How to become Bruce

Listening to Bruce Springsteen read his autobiography Born to Run has, of course, gotten me listening to my Springsteen collection and thinking about how I’ve followed the guy ever since my old pal Ed told me about this amazing guy who played a concert at his college back in the early 1970s. The most powerfulContinue reading “How to become Bruce”

When your heart is in it

The thought blew my brain off the road and filled me with youthful joy. There I was, innocently listening to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run, as the guy from the Jersey Shore talked about how, when he reassembled the E Street Band around 1999, he didn’t want the tour to be the stereotypical oldiesContinue reading “When your heart is in it”

A message from 1977

Ever since I bought a modern turntable three or four years ago, my collection of mechanically reproduced recordings has grown even more unmanageable. (Back in the days when radio stations signed off the air between midnight and dawn, part of the closing shtick was to say, “Some portions of these broadcasts have been mechanically reproduced.”Continue reading “A message from 1977”

The rewards of risk

Found in the liner notes to The Complete Artie Shaw, Volume III, an anecdote about the creative process from my favorite jazz clarinetist. (I once horrified my father by deciding I preferred Shaw to Benny Goodman.) “Playing it safe ain’t what it’s all about. Great music, particularly in the jazz field, is never made thatContinue reading “The rewards of risk”

Last visits to a fine old store

The Exclusive Company is closing. Say it with me: Oh no! It has been a legendary small chain of record stores, the kind of store immortalized in Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity and the movie it inspired. But Mr. Giombetti died a few months ago, and his heirs are closing the stores. I went the otherContinue reading “Last visits to a fine old store”

How George stole like an artist

The legend of how George Harrison didn’t realize he was plagiarizing “He’s So Fine” when he wrote “My Sweet Lord” is the stuff of legends (and settled lawsuits) by now, but the other day I realized another thing George “stole” and never noticed until 53 years after the fact. The two best songs on oneContinue reading “How George stole like an artist”