of the Sea.Hear.Now festival makes it an especially attractive event for those who cannot easily handle the baking temperatures of summer, and its understated  surfer theme perfectly suits the bucolic setting. This looks to be a festival with potential for longevity. And on this near-perfect day, as a bouyant Patti Smith stressed, "We're all still here" — and that was more than enough.

SUNDAY, 9/19, A.M. Saddler:
Day Two dawned a little bit sunnier and a little bit cooler — perfect Jersey Shore "It's better in September" weather. The music was the icing on the cake. Local favorites Remember Jones hit the Park Stage with a new show and band but the same fun and soul that Remember Jones has become famous for. Costumes, drag queens, and booty-shaking were just part of their recipe for the day, and that ended up as a most excellent mid-day meal.

Remember Jones, 9/19/21 - photograph by A.M. Saddler

A hidden gem hiding in plain sight at Sea.Hear.Now is festival co-founder Danny Clinch's Transparent tent. Filled with Danny's photographs as well as original art pieces by a number of festival performers, it's a great place to get out of the sun, cool down a bit, and see (and possibly buy) unique art. A bonus is the unannounced pop-up gigs that happen quite regularly. You never know what you are going to get there, but it's always good stuff.

"Bruce" her all you want: Ani DiFranco, 9/19/21 - photograph by A.M. Saddler

Festival circuit regular Ani DiFranco drew a large crowd to the Sand Stage and showed why she has such a strong following. She, too, referred to the ever-present 800lb gorilla in Asbury Park by acknowledging that in New Jersey a boo is often a "Bruce" and letting the audience know that they can Bruce her all they want. "I love that guy," she added. 

Orville Peck and his brilliant disguise, 9/19/21 - photograph by A.M. Saddler

Sunday's Surf Stage was firing on all cylinders with a broad spectrum of acts. Masked Country artist Orville Peck put on one of the top sets of the weekend. Steeped in the tradition of the genre with a fresh topping of today, Orville Peck showed many on Sunday that Country has plenty of growth potential in both sounds and audience.

It was a nice day for Billy Idol, even if the Millennials outnumbered Generation X. 9/19/21 - photograph by A.M. Saddler

There may have been as many people waiting at the Surf Stage for Billy Idol as there were for the Sunday night headliner, Smashing Pumpkins, and for good reason. Mr. Idol is a seasoned performer who knows what an audience wants and proceeds to deliver it. Commenting on how there was nothing to do but write new songs during the Covid-related shuts downs, he debuted a new song "Rita Hayworth." Classic Idol. He soon followed with a grouping of hits that anyone weaned on MTV in its heyday would be well acquainted with, and the audience roared their approval, many dusting off dance moves that still resided in their memories.

Billy Corgan and the Infinite Sadness, 9/19/21 - photograph by A.M. Saddler

Closing out the weekend's music was a headline set by Smashing Pumpkins. With a mix of classic songs and new material from their upcoming double-album, CYR, and with most of the quintessential Pumpkins lineup back in the fold, the '90s were in good supply on the Asbury Park beach. Frontman Billy Corgan was as moodily charismatic as ever as the band cranked out their trademark sound. Considering they were a late addition to the Festival line-up, it was great to see so many fans up front singing the words to almost every song.

With Sea.Hear.Now's third event now in the books, the festival has cemented its place in the musical mecca that is Asbury Park, and it's gotten better each time around. Looking ahead, how can Clinch and Co. top finally landing his buddies in Pearl Jam as a headliner? Well, we can think of one or two ideas. In any case, many who came out over the weekend are surely already looking forward to next year, to spend some more time grooving on the Asbury Park sand.
- September 22, 2021 - thanks to Lisa Iannucci and A.M. Saddler for intrepid reportage, Ken Rosen for the video clips, and all three for braving the crowds. Hats off to Tim Donnelly and Danny Clinch.

Their collab to drop next month; new Dion album in November
Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen will be among the many famous guest artists on Dion's upcoming album Stomping Ground, scheduled to be released on November 5. Stomping Ground follows Dion's 2020 album Blues with Friends, another star-studded affair that also featured Bruce and Patti as guest artists accompanying Dion on "Hymn to Him."

Bruce plays guitar and harmonica while Patti provides vocals on Stomping Ground's "Angel in the Alleyway," which will be released as an advance single on Wednesday, October 13.

Other famous artists appearing on Stomping Ground include Marcia Ball, Joe Bonamassa (on "Take it Back"), Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, Wayne Hood (who also co-produced the album with Dion,) Keb' Mo', Mark Knopfler, Rickie Lee Jones, Boz Scaggs (on "I've Got to Get to You"), G.E. Smith, and Jimmy Vivino.

"When I was young," writes Dion's in Stomping Ground's liner notes, "I was always striving for accolades and admiration. Those were my goals. But when I reached them, they didn't satisfy. I discovered joy when I learned to stop caring about all that — when I learned to relax and make music with friends… music that would make more friends for us through its joy. To make music with friends, and to make friends through music: I can't imagine a better life than this. I am grateful to my friends who made Stomping Ground with me — and my new friends who are listening."

The album's notes also include what Dion calls an "amazing" foreword by Pete Townshend, who writes: "Dion, like a circling star that never fades, generates the energy and fire we need to pull ourselves up and start again. Dion is a star who knows well how to start again, how to keep shining. He looks at his watch every few years. Damn! Let's make a record. Take care. This one will blow those little white things in our ears right into your brain."

Stomping Ground is due November 5.
- September 22, 2021 - Shawn Poole reporting

New episode premieres this Thursday, September 23

In a new Backstreets exclusive clip, we have another preview of the None But the Brave podcast's upcoming Season 3 premiere. NBTB hosts Hal Schwartz and Flynn McLean talk to very special guest Stevie Van Zandt about a famous moment during the Born to Run sessions, below. Not a member of the E Street Band at the time, Steven was visiting Bruce Springsteen in the studio at a moment when things were going poorly, and his talents provided a breakthrough as he took over the creation of the horn arrangements on "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out." 

To say both podcast hosts were excited to talk to Little Steven would be an understatement. "It was a thrill and an honor to have Steven on the show," Flynn tells us. "Hearing these wild stories, straight from the guy who lived them, was tremendously exhilarating."

Hal adds, "I can barely believe our good fortune to have had the chance to talk to Stevie for over 90 minutes. As Flynn says, it really was exhilarating. We had so much fun talking to him, and we hope that comes through for the audience."

We always recommend None But the Brave for all the "true Bruce Springsteen aficionados" out there, as they say, but this two-parter with our favorite rock 'n' roll consigliere should be particularly special.

Part 1 of None But the Brave's discussion with Van Zandt will be released this Thursday, September 23 (already a special day in Springsteen fandom). This season-opener covers Stevie's musical influences and the early years of the E Street Band, up through 1977, a period of struggle when Springsteen was battling a lawsuit against his first managers.

Part 2 arrives on October 1 and will cover the recording of Darkness and The River, his departure from the E Street Band, Sun City, and his solo work, before  moving on to the Reunion era, including the recording of Springsteen's latest record, Letter to You. 

Van Zandt's book, Unrequited Infatuations, arrives on September 28, and you can pre-order an exclusive edition via Backstreet Records for which he is personally signing a custom bookplates as "Miami Steve." It took some convincing (which Hal and Flynn also talked to him about, above), but understanding the appeal, Stevie says he'll sign "Miami Steve" for all orders placed with us right up to the book's 9/28 release date.

And then, as he Stevie has said, "never again!" So you've got one week left to guarantee your copy with a pre-order.

Right: our custom bookplate, created by Stevie's team, on which he's inscribing "Miami Steve" — just for us aficionados

We've been told by the book's fulfillment service that customers should allow three weeks for delivery after the release date — for numerous reasons, including the size of the mailing, Stevie's signing schedule, and the current slowdown of the USPS — but Backstreets Records customers will be getting something truly special and limited, and it should be worth the wait.

Earlier in the summer, None But the Brave wrapped their second season with another two-parter… with us! Flynn and Hal invited all four Backstreets editors from our 40-plus years to reunite, talk shop, and talk Springsteen. We all had a blast recording it.

Until Season 3 begins on Thursday, especially if you've never tuned in before, we recommend giving a listen to S02 Episode 18: Hiding on the Backstreets - Part 1 and S02 Episode 19: Hiding on the Backstreets - Part 2, with hopes you'll enjoy the conversation nearly as much as we did.

Between Seasons 2 and 3, three monthly bonus episodes of NBTB have tided listeners over with shorter discussions of the latest news about Broadway and Live Archive series releases.

But the main event — the grand opening of Season 3, with guest Stevie Van Zandt — begins in two days. For more info on None But the Brave, visit their website nonebutthebravepodcast.com, and you can subscribe to the show via Apple Podcasts and all other major podcast platforms. 
- September 21, 2021


Unrequited Infatuations: Odyssey of a Rock and Roll Consigliere,
the memoir from Stevie Van Zandt that we're pretty excited about, will be out in just 11 days, on September 28.

If you're a guy like SVZ, how do you celebrate publication day? Hard to think of a better way than this: your oldest friend in the world (and original Boss to your Consgliere) joining you to talk about your new release that very night. And make it a global digital event so anyone can virtually attend the party.

That's what's happening on September 28 at 8pm: Bruce Springsteen will be interviewing his longtime friend and bandmate Stevie Van Zandt, for a virtual book release celebration hosted by Unison Events. And if you can't make it at that time, a ticket gives you on-demand access to the stream of the event for 90 days. Stevie has been on Bruce's radio show, and vice versa, but this will really be the first time Springsteen has interviewed Van Zandt.

Visit stevieandbrucelive.com for further details and to purchase a ticket.

In addition to event access, the price of the ticket includes a copy of Unrequited Infatuations, either signed or unsigned. (Of course, you may have already purchased the book via pre-order from Backstreet Records or elsewhere... but many of us wound up with multiple copies of Born to Run for similar reasons, and hey, gift-giving season is coming up!)

Pre-ordering from Backstreet Records
Our Unrequited Infatuations offer is different from any other, in that Stevie is signing ours as "Miami Steve," on custom MIAMI bookplates.

Little Steven, revisiting "Miami" after 40 years??

"Never again after Sep 28," he says, and exclusively for Backstreets. The coolest.

Our pre-order offer remains open until that date — just make sure to order yours by Tuesday, 9/28 to guarantee the special edition.

Questions about pre-ordering?
We've gotten a few calls from customers this week asking why they haven't received their book... the simple answer being, it's not out yet! So we'll take a moment here to make sure everything is clear, hoping to answer some other questions along the way.

If you have pre-ordered the book from us (or do so by the official release day, September 28), your copy (with the exclusive "Miami Steve" autographed bookplate) will be mailed to you as soon as it's available, direct from the publisher (Hachette Books) via Porchlight, the company they use for fulfillment. It's rare that we don't ship product ourselves from Backstreets HQ, but in this case it should save considerable time, cutting out the "middleman" and having the book sent directly to you rather than to us and then to you. The names and addresses we're providing them will not be kept on file and will be used only for shipping this one book and nothing else — their privacy policy is as strict as ours.

Since these books will go directly from the publisher to our customers, we cannot offer expedited shipping on the book — but rest assured, they'll get the books out quickly upon release. They do note that "transit times are currently longer than usual, and it could take up to 2-3 weeks to deliver," since the USPS has been dealing with an overload during the pandemic, so do please allow a few weeks for delivery.

We are currently in the process of charging orders and getting through them as quickly as possible. If you've placed an order for the book, you should receive an email confirming the charge sometime soon, if you haven't already — but don't panic if that hasn't happened yet; it will. We run credit card charges manually rather than automatically, so that you typically won't be charged until we're ready to ship or close to it.

If you've ordered additional items from our Backstreet Records shop along with Stevie's book, we'll be sending the rest of your order directly from here right away, so it's likely you'll receive that stuff first, to be followed by the book upon publication.

If you have any other questions about your order, we're here to help — hit us up at orders(at)backstreets.com and we'll do our best to answer any other questions you might have! 

Stevie's NON-virtual book tour
In addition to the September 28 virtual event with Springsteen, Stevie has several more book events planned in the following days, into early October. Not many authors are doing full book tours these days, but Stevie does plan to appear in person in New York, New Jersey, and California.

His current event schedule is below, and you can keep up with any changes or additions — and find further details and ticket links — on the Unrequited Infatuations page at hachettebooks.com.

- September 17, 2021

The best things in life are free, but Vol. 28 is about money, honey
"Hello gamblers, ramblers, friends, famly, hustlers, and rustlers — welcome to Volume 28 of From My Home to Yours, titled 'Money Honey.'"

Little did we know that, with his intro, Bruce Springsteen was setting the stage for all the characters to follow in his latest shift as host and DJ on SiriusXM's E Street Radio. As for hustlers, Bruce called out Wall Street fat cats and a particular "fucker" and "money grabber" down in Mar-a-Lago.

But what really makes Springsteen's From My Home to Yours program so fun and interesting is that we get such a unique look into what's on Bruce's mind and in his record collection. Not since the Devils & Dust tour's walk-in playlist have we gained such insight into his appreciation for music of all sorts. Where else would you get Wanda Jackson and the Killers played back-to-back? That's how the latest installed of FMHTY started.

With all apologies to Janet, the real Ms. Jackson kicked things off with a nasty, rocking version of "Money Honey," complete with trademark growls and hiccups to prove why Springsteen called her the "First Lady of Rockabilly."

Bruce gave a history of "Money Honey" — "originally recorded and released in 1953 by Clyde McPhatter and the newly formed Drifters" — and then talked about how he and Patti were fortunate enough to meet Wanda Jackson when she performed at Asbury Lanes.

She had every bit of what she's always had: that premier female voice of rockabilly. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009; she is a native Oklahoman; she retired from performance in 2019, and she will be missed. She was as wonderfully down-home and sassy as that voice always made her sound. Wanda, wherever you are tonight, we love you.

"Money Honey" led into "Money on Straight" by The Killers, from their 2017 album Wonderful Wonderful. By now it's practically a cliché to talk about how The Killers sound like Springsteen, but come on, does this not sound like an outtake from Darkness or The River?

Ever since I could hear
A voice of warning
Stories of pain and fear ringing in my eardrum
And ever since I could run
There's been somebody with a loaded gun
Get your finger on the trigger son
Ringin' in my eardrum

Get your hair cut
Get your money on straight
Get your head right
And don't forget where you come from
Who your friends are and all that shit

From the Killers, we went into blues shouter Wynonie Harris's "Mr. Dollar," which just so happens to mention Cadillacs and a mansion on a hill. As Bruce told it,

Wynonie Harris was known for his blues-shoutin' voice, ribald lyrics, and his rhythm-and-blues songs with titles such as, "Lollipop Mama," "I Like My Baby's Pudding," "Sittin' on It All the Time," "Keep on Churnin' (Till the Butter Comes)," and "Wasn't That Good."

Yes it was, Wynonie… yes, it was.

That mix of the past and present continued with "Rich Man" by Vampire Weekend, which borrows from a classic Porter Wagoner Number One Country single: "When I was young, I was told I'd find / One rich man in ten has a satisfied mind."

Then it was time for the highlight of not only this From My Home to Yours, but maybe the entire series. It needs be heard as told by Bruce to be fully appreciated, but even just as a "short story" it was simply incredible:

As a child, I took lessons at Mike Diehl's music school on South Street. Mr. Diehl had a lovely little school — nothing too big, came out of a small, '50s-style ranch house — and made a nice living there.

Some years later… Donald Trump is building one of his damn casinos down in Atlantic City. Orders a bunch of pianos from my friend Mr. Diehl and then, of course, refuses to pay for them.

Now, for Mr. Diehl, hundreds of thousands of dollars in pianos is a lot of fucking pianos, and a lot of fucking money. And that this bastard held out on this small-town music-school owner, and finally agreed to pay him something like six on the dollar, was disgusting. And it really hurt Mr. Diehl at the time. That was basically his… that was the money that he made for the entire year.

So. I'm gonna dedicate this one to that fucker that's sittin' down in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, right now, sucking on his shrimp scampi and lyin' to the rest of the nation.

He's just a goddamn money grabber.

What a way to introduce the Motown-infused "MoneyGrabber" by Fitz & The Tantrums. As we know, Bruce likes his horns; he followed "MoneyGrabber" with the funky horns from a snippet of James Brown's "Money Won't Change You," and then it was time for some actual Motown — with some history as a coda:

That was Barbara Lynn, with the classic song that says it all: "Money (That's What I Want)." Written by Berry Gordy, Janie Bradford, it was Motown's first hit record, in June of 1960. It was performed by Barrett Strong — now, Barrett claims he wrote the song with Berry and Janie. And his name was there,but it was removed from the copyright three years after it was written. Strange. And then it was restored in 1987, when the copyright was renewed! And then it was excised again, the following year, in a dispute.

Classic music business, unfortunately, that I guarantee came down to nothing but money.

In a perfect segue, he invited Cardi B to further explain, with her "Money" cued right up. This continual mix of the old and the new just shows that when it comes to money, "it's all happened before and it will happen again." But we didn't get "Jack of All Trades" today — instead, Bruce went with "Easy Money" from the same album, Wrecking Ball. This would be the only song performed by him on today's playlist (though not the only one he wrote).

Bruce talked about "Easy Money" afterward, recalling that it was the first song he wrote for Wrecking Ball. He described driving home from a Red Bank and just started to sing — as he recreated here on the show — "You take out the dog, I'll take out the cat.…"

Behind the wheel, just started hummin' that along. Suddenly I said, "I got it!" I dashed in my wheels to the studio! Called my crew! And threw down a rough version of that tune. And I wrote the rest of it that night on the edge of my bed, and I recorded it the next day. I like it when they happen like that.

It was my diatribe against aaaaall them Wall Street suckers, grabbin' all that easy money after that 2008 crash, without givin' a fuck about what happened to everybody else.

Throughout this series of shows, Bruce has gotten more comfortable as a DJ, but we've always known he was a musical historian. And you can't do a show about money and money problems without returning to the blues. Following "Easy Money," Bruce turned back the clock to play "I'm Your Bread Maker, Baby" by Slim Harpo and "Dead Presidents" by Little Walter.

Springsteen called Little Walter a "blues harp genius," but he had the most love for Slim Harpo: "one of my favorite bluesmen," he said, along with Jimmy Reed, and a "badass." Lingering on Harpo's catalog, the Boss showed himself to be a real fanboy in this case. For those of us have clamored for a blues album from Bruce, we got to hear him sing a bit and snap his fingers along to "King Bee," "Rainin' in My Heart," "Got Love If You Want It," and "Baby Scratch My Back." He raved over Slim's "swamp groove" that "made him a favorite of all the '60s blues-rock British combos, recalling that even the Castiles covered "King Bee" (by way of The Rolling Stones) in 1966.

At this point, Bruce was definitely having fun, raising his voice and telling a story about being "broke!" before his career took off.

I once drove to New York City in the early '70s in hopes of getting 30 dollars — to keep me from getting thrown out of my apartment in Asbury Park. It was too late, but I was going to get this 30 dollars from Mike Appel, my then-manager; when I got to the Lincoln Tunnel, the kind lady wouldn't let me through, because after she busted open my last roll of 100 pennies — the last money I had on the planet — she found one Canadian penny!

And 99 cents, my friend, will not get you into New York City! In the day, you needed a full dollar or you're turnin' around! And that's exactly what she told me to do! "Turn this car around, sir, you don't have a dollar."

So I got out of that car, with a cacophony of horns blarin' behind me for the bullshit that was going on where I was, and I searched that car inside and out. I took my time until I found, somewhere 'neath the back seat, one American cent. And I took it between my thumb and my finger, and I dropped it into her hand, and she slapped it down on that metal desk. New York was mine! I had the dollar.

But damn, that was broke.

"Broke" was the title of the next song, as Bruce introduced his audience to YouTube sensation (his bio says he has more than 200 million views) Teddy Swims. The fun continued with a rocking "Money Back Guarantee" by Max Falcon, and then Springsteen brought things down with what he called "a gorgeous recording of 'Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?' by one of the great, great American voices, Bing Crosby. Please enjoy."

"That's our show for today, folks," Bruce said afterward. "Til we meet again, I wish you health, wealth, good fortune, and good times. Go in peace."

But we weren't done yet — after Bruce's sign-off, Clarence Clemons and his Red Bank Rockers had the last word with "Savin' Up," the Springsteen-penned song with the great JT Bowen on lead vocals, to remind us that, after all this talk about money, there are some things it just can't buy.


  1. Wanda Jackson - "Money Honey"
  2. The Killers - "Money on Straight"
  3. Wynonie Harris - "Mr. Dollar"
  4. Vampire Weekend - "Rich Man"
  5. Fitz & The Tantrums - "MoneyGrabber"
  6. James Brown & the Famous Flames - "Money Won't Change You" (partial)
  7. Barbara Lynn - "Money"
  8. Cardi B - "Money"
  9. Bruce Springsteen - "Easy Money"
  10. Slim Harpo - "I'm Your Bread Maker, Baby"
  11. Little Walter - "Dead Presidents"
  12. Teddy Swims - "Broke"
  13. Max Falcon - "Money Back Guarantee"
  14. Bing Crosby - "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"
  15. Clarence Clemons & the Red Bank Rockers - "Savin' Up"

- September 15, 2021 - Jeff Calaway reporting

Forty years ago tonight, after nearly a year on the road, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played their final show on the 1980-'81 tour for The River, at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati. A backstage pass from the tour-closer, above, paid tribute to the crew.

To mark this 40th anniversary, Mike Saunders takes us back to the beginning of the original River tour, tracing its route, focusing on significant events and on-the-road atmosphere on both sides of the Atlantic with contemporary news reports, reviews, and interviews.

Part One: October to December 1980

- September 14, 2021

Springsteen Archives & Grammy Museum team up for traveling exhibit, opening at the Grammy Museum's East Coast outpost in Newark, NJ
Coming in less than a month to Newark's Prudential Center: a new interactive exhibit, Bruce Springsteen Live! Marking the 35th anniversary of Springsteen's first official live album, the exhibit will explore nearly 50 years of Springsteen/E Street Band history through iconic artifacts, live performance footage, instruments and stage costumes, exclusive interviews, concert posters and photography, as well as unique interactive displays.

As Springsteen on Broadway reopened the Great White Way, Bruce Springsteen Live! will reopen the Grammy Museum Experience at Prudential Center. The 8,200-square-foot space will be the first stop for this traveling exhibition, which was curated by the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles in collaboration with the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music.

Bruce Springsteen Live! will open in Newark on Friday, October 1 and run through Sunday, March 20, 2022, before traveling to the L.A. Grammy Museum next fall.

Among the artifacts on display will be THE guitar (Bruce's modified Fender Esquire) and Clarence's saxophone, the Tunnel of Love Tour's ticket booth, stage clothing worn by Springsteen and members of the E Street Band, and more

Bruce Springsteen Live! is meant to provide fans with an intimate look into Springsteen's creative process, exploring his evolution through the decades and shedding light on how he became — and remains — one of the greatest live performers in rock and roll history.

"Few performers embody the soul and excitement of live rock and roll like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band," says co-curator Robert Santelli, Founding Executive Director of the Grammy Museum, and a longtime New Jersey music journalist. "This exhibit will undoubtedly get fans excited about seeing Springsteen again in concert, hopefully soon."

Says Eileen Chapman, Director of the Springsteen Archives, "We are honored to work with the Grammy Museum on this unique Bruce Springsteen exhibit. Opening it here in New Jersey makes it extra special, since so many of Springsteen's greatest shows happened here."

For advance tickets, visit grammymuseumexp.org/Bruce-Springsteen, where you can select a date and a time slot. Ticket prices range from $7 to $10 (discounted pricing below the standard $10 Adult ticket price available for Seniors, Youth, College Student, and Military).
- September 14, 2021

Above, a sneak peek of the Season 3 opener of the None But the Brave podcast, for which Stevie Van Zandt sat down with hosts Flynn McLean and Hal Schawrtz for a lengthy Zoom conversation inspired by his forthcoming memoir, Unrequited Infatiations.

In the clip, Stevie talks about the coolest thing in the world that he's doing for Backstreets — signing custom Miami bookplates (which alone are thing of beauty, based on 1972 Topps baseball cards) as "Miami Steve" to accompany the new book.

"I was coerced," he laughs, "by the Jersey Guy — Richie Russo had this idea. And you know, I don't mind, really, it was a funny thing to do."

But Stevie originally underestimated the interest. "I thought, is anybody really going to respond to that? And he says, 'Yeah! Watch!'"

Russo was right, of course — with the opportunity to have a copy of the memoir signed by "Miami Steve," the response even crashed our server when it was initially announced.

And the opportunity is still here: as Stevie says, "I'm signing... well, we'll see how many! However many sell, I'm going to sign."

He quickly adds: "But not forever! This is just a finite [deal]," lasting up until the book's release date on September 28.

Pre-order Unrequited Infatuations now
to guarantee yours with the "Miami Steve"-signed bookplate,
a limited-time Backstreets exclusive!

Thanks to None But the Brave for the preview clip. Hal and Flynn finished up their second season in June with a two-parter, "Hiding on the Backstreets," featuring all four of the Backstreets editors who have helmed This Thing of Ours going all the way back to 1980. We thoroughly enjoyed the conversation (S02 episodes 18 and 19) and hope you'll listen if you haven't aready.

There have been three inter-season "bonus episodes" since, shorter listens to keep up with recent activity (Live Archive releases and Springsteen on Broadway), but their new season officially starts on September 23, with the first of their two-part Little Steven interview.
- September 13, 2021


Marking the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Bruce Springsteen was on hand at New York's 9/11 Memorial on Saturday morning, where many (including three presidents) gathered to commemorate the day and honor those lost. Suiting up in blac for the occasion, Springsteen performed not a song from The Rising as some might have expected, but a fitting one from his latest — which also closed each of the 2021 Springsteen on Broadway performances — "I'll See You in My Dreams."

9/12 update: below, an alternate view of Springsteen's performance from CBS. In this cut, you'll see President and First Lady Joe and Dr. Jill Biden along with President Obama and First Lady Michelle at around 0:21, as well as scenes of One World Trade Center and Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, the Midtown firehouse that lost more members than any other.

- Updated September 12, 2021


But I'd fight the fiercest battle
And march the roughest land
If only I could be sure
I'd have my Mary's hand

The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music at Monmouth University has started a new feature — the Artifact of the Month, selected from their vast holdings of objets d'Boss. To begin the series, the first item the Archives have chosen to highlight is a handwritten lyric sheet dating back to the late 1960s, when Springsteen was an unsigned artist.

"All Man the Guns (for America)" is a very early example of Springsteen's interest in the subject of soldiers returning home from battle. The song was never recorded, though it was performed live by Steel Mill. "Mary" is addressed in the first line; there's no mention of her dress.

Springsteen was filmed speaking about the new Artifact of the Month, calling the lyrics "very, very old, in the sense that they may be the oldest written lyrics going back into my songwriting that we have — I don't think that we have anything before this.… my recollection is that it was an anti-war song I wrote at probably 18 or 19 years old."

To watch Springsteen discuss it and view the full lyrics (there's a flipside to the page), visit springsteenarchives.org.
- September 10, 2021

But mainly peace, "solace and comfort" in the final nights of Broadway.
Ken Rosen bookends his Opening Night review, with photos by Adam Jaffe

The closing show of a rock 'n' roll tour can be a spectacle to behold, often a wild and loose, anything-can-happen night full of guest stars, rarities, and one-last-time celebrations.

Broadway is a different animal, though. On Broadway, closing night means a chance to see the show at its most polished, the culmination of every lesson learned from every audience reaction throughout the run.

So for my return to Springsteen on Broadway for its closing weekend, September 3 and 4, I was eager to see if and how much the show had changed since I last saw it on June 26, Opening Night.

As it turns out, it changed a lot — and it didn't take long to realize that.

Let's start with the most obvious difference: both artist and audience entered and exited wearing a mask, and only Bruce got to take his off in between. On Night 1, Bruce welcomed us with a satisfied remark about how wonderful it was to see a full house of full faces; on Night 31, he thanked us for keeping our masks on to protect each other.

The script had grown, too: Bruce provided more color, more detail, more humor, and more intimate information (If you find yourself unable to sleep through the night without getting up five times to pee, you apparently have Springsteen solidarity).

But the script additions did not come with a run-time extension, which meant that Bruce talked fast. I mean, really fast. Disconcertingly fast. And even impressively fast — I was amazed he never once tripped over his own tongue. It was a far cry from the relaxed exhale that was Opening Night.

In my original review from Night 1, I noted that the seams between the original run and the 2021 edition were obvious: the 2017-'18 engagement featured Bruce in stage actor mode, playing the role and speaking in the voice and style of his autobiography's narrator, performing before but not interacting with his audience. In contrast, the first show of the 2021 run was more conversational and colloquial —for the new elements, at least. I found Bruce's switch in voices throughout the show to be a little jarring, and I noted at the time it might have been more aptly titled, Bruce Springsteen Performs Selections from Springsteen on Broadway.

The good news is that those seams were invisible by closing night. At some point during the run, Bruce must have considered and corrected the incongruity, because his final two shows were a full return to his original Broadway form and voice. I have to confess being a little disappointed by that, because reverting the show back to a full theater piece meant jettisoning the audience interaction. I found myself missing his gruff "Shut the fuck up!" admonishments (and goodness knows, they were certainly called for each of the last two nights), but it felt like the right artistic call in the end.

Speaking of artistic decisions: well over half of the songs featured new musical and/or vocal arrangements, and my reactions to them were decidedly mixed.

Several songs in the show's first half ("My Father's House" and "The Promised Land," for example) now featured half-spoken vocals and a subdued, inconsistent, and at times almost idle guitar accompaniment, as if Bruce were lost in thought rather than performing. (This was more pronounced on Friday night; on Saturday, "My Father's House" had moved to some kind of middle ground.)

I can imagine why Bruce made those decisions, though, as the style allowed him to inflect and intone with more clarity and emphasis — there was no way a casual listener could miss the meaning in some of his most important songs. "Born in the U.S.A." in particular had finally become the talking blues it always seemed destined to become, and if Bruce had originally released it as he played it on closing night, not a soul on the planet would have misunderstood it. (Of course, it also never would have charted. Such is the dilemma of a serious songwriter.)

But on songs like "The Promised Land" and "Thunder Road," where I longed to sing along even if in my head, or "My Father's House," on my mind since my father passed away a few weeks ago, I sorely missed Bruce's consistent, warm, and healing vocals from opening night.

The change that made my heart sink was the one he made uptown. On opening night, Bruce played "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" in such a powerful piano and vocal performance that it might as well have been the full band up there — that's how much power it packed. It was a full-on, celebratory release that, for just a moment, transported us from the St. James to San Siro, and it was one of the highlights of the night for me.

This weekend, though, Bruce performed the story of his band in a quieter, nostalgic, and tender arrangement, his piano accompaniment as subdued as his guitar had been. Again, it may have been the right artistic choice to fit the night's reflective theme, but oh, how I was hoping for a repeat of "The Tenth" as I'd known it.

Patti's entrance meant that we were soon to hear the first of the new songs Bruce had added for the revival, and I was curious to see how they'd evolved over the course of the run. What I didn't expect was the degree to which Bruce and Patti's always palpable chemistry had elevated their segment — their duets had risen to an entirely new level.

On both Friday and Saturday nights, "Tougher Than the Rest" was finer than I'd ever seen them perform it. "Tougher" is always a highlight when they perform it as a duet — it's a song that is loaded and laden with meaning for them, both in genesis and performance. But this time they performed it in unbreakable communion. For those of us close enough to see their raised eyebrows, half-grins, and every other facial expression that accompanied their locked eyes… I'm telling you, that song was emotionally subtitled.

And then: "Fire."

Holy smokes.

I had a feeling this one was going to be stronger. The duet debuted on opening night was a revelation for me, completely changing the meaning and power dynamic of the song. But their performance also seemed just a bit tentative that first night, like a work still in progress. Turns out it was.

The song now featured a new spoken introduction revealing that not only had Bruce written "Fire" for Elvis Presley, he'd been inspired by The King's movies and — revisionist history or not — imagined it performed as a duet with Ann-Margret. That set the stage for a more confident, sexier version of "Fire" than the one debuted in June, and while still a duet, Patti quickly assumed the driver's seat — at one point even playfully hushing her husband with a finger on his lips. This "Fire" had heat."

American Skin (41 Shots)" was just as powerful as I remembered it; what surprised me was the majesty of "The Rising." Bruce's performance Friday night was the single best version of "The Rising" that I've seen, and I have seen a lot. His tender reading conveyed more nuance and emotion than I've ever heard him accomplish — every bit as effective as his earlier half-spoken songs but without compromising his soaring vocals, which may have been at their peak in this moment across both nights.

Bruce carried that momentum into the home stretch. I will argue until my dying day that, even more than the opening drum roll and riff of "Born to Run," there is nothing across Bruce's entire catalog as galvanizing and thrilling as the opening bars of "Land of Hope and Dreams." I am pleased to report that the song remains as jubilant and electrifying as ever when he launches into it from "Dancing in the Dark" — even acoustically. I would have paid those crazy Broadway ticket prices just for that one song each night.

After Bruce acknowledged the applause and returned to the microphone, I found myself holding my breath. On opening night, he wept throughout his epilogue, overcome with emotion after an evening of visitation with his departed ghosts. His voice quavered and broke, and tears streamed continuously. It remains — and likely always will — the most powerful moment of theater I have ever witnessed.

Last night, though, Bruce seemed at peace. Although it was clear in his speech and on his face just how much these 31 nights of visitations with family and friends vanished and gone had meant to him, they seem to have given him solace and comfort. There were no closing-night regrets written on his face, and not a single visible tear on either night. He seemed content with the imminent conclusion of his summer job.

Bruce's final performance of "I'll See You in My Dreams" was almost desperate in its urgency. Bending forward on one knee at the song's pivotal line, he underscored "For death is not the end!" It was both promise and defiance, his eyes saying what his voice couldn't.

And with that pledge, Bruce bid farewell to his ghosts and — at least for now — to us.

The conclusion of Springsteen on Broadway closes the book on a remarkably intimate and brave chapter of Bruce's career, the story of an immortal legend coming to terms with his human mortality by deconstructing himself and his life in full public view. I don't believe we've ever seen anything like it, and I'm not sure we ever will again.

I've long ago given up trying to predict what Bruce Springsteen will do next — I was never any good at it, anyway. But if history is any guide, whatever the future brings either his way or ours, our faithful traveling companion will help us make sense of it.

Thanks for welcoming us back into your life and ours, Bruce.

The road is long and seeming without end. We'll see you up it.
- September 5, 2021 - Ken Rosen reporting - photographs by Adam Jaffe

From the Archives, a 2005 return to the legendary Philadelphia theater
"How're we doing here, Philly?" asked Bruce Springsteen of the sellout crowd, early on in September's First Friday release. He was speaking from the stage of the Tower Theater, where a "sellout crowd" is only around 3,000: this recording from May 17, 2005, fills in another gap in the Live Archive series, capturing the initial stretch of the Devils & Dust tour when Bruce played U.S. theaters and similarly sized venues for the first time in a decade.

Like the Main Point before it and the Spectrum afterward, the Tower served as Bruce's base of operations for a time, in the mid-1970s, while he and the E Street Band were in the midst of building one of their most loyal fanbases. "I feel like I grew up in that alley back there," he told the audience. "It was serious deja vu — it was kind of scary!"

Until now, the sole Tower Theater show from the Archive series — also among its earliest releases — was December 31, 1975, Upper Darby, PA, the final performance by Bruce and the E Street Band at the Tower before they graduated to larger Philadelphia-area venues. Springsteen didn't return for 20 years, almost to the date, when a pair of December 1995 solo performances on the Tom Joad tour were professionally recorded and aired in part on The Columbia Records Radio Hour (hint, hint, Nugs). Nearly a decade later, Springsteen hit the Tower one last time, for one more solo gig, and that Devils & Dust date is now preserved — newly mixed and mastered — with the release of Tower Theater 2005.

Ticket image thanks to springsteenlyrics.com

The Devils & Dust tour found Bruce expanding his musical palette and power as a solo performer. This recording captures him just under a month in, and as the earliest D&D Archive release thus far, it offers listeners a different show than previous 2005 entries. For example, at this point the set regularly began with the pump-organ version of "My Beautiful Reward," and "Land of Hope and Dreams" was still an encore staple. On this night, the wonderful Tex-Mex version of "Ramrod" began its life as a frequent D&D encore-opener. And "Dream Baby Dream" — Springsteen's powerful, enthralling cover of the Suicide song — was still a new jaw-dropping set-closer, having been first performed onstage only three shows before.

Whenever Bruce Springsteen's in town, good things happen in Philadelphia. In the case of 5/17/05, it doesn't get any better than the one-night-only performance of "Iceman," the Darkness outtake that eventually saw the light of day on Tracks. Having this one-off in professional quality is quite special indeed.

Springsteen segued directly from "Iceman" into another beautiful moment: the piano performance of "Incident on 57th Street." While it wasn't a tour debut or one-night-only kind of moment, it still had great emotional impact for many of us in the Philly-based audience that night, especially because we lost our beloved local rock-radio legend Ed Sciaky, a huge Springsteen fan and supporter (who introduced Bruce and the Band at the Tower on that 1975 Archive release) all too early in 2004. It was no secret how much Ed loved "Incident," and to hear Bruce perform it alone at the piano in the Philly area — at the Tower Theater, no less — for the first time since Ed's untimely death meant quite a lot, and still does. This is also the first D&D tour performance of "Incident" to be officially released.

Other rarities — both new to the Archive series for 2005 — include the Human Touch gem "Real World" (on piano, of course) and The River's closing track "Wreck on the Highway," which Springsteen had brought back just days before in Fairfax, Virginia. Though the song had been absent from his sets since a lone nod on the Born in the U.S.A. tour, Springsteen jumped right back in, letting the narrative take center stage as he played a sparse but effective accompaniment on the electric piano.

And while a D&D performance of "Leah" (one of my favorite tracks from Devils & Dust) appeared on Trenton, NJ, November 22, 2005, the version performed at this show includes Bruce's hilarious setup about Roy Orbison's influence on the song and how The Big O could sing about anything. Just one more reason to be glad that this gem of a show is now available in the Live Archive series.

Also read: Erik Flannigan's latest nugs.net blog entry, "I've Never Played It, So I'm Going to Give It a Shot"

- September 4, 2021 - Shawn Poole reporting

Max Weinberg pays tribute to his hero Charlie Watts in this piece written for Backstreets, which also serves as a new preface to his 1983 conversation with the Rolling Stones drummer.
That interview originally appeared in Max's acclaimed (but out-of-print) book The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock's Great Drummers; all thanks to the Mighty One for allowing us to reprint it here.

My friends at Backstreets have asked me to write a little something about my hero and friend, Charlie Watts, who died last week at the age of 80.

My heart is heavy with the loss yet full because of the talent, grace, humility, charm, wit, strength, and kindness CW spread throughout his life to his family, his fans, his friends, and his band. I am humbled and uplifted for the fact that I knew him.

Charlie & Me. The long hair and my glasses (ugh) would suggest late ’80’s! He was not only a hero to me for his art, he was a real mensch!

I've talked a lot this past week about Charlie. I recalled that when I was a kid drummer in the '60s, a teen trying to find my way into the mysterious world of rock 'n' roll with a band — we didn't call them "garage bands," they were simply "bands" — we strivers would find ads for bands seeking musicians. And whether on the bulletin board of Rondo Music on Route 22 in Union, New Jersey (in my particular case), or in the Public Notice Music section of New York City’s The Village Voice (as pointed out to me some years ago by the great Modern Drummer interviewer Robyn Flans)those ads invariably included bands looking for a "Charlie Watts-type drummer."

Charlie Watts had become a genre unto himself!

The Rolling Stones back then were perfect for us somewhat-inept-but-hungry emulators. Beatles music was too hard; no one even attempted to play anything other than The Beatles' cover tunes. But, the Rolling Stones — blues-based — their songs you could pound out on the drums, and your excitement with the beat would cover up any of your insufficiencies.

I first saw The Rolling Stones on November 7, 1965 at what was then the Mosque Theater (now Symphony Hall) on Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. My friend and I took the #77 bus down South Orange Avenue practically to the theater for the first show. We somehow paid three dollars for two second-row seats. When they were introduced, the girls' screams from the audience were loud—not as loud, perhaps, as The Beatles, but loud enough to send your heart into overdrive.

They opened with Solomon Burke's "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," and a half-hour later Charlie Watts became indelibly etched in my heart and soul as the coolest cat I'd ever seen.

Nonchalant, seeming to throw it all away, Charlie held the drum chair with the aplomb of a hip jazz drummer who happened to find himself a founding member of what would become the self-proclaimed "World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band."

Why were they great? And still are? Of course, the songs, but even more than that, through the ups-and-downs, the angst, the absolute unique setup of a "democratic" rock 'n' roll band… they stayed together.

In many ways Charlie was not only the bedrock drummer of the Stones, as the New York Times put it last week, Charlie was the soul of the band. Proud to be there but somehow detached, as if looking in from the outside—in the way he referred to them as "them" — Charlie kept them grounded when the rock 'n' roll demons might have reached up through the quicksand and pulled them down.

Backstreets has pulled the Charlie chapter from The Big Beat as a way to look back at a snapshot from some 39 years ago, when Bob Santelli (well known to readers of Backstreets) and I set out to ask the question why, not how, you play the drums. It was Dave Marsh's original idea after a friend of mine, author Harvey Kubernik, asked me if I wanted to meet Hal Blaine, the truly legendary L.A. session man. We met, and that conversation was the genesis of the idea of setting down their stories.

The first and second editions of The Big Beat, from 1984 (L) and 1991 (R)

As I said, Dave said I should do it. Now, you've got to know something about me — I was the guy who'd stay up all night to write the essay due in the morning. Mr. Procrastinator! But with a lot of encouragement from Dave, and the helpful writing tutorials from Bob, I set out to write a book.

Crazy, right?

I have to admit, it was a daunting proposition to sit across from the drummers I had so long admired, to be prepared to ask pointed, in-depth questions about their histories, and not come off as Chris Farley on SNL when he asked Paul McCartney, "…remember when you were in the Beatles?"

Fanboy that I was, I think back to sitting with Charlie, in the lovely tea room of his town house by the Thames River in London, as we talked drums and drummer history, mostly. It was my first one-on-one with him, and he couldn't have been more gracious and accommodating.

Throughout my life and career I've had so many of my childhood dreams and fantasies become real. One of those was getting to meet Charlie Watts. To become a casual friend, being invited to a Stones show when he was in town, seeing his Orchestra or Quintet or — how do you say it in -et? — ten-piece band was always a treat.

A wonderful moment for me a dad/drummer, my kids Ali and Jay, and my hero, Charlie Watts before his show.

Once he invited Becky, my wife, and me to see his five-piece at the Blue Note in New York. Small jazz club. You could tell he was having the time of his life playing the music, in his imitable style, that he loved so much. We were sitting stageside, and when the set was over, Charlie swept down from the drums, handed his sticks to me (which I still have), and fingered the lapels of my suit.

Oh, yeah, I always dressed up to see Charlie play. Respect. For me, it was like going to temple. As he inspected the material, he appraised, "Nice — worsted wool." But then Charlie bowed, took Becky's hand to lightly brush with a kiss, and in his oh-so-suave British accent said, "…and milady's in silk." Which she was.

What a moment!

Charlie Watts was royalty. Not in the monarchy sense, of course, but in the sublime manner with which he strolled through life, dapper as a dandy, with enough artistic talent — both on the drums and in visual arts — to not only become a genre unto himself but to truly earn the sobriquet of icon.

As I seem to have mentioned many times this past week, a New Jersey songwriter of some repute has on occasion observed, "There have been pretenders, there have been contenders, but there is only one (you fill in the blank)."

Well, in this case, I write in the name of Charlie Watts, who truly was a singular sensation.

for Max Weinberg's 1983 Charlie Watts interview,
originally published in The Big Beat

As Max notes that he's talked about Charlie Watts a lot in recent days, we'll point you to two more: his conversation with Brian Hiatt for Rolling Stone, and with Christiane Amanpour for CNN.
- September 2, 2021

From the 1988 tourbook for the Tunnel of Love Express Tour

The Utopian Dream rubs up against Social Realism in 16 love songs
"Hello lovers, brothers, sisters, newlyweds, divorcees from sea to shining sea," began Bruce Springsteen this morning, welcoming listeners to "to Volume 27 of From My Home to Yours, titled 'Going to the Chapel.'"

It's remarkable that it has taken him 27 episodes and well over a year of themed DJ sets to get to the subject of love and marriage; but of course, as many of his stage raps have suggested to us over the years, the subject is complicated.

You might not gather that from the first four songs, a quartet from a seemingly simpler time in which a love song was just a love song. In which the idea of marriage sparked celebration (even if the old folks roll their eyes) rather than contemplation, indecision, or worse. "Bells will ring, sun will shine / I'll be his and he'll be mine / We'll love until the end of time…" Isn't that how it goes? Pretty much — at least in these first few favorites from the late '50s and early '60s.

After "You Never Can Tell" kicked things off, Bruce revelled in its lyrics and praised "the genius of Chuck Berry": "Our master American storyteller, our Mark Twain of rock 'n' roll."

The next three formed a "Gonna Get Married" trifecta. It came with some fun biographical details of Major Lance (he of "Monkey Time," another Springsteen favorite), including the fact that Lance went to high school "along with Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler — what a class!" After Major Lance and the recently departed Lloyd Price, the Dixie Cups said they're gonna get married, too — and, of course, gave us the title of today's episode.

One of the most classic wedding songs of all time: "Chapel of Love." Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector, originally recorded by Darlene Love! But turned into a hit that spent three weeks at Number 1 by the Dixie Cups in 1964 — knocking The Beatles out of the top chart spot, and that wasn't easy to do.

It's with Bruce's own "I Wanna Marry You" — "live, from the River Tour" — that the episode turns, suggesting that these songs so far are "imagining love" rather than talking about "the real thing." Recorded January 27, 2016, the version of "I Wanna Marry You" Bruce chose for this episode includes one of those stage raps we were just talking about, and that's where the crux of the message is:

I wrote this song as a daydream — you know, you're standing on the corner, watching someone you'll never meet walk by, and you're imagining an entire life with this person! What it would be like, what are your kids are gonna look like, where you're gonna live… happiness, happiness, happiness! Of course, the life you're imagining is the one without consequences. You know that one — it doesn't exist! But hey, this is a song of beauty! Of imagining love, in all of it's glory. The excitement, and its tentativeness. It's not the real thing… but I had to start someplace."

In the live performance, Bruce laughed as he wagged a finger at the band for screwing up — before realizing it was he himself who forgot a part. "I was ready to blame others… but I fucked it up!" Not a bad parallel right there for navigating real love and marriage.

Back in the DJ booth, he offered further details about his song:

That was "I Wanna Marry You," written for The River, in a Ben E. King-via-Manfred Mann's Paul Jones vocal style, borrowing a little soul, mixing it with a little doo-wop, and sequenced on the album just before "The River." It was meant to rub against "The River" and highlight the contradictions of the two songs and of marriage itself. One a utopian dream, and one, social realism. They create a tension and a conflict that was at the center of The River album — really the first album where I wrote about relationships between men and women.

From here, we get songs with a more adult, realistic, and even heartbreaking view of love and marriage — ones with consequences. The Drifters sing in a deep cut: "One day married, next day free / Broken hearts for you and me / Takes no time at all to get
A Mexican divorce." Responding to FMHTY mainstay Bob Dylan's "I Threw It All Away," Bruce acknowledges, "And oh yes, we have, a few times. " (He adds: " From the lovely album Nashville Skyline, one of the most playable albums in Bob's stable of incredible records.")

For the social realism angle, look no further than The Roches' "The Married Men," which Bruce calls "a great, great song, one of my favorites." It's the FMHTY debut of this New Jersey trio (sisters Maggie, Suzzy, and Terre Roche), and Bruce takes the time to sing their praises:

'The Married Men' is one of a kind. There is no other song dealing with the ins and outs, complications of marriage, anything like that one. Great song, I believe written by Maggie Roche if I am correct, I'm not sure about that [He's right. —Ed.]… but they were incredible songwriters and an amazing vocal group, really the kind of vocals that can only come from blood. The Beach Boys have it also, of course; the Everly Brothers had it also, of course; it's just a unique feature of genetics, the way those voices blend."

While Vol. 26 was heavy on "new" Country music, Bruce reaches further back in Vol. 27 for more traditional examples of the form — one from Charlie Rich, two from Tammy Wynette, and a "great, great" song from New Traditionalist Randy Travis. Bruce touches on that genre distinction as he talks about "On the Other Hand," from Travis's mid-'80s multi-platnium Storms of Life.

Randy Travis… singer of 16 Number 1 singles on the Billboard Country charts. He was born in Marshville, North Carolina, had a bit of a troubled youth — and adulthood — but generally mended his ways and dedicated himself to his music. And it's just one of the loveliest voices of a certain party of Country that was somewhat post-traditional and yet certainly pre- the modern Country that we hear today.

The Wynette tracks are two of her most well-known, both Number 1 Country hits from 1968: "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and "Stand By Your Man." Bruce offers a postscript to the latter, to make sure the deal goes both ways: "Women —  stand by your man. And men — stand by your woman."

A "Buddy Holly-ish cut" from "my friends" John Cafftery and the Beaver Brown Band, makes for back-to-back FMHTY appearances from Cafferty, while Sam & Dave's "When Something is Wrong With My Baby" offers another opportunity for Bruce to rave over one of his influences. One of the consistent pleasures of FMHTY is hearing Bruce so enthused purely as a fan of music:

Sam & Dave, back in the days when they were still speaking to one another… I've seen them perform ["When Something is Wrong With My Baby"] live in Philadelphia; also at the Satellite Lounge at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and at the Fast Lane in Asbury Park. I saw Sam & Dave three times, while they were still playing together. And literally, every time, they brought me to tears —  and certainly with this song. They were one of the most powerful, incredible duos of all time. And when I saw them at the Fast Lane, it was heartbreaking, because it was a relatively small crowd there, and they simply sang their hearts out. And I can tell you: I stood in the back of the room and wept at seeing this great, great, great talent — later in the day of their performing together — bringing in, really, quite a small audience. It was so undeserved. And they were so epic, and so profound, that it touched me incredibly deeply.

Following right up is Charlie Rich (who also recorded "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" — possibly what brought him to mind as Bruce put this set together?), who gets the last word in the "social realism" column, with "Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs." But our DJ lands on "utopian dream" in the end, as Elvis Presley's timeless, glorious "Can't Help Falling in Love" closes today's show.

That's a track that Bruce and the E Street Band covered often in 1985 and again on 1988's Tunnel of Love Express Tour. But an hour of songs about marriage with nothing from Tunnel of Love itself? A song like "Brilliant Disguise" would give The Roches a run for their money, no matter what Bruce says.… but then, leaning on his own songs has never really been the point of this continually lovable radio show.

Today's benediction: "I want you to stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive... and stay in love. Go in peace."


  1. Chuck Berry - "You Never Can Tell"
  2. Major Lance - "Gonna Get Married"
  3. Lloyd Price - "I'm Gonna Get Married"
  4. Dixie Cups - "Chapel of Love"
  5. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - "I Wanna Marry You" (live in NYC, 1/27/16)
  6. The Drifters - "Mexican Divorce"
  7. Bob Dylan - "I Threw It All Away"
  8. The Roches - "The Married Men"
  9. Tammy Wynette - "D-I-V-O-R-C-E"
  10. Randy Travis - "On the Other Hand"
  11. John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band - "Customary Thing"
  12. Dave Edmunds - "I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock 'n' Roll)"
  13. Tammy Wynette - "Stand By Your Man"
  14. Sam & Dave - "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby"
  15. Charlie Rich - "Life's Little Ups and Downs"
  16. Elvis Presley - "Can't Help Falling in Love"

- September 1, 2021 - Christopher Phillips reporting

For the second year running, Patti Scialfa won't get to play her scheduled set at the Sea.Hear.Now festival. Last summer, some five months into the pandemic, she told Rolling Stone how "ready" she was to get out there and play her own music: "Oh, God, I so want to do that." She had been scheduled to do so at SHN 2020 last Seotember before the whole Asbury Park festival had to be canceled due to COVID.

"[Danny Clinch] asked me to play, and it was going to be big," she told Andy Greene. "I was going to come out and play a 45-minute set. I went, 'What a great way to get going!' It was booked, and I was on the list. Then it was just done."

Fast forward a year and circumstances were promising, with the return of Sea.Hear.Now planned for September 2021 and Scialfa back on the bill...  until this week, when the festival has announced via Twitter:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Patti Scialfa will not be performing at SHN this year. We hope to have her back in future years. We look forward to seeing everyone in a few short weeks. New music schedule released as well.

All fingers crossed that Patti gets another chance soon — she has a lot of fans as ready to come see her play as an artist in her own right as she is to do so— and we're crossing our fingers for our friends at Sea.Hear.Now, too, that they can still manage to go forward with a safe, successful festival despite the ongoing challenges.

In the meantime, with just one exception so far on the 2021 Springsteen on Broadway run (August 20), Patti has been joining her husband nightly on the St. James Theatre stage for two duets. Her latest Instagram post states that the Saturday night performance was captured on film.
- September 1, 2021

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Original handwritten "Thunder Road" lyrics from 1975, on the Bonhams auction block. #waves
Marah's Serge Bielanko talks Springsteen and Born in the USA on The Untitled Gen X Podcast
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