Hey, do you like Bruce Springsteen; or, more specifically, do you like looking at photos of him? If the answer to either question is yes, then head on over to Morrison Hotel Gallery for its first exhibit of 2016; Bruce Springsteen: The River Collection, celebrating the 35th anniversary of the release of Bruce’s milestone album of the same name, and featuring photos of Springsteen shot between 1978 – 1983 by legendary photographers such as Neal Preston, David Gahr, Lynn Goldsmith, Frank Stefanko, Jim Marchese, Lynn Goldsmith and Joel Bernstein. All of the photos on exhibit were selected to be in The River‘s 35th Anniversary box set. Continue reading Bruce Springsteen: The River Collection at Morrison Hotel Gallery
The Class of 2014 entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night and it was an evening full of magical moments, even for jaded, old-school, Rock Curmudgeon like me. The show went on for over 5 hours – and 90 minutes of that was just the E Street Band members giving their individual ‘Thank You’ speeches! A televised version of the ceremony will air on HBO on May 31st and I’m guessing that, to get it edited down to two hours, they’ll cut out all of the juiciest parts (Courtney Love being booed in front of her dead husband’s family, that was painful to experience). But I got see it all from a comfy seat in the Barclay’s Center. Here are a few moments that stand out.
Listed in the order they occurred:
That Peter Gabriel introductory montage was something else. He’s always been a musical genius (Six Words: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway), but the reminder of how much he’s done in his career was almost jarring. Because, wow. Peter Gabriel is awesome.
Chris Martin’s Induction speech for Gabriel was absolutely hilarious and man, does Martin look happy to be getting divorced.
After talking non-stop shit about each other in press for the past few months (it seems) all four original members of Kiss managed to not be total dicks to each other while accepting their awards (they were the only band to not have any kind of associated performance). I know that Gene thinks that Peter and Ace have no business being inducted along with him and Paul, but if he doesn’t understand that without those two that band would be residing in Nowheresville, he needs to pull his huge, ego-swollen head out of his ass.
I am pretty sure I had seen printed reports that Yusef Islam (FKA Cat Stevens) would not be appearing at the event, so no one was more blown away than me when he not only showed up, looking and sounding great, but also performed three of his classic songs including – wait for it – “Wild World” and “Peace Train”! Holy Effing Ess, “Peace Train.” I can’t even think about that song without losing my shit, so imagine what it was like to hear CAT FUCKING STEVENS perform it flawlessly, live in front of thousands of people. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment that you’ll never see again. I still can’t believe it happened, and I was there!
This out of chronological order, but it was so great to see Art Garfunkel induct Stevens. I love that guy.
Linda Ronstadt is an artist whose music I grew up loving back when AM Radio was a thing you listened to. Ronstadt is now retired and no longer travels due to symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, but many talented ladies of rock were there to pay her tribute including Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris, Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow. Carrie Underwood also performed a stunning version of “Different Drum” (written by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees. Way.) that knocked my socks off. She may have the stage presence of a shoe, but her voice has gotten completely insane since she won American Idol.
I was charmed by Bruce Springsteen’s Induction speech for his longtime musical companions, The E Street Band. They seem like a great family of musicians. Also, Max Weinberg is hot. Also, thank you E Street Band acceptance speeches for providing an excellent opportunity for me to make a much-needed trip to the Ladies Room.
My fondness for the music of Hall and Oates is pretty much restricted to “War Baby Son of Zorro” and, if forced to cite a more recent title, “Method of Modern Love,” on which I enjoy the part where Daryl Hall spells the song’s title. The thing is, despite the fact that songs like “Maneater” and “Sara Smile” serve as very, very effective emetic, their band is one of the tightest live bands I’ve ever seen, and Daryl Hall still ranks among the best voices in rock. I really enjoyed their performance.
I can’t even remember who said in their speech that the “Greatest pop song ever written was Beethoven’s 9th,” but that person was 100% correct.
Nirvana’s Induction started at 11:45 PM, but it was so worth waiting for, not only to see Joan Jett front the band for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the surprise performance of “All Apologies” as sung by teen singing sensation, Lorde, but also to hear David Grohl drop the F-Bomb at least four times. He is my new Hero.
Patti Smith made a name for herself as a pioneer of NYC’s seminal punk scene, most notably as it relates to the birth of the legendary CBGBs rock club on Bowery, and she has continued to evolve through a career that’s lasted over three decades. Along with her original band, The Patti Smith Group (Guitarist/co-songwriter Lenny Kaye, Drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, Bassist/co-songwriter Ivan Kral and Keyboardist Richard Sohl (RIP) – each a phenomenally talented musician and creative force) with whom she recorded her first four albums, and later as a solo artist, Smith is undeniably one of the most unique and influential artists to emerge in the late 70s. As both a versatile artist (poet, musician, author) and an outspoken activist, Patti Smith is a Woman Who Rocks in every sense of the word.
Smith’s impressive music catalog has already been afforded three compilations culled from her studio recordings, but record labels know when the public is ripe for a new offering. With her having recently won multiple awards for her book, Just Kids, Sony Legacy has put together an album to catch the attention of those who may just now be getting hip to Patti Smith, or fans who are ready for rediscovery. Outside Society – the title taken from a lyric in the refrain of Smith’s arguably most powerful and emotionally charged composition (and my personal favorite), “Rock & Roll Nigger” – is an 18 song, single-disc compilation covering Smith’s recordings from her ten studio albums between the years 1975 to 2007. The disc not only includes many of Smith’s “Greatest Hits” – such as her recorded-live version of “Gloria,” her collaboration with Bruce Springsteen, “Because The Night” and the transcendent “Dancing Barefoot” – but it also features an indispensable selection of deep album tracks that casual fans will likely be unfamiliar with. If you are seeking an introduction to Patti Smith or a way to flesh out owning just one or two albums of hers, Outside Society is must own collection.
In addition to always surrounding herself with highly talented musicians and collaborators, Patti Smith has also worked with a cache of rock music’s most accomplished and legendary producers, including Jack Douglas, Jimmy Iovine and Todd Rundgren, who helped to sculpt her sound, allowing her to remain authentic no matter what genre she tackled. From the raw punkinesss of “Gloria” to one of her most polished pop songs, “Frederick,” (one of the many love songs she wrote for her husband, the late Fred “Sonic” Smith of the MC5) she absolutely owns every performance. Each song on this record, and consider that the styles presented are extremely diverse, sounds amazing and fresh, like it was just recorded.
Patti Smith has covered many rock classics in her storied career – from “Gloria” (a song first made popular by Them as fronted by Van Morrison) to the Byrds’ anthemic “So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star” and, most recently, Nirvana’s breakthrough, genre-defining hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” With each interpretation of compositions that many would consider untouchable, Smith makes the song her own with the infusion of her poetry and her inherent ability to tap into the creative essence of each song. Adding further value to an aurally sublime compilation, Outside Society includes Patti’s insightful, autobiographical notes and personal commentary on each track. Her own remembrances of the circumstances surrounding the writing / recording of each track are not only profoundly moving, but often heartbreaking, revealing her to be a woman who has coped with her share of life-changing loss while unfailingly championing individuality and the triumph of the underdog. God Bless Patti Smith.
Remastered by Greg Calbi and Tony Shanahan, Outside Society will be released on Arista/Columbia/Legacy on August 23, 2011 as a single-disc digipak CD and on vinyl as a Double LP set. Track Listing is As Follows:
2. Free Money
3. Ain’t It Strange
4. Pissing In A River
5. Because The Night
6. Rock N Roll Nigger
7. Dancing Barefoot
9. So You Want To Be A Rock N Roll Star
10. People Have the Power
11. Up There Down There
12. Beneath The Southern Cross
13. Summer Cannibals
15. Glitter In Their Eyes
16. Lo and Beholden [radio edit]
17. Smells Like Teen Spirit
Bruce Live at the Izod Center, NJ (Photo by Geoffrey Dicker)
Yesterday Geoffrey took me to see our very first ever Bruce Springsteen concert. I will willingly confess that – save for “Tunnel of Love” and few of his ballads like “No Surrender,” which is a work of genius – I have never really been a huge fan of his music. Still, you can’t help but know the words to every one of his songs, because they have been all over the radio and practically in the ether since I was about fifteen years old. Anyway, Bruce and the E Street Band played for three hours and blew our heads right off. Geezus god, what a fan-fucking-tastic performer that guy is. Fan or not, everybody should see him at least once. He’s amazing.