Dec 212020

Happy Christmas


  81 Responses to “Never Before Seen Beatles Footage”

  1. sammymaudlin

    No Frodo?!

  2. [Snobbish sniff…] I saw it this morning.

  3. HOLY SHIT!!!!! Johnny Hit and Run, big thumbs up for that teaser! Can’t wait! Been reading and hearing about it for the last year or so, and it looks like it’s going to be everything Mark Lewisohn said it was going to be: that the Let it Be myth is false, and that it wasn’t the godawful time that it was said to be. From the teaser, Jackson appears to be on the same page as Lewisohn.

    Jesus, two hours or so of glorious Beatles footage I’ve never seen before. Heaven can wait!

    One more thing, I finally got a chance to listen to Springsteen’s “Thunder Road,” XPN’s pick as the number one song of all time. Hard to believe, but I never heard it before. It’s a never-ending unmelodic, uninsightful, unmemorable, and insufferable sludgefest, just like 99 percent of the rest of his output. And just for the record, it’s insulting as hell to have the XPN “I’m gonna become somewhat versed in the whole music thing because it comes across as kind of cool, and I’m bored with the whole making shitloads of money, house in the suburbs, and Whole Foods granola wife thing” crew determine what’s best for the listening community.

    Based on the rest of XPN’s choices for greatest song of all time, I didn’t understand why Andrew Gold’s “Thank You for Being a Friend” or Joey Scarbury’s “Believe it Or Not” didn’t make their top 20. I certainly wouldn’t put those songs in there, but they would have been arguable choices alongside turds such as “Angel from Montgomery” or “Jungleland,” yet another snoozer from the smartest dumb guy in the room.

    I’m more than aware that the Moderator has already brought all this up on Facebook, and discussion of the issue is old, but the XPN gang continues to make my stomach turn, and their deification of Springsteen is fitting, yet still horrifying. Fakery has always been a necessary evil in rock, and it’s more than acceptable when it’s perpetrated by someone with supreme brains and sleight of hand, i.e. Bob Dylan, Joe Strummer, Woody Guthrie. . ..hell, even the mastermind behind the Monkees to some degree. Springsteen is one of those wannabes that never will be because he just doesn’t have it. Plain and simple.

    He gets away with a lot in the tri-state area because of the whole “local boy makes good” thing as well. That’s fine and dandy, but let’s call a spade a spade. Robert Hazard is no Bowie and Springsteen is certainly no Dylan.

    Don’t ask me why, but I tried to read Springsteen’s autobiography. Near the end of the first half, he writes that his finest work is the “Born in the USA” album. That more or less verified what I already thought about him and also gave me good reason to stop reading right then and there.

    That said, “the boss” has one winner, “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City.” I always give credit where credit is due, but I must admit that a lot of my liking for that song is due to the way it’s used in a key scene in John Sayles’ “Baby, It’s You,” one of my all time favorite growing up pics.

    Sorry for all that. I wanted to put my two cents in earlier, but I’m not on Facebook. And that’s not because I have any issues with Facebook; I just know that if I ever signed up, I’d never get anything done.

  4. Just watched that teaser again. I’d clean Johnny on the Spots 24/7 for a year if that happened to be one of the prerequisites for a seat at the premiere.

    A year or so ago, I was at a record show hanging with Zary, one of the bigger LP dealers on the east coast, and his knowledgeable partner Karen. Really sweet and very interesting people. Zary once told me that he’s had and listened to just about every psych album ever pressed and the Beatles were, are, and always will be hands down the best of the lot. While we’re looking at albums, Karen sees me looking at yet another super clean copy of Revolver that I just have to have. She raises an eyebrow and says, “I just really never got the whole Beatles thing. They’re really not all that.”

    While Zary is flipping through albums, he smiles and says, “Oh, yes they are. They’re all that and more than everything you could ever hope something to be.”

    And that continues to be oh so true, even when watching the four of them do nothing but fuck off.

  5. Sign me up for all 56 hours!

    This looks fantastic but it is a snapshot. The two people who were most negative about it are dead. Still from these brief bits they were clearly all having great fun

  6. Me too, Al!

    To all, please rank the following songs:

    “Believe it Or Not” by Joey Scarbury, “Thank for Being a Friend” by Andrew Gold, “Angel from Montgomery” by John Prine and Bonnie Rait, and “Jungleland” by Bruce Springsteen.

  7. BigSteve

    I’m on team Karen.

  8. I’m excited. When you watch Let it Be, it always seems like it is raining inside the studio. It’s so drab. This is the studio party where I want to be hanging! Nice to see George took it seriously enough to dress up for work everyday. I’m in.

    Were there preliminary talks (meaning a few stoned people in the entourage said it out loud) that the Beatles were considering being the hobbits in a movie version of Lord of the Rings? I think I remember reading that when they were considering things to do around the Magical Mystery Tour era.

  9. Here’s a nice summary I found online regarding other possibilities:

    “The Sahara desert was floated as a potential location, as were the Giza pyramids, and even the QE2 ocean liner. A 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater in Tunisia was seriously considered, and location scouts were sent to investigate.”

    Thank god they opted for the roof!

  10. A couple of thoughts:

    – That teaser was outstanding. I’m not even a Beatles superfan and now I’m all wound up.

    – My view of Yoko has softened substantially over the years. I blame the breakup of the Beatles on burnout and, to a lesser degree, Allen Klein, although he probably just hastened the inevitable. But how manifestly uncool is it for Yoko to pull a chair up right in front of John while they are working stuff out in the studio? And how uncool is it for John not to rein it in? What a bad bandmate.

    – Team Karen/Steve: Beatles fanatics can be an annoying lot (although easily trolled). The band itself is ubiquitous and people still can’t stop shouting their praises. But even as a Stones guy, I think they are “all that”. The Beatles are like pizza in that they can’t be overrated. Obviously some pizza is better than others but the end of the day, even mediocre pizza is not too shabby. Someone gave me tickets to see McCartney a few years ago and as the show started, I was bracing myself for the prospect of having to sit through Obla Di Obla Da and the big sing along at the end of Hey Jude. But even McCartney’s most cloying Beatles songs that night were astounding to hear in that context.

    – EPG, I’ve been off Facebook for 2 years so I missed the discussion and am glad you brought it up. Thunder Road is a very good song. Not the number one song of all time (that would be Good Lovin by the Rascals or The Israelites by Desmond Decker), but a good solid song. What did you expect when the People get to vote on something like that? Did you ever try to choose a movie to watch with a group of people? Someone doesn’t like horror movies, somebody else can’t stand Adam Sandler, so you end up watching something that is the least offensive to the most amount of people.

  11. CDM, as always, great insights. Just a couple of things:

    I too feel that a lot of the blame looks like it should be leveled at Klein. One of the other things that really did a number on the band was when McCartney secretly bought up a rather large amount of shares in Northern Songs when it became an entity on the British stock market. Lennon deservedly had a major shit fit about the whole thing and never really forgave McCartney.

    As far as multi-untalented Yoko is concerned, she certainly kept things interesting and that includes the music. So, my issues with her are nil.

    The pizza analogy was really nice. Couldn’t agree more.

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of “Thunder Road.” It is not a very good song. I forced myself to listen to it three more times, just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and was not surprised to discover that the song is actually a lot worse that I originally I thought. Neither my short nor long term memory could retain a single second of it.

    Springsteen has a whole slew of those overblown, bottomless pit drivel workouts that never amount to anything. His fan base describes them as cinematic. True, they’d work well as a soundtrack for some vehicle like Eddie and the Crusiers, but the buck stops there.

    When possible, please explain to me why “Thunder Road” is a much better choice than something like Rupert Holmes’ “Pina Colada Song.” In my estimation, Holmes’ melody and arrangement are far superior. And I admit that the lyrics are pretty insipid, but they’re no better or worse than what’s served up on “Thunder Road.” The truth of the matter is that Holmes takes a back seat to Springsteen because he isn’t considered cool.

    Enlighten me, if need be. What am I missing?

  12. One more thing. Why is “On the Dark Side” by John Eddie and the Front Street Runners considered a so-so Springsteen knock off? It should be celebrated as a three minute lesson illustrating how much better a well crafted Springsteen effort would sound.

  13. I like how you listened 3 more times and scientifically determined that the song is actually worse; like you re-ran some calculations just to make sure the numbers came out correctly. I can’t fight science. I’m not a Springsteen guy at all either, but I understand why/how he resonates with others.

  14. Dylan is to New York as Springsteen is to New Jersey as Do Ho is to Hawaii. I agree with you. You get what you deserve.

  15. “On The Dark Side” is by John Cafferty. Can’t keep the news Springsteen’s straight without a scorecard.

  16. Though it matters little, I stand corrected.

  17. Thunder Road vs Pina Colada? I like them both. Thunder Road feels a little more serious but I really enjoy a pop trifle as well, so PC is a-okay in my book. When Spotify sent me a list of my most played songs of all year, I was surprised to see that Sugar Sugar was number one, but the surprise wore off quickly.

  18. That’s fair enough. Band on the Run was the #1 Spotify choice for me and the wife. Not sure how all that was calculated, but I’m fine with the outcome. Great song and great album, the only solo effort, along with most of Plastic Ono Band, that holds up after continuous plays.

  19. So much good is emerging from this thread. Thank you for the enlightenment and entertainment. I’ve got to get ready for yet another busy day at work, but first, a few comments.

    I still need to make myself read that Springsteen autobiography. I’m going to need to steal a copy, because I don’t want to let on that I’m interested in reading it. Like his music, I sometimes find nuggets of interest in his interviews, before he spouts on way too long. As for his thoughts on Born in the USA, I agree completely: It’s by far his finest collection!

    The Beatles-pizza analogy by cdm (coupled with BigSteve’s “Team Karen” comment) may be my key takeaway from this Week in RTH. Just a few days ago, my wife and I were talking about pizza in pervasive Beatles-like terms. I’m still standing by my man BigSteve, even though he needs his head examined on this one issue.

    I’ve long moved past any beefs people tried to instill in my over Yoko, but I agree: her sitting right in front of John while the band is rehearsing is lame at 360 degrees. Since shocking myself with my ability to love Cornbread, the cat we got 15 years ago, I’ve realized that the quality I like about cats vs dogs is the same quality I like in my women, or should I say woman, as a longtime, devoted husband of only one woman: Cats give you only so much love and attention, then they know when to walk away. Dogs, if they like you, don’t know when enough is enough. Yoko, in Let It Be, is like my worst nightmare of the dog who keeps wanting my attention, who keeps wanting to lick me and dry hump my leg. Just slither off and do your own thing once in a while, pooch, like my Cornbread and my beautiful wife!

    As for this Let It Be teaser, my cool-guy exterior melted about 3 seconds into the actual footage. I’ve been bracing myself, for as long as I’ve heard about this thing, for a whitewashing of the end of one of my favorite things on earth. It’s not like I want to watch the original movie, other than the rooftop concert bit, ever again, but the tough guy in me wants to…let it be. We’ve all had beautiful things end and learned to move on. A part of me feels like we need to discipline ourselves to do likewise re: The Beatles. But you know what? It’s 2020, Jake. Love is all you need. Any chance to see John get goofy, George show up in the studio in the grooviest threads imaginable, Paul keep the momentum going, and Ringo be Ringo is worth my keeping at least one fantasy alive, kind of like the way the neighbor-love interest guy in Miracle on 34th Street wants to spark little Natalie Wood’s belief in Santa Claus. The Beatles are and, I’ll admit it, always will be my Santa Claus. Merry Krimble, and all that jazz!

  20. Mod, I’d lend you my copy of the Springsteen book if I could find it. I liked (not loved) it. The book is like a Springsteen song: Entertaining enough, but really self-serious and not nearly as good as someone like Chris Christie would like to think.

    And Born In The USA is far from his best. The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle holds that title. He would never be that loose again. Jon Landau would have the foresight to recognize that, for massive success, all of the interesting rough edges would need to be smoothed down. Check out Wild Billy’s Circus Story if you’ve not listened to it yet. I think it is one of the better representation of the whole street poet schtick that people were peddling in the early-mid 70’s.

  21. Thanks, cdm. Let’s keep this loan between us, OK? I’ve got the first 4 or 5 Boss albums. I don’t recall that song, but the title alone gives me the heebie-jeebies! 🙂

  22. I urge all to listen to any of the Mark Lewisohn podcasts. And if anyone finds any release date info regarding the Get Back pic, please let me know ASAP!.

  23. Just for the record, I see Yoko more like a deer tick. And I’m still fine with all that. Had it not been for her parasitic lunacy. we would not have had a lot of what Lennon served up post Walrus, stuff that gives one goosebumps just seeing the titles on the album covers.

    Listening to “Happiness is a Warm Gun” makes me think God may exist after all.

    Then again, I live in a world where the enlightened have chosen something so shitty as ”Thunder Road” as the ultimate turntable spinner.

  24. EPG, I was going to destroy you with a line by line comparison of the lyrics of the Pina Colada song to the lyrics of Thunder Road, but dropped the idea when I read the lyrics to the PC song. Man, is that distasteful. I had no idea (how would I?) that the narrative was about a husband and wife each trying to cheat on the other one, but it goes wrong. ( or right?)

    It seems as tone-deaf as the lyrics to Take a Letter, Maria.

  25. Chickenfrank, the truth of the matter is that I know about as much about PC as you do. It’s memorable. And that’s about it. That said, the track being memorable makes it better than “Thunder Road”.

    Last night, me and the incredibly accommodating wife listened to yet more Springsteen to once again to see if my critiques were amiss. The better work appears to be on Greetings From Asbury Park and the Wild, the Innocent: stuff recorded before the sit down with Jon Landau who told him what he had to do if he wanted to make it big, songs about the ins and outs of growing up, sincere shit

    There’s lots of promise, but it’s flawed: all the tracks are overblown, too long, and low on variety. Still, there’s something happening. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had he hooked up with someone other than Jon Landau. There’s always talk about what would have happened if Elvis was managed by someone other than Colonel Tom Parker, and I think the canning of Landau would be just as valid a conversation.

    And here’s yet more blah, blah, blah. The Beatles never suffered in that department, nor any department until Brian Epstein died. Everyone in their camp, including someone like the road manager, was committed to their greatness and never ever tried to turn them into something they didn’t want to be. And if the hirees did try to do that, the Beatles more or less told them to fuck off.

  26. The factor that doesn’t allow me to embrace Springsteen is what I hear as the stronger influences on his music. I love the late 50s/early 60s rock of Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, The Killer, etc.; all those Sun and Chess cats. Springsteen seems to love that music too, but his sound gravitates too much to groups like the Four Seasons, Shangri-las, Gary U.S. Bonds. Not really the rock and roll I like. Too much sentimentality, too much sax instead of guitar, too much reverb, corniness over cleverness. He eventually surpassed those influences, but it’s still calcified in my brain.

    I don’t find weaknesses in his songs or lyrics, just his sound and overly dramatic style. I just don’t warm to it.

    That said, I get goosebumps every time I hear his line “Because the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance” . His enthusiasm on that line is as true as anything he’s done.

  27. All that’s more than fair.

    Here’s something that I think is worth consideration. Landau was a rock critic for years before he took on Springsteen. It seems like he was on some kind of mission to an invent an historically important new rock superhero. He succeeded with your everyday guy and gal who like music, don’t expect a whole lot, and certainly don’t know or hear any Landau in the music. And like I stated earlier, Dylan is to New York, as Springsteen is to New Jersey, as Don Ho is to Hawaii. People with any kind of real educated sincere taste, spotted the post wild and innocent phony right away and correctly noted that what they heard were muddled attempts at Dylan meets half assed arrangements of Four Seasons, Shangri-las, Gary U.S. Bonds numbers.

    Albert Grossman, Brian Epstein, Peter Grant, etc. wisely stayed away from the studio.

    One more thing. Nothing is worse than reading about somebody who’s supposedly influenced by so and so, and when you hear what’s supposed to be the proof, nothing is there, or they get it all wrong. Springsteen and Petty have that in common.

    I happen to like the Four Seasons and the Shangri-Las. They’re all about finesse not sludge. Gary U.S. Bonds is all about sludge, but he makes no excuses for it by claiming that what he’s trying to do is on a higher than thou level.

  28. EPG, those first two albums are the best, in part because Landau wasn’t on the scene steering things in the direction of more record sales at the expense of stuff that is technically imperfect but far more interesting. Also, two key members left the band. Keyboardist David Sancious (sic) and drummer Vinnie Mad Dog Lopez gave Springsteen songs a loose but ambitious feel where it didn’t seem like everything was snapped to a grid. They were replaced by the technically perfect but much less exciting Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan. The songs themselves got more straightforward and felt like they had less joy in them, too, so the newly robotic accompaniment was probably necessary.

    He does what he does very well, and I give him credit for creating a unique thing and having the drive to sustain it for all these years. I definitely like some of his stuff but my interest falls off sharply around the time of Darkness, which is around the same time I heard and became obsessed with the Velvet Underground.

    Chicken: you nailed it with the 50’s influences. There is definitely a Jersey Shore connection with that type of music. I started going to bars down there in 1981 and it was still very much present with the bar bands so I can’t imagine what it was like 10 years earlier. It seemed like every band had a sax player and every set list included stuff like Build Me Up Buttercup. It sounds like I have a higher tolerance than you for that stuff but I have my limits too. And the Four Seasons are a bridge way too far for me.

    One non-music related thing: I really like the way Bruce seems to be a genuine music dork/fan. I like that he champions small bands and up and comers, and is willing to jump on stage with people. For all of his ponderousness and corny stage antics (his show now looks like a Las Vegas revue), he seems like a sincerely good egg.

  29. I get all the “excitement” and “looseness” and “promise” of the first two albums, but the thing that makes Born in the USA Springsteen’s best album is that its ambition perfectly matches the artist’s reach. It’s his Be All That You Can Be album.

  30. That’s a fair point. I understand that it was the album where he reached his Ubermench potential but at the end of the day, the production is annoying and the songs aren’t nearly as good as some previous collections.

  31. BigSteve

    I admit that the Beatles were a good, ok great, band. But greater than everybody else? By a lot (as our president would say)? I don’t think so. I think they did their best work before Sgt Pepper, and I struggle with the second half of their work. My problem is mostly with Paul, but the overall mehness of all of their solo careers points to just running out of steam as the problem. I would gladly trade away the Beatles music if I could keep the Stones, the Who, and the Kinks.

    It’s the idolization that drives me nuts. I think it was a contributing factor to the curdling of their chemistry. The fact that people are still cumming all over themselves at this late date at the prospect of some unseen Beatles footage makes me cringe. I might even go see the Peter Jackson film, but I can’t help but feel that everyone should just get over it.

  32. I feel like the Trek nerd when Shatner tells him to get a life.

  33. CDM, you and my brother in law would get along fabulously. During a dinner party thing ,while the Asbury Park record was playing in the background, I made some comment like, “Now that’s my kind of drummer.” I love that whole Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon, Bobby Eliot calculated sloppiness thing. I can’t say for sure that it’s a tip of the hat to Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Art Blakey, etc., but it sure as hell sounds like it. Out of that gang, I think Mitch Mitchell was the only jazzer.

    Anyway,my brother in law then proceeded to tell me the exact same thing you expressed so well. I’m with you.

    The whole loose drummer thing will never be a part of the Moderator’s bag. You either get that or you don’t. I don’t get certain things either, XTC, for example.

    I’m also with you on Springsteen’s selfless championing of the little guy. Furry Murray, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of my high school band the Vandals, was one of those lucky ones who got a chance to see Springsteen perform at a small club in Pittsburgh when he hopped on stage and played a few songs with the Iron City House Rockers. Again, not a fan of either, but that must have been a hell of an event. This is embarrassing, given my vitriol for anyone who makes millions when so many are making barely enough to get by, but seeing the stars, good or bad, has always been a treat for me.

    Big Steve, I’m just gonna tell it like it is. I consider it a major character flaw to not think the Beatles are nothing short than the second coming of Christ. Granted, many think I’m disturbed, which is more than fair, but I absolutely and positively believe that. My ex-wife was not a Beatles fan. She could not understand why anyone would make such a fuss over them. I discovered all that early on and decided to give her a pass. In retrospect, I should have told her to take a hike right then and there. It would have saved me a lot of money and misery.

    And one last thing that has nothing do with Springsteen, Beatles, or opting to have hot lead poured in one’s ass via a funnel rather than listen to XTC. My oldest stepson, currently a Temple student living near the campus, is continually buying music equipment from Sweetwater and having it sent to my house. I’d do the same if I was his shoes. Anyway, because of that arrangement, I’m always getting Sweetwater mail order catalogs in my mail box. Great reading when you’re taking one of those long but satisfying morning, just finished my first cup of coffee dumps. It always astounds me that anyone would pay four grand for one of those hideous Paul Reed Smith pinhead guitars with those glossy Starship bodies and pointy headstocks when they could get a two tone Gretsch Duo Jet for 500 bucks. What kind of dolt makes that kind of decision?

  34. The weird thing is that I don’t normally like drummers like that. My favorite drummers are guys like Keltner and Jim Gordon who aren’t all over the map. I don’t know why it works for me on those early Springsteen albums. Probably just suits the songs.

    I love the Sweetwater catalog too. Aand we should figure out a way to introduce your son in law with my nephew, who is also at Temple in an apartment near campus. He played in School of Rock when he was younger and then gave up the guitar for a while but this past year he got bit by the bug big time.

    I also don’t get XTC. I like two songs but the rest of it is too cold and clinical for me.

  35. Lopez has a very jive ass kick drum. I don’t like the way he was recorded on Wild, Innocent…, I think Asbury sounds a little better, but Weinberg just has that loud, even turgid feel that I hate.

  36. I want to say that Keltner and Gordon are too bland for my tastes, but I think I might be wrong about that. Maybe that guy is Russ Kunkel. I think he’s the in house Warner / Reprise drummer who plays on all the more boring company releases,

    You and I also have that Velvet Underground thing in common. When I finally got that bug, I got it real bad. And like the Beatle bug, I had to have it all: the records, the bootlegs, the viewings of the limited amount of available footage, the books (which included any Warhol related reading material like the Edie Sedgwick bio) and that incredible What Goes On fanzine put out by Michael Kostek and Philip Milstein. What a feast for the eyes! It had shitloads of great stories and photos of the band, newspaper clippings, handbills, record covers and label shots, you name it.

    A few years back, Secret Cinema Schwartz showed some live film of the band that he borrowed from the New York Museum of Modern Art. I didn’t get a chance to see it, but I think I might have just found what he showed:

    All those kinds of clips (and they’re all more or less like that) do nothing but wet your appetite for more.

    Another thing that I really dug about my whole love affair with the Velvet Underground is that it all happened at the right time, before the internet, when I’d get myself into a tizzy trying to track down anything that had anything to do with the band whatsoever.

    All that lunacy did nothing but make those weirdos that more charismatic,

  37. If you take a fly swatter, slap it repeatedly on a large Tupperware container, and drench that sound in echo, you’ll more or less get the same thing Max Weinberg laid down ad nauseum throughout the entire Born in the USA shit grenade.

  38. At long last, common ground with EPG. So whttaya think about Spencer Dryden’s snare sound on the Bless Its Pointed Little Head version of “3/5ths of a Mile in Ten Seconds” ?

  39. Talk about a glutton for punishment! After my wife loses all her money playing poker with me and her kids, she says, “That was definitely a good time! We should do that every night, and we should keep listening to those Springsteen albums as well. What did we say for Asbury Park? 5 out of 9 songs were pretty good? I remember it being better than that.. And nothing sounded real great on Wild and the Innocent, right? Let’s see how Born to Run fares tomorrow.”

    Sounds like a plan!

    And Geo, as far as the drum sound on Bless Its Pointed Little Head’s “3/5th of a Mile in Ten Seconds” is concerned, I can’t tell you anything. I’ve never heard it before. But I can tell you that I picked up a gorgeous mono copy of Surrealistic Pillow at the last Arbutus record show. Clean mono versions of that record are like hen’s teeth. Well kept wax, beautiful cover with clean seams, not a hint or ring or corner wear, a real beauty. One of the older dealers saw me walking around with it, stopped me, and said, “Man, that’s nice. And just for the record, THAT is the one. The rest of those Airplane/Starship albums are nothing but cowpies disguised as vinyl.”

    Granted, it was mildly funny at best, but know that I thought of you while all that was going on.

  40. The relative greatness of Born in the USA has nothing to do with the album’s horrendous production or Max Weinberg’s turgid drumming. The cooler drummer on those first two albums only helps underline how far Springsteen was from being a loose, hip, mystical artist, like Van Morrison. EPG can complain all he wants about Landau’s influence on The Boss, but he helped Him take control of His meager resources and crystalize His distinct talents, as limited as I may think they are. What’s the strongest thing about Springsteen is His ability to stand up and say, “I want more out of this life than the crap my dad expected of me.” He started focusing on that theme and had His stiff, Wall of Sound band put all their focus on driving home that simple aspiration. For a few albums, starting with Born to Run, it brought out His Bruceness – and His most iconic songs. He wasn’t making that stuff for many of us, but I honestly think it’s how he maxed out his god-given gifts. Everything before and after that Born… to Born… run is icing on the cake.

  41. Got it. Cut your losses, fuck art, master the marketing of edible dogshit, and reap the rewards. That’s all fine and dandy, but make sure you’ wear a mask along with your MAGA hat at the next Trump rally.

  42. EPG: Funny how all the people in your stories sound just like you. Kind of a tell like those Trump stories that start with “This big, rugged guy walked up to me and said, ‘Sir…’

    Check out the first 25 seconds of this, and stay through the 1st verse if the bass and drums are entertaining you.

  43. I’ll be back in a couple of hours, geo. I just checked out that Airplane track and what do you know: there’s a wealthy family living on a hill across town I need to slaughter!

  44. Happiness Stan

    You guys are on fire here today, and that trailer, well, I’m sold. I stopped listening to the Beatles for twenty five years plus, I felt I’d done them to death and needed to move on. When our daughter was considering the drama school in Liverpool I downloaded Revolver and the red and blue albums and played them to her in the car in the journey. I came out of hibernation. I needed that break to appreciate them as I now do again, and two hours of that would put the world straight again for a little while.

    I’ve never listened to a Springsteen album and haven’t heard Surrealistic Pillow or the Velvets in thirty five years, and don’t expect to do any of these soon.

    I’ve been stressed off my head for the last few weeks, without even realising it, let alone accepting it.

    One of a very few things I can think of to be grateful about during 2020 has been having you all back in my life. We’re all locked down again now, but that feels more like a relief than the constant promises of jam tomorrow.

    However you spend the next week, whatever you believe in, I hope you enjoy it as best you can. We certainly intend to. Have a good one, all!

  45. Geo, I checked out the first 50 seconds. That’s all I could take. That said, the drum sound is great. Very clean with no artifice.

    I still can’t get over how bad that band is. I know I’ve said this before, and I’m still in shock that such a thing is possible, but they’re even worse than the Grateful Dead.

  46. I went to a Secret Cinema Velvet Underground retrospective about 15 or 20 years ago and I thought they said they were showing all of the known footage of the VU. I think that footage you posted was there, as was some footage from them at the Factory where the cops stop the band from playing, and when they played at the Psychiatrists convention in NY. I’m not sure what I was expecting but overall it was disappointing. The Factory footage was just one static camera angle and they were playing an uninteresting drone and Nico and her son were “playing percussion”. Nico is a contender for the “ultimate person who thinks they are good at stuff just because some people think she’s hot”. The rest of the footage was poorly recorded, and artsy in that pretentious mid 60s way that has not been well served by the passing of time.

  47. Between the two of them, Keltner and Gordon have played with everybody from Captain Beefheart to all of the solo Beatles. Keltner especially is a groove oriented drummer with impeccable taste.  He’s my favorite.  But those two guys show up in a crapload of songs that I like (Keltner’s kind of taken the lead ever since Gordon got locked up for killing his mother).

    I was listening to BW Stevenson’s version of Shambala once and a drum fill really popped out at me.  I poked around a bit and found out that it was Jim Gordon.  Both Keltner and Gordon play on Midnight at the Oasis.  Not my favorite song but it’s pretty amazing that they both ended up on a pop single like that.  It’s one thing for people like Bonham and Moon to put all their efforts into the Big Project.  I like that people like Keltner and Gordon are putting that kind of effort into what might be considered to be disposable pop as well.

    When the kids were younger, we listened to Micky by Toni Basil a lot so I was able to appreciate some of the nuances of that song.  The main thing that pops out to me is what a great drum performance.  I just checked to see if it was Gordon.  Imagine my surprise when I found out it was none other than Mick Shrimpton from Spinal Tap.  Great drum track.

  48. Happiness: I was just speaking with a friend who lives near London and he sounded pretty beaten down by stuff like the prospect of a new Corona strain, Brexit, etc. I hope you are safe and I wish you a happy holiday season. We have a long way to go but I do feel like the calvary is coming. Hang in there.

  49. Ditto! Hopefully during the holidays, we can all agree on a chosen time for an RTH zoom session. I know I’ve brought that up many times, but we really need to make that happen. Agreed?

  50. Moderator, don’t know why it took me so long, but I finally got that Manson family related joke. Know that I had the same reaction when you first threw out that insight at one of our Friday night lasagna dinners!

  51. I’m on board with a zoom and I have off all next week.

  52. misterioso

    Late to the party as usual, but I second the sentiment of sign me up for all 56 hours. Granted, it seems clear that a priority has been placed on footage of them looking happy (more or less in direct opposition to the Let It Be film). But as was also noted above, to see the footage looking so clear and bright! Wow.

    And, I’m not saying that if you don’t love the Beatles you don’t love life, but, well, yes: that actually is what I am saying.

    Harry Chrimble,


  53. The interwebs states that they were going to star in Lord of the Rings. Paul as Frodo, Ringo as Sam, George as Gandalf, and Winston O’Boogie as Gollum. Tolkien never signed off. It was going to be directed by Kubrick. Had it gone down, we would have lost two years of the Beatles prime, and they would have been broken apart quicker than Kubrick destroyed Cruise and Kidman.

    Glad we have 56 hours of the sunny studio instead.

  54. Me too!

    I’m going to check in with the Moderator at some point this evening about arranging our first RTH Zoom meeting. Do me a favor. Start thinking about a day and time that would work best. As far as I can tell, I’m aok for any evening next week. Absolutely and positively looking forward to all this.

    Misterioso, you need to throw your hat in the other ring. What’s your take on Springsteen?

  55. BigSteve

    Either Jim Gordon or Jim Keltner played with Beefheart? Tell me more, cdm. I’ve never heard about this.

    They’re both credited on the Mad Dogs & Englishmen album. You can hear two drummers on that terrific version of The Letter, and I believe I read somewhere that Keltner and Gordon are responsible. God I love that cover, one of the few that I think beats the original.

  56. Big Steve, yes, that’s both of them in the MD&EM bands, and yes that version is phenomenal. That tour is on the short list of shows throughout history that I might pick as the one I would go back in time to see.

    And I’d love to see him with Ry Cooder.

    As for Beefheart, I am not an aficionado but I saw Keltner listed on a blog as well as mentioned on All Music as having recorded with the Captain. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any specific song listing and All Music just listed the Dust Blows Forward compilation, so maybe I’m talking out of my ass. Again.

  57. misterioso

    I know I could Google it but wtf is XPN and why should I care what they rate as #1?

    I have always blown hot and cold on Bruce. Generally the less I hear him or think about him the higher he is in my estimation. I like about half of the first record, the second one is pretty good, I have little interest in Born to Run, I like most of Darkness and The River, after that I have no interest at all. I think Jon Landau is a useless tool, in whatever sense you choose to understand that word.

    Last year (?) I tried to watch the Bruce on Broadway thing on Netflix. I could stand it for about 10 minutes.

  58. Keltner drummed on “Hard Workin’ Man,” which was the theme song for the movie “Blue Collar.” It’s a blues grind, in the same style as the Stones “Ventilator Blues.” I’m not sure that I consider it to be Keltner playing with Beefheart, but more Beefheart lending his straight blues schtick to a commercial project. The band also included Ry Cooder, Jesse Ed Davis, Stan Szelest and Milt Holland. Jack Nitzsche, Cooder and the director, Paul Schrader are credited with writing.

    Keltner is a big studio guy, but the rather derogatory description that EPG gave was more Russ Kunkel. Lennon talked about how he was skeptical about originally working with the slick LA professional Keltner, but when he did on the imagine album, he was delighted with what an unusual swinging beatnik drummer he was. Keltner is not a Max Weinberg like BIG TIME Drummer. he’s one of those guys that seems to randomly tap around and somehow create a nice floating groove. He’s sort of the star in my mind of the Lowe/Cooder/Keltner line up on that John Hiatt album, Bring the Family.

  59. CDM, for your viewing pleasure, pre Landau, preheadband, pre spastic Pacino punk dancing, in short, ART.

    So fucking good in all aspects that it makes you want to cry while you’re watching it. It doesn’t take a genius to see what all the early fuss was about. That band is to die for. My wife said it best. The players are clearly lost in the music.

    CDM, how bad something can get when you have some fuck like Jon Landau working behind the scenes, screwing everything up:

    No, Jon Landau should not be celebrated for taking a boxer with promise and turning him into a crowd pleasing professional wrestler.

  60. BigSteve

    Thanks, geo. Hard Workin’ Man being the Beefheart-Keltner connection makes sense. Interesting to see Stan Szelest’s name there too. He was the piano player in the Hawks before Richard Manuel. I’ve been listening to a lot of 70s Neil Young lately, thanks to Archives II, and his name keeps cropping up in those credits.

    I saw Ry Cooder in 1971, and I wish I knew who was in that band, probably not Keltner though. The only time I’ve seen Keltner live was backing Elvis Costello on the Kind of America tour in that terrific band with James Burton on guitar. What I remember most is that he had two snare drums that sounded very different from one another, and that he would hit one or the other without any obvious pattern, according to a secret science that only he knew.

  61. I was surprised to see Szelest listed. I knew his name from the Band biographies but did not know that he continued to work, and certainly didn’t realize that he was a part of the ’70s LA studio scene.

  62. Well, me and the wife just finished listening to Darkness at the Edge of Town while eating takeout Vietnamese and playing 500 rummy. Darkness, I was told, was supposed to be one of the better Springsteen outings. One listen proved otherwise. It was bad, really, really bad. It moved slower than a turtle, and that which showed promise was ruined with too much Tower Theater like echo. I can assure you that more trips were made to the bathroom and concession stand during the Darkness tour than any before or after. And just for the record, saying something like, “This is one of the better Springsteen albums,” is kind of like saying, “This is one of the better Papa Johns’ pizzas.”

  63. Mr. Mod: I understand where you were coming from with your defense of post-Landau Springsteen, but EPG just dropped you with that, admittedly, dirty and below the belt punch.

    Man, that drummer was good!

  64. Tell me about it! And the other plus is the fact that I’m sure I’ve seen some of those band members in supporting cast roles on Baretta.


  65. The Papa John’s line was excellent, but I didn’t feel like that was a low blow directed at me, if that’s what you’re referring to, geo. I hope EPG and Lady Gergs are getting paid for all the time they’re spending on their research. I do hope that they make the time to confront the relative greatness of Born in the USA. I want to see his vitals as that they those songs play.

  66. No. I was talking about the video link. That was BRUTAL. Now we know why they hired the young, delightful Courtney Cox to distract the world from Springsteen’s hoofing, and I use that world literally. Lou Reed laughs at that.

  67. Oh yeah, I remember seeing that years ago. That’s one of the Stations of The Boss!

  68. Me and the wife are taking a brief break from Springsteen. We’re watching the very entertaining Bee Gees documentary How Do You Mend a Broken Heart. I urge all to check it out!

  69. Wow! That Springsteen dance practice is a tough beat. “New ’80s image, Bruce, we’re taking the best parts of Rambo, Robin Williams, and Jane Fonda; and that’s your new look.”

  70. Merry Christmas to all, and here’s hoping that the magic of the miracle will also restore the Moderator’s hearing loss!

  71. Jesus Christ. Just catching up after a week away and this long-time hardcore Beatlemaniac Springsteen fan drummer feels like he walked into the cool kids’ party dressed wrong and was hit about the head and neck with a sock full of shit and quarters.

    Happy Festivus to one and all!

  72. Oh, man, I can’t wait to hear from you! Me and the wife, continuing our research, just finished listening to the River, which was was worse than getting stuck on a Greyhound bus for a long traffic compromised trip, and to make things worse, the only available seat is beside someone intermittently cutting silent but deadly penicillin farts who wants to talk about how cute and funny Schits Creek is.

  73. EPG, I’ve seen that dancing video before. We all have to make compromises in our jobs, I suppose, but that’s embarrassing.

    I like the Spirit in the Night video. It’s a great example of the looser feel that Bruce used to have.

    I had a ticket to see Bruce on the Darkness tour. I was a sophomore in high school. I got one of many bad report cards and wasn’t allowed to go. I later heard a live broadcast of a show from that tour and it sounded amazing. I saw him on the next tour, which was in support of the River, and spent that show letting it sink in that I had missed the window for live Bruce.

    Here’s a video of Bruce doing Rosalita during the Darkness tour. I have no doubt that all of the “looseness” is well rehearsed but it feels natural to me. I think this is an example of the best that live Bruce has to offer. Sure some of it is a little corny, but it just looks fun.

    Two other things:
    1) Bruce is a much better musician than he gets credit for. He was the only guitarist on the first two albums and I think he played most of the guitar on Born to Run. Maybe that’s the key, the less guitar Bruce plays on an album, the worse that album is.

    2) I’ve always liked Spirit in the Night, and the sax sounds good, but the problem with having a sax player in the band is that you have to think up a sax part for every other song.

  74. I hate when women jump on stage to kiss me. C’mon, I’m working here.

  75. I assume that those women were cancelled because of their behavior.

  76. And rightly so! They weren’t as forgiving to me when I jumped over the counter at Rite Aid to plant a kiss on the girl ringing me up. I tried to explain that she’s really the boss of cashiers, and was doing it so well.

  77. By the way, I love two chicks that don’t even try to kiss him.

    At 2:15 a woman bounces up on stage, Bruce makes room for her at the mic so she can sing along, and she just yells “Hey” into the mic before getting the bum’s rush off the stage. Her lack of a plan leads me to believe that she never thought she was going to get onstage in the first place.

    Then, at 2:35, a woman timidly appears, reaches forward to touch the hem of the Boss’ garment, and then just as quickly turns and heads back into the crowd.

  78. Once again, CDM, great insights. Here’s my take:

    I prefer the “Spirit in the Night” clip because what’s served up is actual music and not noise. The players are clearly lost in the music, but all of them also look like their lives are on the line, and it’s absolutely necessary that they get it just right, which they do. Elvin Jones once told an interviewer that when one made a commitment to playing with Coltrane, one had to be willing to die for him. The interviewer laughed and Jones said, “Really, that’s how it is.” All that’s more or less apparent in the following clip:

    I see a lot of that in the “Spirit of the Night” Clip as well. Another thing that sticks out is Clemons. What he adds to the song is absolutely essential. He’s not the red suited random honker who does what he does because Springsteen can no longer figure out what to do with him. He looks and sounds like he’s auditioning for Art Blakey.

    At this point, I’ve watched the “Spirit of the Night” clip several times, and my frustration continues to grow. I can’t understand how someone with that much promise allowed himself to be transformed into such a gigantic zero.

    The wife and I just finished listening to Nebraska, and that’s yet another turd. It’s amazing to me how he keeps getting it wrong album after album. Like the River, which appears to be a misguided nod to the punk /new wave scene, Nebraska too fails miserably. Don’t know how the whole thing went down, but I don’t think it’s too far fetched to suggest that Landau gave Springsteen a pile of pre electric Dylan boots and said, “See if you can ape that.” Once again, he got it all wrong, probably because what Landau wanted from him was never there in the first place.

    What was once there and firmly in place was what he serves up in that “Spirit in the Night” performance. By Nebraska, he’s been so brainwashed (and I know that sounds pretty harsh, but it doesn’t seem like such a stretch after watching the “Dancing in the Dark” aerobic workout) he doesn’t know who the fuck he is anymore, and he’s up for anything that’ll keep him Rolling Stone magazine’s critical darling or sell.

    The Rosalita clip is watchable, but it’s also a lot like Costello’s “Shot with His Own Gun” (talk about an apt title!) on Trust. It’s listenable, but it’s a painful harbinger of what’s to come.

  79. When he randomly pulled Courtney Cox out of the audience that one time, she seemed much better prepared.

  80. One last thing: to these ears, nothing is worse than sludge, and by that I mean a sound created by a technique in which a variety of instruments are used to play the same notes or chords in the same octaves or with little variation ad nauseum.

    Simply put, if one guitar player is already playing a G cowboy style on the first three frets of the guitar, there’s no reason for a second to do the same. Springsteen, who clearly understood this significance during the recording of Asbury Park, apparently ditched all that around the time of Darkness at the Edge of Town.

    Sludge is fine and dandy when one is learning how to play, or when one is a member of a band like Chelsea and gives no indication of aaspiring toward anything like finesse to make a song like “The Right to Work” succeed.

    Despite having little taste, Springsteen’s post Wild and Innocent E Street Band clearly had chops and appeared to want the audience to know that, which makes watching a clip from their era all the more unbearable. For all that’s said about their performance power, music-wise, they’re more boring than their look, and that’s saying a lot for a bunch of guys with thinning hair and turned up izod polo shirts who think Chess King is the last word in fashion.

  81. And one last jab, at least for the next hour or so. The only thing more difficult for Springsteen than adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators is writing a bridge.

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