Song of the Week – My City of Ruins, Bruce Springsteen

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All of the recent natural disasters – multiple hurricanes and a huge earthquake off the coast of Mexico – have caused me to think about Bruce Springsteen’s “My City of Ruins,” today’s SotW.

“My City of Ruins” was included on Springsteen’s album The Rising (2002). The Rising was The Boss’s answer to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center although “My City of Ruins” was actually written a couple of years earlier about Asbury Park.

In Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run, he describes “My City of Ruins” as “the soul gospel of my favorite sixties records, speaking not just of Asbury Park but hopefully of other places and other lands.”

“Soul gospel”… that’s just how I always heard it. Let’s call it a distant cousin to Curtis Mayfield’s (The Impressions’) “People Get Ready,” a long time favorite of mine.

Springsteen is one of the few artists whose later albums speak to me as completely as his early albums. There aren’t many.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Heroes, David Bowie – It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City, David Bowie – Let’s Dance, M Ward – Wake Up, Arcade Fire w/ David Bowie

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I hadn’t really planned to post about David Bowie today. All week there have been media articles, radio tributes, and playlists to honor his passing. Sirius/XM even turned The Loft into an all Bowie station for a limited time. What more is there for me to add to the conversation?

But a very good friend of mine sent me an email saying he was looking forward to my take on the Bowie legacy so I decided to take a stab at it after all. My slant is to illuminate the various facets of Bowie as a performer, interpreter, writer and collaborator.

I’ll start by simply offering my all-time favorite Bowie song, “Heroes.”

“Heroes” was released as a single but never really achieved meaningful chart success. It was a well-known album cut but wasn’t among his most commercial releases. So I was surprised when I notice that it is the 3rd top Bowie song listened to on Spotify (with over 25 million streams, behind only “Space Oddity” and “Life on Mars”).

I’ve always dug the way it starts off with such power but continues to build and build, even when you think it’s no longer possible.

Next let’s listen to Bowie covering another artist – Bruce Springsteen’s “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City.”

Bowie was an early proponent of Springsteen, having recorded two songs (“It’s Hard to Be A Saint…” and “Growin’ Up”) from The Boss’ first album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

There are scores of great covers of Bowie songs by others. Take a listen to “Let’s Dance” by M Ward.

This melancholy version of Bowie’s exhilarating club hit underscores the simple beauty of the song.

Finally, Bowie was always generously shared his talent with other artists, from Bing Crosby (“Little Drummer Boy”) to Mick Jagger (“Dancing in the Street”) to Queen (“Under Pressure”). My pick for a cool collaboration is his effort with Arcade Fire on their “Wake Up.”

There we go Mike. I hope I didn’t disappoint!

Enjoy… until next week.