Best Albums of 2018 - Two Views

For the 10th consecutive year, Larry Van Cleve and I have selected what we feel are the finest albums released during the past year. As usual, our lists are quite different; and although we did agree on a few things, it's always fun to check out the stuff we didn't hear, or ignored, the first time around that made the other's list.

Read more ...

Band Canyon 1 "The Beginning"

By late August of 1964, it was apparent to some area businessmen that there was money to be made catering to the teenage rock and roll scene. The onset of Beatlemania, and the subsequent British Invasion bands that followed, had inspired the formation of young bands all across the state. The impact of this was clearly shown during the summer months of 1964 at the Battle of the Bands competitions held at the Roll-Air outdoor skating rink on State Park Drive in Bay City.

Read more ...

Springsteen Pt. 8 - On Broadway

Bruce Springsteen had played benefits over the years for causes he believed in such as Vietnam Veterans, Amnesty International and opposition to nuclear energy, but he had always refrained from endorsing candidates for political office. This changed in 2004 when he became involved in the Vote for Change Tour with John Mellencamp, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, the Dave Matthews Band, John Fogerty, and Jackson Browne.

Read more ...

Springsteen Pt. 7 - The Rising

The new songs that Bruce Springsteen was writing in 1995 were set in his adopted home of California, and the music was minimal and the melodies uncomplicated. He felt that the austere rhythms and arrangements defined how the characters in the songs were and how they expressed themselves. The title of his new album, "The Ghost of Tom Joad", was taken from one of the main characters in John Ford's film adaptation of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. It was the story of the Joad's, an Oklahoma family, who, during the Great Depression in the 1930's, lose their farm and become migrant workers who journey to California looking for work and opportunity for the family members.

Read more ...

Springsteen Pt. 6 - The Ties That Bind

Bruce Springsteen felt that trying to keep the kind of success he had with "Born In The USA" for his next studio album would have been a losing game, and that trying to depend on a large audience could distort what he did and who he was. His plan was to produce a more reflective work and reintroduce himself to his fans as a songwriter. To this end, he set up his recording equipment at his New Jersey home and started writing about something he'd never written about in depth before; the relationships of men and women.

Read more ...

Springsteen Pt. 4 - Darkness & The River

While the depositions, motions, and hearings over his contract with Mike Appel dragged on for well over a year, Bruce Springsteen continued to write new songs. After seeing Elvis Presley perform at the Spectrum in Philadelphia in the spring of 1977, he wrote "Fire" for his first rock and roll idol. Sadly, Elvis died that summer before Springsteen could send him the demo. Instead, the song was given to neo-rockabilly singer Robert Gordon after Springsteen saw him perform at a gig with Link Wray.

Read more ...

Springsteen Pt. 3 - Born To Run

Although sales of “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” album remained slow, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band continued to perform live to great reviews. Music critic Jon Landau wrote a highly influential review after seeing a performance at the Harvard Square Theater in Boston, and it included this soon-to-be-famous quote: “I saw rock and roll’s future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen. On a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the first time”.

Read more ...