Friday, March 28, 2014

A Springsteen Song For Every NBA Team

Earlier this year, I set forth on the monumental task of assigning a Springsteen song loosely associated with every NFL team.  It was a gauntlet thrown by nobody, and I was happy to accept the non-challenge.  Now, with the NBA playoffs just around the corner, the time has come to grant a Springsteen song to every NBA franchise.  Behold!

Atlanta Hawks - "Outlaw Pete"

Immediately, we are starting with one of those songs that is an extreme stretch.  Basically, there's one line mentioning hawks in the song: "He watched a hawk on a desert updraft, slip & slide".  Sorry, Bruce just does not do a lot of songs set in Atlanta, but this one is at least less of a stretch than "One Step Up" was for the Falcons.

Boston Celtics - "Death To My Hometown"

As spotlighted here a few months ago, Bruce mixed in the Celtic-style chanting to enhance the atmosphere of "Death To My Hometown" to give it that "populist riot" sound he was looking for.  Aside from the Celtic-Celtics connection, the song has a revolutionary tone that fits well into the Boston region's history.

Brooklyn Nets - "My Hometown"

This was a difficult one to choose, because there aren't any Springsteen that mention Brooklyn (nor nets).  However, when I settled on "My Hometown", I couldn't believe I didn't think of it earlier.  The narrator talks to his "old man", and the Nets are filled with old men.  There were fights between the "black and whites", and, while the Nets represent racial harmony, their team colors are black and white.  And, I live in Brooklyn, and they are my hometown team.  (Yes, I understand not everyone who reads this blog lives in Brooklyn.  But still, don't they feel like your hometown team?  No?  Moving on.)

Charlotte Bobcats - "Working On The Highway"

This is pretty straight forward: it is the only Springsteen song with a shout-out to Charlotte.

Chicago Bulls  - "We Take Care Of Our Own"

Another song with a simple shout-out to the city.  It could also be used for the Pelicans, but we'll get to them later.

Cleveland Cavaliers - "Youngstown"

While not referencing Cleveland or being cavalier directly, we'll settle for a song based in another city in Ohio.  This despondent song fits nicely with the constant heartache that the Cleveland sports fan has felt the last several decades.

Dallas Mavericks - "Sinaloa Cowboys"

This was the most difficult pick for me.  I tried to find something about Dallas, then something about mavericks, then something about Germans in honor of Dirk Nowitzki, then something about shark tanks in honor of Mark Cuban.  Alas, I'll fall back on Dallas being the home of various cowboys.  Since I used "Black Cowboys" for the Dallas Cowboys last time, I'll go with Bruce's other cowboy song this time around.

Denver Nuggets - "Further On (Up the Road)"

With no songs about Denver or nuggets, I decided to go with songs that mention "gold".  Here, Bruce sings "the miles are marked in the blood and gold".  While there was a plethora of songs to choose from, I decided to go with this one because it is about going UP a road, and Denver is very far up (something like a mile, give or take).

Detroit Piston - "The E Street Shuffle"

Very easy choice, as Bruce recognizes the "Detroit muscle".  I'm not exactly sure what that refers to, but it is a great song and a fine choice for this team.

Golden State Warriors - "Chimes of Freedom"

Yes, I know this is a Bob Dylan song, but I love the line "Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight".  Covers were used in the NFL list, and they will be used in this list.  If you have a better suggestion, let me know (politely!  We all love each other here!).

Houston Rockets - "Seeds"

For some reason, I always think of "Seeds" as an instrumental song.  I guess that classic bluesy riff is the only thing that sticks with me after listening to it.  However, it does have some solid lyrics, including this one for the Houston Rockets' fans: "Man now I live on the streets of Houston town...."

Indiana Pacers - "Racing In The Street"

The Pacers were named after the pace cars used in the Indianapolis 500.  It is one of the only  times I can recall that a sports team was named after another sport (well, if you consider car racing a sport).  Anyway, here's a song about racing cars for the car racing capital of the world.  Have I said car racing enough?  Race cars.  Cars.  Racing.  Vroom.

Los Angeles Clippers - "I Wanna Marry You"

OK, this is another one I had to pull out of my nose.  "Now honey, I don't wanna clip your wings..."  Get it?  Clip?  Clippers?  Ah, you are a great sport for reading this far.

Los Angeles Lakers - "Spirit In The Night"

For the team originally from the land of many lakes, I'll give them the song featuring the most famous lake in Springsteen lore: Greasy Lake.

Memphis Grizzlies - "Johnny Bye Bye"

It may be one of Springsteen's shortest songs, but it is the only song that mentions "Memphis".  And leaving Memphis.  And Elvis dying.  Sorry Grizz fans.

Miami Heat - "Murder Incoporated"

I really like the line "dealing with the heat you're feelin' down on the killin' floor."  I hate Miami, and feel ashamed giving them such a bad-ass song, but I have to follow the arbitrary rules I made up for this endeavor.

Milwaukee Bucks - "Meeting Across the River"

It says it all in the opening line.  "Hey, Eddie, can you lend me a few bucks?"  What can I say?  It's tough to find songs about the good land.

Minnesota Timberwolves - "Valentine's Day"

"Of the skies and the rivers the timberwolf in the pines..." This song mentions a timberwolf!  How many songs can you say that about?

New Orleans Pelicans - "The Hitter"

I would've loved to use "We Take Care Of Our Own", but that already went to the Bulls.  So, I'll use another song that mentions New Orleans.  "With the police on my back I fled to New Orleans..."

New York Knicks - "New York City Serenade"

It's the same song I used for the Jets, and I'll assign it to the Knicks as well.  I'd like to trash-talk now, since I hate the Knicks, but, as a Nets fan, I know anything that could go wrong will go wrong, so I'll refrain and just listen to this song.

Oklahoma City Thunder - "Thundercrack"

This was easy.  I could've gone with "Thunder Road", but I figured hipsters like Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook would enjoy a deeper cut from Springsteen.

Orlando Magic - "Magic"

Congratulations, Orlando Magic fans!  You are the only team on this list that Springsteen named a whole album after!

Philadelphia 76ers - "Streets of Philadelphia"

These last three songs were disturbingly easy.

Phoenix Suns - "This Life"

"Then a million suns cresting where you stood..."  In fact, this whole song talks about the cosmos, with billions of years and stars and telescopes what not.  The opening sounds like one of those trippy late 60s Beatles songs.  I guess this song makes as much sense for the Suns as having a gorilla for a mascot.

Portland Trailblazers - "Lost in the Flood"

This is a tough but fair choice for the Portland Trailblazers.  "Well that blaze and noise boy, he's gunnin' that bitch loaded to blastin' point..."

Sacramento Kings - "Badlands"

One of my all-time favorite song lyrics for one of my all-time neutral teams: "Poor men want to be rich, rich men want to be kings, and a king ain't satisfied 'till he rules everything."

San Antonio Spurs - "Silver Palomino"

A solid-yet-boring song for a solid-yet-boring team.  We've also got the line "I'd give my riata and spurs if I could be forever yours."

Toronto Raptors - "Cadillac Ranch"

For the team named after Jurassic Park, here's Springsteen's only song that mentions dinosaurs that are tearing up highways.

Utah Jazz - "The Promised Land"

We're getting to the end, so let's go with a great song set in Utah desert.  Why not?

Washington Wizards - "Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?"

Finally, we reach the end with wizard imps and sweat-sock pimps.  The most strangely named basketball team gets the Sprinsteen song with some of the strangest lyrics.

So, there you have it.  Enjoy the last few weeks of the regular season and playoffs, everybody!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lyric's Spotlight: "Gave It A Name"

" At night, he couldn't stand the guilt or the shame.  So he gave it a name."

"Gave It A Name", Tracks Disc 4

It's not one of Bruce's more well known songs, however these lyrics kept going through my head this past weekend.  The lyrics speak of terrible deeds (murder and spousal abuse) that are "given a name".  That way you don't have to admit that you ended the life of another person, or beating up on someone weaker than yourself, you just have to file it under the given name.

This past weekend, the New York Jets made headlines by signing Michael Vick as their quarterback.  Vick is one of the most controversial figures in the NFL for his numerous run ins with the law, most notably in 2007 for his participation in dog-fighting, resulting in a 23 month prison sentence.

But what is dog fighting?  From just the sound of it, it sounds negative.  But it's so much more.  We have given the name of "dog fighting" to one of the most despicable, and disgusting displays of lack of respect for life.  I am not an animal rights activist.  I love meat, fur, hunting, and fully believe that human rights should always trump animal rights.  However, to ritualistically torture, abuse, and murder animals, plus profit from these deplorable deeds, is beyond reprehensible.

To those of you who say, "Vick paid his debt to society," I disagree.  You are wrong.  These dogs were abused and starved to be violent, the dogs were electrocuted, hung, and beaten to death if they didn't die during the "fight".  And people bet on it, and profited from this.  This shows such a disgusting disregard for life and consequences that can't be unlearned.

To those of you who say "It's a part of the culture.  That doesn't excuse it, but we need to be understanding of circumstance."  Too bad.  That's a disgusting culture and no leniency should ever be shown because of ignorance, or willful disregard of society's standards.

This isn't Vick's first team that he played for since being released from prison.  For the past 3 years, Vick has played for the Philadelphia Eagles (the arch-rival of my favorite team, The New York Giants).  At first I thought maybe my disgust for Vick being re-instated to the NFL had something to do with him playing for a team I hate.  But the thought of Vick playing football in my home town, for him to be a public figure in my city, has really bothered me.

In this era of the NFL suspending (and most likely ending the career) of Richie Incognitopenalizing language, and pressuring the Washington Redskins to change their name Michael Vick's dog-fighting scandal has been all but swept under the rug.  Simply given the name of "dog-fighting", it has been seemingly forgotten by the NFL.  Fortunately for me, I'm not the only Bruce fan who feels this way.  So does Nils Lofgren.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blog Updates: New Banner!

You may have noticed something new when you logged onto Legends of Springsteen this weekend.  That's right, in an effort to make this mom-and-pop blog look legitimate, we've updated our banner!  The new banner design is courtesy of Justin Piasecki, the visionary mind behind Harrison Quest.  Harrison Quest is a radio soap opera podcast that follows the exploits of a group of die-hard Harrison Ford fans as they attempt to deliver Harrison a script that will ensure that he wins an Oscar.  If you are a fan of this blog, you will no doubt love that podcast.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about a group of fans obsessing over a masculine sex symbol who was big in the 70s and 80s that I can really relate to.

Additionally, we have been opening up Legends of Springsteen for submissions from guest contributors.  We are open to any type of submission, from song or lyric spotlights to random stories about how Bruce Springsteen has affected your life.  However, concert reviews have been the most popular articles, so with the new tour coming to America, we'd love any of those.  If you are interested in contributing, please e-mail

Finally, if you'd like to support the blog in a more passive way, you can always subscribe to our Twitter feed or become a follower on Google.  Thank you for your continued support!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Great Moments In Springsteen Fandom: The MSG Beer Incident

So this is a new idea I had for a series of posts.  Basically these are just going to be true personal stories from my life that revolve around the benefits of being a Bruce Springsteen fan.  And yes, there are many benefits!  For example:

On April 6th, 2012 Rory and I went to see Bruce at Madison Square Garden.  I was really excited for this show for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, I was seeing Bruce Springsteen, the greatest concert performer there is to see.  Secondly, it was a Friday night after a very long work week, plus the concert was in New York City (where I live), so I wouldn't have to worry about traffic or parking.  Third, I was going with one of my best buddies and we had really good seats.  This was going to be a great night!

I met up with Rory at Mustang Sally's on 7th Ave, just a few blocks away from MSG.  We sat down, had a few beers but all we kept talking about was...Bruce.  He was as pumped as I was, so we headed to the show.  We got there about 45 minutes before Bruce went on.  We were on the floor, but had assigned seats in the back, not in the GA area.  We took our seats and continued talking about whatever, when the two gentlemen who had the seats next to us took their seats.  We politely introduced ourselves and exchanged pleasantries before Rory and I went back to our individual conversations.

That's where this story picks up...

One of the gentlemen politely tapped us on the shoulder and said he was going up to get some beer, would we want any?  We gladly said yes, reached into our back pockets to get money, when he said "Nah, this one is on me guys."  What a nice fellow.  We thanked him and assured him we would get the next round.  This was great, I always prefer the "buying rounds" system so that way I'm not constantly getting up to buy my own beers, and someone doesn't cheapskate me and constantly ask for a beer while I'm up.  He came back and we thanked him and toasted to Bruce.  Cheers!  We finished our beers, with still about five minutes to go before Bruce came on, Rory and I both gave each other a look and knew we would go to grab one more before Bruce took the stage.  We asked the two guys if they needed another one, and they said "No, but here you go let us buy you beer."

He handed us a $20.

Stop it.


Yes, this guy was for real, and insisted on buying us beers the entire night.  And Rory and I are pretty big drinkers, so he went through quite a bit of money.  At least 7 rounds.  We tried everything, but he wouldn't hear of it.  He even ran out of cash at one point, so he gave us his credit card.  To which his friend correctly pointed out this was crazy, and you shouldn't just give your credit card out.  And then his friend gave us a $20.  And by the way, later that night, he actually did give us his credit card.  It took all of my will and moral fiber to not go to the merchandise stand and buy one of everything.  Even if I did, I don't think this guy would have minded.  But luckily for him, we stuck to beer.

This was a relatively young guy, in his early 40's I would say.  He put his arm around us, and said "When you get to be my age, make sure you do this for a couple of kids too."  Rory and I were 27.  We had good jobs, and could buy our own beer.  Did we look like were 16, and needed someone to buy us beer?  No...well maybe Rory, but not me!  Most of the times we went up, we bought them beers too.  It was the least we could do with their money.  Unfortunately, during the first song of the encore, "Rocky Ground" I believe, these two gentlemen drunkenly stumbled out of The World's Most Famous Arena, and we never saw or heard from them again.  I will stay true to my word though, and when I'm 45, and Bruce is still touring, I will absolutely buy some random strangers beer all night.  Stay tuned for that post in 16 years.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hungry Heart - Pitch Re-Adjusted to the Key of C

Ah, good old "Hungry Heart".  A Springsteen staple that's universally accepted by his fans and casual music listeners as "pretty good".  I believe a key to the enduring power of the song is the plethora of trivia that is associate with it, such as being written for the Ramones, being Springsteen's first top 10 hit on the Billboard chart, and being sped up to the point that the song didn't sound anything like Springsteen.  Well, while we will never hear the Ramones cover the song, nor find out why "Born To Run" never cracked the top 10, we can now hear how a studio version of the song would sound with Bruce's normal voice.  While nothing can top the version with the crowd sing-a-long on Live 1975-85, the pitch-adjusted version still beats the recording released on The River.

Friday, March 14, 2014

7Lions - "Born 2 Run"

Disclaimer: This video has nothing to do with the Bruce song, and is only serving as fodder for me to go off on a rant.

So I first noticed this song in 2012 when the LA Kings were in the Stanley Cup against my beloved New Jersey Devils.  Whoever won or lost that year is irrelevant (Hint: the Devils did not win), but whenever the games were being played in LA, I noticed this annoying song playing in the background.  It stunk.  I didn't think much of it, cursed the Kings for winning The Cup, and went about my day.

Then about a year later, I noticed that the new theme song to the World Wrestling Entertainment show, WWE Smackdown! sounded familiar.  After a few listens, I soon realized it was the same annoying song from the Kings Stanley Cup run.  Now I had to find out what this song is.  Sure enough, the song was called "Born 2 Run" by 7Lions.  After a little research I learned that the song has also been used by the NFL, MLB and NASCAR.  So good for them for getting their song out there.

But seriously?  Naming your song after one of the most iconic rock songs is so bush league.  It's not like they named it "Yesterday" or "Satisfaction", which I would give them a pass.  Hell, even "Born In The USA", would be fine because it's such a generic term.  But what does it even mean to be "Born To Run"?  You know it will never be as big as the original song, so why would you always want to be "the other Born 2 Run".  Clearly they knew what they were doing, and my guess is that in this age of one button purchases of music on phones and tablets, they hoped to make money off people buying their song by accident.  Like the time I accidentally played a song called "Guns N' Roses" on a jukebox, when I wanted to play music by the iconic rock band.

And when all is said and done, when I'm alone in my apartment  I find myself humming both this and the Guns N' Roses song to myself.  Damn their catchy choruses!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lyrics Spotlight: Long Time Comin'

“I reach beneath your shirt, lay my hands across your belly
And feel another one kickin' inside
And I ain't gonna fuck it up this time”
- Long Time Comin’, Devils & Dust

I am very blessed to share that my wife and I are going to have our first child in just over a month’s time. We were both hoping for it to happen and couldn’t be more excited. But even when it’s something you’ve so hoped would happen, it’s still natural to feel moments of anxiety (the baby books have confirmed I’m not alone on this). In the first few days after I found out back in August, the above lyrics rang through my head frequently.

I’m fortunate that I haven’t lived a life with the kind of distraught family unrest that the narrator describes in this song. But like everyone else, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. At times when I feel uneasy or uncertain about my ability to be a good father, I think of these lyrics and remind myself that this is one thing I’m not gonna fuck up.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Great Moments in Springsteen Television History - Bruce Fallsteen In Jem

In continuing our thorough examination this week of Bruce Springsteen parodies in 1980s pop culture, here we see a shot from the classic Jem episode ""In Search of The Stolen Album".  I assume it is a classic, I actually haven't seen it.  However, as you can see, a musician named "Bruce Fallsteen" is number three on the charts.  In case you didn't realize, that is supposed to be Bruce Springsteen, but they changed it from "Spring" to "Fall" because fall is the opposite of spring when it comes to the seasons of the year.  If you need further help understanding the joke, please let me know in the comments section below.  

That's it for this Great Moment In Springsteen Television History.  Bruce Fallsteen does not appear anywhere else in the episode; in fact, the Great Moment is entirely captured in the screenshot above.  Was this a waste of time?  Perhaps.  But check out those other parody band names: The Moss Covered Stones!  The Roomoans!  Tom Potty!  As always, Jem is truly outrageous.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Comic Book Review - Transformers #14: "Rock And Roll-Out!"

FYI: Click on any image to enlarge

Has Bruce Springsteen met the Transformers?  Of course not, you idiot.  However, in the mid-1980s, legendary Transformers comic book writer Bob Budiansky tackled the question that has plagued us all: what would happen if Bruce Springsteen met the Transformers?  The answer lies in issue 14 of the original Transformers series.  Should you be unable to attain a copy for yourself (I mean, an issue this rare is trading on Amazon for $0.75!), please make due with my humble recap.

Let's hit the basic plot points first: the book opens with Jetfire becoming an Autobot (yay!).  Then, a machine is used to revive five old Autobots back to life (yay!).  Next, we peak into the nefarious Decepticons, who are looking to steal energy (boo!).  Now, let's rejoin the story, as the newly revived Autobots hit the town to learn the customs of the humans.

As the Autobots pull into the gas station, they are immediately greeted by the pleasant tones of Bruce Springste--er, I mean, Brick Springstern and the Tenth Avenue Band.  Of course, the blue-collar gas station attendants would listen to nothing else.  Springstern's hit song "Dancing in the Night" is playing, and one of the Autobots (I believe his name is Skids, so let's go with that) takes an immediate liking to the tune.

At this point, Optimus Prime chimes in, and explains the plot (for those of us still confused).  Basically, the Decepticons are stealing sonic energy, or something like that.  Where are they going to get said sonic energy?  Why, through the sonic energy produced by mister Brick Springstern and the mighty Tenth Avenue Band!  We are treated to one more Springstern classic, "Born To Ride", and off the Autobots go into action.

Finally!  By page 15, we get our first view of Brick Springstern, whose has ditched the "stern" and now goes by Brick SpringHORN.  He's in the middle of his classic anthem "Born In America", and the gang is all there: a hefty black saxophone player, some guy with a hat, some other guy with sunglasses, and the blue-haired drummer!  I have to say, I'm mildly disappointed it that there were 14 non-Brick Springsternhorn pages before this.  However, this little dialogue exchange is exactly what I wanted:

Skids: My analysis indicates a rhythmic tonal quality, Tracks, that positively stimulates the cerebro-circuitry.
Tracks: Which means--?
Skids: I like it!

Tracks takes one or two other digs at the Boss throughout the issue.  I wonder if Springsteen did get a copy of this comic book, read it, and was so bitter that Tracks wasn't a fan that he later named an album Tracks just to spite him.  Anyway, here's another panel, featuring the hit song "Margarita":

The Autobots find some power cord that the Decepticons are using to steal the sonic energy, and mayhem ensues.  During the chaos, the lighting scaffolding above the stage breaks, but fortunately, Autobot Hoist is there to save the day and repair the scaffolding.  Obviously, 40-foot robots attacking each other in an 80,000 seat venue could cause a panic, but that's where Brick Springhornstern comes in: he keeps playing.

It really is a Sophie's choice that I believe we have all wondered: if giant robots from outer space are attacking each other during a Springsteen concert, do you run for your life or stay at the show?  Who am I kidding, I know we'd all stay at the show.  

The good robots eventually chase the bad robots away, to battle again in next month's issue.  And, on a non-Springsteen related note, did you know that there was supposed to be a Captain America Broadway musical?

Now, according to my extensive Internet research (also known as the first link I see after I Google something), the musical never happened.  But, this magnificent advertisement still lives!  I love everything about it: Cap's top hat, his wiggle, the guilt trip message at the bottom ("You wouldn't want to let Cap down, would you?").  Unfortunately, Cap let us down by never making it big.

While this comic is no Watchmen (nor is it Wings for Wheels, a fantastic Springsteen-based comic), I still enjoyed it for what it was: 20-odd pages worth of classic 80s goodness.  I'd give it 4 out of 5 Bricks, and definitely worth a couple bucks to add to your collection.  Play us out, Brick!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bruce Covers Lorde's "Royals"

Another day, another out-of-nowhere cover from Springsteen.  He's already covered metal, 80s pop, and disco, so why not move on to indie hits?  Going from Australia to New Zealand, he opens the show with a cover of the latest (only?) New Zealand pop star, Lorde, and the result is fantastic.  I do hope the "covering bands from the region he's playing" trend continues, just to see what song he picks when he finally arrives in New Jersey.