In the Hoboken nightclub Maxwell’s, which reopened last night after closing 15 months ago, there is a tribute to some of the most prominent artists who played there in the past: A collage of photos over the bar. And one of them is of Bongos frontman Richard Barone.
This Hoboken-based group evolved out of the first band ever to play at Maxwell’s, “a,” and became the leading Hoboken pop-rock band of the early ’80s. They also are the main group behind what came to be known as “The Hoboken Sound”: forward-looking but still unapologetically poppy rock ‘n’ roll.
Their 1982 debut album, “Drums Along the Hudson,” earned them a national reputation, and in 1985, they jumped to a major label. The association didn’t last for long: By 1987, the band had broken up, though there have been some reunions since then, and group members Barone, James Mastro (guitar), Rob Norris (bass) and Frank Giannini (drums) have remained active in various other projects.
Here’s the video for the catchy and mysterious “Drums Along the Hudson” song, “The Bulrushes,” which was shot partially at Maxwell’s. Those are the stairs down to the basement (the club’s de facto dressing room) at the beginning, and Maxwell’s footage was also used for the end credits sequence and the instrumental close-ups (though most of the clip comes from footage shot at two New York clubs of the time, the Peppermint Lounge and Trax).
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.