Bruce Springsteen started his third guest DJ stint of the pandemic on SiriusXM satellite radio’s E Street Radio channel with a vision of the future.
“As hard as it is to believe right now,” he said, “your children will go back to school. Churches will be open and full. You will once again hug and kiss family members at your gatherings. You will shout over the noise of a crowded bar to order a drink and speak to your friends. … And 50,000 people will once again scream their heads off somewhere in New Jersey.”
Later in the show, he promised: “When this experience is over, I am gonna throw the wildest party you have ever seen, and you, my friends, are all invited.”
Songs played in the 100-minute special included the new Rolling Stones single, “Living in a Ghost Town,” Pokey LaFarge’s “Fuck Me Up,” Springsteen’s own “Wrecking Ball,” and Pet Shop Boys’ cover of his “Last to Die.” As always, it was a very eclectic mix, with the most obscure song probably being “We Deliver,” by the ’70s New York club band The Miami, played here as a tribute to restaurant workers.
Among the stories he told was one about meeting the late Joe Strummer of The Clash — by chance, and for the only time — in an almost-empty bar.
Here is most of what Springsteen said and embedded videos for all 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
“All right. Hello, E Street Nation. This is Bruce Springsteen, from my home to yours, with ‘Music for Troubled Times, Vol. 3.’ As hard as it is to believe right now, your children will go back to school. Churches will be open and full. You will once again hug and kiss family members at your gatherings. You will shout over the noise of a crowded bar to order a drink and speak to your friends. You will buy a hot dog at Yankee Stadium. You will walk through the streets of your hometown, free and easy. You may hold a complete stranger on a crowded dance floor. And 50,000 people will once again scream their heads off somewhere in New Jersey.”
“Wrecking Ball,” Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
“We’re Gonna Make It,” Little Milton
“This is The Impressions, with the incredible Curtis Mayfield. Let’s ‘Keep on Pushing.’ ”
“Keep On Pushing,” The Impressions
“It’s funny how the weather this past two and a half months, since the lockdown … the weather has taken on a whole new level of importance in my life (laughs). I check the forecast three or four times a day. I pray for summer. I suffer through gray clouds and rain. I got a dog that wakes me up like clockwork, every morning at sunrise. So around 6:30 every day, I am standing in our front field, waiting for the sun to come up. And on those days, when it rises and washes a golden light across the fields into the trees, I take a deep sigh of gratitude, and I am momentarily deceived into believing that things are almost normal, or at least that they will be.
“I never thought that the emotional beginning of my day could so depend on a change in the weather.”
“Change in the Weather,” John Fogerty
“I can tell you one thing I’m doin’ every day. Come rain or shine, at 4 o’clock, I’m setting myself up a drink. A shot and a beer … I’m not waitin’ til 5 o’clock … or a little vodka and soda. And I am on my way to shortly putting a new shine on this whole experience. I take no shame in it, at this place and time, to looking into something that is gonna fuck me up.”
“Fuck Me Up,” Pokey LaFarge
“That felt good. Damn! C’mon, Bob.”
“Everything Is Broken,” Bob Dylan
“Living in a Ghost Town,” The Rolling Stones
“That was Bob Dylan, ‘Everything Is Broken.’ And damned if it doesn’t feel like that. And of course, the Stones, ‘Living in a Ghost Town.’
“I was out last night on an errand, around 9:30. Let me tell you who else was out there: Nobody. Nobody at all. The streets were barren, the highway was not alive. It was like, while we were waiting for the apocalypse, it had already happened.
“All I can tell you is, when this experience is over, I am gonna throw the wildest party you have ever seen, and you, my friends, are all invited.”
“Wang Dang Doodle,” Koko Taylor
“Now all this staying at home can create tension between you and your significant other. After about two months of 24/7, you are gonna know exactly where your relationship stands. Tolerating each other is not enough. Deep down, you’ve got to like one another. You’ve got to give each other as much room as you can. Otherwise, you’re going to end up like Lightnin’ Hopkins.”
“I Hate I Got Married,” Lightnin’ Hopkins
“D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” Tammy Wynette
“Besides the bravery of our front line health care workers … the folks who’ve stepped to the front during this national crisis, whose service goes less remarked upon, are the working people who keep our society running. Our sanitation workers, our grocery clerks, the folks who are in low-paying service jobs that require a high degree of contact with the public, they are carrying the full weight of this virus for all of us. The coronavirus has revealed, once again, the fissures in our society, the inequalities that put the backbone of our society, our working people, at risk. This is for the rank and file.”
“Rank and File,” Rank and File
“That’s ‘Rank and File,’ by Rank and File. They made a record in 1982 called Sundown. It was their debut, and it pioneered the alternative country sound, a decade before its time. There were two brothers, Chip and Tony Kinman, and a great singer and songwriter, Alejandro Escovedo. There’s a compilation out now that you can access on iTunes, that’s well worth your time and hard-earned cash. I think it’s called The Slash Years. …
“Hard-earned cash. Let’s stick with that and salute the small business restaurant workers who’ve had to close shop and who have been eking out a living, just getting by, by providing us all with our take-out! Here’s to all my friends at Tony’s Grill, and Federici’s in Freehold. I’m hungry!”
“We Deliver,” The Miamis
“Whoo! That’s The Miamis: ‘We Deliver’! I want some pizza!”
“Harder Than You Think,” Public Enemy
“Clubs are closed, kids. I don’t know when they’re gonna be open. D’Jais in Belmar! What are we gonna do this summer? Hell, let’s go dancing in the street.”
“Dancing in the Street,” Martha & the Vandellas
“Remember to practice your social distancing. We need a new dance called The Distance. You have to be 10 feet away from your partner to do it. All right, somebody work on that.
“Well, I’ll tell you what frustrates me right now: The fact that, as a country, we were so ill-prepared for this pandemic. And it’s not like it hadn’t been predicted. If you willfully ignore science and scientific fact in the year 2020, you end up suggesting to people that they should ingest household products to clear themselves of the virus. Not a smart idea. You and all those you’re responsible for will pay the price. Now, the head of our government knew as early as January of the dangers the coronavirus posed to our country, and failed to act. Thousands of mortal lives could have been saved, had their warning been heeded. This is ‘Last to Die (for a Mistake).’ ”
“Last to Die,” Pet Shop Boys
“Don’t Ask Me Questions,” Graham Parker & the Rumour
“We are currently living through a once-in-a-century event, and as such, it feels biblical in nature. We have been visited by a plague. Our strength resides in our ability to hope, and in our faith. So I went to The Bible, and I found an Ephesians quote. ‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.’ ‘That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened’: I like that. We could use some enlightened hearts, right about now, This is from a good friend and one of my favorite songwriters in the world: Jackson Browne.”
“Before the Deluge,” Jackson Browne
“Big Sky Country,” Chris Whitley
“That was Chris Whitley, an artist we lost way before his time, with ‘Big Sky Country.’
“I was living in L.A., and I walked into the Sunset Marquis motel, one late afternoon, and I walked into its Whisky Bar, and there was exactly one patron sitting at the bar: Joe Strummer. We had never met, so we introduced ourselves to each other, and we had a relaxed and sweet conversation for 45 minutes or so. It was the only time we ever met, but I always felt very, very close to him, as an artist, and was deeply saddened at his young and untimely passing. This is a favorite song of mine from when he was working with his group The Mescaleros.
“Now I used to regularly go to Freehold Memorial Day Parade. It was kind of the beginning of each summer. I’d ride my bike down there and take a spot on the corner with everybody else, just watch it go by. And it was something beautiful in its small town consistency. It was just the same year after year, since I was a child. You know, the fire engines, the marching band, the Veterans of Foreign Wars marching in lockstep. A few classic cars, ending at the racetrack. And that was about it. Right now, I miss a parade. I’d like to go to a parade on an early summer day, right about now.”
“Ramshackle Day Parade,” Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros
“Not many artists have captured death’s permanence and intimacy. A lot of our neighbors are wrestling with deaths right now, as we speak. So we send out our prayers.”
“O Death,” Ralph Stanley
“Every Grain of Sand,” Bob Dylan
“That was Bob Dylan, with his gorgeous ‘Every Grain of Sand.’
“I want to thank you for spending this time with me. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself, and that we’ve lightened your burden just a little bit. So until we meet again, go now and peace be with you.”
“Shenandoah,” The X Seamen’s Institute
Here are the special’s repeat times (all EDT):
May 6: 5 p.m.
May 7: 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.
May 8: 10 a.m., 4 p.m. and midnight
May 9: 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
May 10: 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
May 11: 7 a.m., 4 p.m. and midnight
May 12: 8 a.m.
Obviously, Springsteen has been doing these about once every two weeks so far, so the next one may be coming later this month, though there is no guarantee he’ll keep doing them.
SiriusXM is usually a paid service but can be streamed for free through May 31. Visit siriusxm.com.
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