A Look At Bruce Springsteen's Second Album 40 Years Later
In the cannon of great Springsteen lyrics, that has to be one of the best. And 40 years after "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" was released it still resonates. Whenever it makes the setlist, thousands of his fans sing along, loudly, at his sold out arena and stadium concerts, around the country and the world. That song, and the album it came from, told tales of colorful characters from the New Jersey Shore and New York City: Little Dynamite, Little Gun, Sloppy Sue, Big Balls Billy, Little Angel, Sandy, Kitty and Wild Billy. And if those characters aren't recognizable south of the Mason Dixon or west of the Great Lakes, much less across oceans in Europe or Australia, everyone can relate to the universality of that lyric. It works when you're twenty, and it works when you're sixty.
E Street Band alumni David Sancious played keyboards on The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, and he still marvels at that phrase. "That's one of my favorite lines he's ever written," he tells Radio.com. "He's a deep guy; there's not a lot of twenty year olds who would have the insight to come up with something like that, but that's one of his gifts, he's a very deep person." But that insight and depth didn't come at the expense of a good time. Observe this late-'70s live performance of the song, which made a night out a story of operatic proportions. Yes, one day it might seem funny, but Springsteen & The E Street Band were dead serious about giving their fans a live show to remember.
Coming less than a year after his debut, Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey (released in January of 1973) The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle showed great musical development. At that point, he reunited with former bandmate Danny Federici (whom he'd played with in former groups Child and Steel Mill) giving his backing band two keyboardists. Sancious explains, "For the majority Danny played organ and I played piano, he played accordion on some things," notably "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)." In his acceptance speech after being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Springsteen noted, "I love you, Danny. Your organ and accordion playing brought the boardwalks of Central and South Jersey alive in my music." That was never more true than on "Sandy," which was one of the last songs Federici performed with the E Street Band before succumbing to melanoma in 2008; watch the performance and read more here.
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