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Springsteen's Letter To You thread (second try)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by FingerPickin'Triumph, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. Dr. Zoom

    Dr. Zoom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Monmouth County NJ
    It’s “house of 1,000 guitars”, but I agree, that one doesn’t work at all.
    I kinda like Rainmaker.
    Musically, it’s a terrific album. Lyrically, it’s hit and miss. The three 1970s songs are easily my 3 favorites, I love the lyrics & imagery. But they were written a lifetime ago.
    The modern songs are a mixed bag. Some good stuff. But some awkward stuff:
    -Old Fender twin from Johnny’s music downtown (say that 3 times fast)
    -I feel the blood shiver in my bones (?)
    -baby that’s the power of prayer

    (power of prayer is actually a really nice melody. Just a bad title/chorus. He should have popped the hood and do a Darkness lyric switcheroo on that one).

    At least there’s no sleepy joes cafe or songs about putting the dog out with the cat.
     
    PacificOceanBlue and JoeF. like this.
  2. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    I think among music fans and consumers , it was his success was definitely a result of his live shows.
    But the imprimatur of the journalists and critics --who have always travelled in packs--helped by piquing the interest of fence sitters and those for whom "being in the know" is important.
    And of course media coverage feeds on itself. So if the NY Times is doing a piece on Bruce, then the Brian Williamses and Ted Koppels are going to want to get in on the action.
     
    Mike M likes this.
  3. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    The lyrics are hit and miss.
     
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  4. Mike M

    Mike M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood
    Yes, definitely by 76-78 the critics were on board, and back then that was important, critics had a ton of sway back in the 70's, and I for one was under their spell. But before the internet, that's how you learned about great stuff (other than word of mouth)

    But that was a turnaround for them. Early on he had that "new Dylan" stench and his first two albums didn't get stellar reviews or sell well.
    I wonder if it was Landau's "future of rock and roll" quote that was the turning point.
     
    JoeF. likes this.
  5. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Glory days, they'll pass you by....
     
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  6. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    I think it was Landau's position at Rolling Stone. Dave Marsh worked there too. He was also married to Janet Maslin of the NY Times.
    Bruce has always enjoyed what politicians would kill for--a fawning press.
     
    Mike M likes this.
  7. windfall

    windfall Senior Member

    Location:
    UK
    Yes. This skews perspective. Springsteen still tours stadia in Europe - more often arenas in US, right? Petty tried to move from Hammersmith Odeon scale in 1980 to Wembley Arena in 1982 and it did not really work. I understand there were empty rows. He did not return in his own right until 1992 and played the arenas more successfully. There was only one other "real" Euro tour: 2012 (though I saw him play a one-off at Shepherd's Bush in 99; and there was a show in Germany).
     
  8. boe

    boe Forum Resident

    Location:
    buffalo ny
    Springsteen’s growing popularity through the 70s and early 80s was firmly driven by his live performances. You can debate the merits of the various albums, but a significant %- if not the majority- of his albums were bought by people who had seen him live. They were sonic souvenirs of something that unfortunately was never fully captured in the studio. Starting in 1973, I dragged dozens of people to see Bruce in the following years. After they say him once, they bought the albums. That set the stage for the MTV / BITUSA explosion. I rarely encounter any one who buys his albums who hasn’t seen him live. I’ve met a lot of people who love Who’s Next and Tommy who have never seen the Who.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
    JoeF. and Mike M like this.
  9. musicaner

    musicaner Forum Resident

    Bruce made more money from the solo tours than he did with EStreet. No overhead. Thats why he did Broadway.
     
  10. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    Location:
    The Southwest
    In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, yes, his reputation was in part built from his live show. And frankly to this day, his legacy as a live performer drives ticket sales. While some deep fans think 25,000 a night are fellow devoted diehards, the reality is a lot of concert-goers are casual fans, hoping to hear the hits from the 1980’s.
     
    RSteven and Mike M like this.
  11. twicks

    twicks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit
    FWIW I came into the Bruce thing totally in reverse: loved BITUSA, Live '75-'85 and Tunnel, was underwhelmed when I finally saw him on the E Street reunion tour in '99. In retrospect it was probably a fine show, but when you've been anticipating a religious experience for 15 years, a merely good, professional Rock Show can't help but be a little disappointing.
     
  12. Tom Campbell

    Tom Campbell Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    You keep making these blanket statements about Springsteen's "relevancy," particularly versus Petty. It's worth noting that U.S. sales figures don't back you up.

    You refer to his '92/'93 period as a "commercial and artistic debacle," but both Human Touch and Lucky Town were platinum albums. Ghost of Tom Joad was gold. The Rising was double platinum. Devils & Dust and Magic were both platinum, with Seeger Sessions in between gold. WOAD went gold in 2009, and that was the last time Springsteen had that level of sales.

    Meanwhile, the "consistently viable" (in your words) Petty fared no better. Wildflowers was triple platinum in '94, then She's the One and Echo were gold; The Last DJ sold poorly, and Highway Companion went gold in 2006. That's it.

    Album sales in general, of course, have fallen off a cliff in the past ten to twenty years. Taylor Swift was the ONLY artist that had a million-selling album in 2020! So comparing album sales from different eras is apple to oranges. But all these opinions-as-facts statements you keep making like "Bruce was an irrelevant punchline" are just you talking--the same stuff you've been posting over and over and over again for years in these Bruce threads.
     
    EndorphinMachine, Dok, Davido and 2 others like this.
  13. C6H12O6

    C6H12O6 Senior Member

    Location:
    My lab
    I like Rainmaker too, and I don't like "House of 1000 Guitars".
     
  14. Mike M

    Mike M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood
    Embarrassing admission, I have never seen Bruce in concert, or been a particular fan of live music in general.

    Didn't have the money to go to concerts when I was younger, and in my middle age I prefer my musical experiences to be in the private of my own home. I really only know his live performances from the 78 bootlegs I collected in my teenage years.

    If fact, when I finally saw the DVD of the Houston show from the Darkness box I was kind of disappointed, it was good, it didn't effect me the way the Winterland 78 bootleg did hearing it when I taped it in 79.

    Reminds me of the famous quote about whether some old timer liked Radio or TV better, his answer "I like radio better, the pictures were better". I guess nothing can equal what I was imagining when I was listening to the 78 live stuff for the first time when I was 13.
     
  15. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Location:
    Maryland, U.S.A.
    Saw Springsteen on his Darkness tour ('77?) Had front row balcony seats at the Berkeley Community Theater.
    Went with some friends that offered the tickets, did not really know his stuff. Came away as a fan, but don't really
    care for his later stuff. Like most artists that I like it's the early stuff that I like the best.
     
  16. Dr. Zoom

    Dr. Zoom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Monmouth County NJ
    Houston is ok, but it’s very limited.

    I watched about an hour of the Tempe show last night at full blast. That is the only show that (to me) captures what his live show was all about back in the day. Brilliantly performed, brilliantly filmed, brilliantly recorded. That’s the one you gotta see.
     
  17. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    Location:
    The Southwest
    I don’t know what to tell you. Human Touch and Lucky Town went platinum on delivery, and record stores were left with sizable excess stock for years. Those albums were a colossal bust at retail, something everyone knows (and for the record, anyone familiar with my posts on Springsteen knows I think highly of that period of his work). Petty was significantly more relevant during that period, as was Neil Young. Bruce fell out of fashion. If you think otherwise, you are entitled to your point of view.
     
    JoeF. likes this.
  18. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    Location:
    The Southwest
    I had the same experience in ‘99. After years of build-up, it was a bit of an underwhelming show.
     
    twicks likes this.
  19. Mike M

    Mike M Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood
    Yeah Tempe has great angles in the filming and great editing, forgot that one
     
  20. Dr. Zoom

    Dr. Zoom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Monmouth County NJ
    It’s available for free on you tube, check it out. Detroit Medley (never one of my favorites) positively cooks. For a mostly amateur film crew, they did a fantastic job.
     
    Mike M likes this.
  21. Tom Campbell

    Tom Campbell Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Just trying to put some objective metrics to your statements, which are broadly negative and tend to be unsupported by facts. And, to clarify, my post was in reply to several of your statements, which encompassed more ground than just the HT/LT period.
     
  22. John C Bradley Jr

    John C Bradley Jr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    In 1977 I got my first job shelving books and working the weekend checkout desk at our local public library. I was a Freshman in High School and was really into music in a big way but very much sort of feeling my way along as to what I liked, did not like, etc. I could pick up, well or bad, depending on the weather FM radio from Charlotte, NC, just up the road and I hung out a lot in the mall record stores (Camelot Music and The Record Bar). I never really had access to music publications until I took that job and was introduced to Rolling Stone, Stereo Review, a couple of others whose names escape me.

    Bruce was HUGE in Rolling Stone at the time, especially due to Dave Marsh, but it was across the board. I remember the lead in to Darkness was off the chain. I don't think I had ever heard anything by Bruce at the time - he did not get played on the local FM rock stations, but the hype was intoxicating. At the time Rolling Stone would have these blurbs about upcoming albums before they reviewed them and I remember the one for Darkness was something like "Springsteen aims for the moon, the sun and the stars, and hits the sun, the moon and the stars." Based on thy critical hype alone, I could not wait to buy that record when it came out. I bought it on a Friday after work, went out and did not put it on until Saturday morning. I so remember putting it on my crappy little Radio Shack stereo and hearing "Badlands" for the first time. It was one of the musical moments of my life, for sure.
     
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  23. John C Bradley Jr

    John C Bradley Jr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    I absolutely love "Ramrod" from Tempe. Lots of times when I need a quick Springsteen fix I will find it on YouTube. I don't know what it is about that version of that song, but it hits all the right notes with me.
     
  24. And Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy, and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln. :winkgrin:
     
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  25. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Senior Member

    Location:
    The Southwest
    You haven’t actually provided any contrary information to invalidate my assertions, which I clearly stated were from my own experiences and observations of having lived through the 1990’s as a deep music fan and one who was familiar with the musical trends and popular culture of the era (as well as having worked in the industry at the time).

    Good luck selling the notion that Springsteen was as relevant as he had been during the middle and second half of the 1980’s when he unleashed Human Touch and Lucky Town into the marketplace in 1992. Acts like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Metallica, and Guns N Roses ruled the contemporary rock scene, and Springsteen released an album that sounded like it was produced for Richard Marx or Michael Bolton. The guy was totally out of fashion, and out of touch. His two albums sunk off the charts, which he passive aggressively alluded to in concert. A once impossible concert ticket to obtain was given away for $10 the day of show. I’m not sure why you think he was still the superstar of 1985 in 1992.

    Perhaps you are trying to rewrite history here, but anyone who paid attention in the 1990’s cannot come away thinking Springsteen was still a massively popular and relevant artist at the time. The music scene was passing him by. Petty did not release anything remotely as polarizing as Human Touch; on the contrary, Into The Great Wide Open and Wildflowers were both highly regarded commercial and critical albums.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021

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