Bruce Springsteen Relives The Magical, Classic Sounds Of Asbury Park On SiriusXM Episode

Bruce Springsteen’s seventh guest DJ spot on his ‘From My Home To Yours…’ SiriusXM show today was an upbeat, celebratory look back at the “soul stylings of Asbury Park circa 1977 to ’88,” a magical time for music at the Jersey Shore.

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Where Springsteen is the entire human package who coalesced all that is the greatness of Jersey music and brought it to international acclaim, his featured guests Southside Johnny and Steven Van Zandt are the heart and soul of the sound of Asbury Park. Together, the three of them provided lots of laughs, intimate behind-the-scenes stories and astute observations of what made Asbury Park the hot spot for countless music fanatics, first on the local level and subsequently, worldwide. Specific timelines of when songs were recorded or shenanigans occurred may be blurred, but the recollections were as clear as if they were yesterday.

The two hour and four-minute broadcast was a joy for fans of Jersey Soul and revelatory for music aficionados, as the trio reflected on long hot summer nights, writing and recording at top studios in New York and the unbelievable good fortune of working with and learning from R&B music legends, forgotten to most people but gods in their eyes. Springsteen cited Sam Moore’s concerts, in particular as “revolutionary nights as far as how I wanted to lead a band and how I wanted to do a show.”

Springsteen began the show reminiscing about the ‘fantastic, fantastic house band’ at the Stone Pony that Southside and Steve put together where “I spent many a night high as a f#@kin’ kite,” listening to ‘horn-centric music that came out of Asbury Park.”

Springsteen asked how they were able to afford to pay for a horn section in a club band, an added cost for most bands playing the Circuit at the time. Van Zandt reminisced on the three of them seeing a Sam & Dave concert at the now-defunct Satellite Lounge in South Jersey, and how important that experience was for him as a musician. “That was an incredibly important night for the three of us,” Van Zandt said.

“Oh my, I remember that show like it was yesterday,” Springsteen chimed in. “Sam & Dave at that little Satellite Lounge! We were six feet away and we watched Sam Moore lead that band and it was probably one of the greatest musical nights of my life.” Southside recalled going through different horn players and configurations until finding the sound he wanted for the Asbury Jukes. “It was very difficult to get three guys who wanted to play R&B. They either wanted to play jazz or Top 40.”

Van Zandt added that the horn lines were written for five different parts, so the band expanded to an even larger horn section. “Everybody was a character. Once you heard the baritone, you knew you had to have it,” Southside added. “If you think they were funny in the studio, you should have been on the road with them.”

Some additional choice comments from the broadcast (YouTube links may not be the performances played):

“Gotta Get That Feeling” (Bruce Springsteen)

Springsteen: “We should have put that out. “We must have worked on that in the studio. That’s a pretty involved arrangement, and the transitions with the band.”

Van Zandt: “Everything had to count. We wanted the solo to be exciting. the bridge to be a surprise. Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

“Love On The Wrong Side Of Town” (Southside Johnny)

Recorded in the old CBS building on 52nd Street, a classic room with tympani and other orchestral instruments ‘just laying around,’ which proved too tempting to not use on the recording.

Southside: “He (Van Zandt) saw those and went, aha! You should have seen him when they brought the strings in… It was a real adventure.”

Springsteen: “It’s one of my favorite Southside tunes. Steve, you’re going to have to remind me if I had anything to do with this one.” As the catchy opening notes of the song began, Van Zandt chimed in. “You did. That’s your riff… You picked up the guitar and played that riff.” After the song finished, Southside added, “To this day, when we start that song, the floodgates open everybody comes down and starts dancing. All these years, I’ve never gotten tired of it because the audience reaction is just so overwhelming. And it’s a great song to sing. It’s a singer’s song.”

Soul Deep (Gary U.S. Bonds)

Van Zandt: “Fantastic sounding record… that kinda got lost, which is a shame because it’s actually better than the first record.”

Club Soul City (Gary U.S. Bonds) showed the trio’s reverence, respect and awe for Gary U.S. Bonds, “a hurricane of a voice,” Springsteen said. After listening to the song, Southside joked “I’m retired now.” “That’s as good as it gets,” added Van Zandt. Springsteen noted, “a moment of silence for that! That’s probably my favorite of the favorites I wrote for somebody else.”

The Fever- Southside Johnny (written by Springsteen)

“That’s a great performance, Southside. I had to play it. The genesis of the song is so strange. I don’t even remember what record I wrote it for, it might have been Darkness or maybe earlier. But it was a demo. Somehow the demo got stolen. And it wound up being played on Philadelphia radio, I guess WMMR. And it became a constant thing in Philadelphia where, to this day, if we play it to this day, it’s still a huge hit. It’s one of those songs that wasn’t released. It just escaped.”

Southside: “It was a great gift.”

Tenth Avenue Freezeout (live performance)

Springsteen cracked a joke about the current pandemic: “I’m not sure when we’re going to hear that crowd sound again. But it sounded pretty good!”

Some Things Just Don’t Change- Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

Gotta Get That Feeling- Bruce Springsteen (2009 live recording from The Promise box set)

Love Again- Little Steven and the Disciples Of Soul

Love On The Wrong Side Of Town

So Young And In Love- Bruce Springsteen

Soul Deep- Gary U.S. Bonds

Coming Back- Southside Johnny

Until The Good Is Gone- Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul

Club Soul City (written by Springsteen) Gary US Bonds

Lion’s Den (outtake released on Tracks 1999)- Bruce Springsteen

Soul Power Twist – Little Steven and the Disciples Of Soul

The Fever- Southside Johnny

Savin’ Up- Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers

This Little Girl- Gary U.S. Bonds

Tuscon Train (Live) Little Steven

First Night (featuring the Satins)- Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

I Don’t Want To Go Home- Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

Tenth Avenue Freeze Out (live)- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

It’s Been A Long Time- Southside Johnny

Jersey Girl- Bruce Springsteen

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