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Gronk SMASH!
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a fanboy of music in general and get too wound up about things sometimes, so take this with a grain of salt, but:

A couple of months ago, Springsteen released a remastered box set of "Born to Run." We are all very familiar with the superlatives attached to the album, and I'm not sure it was crying out for remastering. All things aside, it is with "Born in the USA" probably the most "of its time" and hopelessly dated of Springsteen's albums (with all deference to and agreement with Chris Morris on that opinion). Not that it's bad. It's great. I just wasn't clamoring for a new master.

Ah, but a surprise awaited. A DVD in the box set contained a live show from London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1975, shortly after the release of the disc. Let's just say that the DVD went in the player, my jaw dropped, and I sat back paralyzed by more than two hours of musical nirvana. Like I said, I've seen the E Streeters. Twice, actually. All grown up and accomplished. I would say they're the best I've seen. But I've never seen them like this.

Flash back to a 26-year-old Bruce unleashing his maniacally ambitious musical vision on the world with likely the only band capable of making it happen. I actually got goosebumps watching him turn his back to the crowd during the musical interlude in the middle of "Jungleland," tilt his head back, close his eyes and soak it all in. Here was this symphonic rock 'n' roll written by him with the wild ambition to supercharge Roy Orbison's sound and themes with the Phil Spector symphonic wall of sound. They pulled it off in the studio, but you can pull tricks in the studio. How would it translate live? The verdict is in. Crystal clear. The band nailed every note. Max Weinberg was great as always, as were Bittan, Tallent, Federici and, of course, Clemons (in a tux and fedora!). But the revelation for me is Miami Steve. He must have been a great musician once, I'd always reasoned. Bruce would never put a guy in the band on friendship alone. But I never got any sense of him on the records and the shows I've been to, he comes off as an honorary captain. Well, here he is on the DVD in a pink tux with a white fedora and carnation in the lapel -- couldn't be more than mid-20s (what were you doing at 26, by the way? I was probably picking lint out of my navel wishing for another beer). Holy crap, what's that funky rhythm he's banging out in "Kitty's Back"? Was that a slide solo? This guy could play! He's holding his own and then some. Bruce doesn't even need to pick up his guitar on several of the songs, Stevie's got it covered. Unbelievable.

This sounds crazy, but I can't believe a band like this ever existed. They're that good, and the songs are that good, too. Bruce says in the notes that he dares any young band to match the E Streeters' set list. He's understating the obvious. And what a set list! "Lost in the Flood," "She's the One," "Kitty's Back," "For You." A torchy version of "E Street Shuffle"? Amazing. This is must-have stuff. How it could have rotted in a vault for 30 years is beyond me, but thank God it's out, because epiphanies are hard to come by, especially from those who've already provided you with their fair share. Bruce and the boys never stop delivering, I guess. God bless music.

There are a few camps when it comes to Springsteen:
Some believe the myth of the guy who made "Born to Run" and "Born in the USA" and love him for it. Some hate him for the same myth. They're both worng.
Some, however, realize that he's one of the most exacting, demanding, diverse, prolific, hard-working and consistent artists in the history of music and that he holds his band up to the same standard. Not everything is great (some isn't even good, to be honest), but has anyone else ever aimed so high and delivered so much? Actually, only Dylan comes to mind. Maybe Prince.

Sorry for the long post, but I was moved. What can I say? Anybody else got the box set?
 

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Shirtcocker
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Yeah I got it--the only other Springsteen album I've bought to be honest is Born in the USA--have heard most of them many times though.

I thought the concert was phenomenal as well though the "Making of" DVD ran a little long for me. SOme interesting stuff on it though about how he composed the whole thing on piano and how obsessive he was about "gettting it right".
 

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il sogno said:
I saw excerpts of this broadcast as a PBS fundraiser. Great show. Absolutely fantastic.
Why is it that the only time they ever play anything worth a sh*t on PBS is when they are doing those godawful fundraisers? If they played that kind of stuff more often I'd watch it much more. Instead we get another History of Baseball or some other boring historical crapola or other.
 

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Roadies Rejoice
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jptaylorsg said:
Not everything is great (some isn't even good, to be honest), but has anyone else ever aimed so high and delivered so much? Actually, only Dylan comes to mind. Maybe Prince.

Sorry for the long post, but I was moved. What can I say? Anybody else got the box set?
Maybe his wallet was clamoring for a re-mix of that album... oh wait, that was cynical and unkind. Anyway, I'm not a fan, and I have no desire to get into one of those "the music I like is better than the music you like" things, but the answer to your final question is easy... Bob Marley.
 

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Gronk SMASH!
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Discussion Starter #6
SteveCnj said:
Maybe his wallet was clamoring for a re-mix of that album... oh wait, that was cynical and unkind. Anyway, I'm not a fan, and I have no desire to get into one of those "the music I like is better than the music you like" things, but the answer to your final question is easy... Bob Marley.
I think that's a fine answer for that final question.
The Clash aimed awfully high at times, too, and delivered an awful lot, but burned out comparatively quickly.
 

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jptaylorsg said:
I think that's a fine answer for that final question.
The Clash aimed awfully high at times, too, and delivered an awful lot, but burned out comparatively quickly.
it's better to burn out than to fade away...my, my, hey, hey ;)

//also the Clash never put out a bad album...OK Give 'em Enough Rope and Combat Rock were less that stellar, but they had their moments. And Cut the Crap wasn't by all the original members so it doesn't count.
 

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Gronk SMASH!
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Discussion Starter #8
Bocephus Jones II said:
it's better to burn out than to fade away...my, my, hey, hey ;)

//also the Clash never put out a bad album...OK Give 'em Enough Rope and Combat Rock were less that stellar, but they had their moments.

Speaking of which, it's too bad Neil Young was short on ambition, huh? ;)
Can't believe I forgot him. Like him or not, the guy's a monster.
 

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jptaylorsg said:
Speaking of which, it's too bad Neil Young was short on ambition, huh? ;)
Can't believe I forgot him. Like him or not, the guy's a monster.
Neil Young's a great artist but I have never been able to listen to him for any length of time 'cause of his voice. Drives me up the wall. :(
 

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Bocephus Jones II said:
Why is it that the only time they ever play anything worth a sh*t on PBS is when they are doing those godawful fundraisers?
You sound like Mapei Roida! :D
 

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Roadies Rejoice
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jptaylorsg said:
I think that's a fine answer for that final question.
The Clash aimed awfully high at times, too, and delivered an awful lot, but burned out comparatively quickly.
To be clear, I meant an additional answer to your question, even though B.S. is not to my taste, everyone you named is great, although I wouldn't put Prince with Dylan, Springsteen or Marley.
 

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SteveCnj said:
although I wouldn't put Prince with Dylan, Springsteen or Marley.
I agree. I would go one further and put Dylan on a level all his own. Speaking of PBS fundraisers, "No Direction Home" the Dylan doc was tres interesting.
 

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Roadies Rejoice
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il sogno said:
I agree. I would go one further and put Dylan on a level all his own.
Yeah, me to, just below Marley and above Springsteen.:)
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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Bocephus Jones II said:
it's better to burn out than to fade away...my, my, hey, hey ;)

//also the Clash never put out a bad album...OK Give 'em Enough Rope and Combat Rock were less that stellar, but they had their moments. And Cut the Crap wasn't by all the original members so it doesn't count.
Good thing you took an out on Cut the Crap--that was the suckiest bunch of suck that ever sucked. Or at least the most disappointing. What a black mark on the Clash's otherwise nearly unblemished (in my mind) rep.
 

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Gronk SMASH!
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Discussion Starter #15
SteveCnj said:
Yeah, me to, just below Marley and above Springsteen.:)

In response, I would say Prince aimed as high as the others and delivered an awful lot, but not quite as much.
Dylan and Marley aimed at changing the world and succeeded.
Springsteen and Prince aimed at ruling the music world and largely succeeded (at least for a while)

Where I would put Prince on the list is in shameless ambition, high standards and how prolific he was.
I'm not terribly familiar with Marley, but musically (IMHO, of course) I'd put him below Dylan, Springsteen and Prince (and Neil Young, actually) simply because I never warmed to reggae (the little bit I do like is by him, though).
In favor of Marley, though, I'd say he risked the most of all the artists mentioned by a long shot, and he never backed down.
 

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jptaylorsg said:
In response, I would say Prince aimed as high as the others and delivered an awful lot, but not quite as much.
Dylan and Marley aimed at changing the world and succeeded.
Springsteen and Prince aimed at ruling the music world and largely succeeded (at least for a while)

Where I would put Prince on the list is in shameless ambition, high standards and how prolific he was.
I'm not terribly familiar with Marley, but musically (IMHO, of course) I'd put him below Dylan, Springsteen and Prince (and Neil Young, actually) simply because I never warmed to reggae (the little bit I do like is by him, though).
In favor of Marley, though, I'd say he risked the most of all the artists mentioned by a long shot, and he never backed down.
Kinda like comparing apples to oranges--Marley was significant for a lot more than his music. It was also his politics. If you ever go to Jamaica he's treated there like a national hero. Dylan and Young probably influenced more people than all of the other combined musically--Springsteen included. Prince is a hell of a showman and a "personality". Yeah he can play the guitar like a wildman, but he's more of a vehicle for his ego than anything.
 

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Gronk SMASH!
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Discussion Starter #18
Bocephus Jones II said:
Kinda like comparing apples to oranges--Marley was significant for a lot more than his music. It was also his politics. If you ever go to Jamaica he's treated there like a national hero. Dylan and Young probably influenced more people than all of the other combined musically--Springsteen included. Prince is a hell of a showman and a "personality". Yeah he can play the guitar like a wildman, but he's more of a vehicle for his ego than anything.

Man, I'm with you, but where's the Prince love?!?! His catalog is amazing. The guy made two movies (one was semi-enjoyable crap, and the other was steamin' pile quality, admittedly). His live shows rank up there with any artist ever. And his most recent album showed all these poseur R&Bers (Usher and the like) how to do it.
And, uh, yeah, I'd say he's the closest to a true virtuoso musician on the list.
I think we can agree that the ego on any of these guys is off the charts to a degree we probably would never relate to, but I think all of them (maybe not always Dylan) have carried themselves with class and usually a lot of humility (OK, so Prince thinks he's the shiznit).
 

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Roadies Rejoice
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Bocephus Jones II said:
Kinda like comparing apples to oranges--Marley was significant for a lot more than his music. It was also his politics. If you ever go to Jamaica he's treated there like a national hero. Dylan and Young probably influenced more people than all of the other combined musically--Springsteen included. Prince is a hell of a showman and a "personality". Yeah he can play the guitar like a wildman, but he's more of a vehicle for his ego than anything.
You're right, it is a completly different comparison, but that's why I would rate him higher in terms of aiming high and delivering. He was aiming to change the world, not just fatten his wallet or be a showman or gratify his ego. His message was consistent and important, and to think that his accomplishments came before his death at the young age of 36!
 

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Roadies Rejoice
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Bocephus Jones II said:
Wasn't there some rumor that the CIA gave him brain cancer or something?
I certainly don't think they were fans, but not sure I've heard that rumor.
 
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