Song Of The Day 3/15/2015: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - "Bobby Jean"

Oh, hello there. You’ve caught me in the middle of creating one of my epic writs in the field of rock journalism. It’s a comprehensive review of some albums by a well-regarded Irish artist, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, during which I’m sure you’ll stop drinking shots of Bailey’s off the navel of a disgraced cheerleader for half an hour and read the whole damn thing. As far as who I’m covering – well, I won’t mention any names, but there may be random moments of making love in the green grass behind the stadium with a girl of a particular eye color. And also tuberculosis. But not in the same song.

All that means is that as of now (11:51pm Saturday night) I have no idea what Sunday’s Song Of The Day is going to be. And you know what that means – musical roulette!* That’s right. I’m just going to log on to my Amazon Music Cloud, hit random play, and pick the first song that comes up to be today’s chosen one. It’s improv! Like Groundlings, without the fear that Lorne Michaels is judging your every exaggerated goose-step.

So, let’s spin that wheel… and it’s…

Ah. Bruce. “Bobby Jean.” One of my favorites off Born In the U.S.A., and one of the few songs from that album that wasn’t released as a single, so you may not even be retroactively tired of it yet. (There were seven singles from BITUSA. They all made the top ten. Suck on that, Putin.) But this version was from the Live/1975–85 box set that came out in time for Christmas in 1986. Oh, man, was that sucker a holy grail for the Bruce faithful. Springsteen’s live shows were the stuff of extreme legend at the time, and up until then nobody had anthologized any of his performances on disc. Not even as a chintzy VHS add-on. People were even a little impatient about it. Even Supertramp had a double-live album out, for crying out loud. Sure, I dig them prog-lite shimmiers just as much as the middle manager next door, but you can only wail “Dreamer” so many times before people get the point. We wanted the unexpected, lightning-rod moments that showed up without warning at an epic Bruce show, and once we got it we wanted to play it repeatedly, until we could take it no more and had to make a pilgrimage to New Jersey in our cars, just to have Chris Christie hold us all up on the George Washington Bridge. Well, wait, that wasn’t then, that was some years after it. But I still stand by every word.

Before you ask: Yes, I did attend a Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band show, and the setting and place could not have been more ginormous: July 4, 1985, Wembley Stadium in London, England. And yes, it’s easily one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever seen. It came at the beginning of a European trip, the rest of which was an example of some of my most abhorrent behavior ever, and I’d pretty much like to forget it all and apologize ex post facto. I haven’t been to Europe since, but if anyone wants to fund my apology tour I’m sure it’ll be as poignant as Kanye’s.

All right, then, I’ll try to have a plan in place tomorrow, after I’m done moondancing and astral-weeking and hard-nosing highways and stuff.

*(Acknowledgement of intellectual property debt to Andras Jones.)
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