Bruce Springsteen doesn't just talk a good game. Here, then, are some of my very favorite songs from the most beloved Boss in America, and perhaps the most authentic and admirable spokesman for our times.
"I wrote a song about my high school girlfriend who broke my heart and have been milking it ever since. The irony of it is, it's the very first song I ever wrote and it's the song that's pinned on my back, kind of like 'kick me.'"
Wrecking Ball stands as Springsteen's best album release in almost thirty years. It's both wrenching and jubilant; looking back and looking forward; steeped in sorrow as well as celebratory and undaunted.
Things are good for The Boss. After all these years, Bruce Springsteen still seems to be riding high even as the music business wanes. This is the Springsteen we first fell in love with: down and dirty, raw, unaffected and perhaps never with a hungrier heart.
Prior to The Oscars' embracing Outasight's "Tonight Is The Night" -- well, not with an award but with broadcast muscle -- the single had airplay on over 115 Top 40 radio stations, sales of over 530,000 copies, over 18,000 daily streams on Spotify, and over 5 million views on YouTube.
To celebrate Leonard Cohen's legendary 40+ years in music and his upcoming new album Old Ideas, a handful of today's artists have recorded a cover of their favorite Leonard Cohen song for Old Ideas With New Friends.
The thing with Bruce, and any artist like Bruce, is that the most important thing is the song, getting across the meaning and the character of the song. Bruce is almost like an actor in that he creates a character for each of his songs.
During the 1970s, I attended shows at Carnegie Hall by Neil Young, Van Morrison, Carole King, Bill Withers, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson and others. Now it was for the renowned St. Petersburg Orchestra, with young Julia Fischer performing Beethoven's only violin concerto.
I no longer view being old as an ending to my involvement in life in a vital and powerful way. Rather, I see it as the initiation of a new life stage during which I am freer than ever to achieve my true human potential.
Over the next two weeks, I'm going to share a series of interviews with some of the music industry's heroes and working stiffs who literally brought you this year's awesome Grammy Awards with nary a hiccup. First up at bat is Phil Ramone.
Of all the fantastic performances, the great voices and outrageous dancing and original songs, and amazing legends, and youngsters who can sing us all under the table, it was, at the end of the day, Springsteen who blew me away.
My exposure to classical music was limited, by choice, and Beethoven was little more than a key "droogie" in A Clockwork Orange. But then, as I approached my 60th birthday, something happened. My life has gone from "Roll Over, Beethoven" to just... Beethoven.