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What ever happened to Suki Lahav of Springsteen's "Born to Run" fame?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Matt, May 19, 2003.

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  1. Matt

    Matt New Member Thread Starter

    She was the violin player, was part of the band for a bunch of concerts. I can only find a site that said she left for "personal reasons." All Music Guide shows only one entry under her name, and it's "Born To Run."
  2. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Eastern Shore
    I recall reading that she moved to Israel with her husband, engineer Louis Lahav, who worked on Bruce's first 2 albums. Reportedly, things got a little too hot between her and the Boss. Who knows if that's true?
    As a longtime fan of Springsteen and owner of lots of live 70s tapes featuring Suki's violin and backing vocals, I welcomed the addition of Soozie Tyrell, who plays a similar role with the current E Street Band. For me, her violin makes "You're Missing" the best track on The Rising.
  3. CM Wolff

    CM Wolff Senior Member

    From the hard cover copy of "Backstreets" by Charles R. Cross and the
    of "Backstreets" Magazine:

    Suki Lahav

    Interview by Steven Allan, December 1985

    Seeing the E Street Band today, playing to stadium-sized crowds, it's hard
    to imagine their sound as anything but the raucous, guitar-dominated playing that's best exhibited by songs like "Glory Days" and "Born in the USA." But long-time fans of the band know it hasn't always been like that --- in the early seventies the band had a dramatically different sound. Until *Born toRun*, the band was very much keyboard-dominated, due in part to David Sancious's jazz background. Springsteen's songs themselves tended more toward the theatrical and there was still strong evidence of Bruce's early fascination with Bob Dylan; in fact, the band was as likely to pull out a Dylan number for an encore as they were to break into "Twist and Shout."

    Part of the reason for that unique sound was the presence of Suki Lahav, the first female member of the E Street Band. Suki was the resident E Street violinist from September 1974 to March 1975. Though she recorded many songs in the studio, on record she can only be found as a vocalist on "Sandy" and "Incident on 57th Street," while her violin playing shines only on"Jungleland."

    But onstage, for her brief tenure with the band, Suki mad quite a lasting
    impact. Her violin playing gave a romantic and intellectual feel to
    Springsteen's shows and added another haunting element to many of the early songs. In particular, her playing on the E Street version of Dylan's "I
    Want You" was wonderful. Many of the shows at that time would open with Bruce aloneat the microphone, with Suki in the rear of the stage, spotlights on both; it was powerful visually as well as musically.

    Suki's original introduction into the band had been through her husband
    Louis Lahav, the engineer for the second album. Her career with the E Street Band ended when she and Louis decided to return to Israel. She now lives with her second husband and two children in Jerusalem, where *Backstreets* caught up with her.

    BACKSTREETS: *How did you meet Bruce Springsteen?*

    SUKI LAHAV: Louis was working with Mike Appel in the 914 Sound Studios as an engineer. Mike arrived with Bruce and I remember as soon as he came into the studio it was obvious, even then, that he was a giant, that one day he'd just explode into stardom.

    As soon as I heard those recordings, I became just as convinced. By the
    music, the lyrics, and, later on, after I got to know him, by Bruce as a person.

    *What year was that?*

    We arrived in the States in 1971 and everything seemed to happen with Bruce around 1973 and 1974.

    *Whose idea was it to use the violin in the band?*

    Bruce was the first to suggest it. At first everyone laughed. "What, a
    violin in a rock 'n' roll band!" seemed to be everyone's attitude. But, as always, if Bruce said so, then everyone went straight along with it. And I think he proved that he was right.

    *So he offered you the chance?*

    Well, not exactly straightaway. He had some auditions, but he couldn't find
    anyone to fit his demands. Even then he was the big perfectionist. I was
    only in the picture because I was Louis's wife. I remember once they invited a children's choir to record on the track "Sandy." They didn't turn up, so Bruce decided to record me over and over, track on track, and make it sound like a choir. That was hard work, trying to sound like a choir. That's the only official recording I appear on.

    *How do you feel about not being put on record?*

    I don't mind that at all. What was more important to me was the experience I gained from working together with such a great artist. I personally don't think I was good enough for him anyway.

    *Where did you first appear live with the band?*

    In Lincoln Center. After that --- since the response was so good --- we
    carried on with it. Bruce used the violin only for the romantic side of
    him. I played only on the slow songs.

    *How was it to work with him?*

    Bruce was in total control, the one and only "Boss." But still he worked
    always together with everyone as a team. He didn't have to impose
    himself --- he was willing to accept suggestions, but always, he had the last say. Even then he used to record loads of songs and only use a few of them. In my opinion, some of those songs that have never been released are his best. Especially the lyrics --- he wrote like a madman, a natural phenomenon.

    *What was the band like?*

    I became friendly with everyone. But especially with Max. We used to talk
    about Bruce a lot. And he was very loyal to him --- he seemed to play just
    for him. I remember Max telling me how hard it was for him, being the drummer. He was always in the background onstage and couldn't hear Bruce sing all the time. He wanted to be able to hear all the words to be able to get more into the music. Clarence is just a heap of warmth and tenderness. It's a pity, but he's less apparent on the *Born in the USA* album.

    *What do you think of *Born in the USA*?*

    I'm not all that much of a rock 'n' roller these days. So altogether I'm
    less interested in that type of music. I feel it was done very professionally
    and I can understand why people like it. But that type of music has less affect on me, than, say, *Nebraska*, which was, for me, his best album yet.

    There's a problem as one becomes a star, especially in the States. The
    American culture and entertainment industry have such big demands that one can easily be turned into a music factory. Even Bruce --- though I'm sure much less than others --- has become part of the great media controlled music, where other people decide what to do and what not to do. But I'm not worried about Bruce. As always, I'm sure he's under control of everything --- and still the same, down-to-earth, simple but great artist. Even when he sings "We Are the World, " he stands out more than anyone, with the feeling and power he puts into those simple words. He's more representative of America than the president. He's a true American figure and not a result of public relations.
    He doesn't act --- he really is himself.

    *How did your involvement with the E Street Band end?*

    I wanted to come back home. I believe my place is here in Israel. Louis
    and I decided to come back to Israel before the split with Mike.

    *Have you been in touch with Bruce since?*

    About six years back, a film producer friend of mine wanted to use three of
    Bruce's songs for an Israeli film of his. He had trouble getting the okay
    from CBS. So I called Bruce up on the phone. It took me a few days to find him at home, but in the end he answered. He was really pleased to hear from me and right away said that there's no problem in using those songs ["Jungleland," "Hungry Heart" and "Point Blank"]. He was really nice about it. CBS made a promotional disc of that film with those three songs on it. I heard it's become quite a collector's item, being that they only had thirty printed.

    *What do you do now?*

    Most of the time I'm at home with my children --- far away from the lights
    and excitement of those early days with Bruce.
    Sean Murdock likes this.
  4. Matt

    Matt New Member Thread Starter

    Thanks, guys!
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