Bruce Springsteen eloquently paid tribute to the late rock pioneer Little Richard on the fourth volume of his SiriusXM satellite radio show, “From His Home to Yours,” May 20, starting the show with two of Little Richard’s songs and calling him “the purest rock ‘n’ roll voice of all time.”
He also let loose an angry rant about president Trump, calling him “cowardly” for supporting the movement to reopen the country prematurely.
But of course, the approximately 90-minute show was mostly about music, and Springsteen had some very surprising choices. He played songs by kindred spirits such as Tom Petty, Dion and Warren Zevon, but also ventured into the music of Glen Campbell (his cover of Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These”!), Marlene Dietrich (!!), Mozart (!!!) and more. He lavished praise on Bob Dylan’s skill as a song interpreter, and had very kind words for Stephen Merritt (of Magnetic Fields and Future Bible Heroes) and Shane MacGowan of The Pogues, among others.
Though he is not officially on a schedule for these shows, and no more are guaranteed, Springsteen has been doing them once every other week since early April. To see what songs he played and what he said on his previous shows, click here for April 8, here for April 24 and here for May 6.
SiriusXM is usually a paid service but can be streamed for free through May 31. Visit siriusxm.com.
Here is most of what Springsteen said, and embedded videos for most of the songs he played. (Note: In some cases, he may have played a different version of the song than is here.)
Intro Music: “Turn Your Radio On,” Roy Acuff
“Hello E Street Nation and all friends, fans and listeners, from coast to coast. This is Bruce Springsteen, coming from my home to yours, with music for trouble times. Let’s start the day by allowing me to introduce to you Little Richard.”
“Born on the Bayou” intro, Little Richard (Springsteen played just the spoken intro, not the song)
“Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard
“That is the purest rock ‘n’ roll voice of all time, and it belongs to the Georgia Peach, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Little Richard, who we lost in early May. He was one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll and its preeminent vocal genius. And there he profoundly explained, in my opinion, why and how he does what he does. Now Richard came out of Macon, Ga., to take the nation, the world and your body and soul by storm. His art was filled with absurdity, dead seriousness, great humor, and sex, sex, sex. He is one of a handful of men who changed the face of world culture. He crossed racial boundaries. He challenged gender norms, and he had the time of his life. Here once again is the High Priest of Rock ‘n’ Roll. A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop, a-lop-bam-boom! Rest in peace, Richard.”
“Get Down With It,” Little Richard
“Little Richard, and ‘Get Down With It.’ If you’ve got on a wig, take it off! Listen to the man. All right. This is Stevie. He’s gonna take us out of the darkness.”
“Out of the Darkness,” Little Steven
“Times like these are testing. They reveal character. They can bring out your generousness or your selfishness, you kindness or your cruelty, your love or your fear. Just take a look at our man at the top. Hard times do that.
“So I take a daily drive, because driving has always relaxed me, and it gets me out of Patti’s hair for a while. I drive all my old routes, through all my old towns, day after day. I see old shops shuttered, what folks there are on the street, in masks. My favorite hangouts closed. Take-out only, God bless ’em. And I drive out to Manasquan Inlet, my old man’s stomping grounds, to sit and watch the boats for a while. But they’ve closed all the parking places, and the boardwalk’s closed, so I find a side street. And I sit, roll down the window and feel the ocean breeze and read the newspaper for a while.
“Thirty million workers joined the jobless ranks over the last two months. That is frightening and heartbreaking. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t thank my lucky stars, when I don’t know how profoundly fortunate I am.
“So after an hour, I fold my newspaper, I start the car and I head home. And on my way on 79, I pass the ShopRite that I opened with The Castiles during its Midnight Madness opening in 1965. We played out in front of the supermarket. And it was the only time during this day that I saw a parking lot filled with cars, and it almost brought me to tears.”
“Times Like These,” Glen Campbell
“I’ve been thinking. Dating: how’s that going, all you singles out there? How is love in the time of corona? I am old and I simply can’t imagine it. I mean, it’s got to be happening. But how? I mean, is testing going on? I guess there’s virtual dating. Why wouldn’t there be? I don’t know how satisfying that can be. No physical contact. Yikes! There’s no sex, I would imagine. I guess there’s also sexting and naked selfies. They say naked selfies is the new seduction. I read an article that said this is the golden age of naked selfies. Hell, I may take a few myself when this show is over. Why not? Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
“Kiss Me Only With Your Eyes,” Future Bible Heroes
“Andrew in Drag,” Magnetic Fields
“That was ‘Kiss Me Only With Your Eyes,’ followed by the ultra-fantastic masterpiece ‘Andrew in Drag,’ by Stephin Merritt. Stephen Merritt is an American singer-songwriter and the driving force behind Magnetic Fields and Future Bible Heroes. If you do not have in your record collection 69 Love Songs, I suggest you purchase it pronto, and get ready for one of the most enjoyable evenings of your live. ‘Andrew in Drag’ is from an album called Love at the Bottom of the Sea, and is certainly alone worth the price of admission. Stephin is one of our best American composers and songwriters, and if you haven’t gotten into his music, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
“This is Australian Courtney Barnett, with ‘Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party,’ featuring the timeless line, ‘I wanna go out but I wanna stay home.’ Perfect for the times, and my individual life story.”
“Nobody Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party,” Courtney Barnett
“Lie to Me,” Tom Waits
“That is Tom Waits with a perfect theme song for our times, featuring its immortal line, ‘I have no use for the truth.’ What else need be said?
“All right. Coming up, the Aqua Velvets, terrific surf band out of San Francisco, with a song about a town on the northern coast of Maui.”
“Return to Paia,” The Aqua Velvets
“Well, here’s a good one. I saw the ‘The Blue Angel,’ the great German film from 1930. It’s starring Marlene Dietrich, and it’s directed by Josef von Sternberg. Well, this is Marlene, singing ‘Das Lied Ist Aus.’ ”
“Das Lied Ist Aus (Don’t Ask Me Why I Cry),” Marlene Dietrich
“Some Enchanted Evening,” Bob Dylan
(Video not available.)
“That was Bob Dylan, with a beautiful version of ‘Some Enchanted Evening.’ I don’t know how many followed Bob in his deep journey into the Great American Songbook, but not only is his choice of material wonderful and enlightening, but he showed himself to be a superlative interpretive singer. It’s a trip well, well worth taking, and that cut was from an album called Shadows in the Night.
“This is Craig Finn, with the beautiful ‘Tangletown.’ He is best known as frontman for The Hold Steady, who are coming up shortly. But first, this lovely character study.”
“Tangletown,” Craig Finn
“When this is over, and I do have faith that it’s gonna be over, I want to do the simple things again … get an ice cream cone at the Jersey Freeze. Be able to walk inside, step up to the counter and say, ‘soft vanilla, dipped in chocolate, please.’ I wanna get a pizza with my pal, the ex-mayor of Freehold, and all my old friends, down at Federici’s. I wanna take in the boardwalk on a quiet weekday night in Point Pleasant, lose all my money at the wheels of chance. Hang at the beach till around 5:30 or 6, when the evening cool just begins to drift in, and that sun is low and warm on your skin. That is my favorite time of the day. Then I may head into Red Bank and stop at Jack’s record store — stay strong, Jack, we’re lucky to have a record store in Red Bank, that’s for sure — and maybe find a place to sit outside and have a drink, just surrounded by folks without a worry, just going about their business. Never has the mundane seemed so … attractive. Yep, when this is over, I just want to take a walk downtown.
“Tonight I Think I’m Gonna Go Downtown,” Joe Ely
“That was the premier Texas songwriter and rocker Joe Ely, a good friend of mine. I had one memorable evening, a dinner with Joe and Shane MacGowan of The Pogues, in Dublin, that was unforgettable. Now Shane’s voice is nearly undecipherable in a loud restaurant, but I was such an admirer, and I love him, and I happy just to sit across from him. And all I know is with the exception of Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry — I’m not sure about the rest of us — but I know we’ll be singing Shane MacGowan songs 100 years from now.
“A Rainy Night in Soho,” The Pogues
“Man, that’s beautiful. That’ll always be timeless.
“Now, the toughest thing about lockdown is the feeling of not knowing what the future holds, the feeling of your whole life being placed on hold. Time seeming to move quickly but slowly. Now empty and unused time, I don’t care for, especially at 70. I’m counting my days and, my friends, I’ve got things to do that involve me and you. My son’s 25 and he worried about the time it’s taking out of his life. But I feel like Muhammad Ali, who was at his prime — I’m in my late prime — but who was at his prime, and the years that he could have spent boxing were taken away from him. So I try to heed my deceased Aunt Eda’s advice. She always said, ‘Just live every day live as if you’re gonna live forever.’ I like that: ‘Live every day as if you’re gonna live forever.’ I think she meant, ‘Greet each day on its own terms, as an opportunity for life’s possibilities. Breathe it in, let the world open up before you, and prepare yourself to accept it in its entirety, on its own terms, with a vengeance.’ Well, I’m ready, and I hope you are, too. But right now, the waiting is the hardest part.
“The Waiting,” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
“All right. You feel stuck between stations? I do.”
“Stuck Between Stations,” The Hold Steady
“Coming up is a beautiful devotional, written by Dion. It’s called ‘Hymn to Him.’ Patti and I were lucky enough to work on it with him, and it’s a lovely prayer.”
“Hymn to Him,” Dion
“In song, film and poetry, the train has become the symbol of a mystical vessel, ferrying us through the earthly and spiritual realm of American, from one station to another.”
“This Train,” Bill Big Broonzy
“The Conductor Wore Black,” Rank and File
“Land of Hope and Dreams,” Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
“Now the protesters that we’ve seen in some of our state capitols, pushing to get the country to open up and cut back on some of the mitigation, concern me. I worry for them, first of all. Because up to this point, that mitigation’s been our only defense against the deadly virus. I know folks need to get back to work, they need to get their bills paid, they need to feed their families. But the country should reopen in a cautious, safe and responsible manner, not carelessly, in a gesture that will cost tens of thousands of lives, prodded on by a president who went against his own government mandate in advising citizens to ‘liberate Michigan’ and ‘liberate Virginia.’ And frankly, that is the wrong language right now, and it pissed me off. It’s just weak and irresponsible. It was the gesture of a man willing to roll the dice with the lives of those who put him into office, and their children, and their elderly friends and families at risk, for perhaps nothing more than an election-year ploy. It’s cowardly.”
“Don’t Let Us Get Sick,” Warren Zevon
“So I will leave you, now, with a prayer for the deceased, and for their loved ones, and for you. This is ‘Ave verum corpus,’ by Mozart, followed by Antony and the Johnson’s glorious “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Until we meet again, God bless, stay strong, stay safe, and peace be with you.”
Mozart’s “Ave verum corpus, K. 618,” performed by Motettenchor Pforzheim choir.
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Antony and the Johnsons
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