If you talk to die-hard Bruce Springsteen fans, many of them will list “Incident on 57th Street” as one of their favorite Springsteen songs. The song leads off the second side of Bruce’s second album, “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” released in 1973, with “Rosalita” and “New York City Serenade.” The jazzy sound of these songs was dominated by the incredible piano playing of David Sancious who preceded Roy Bittan in the E Street Band.
The live version in the video above was released as a B-side in the mid-Eighties when Springsteen released his first live album, but I can’t find it anywhere on iTunes or in a legal digital format. It’s by far the best live version I’ve heard of this song and it features an excellent and mellow guitar solo by Bruce at the end that’s much better than the solo on the original recording.
This fan video was created by a Springsteen fan on YouTube who has posted a number of excellent Springsteen videos. He mashes up concert footage and other Springsteen footage to create visually interesting interpretations of the songs, and he translates the lyrics into Spanish subtitles.
This story is getting plenty of play today, as it should. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band capped off a marathon show in Hyde Park in London by inviting Paul McCartney on stage. They ripped through “I Saw Her Standing There” and then moved on to “Twist and Shout” when all of the mikes were cut off. Apparently they had gone beyond the curfew and someone decided it was time to end the show. What a shame.
In a tribute to Joe Strummer and The Clash, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt got together at The Grammy Awards in 2003 to perform The Clash’s “London Calling.” Pete Thomas joined them on drums and No Doubt’s Tony Kanal is also there playing bass. It’s a pretty incredible performance.
It also created the inevitable flame war in the YouTube comments, with some youngsters taking shots at “dad rock” some punk fans expressing outrage that traditional rockers like Springsteen would cover The Clash. More knowledgeable fans then pointed out that Joe Strummer always admired Bruce, and once said, “Bruce is great. If you don’t agree with that, you’re a pretentious martian.”
The music world lost a legend yesterday as Clarence Clemons died at the age of 69 following a stroke he suffered last week. Clarence was Bruce Springsteen’s sidekick and the heart and soul of The E Street Band, and he’ll go down as the best sax player in rock history. He helped to define Springsteen’s signature Jersey sound with his epic saxophone solos, and like Springsteen he was a natural showman. The two of them were always in sync as they played off of one another onstage, both musically and when they were clowning around.
There was nothing like the drama of a Clarence Clemons sax solo, so no rock concert was quite like a Bruce Springsteen concert. His booming sax would put an emphatic exclamation point on many of Springsteen’s most powerful songs like “Thunder Road.” (see below)
Bruce issued the following statement:
Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.
Hopefully Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will tour again, but it will never be the same without The Big Man.