Bruce Springsteen apparently enjoyed his first stint as a guest DJ on SiriusXM satellite radio’s E Street Radio channel (channel 20), April 8: He did so again, April 24 at 10 a.m., playing favorites by Bob Dylan, The Bee Gees, George Jones, Social Distortion, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Cliff and others.
One of the biggest surprises was 2Pac’s sentimental 1995 hit, “Dear Mama.” Another was his own “The Promised Land,” as performed by the Nashville-based punk-rock group Blacklist Royals.
The only other self-written songs he played were “New York City Serenade” — part of a tribute-to-New-York segment that also included Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” — and “Long Walk Home.”
Here’s a rundown of most of what he said, and videos of all the songs he played on the approximately 90-minute show, which will repeat April 24 at 4 p.m. and midnight, April 25 at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and April 26 at 9 a.m.
SiriusXM is usually a paid service but is offering free streaming through May 15. Visit siriusxm.com.
Note: The videos don’t necessarily represent the same version of the song that Springsteen played.
“Good morning, E Street Nation. This is Bruce Springsteen, coming from my house to yours with music for troubled times. For the next hour or so, I will be your DJ for your dancing and listening pleasure.”
“Town Without Pity,” Frank Bey and the Anthony Paule Band
“I hope you’ve all been … staying home, because outside the world is roiling.”
“Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today),” The Temptations
“This next band is a band I stumbled on, watching one of the late-night shows about a year or so ago, and they’ve become one of my favorites.”
“Seasons (Waiting on You),” Future Islands
“I’ve known Jimmy Cliff for, I don’t know, 20, 25 years at least. And he was always one of my favorite, favorite musicians. And this was on one of the early, early records. It’s just a great song about tough times and hardship.”
“Sufferin’ in the Land,” Jimmy Cliff
“This next song needs no introduction. All you’ve got to do is push back the couch, move some chairs, make yourself a dance floor in your living room.”
“Stayin’ Alive,” The Bee Gees
“This next cut is from one of my favorite punk bands since … probably since the ’80s. This is from Mike Ness, who I think is one of the great voices of rock ‘n’ roll. Great writer. Great bandleader. Great band. Social Distortion.”
“Bad Luck,” Social Distortion
“I’ve lived in the United States for 70 years now, and I have to admit I’ve often been disappointed in our failure to live up to our ideals. But I also have to say, I’ve never really been able to deny that there’s a promise that constantly resides in the American people, that could make us the great democratic nation that we carry in our hearts and in our dreams. And if we put our hearts and our lives together and fought for the very ideals, those of equality, of liberty, of social justice, of compassion for our neighbors, we would find that this is where our strength resides. And we have it within in our power to create the kind of humane society we’ve always dreamt of. Now, all of this sounds corny when you say it. But it ain’t corny when you do it.”
“The Promised Land,” Blacklist Royals
“I guess one of the hardest things about recent times is the distance you have to place between you and your loved ones. The inability to hug them and to kiss them and to comfort them … it is painful to live without. You know, my mom has had Alzheimer’s for 10 years, and she lives in the present. This moment and this moment only is hers. And so touching her, and hugging, and kissing her are very, very, very important for her life experience right now. And one of the things we’ve had to suffer with is, we can’t do that right now, for her safety and for her health. So I want to send this one out to my mom, and to your mom, too.”
“Dear Mama,” 2Pac
“Well, there’s one thing I know: There are going to be some babies made over these next few months. … I’m gonna grease the wheels right now with one of the sexiest records ever made, by one of the sexiest men who ever lived.”
“Sexual Healing,” Marvin Gaye
“Let the Good Times Roll,” Sam Cooke
“The other sexiest man that ever lived — my God, what a voice! And what a beautiful record.”
“I’m going to keep going on this theme, for a minute, because it deserves that kind of attention. Johnny Nash … he had that great hit called ‘I Can See Clearly Now.’ But he made other great records. He was a sexy singer. So this is Johnny Nash, with ‘Guava Jelly.’ ‘You know what to do with that stuff, rub it on the belly.’ ”
“Guava Jelly,” Johnny Nash
“I got a couple of songs here I’m gonna play next, for New York. New York has struggled so tremendously with this disease. My son lives up there, Downtown, and of course we’ve been worried him, and about everybody else, too. I’m gonna send these next two songs out to all the health care workers, all the doctors and the nurses who’ve put their lives on the line, for the critically ill, and the citizens of New York. This is my good friend, Billy Joel, and ‘New York State of Mind.’ ”
“New York State of Mind,” Billy Joel
“New York City Serenade,” Bruce Springsteen
“I think one of the most frustrating things about this virus is not knowing how long we’re going to have to live like this. I have a blackboard that I mark the days on, as if I was in prison. I think I reached a month and a half a few days ago. So looking at the months ahead, it’s going to be quite a while before we’re able to open up our society, before people are going to be able to trust one another to congregate in large or small groups, before there is music, before there is sports, before there is family gatherings. It’s a very disheartening view. I think it may take a vaccine until we’re all really comfortable with one another. So we’ve got to stay strong, and stay at home, and stay together, and settle on the fact that it’s probably going to be a pretty long walk home.”
“Long Walk Home,” Bruce Springsteen
“I think one of the hard things in difficult times is keeping faith, and not letting the struggle and the pain … and the grief overcome you. That’s very, very hard. There’s a lot of people that have suffered a lot of loss over these days. Now our thoughts and out prayers, of course, go out to you, but I know that that is cold comfort, because those of you who have lost husbands and wives and sons and daughters … this is George Jones, and ‘A Picture of Me (Without You).’ ”
“A Picture of Me (Without You),” George Jones
“Not Dark Yet,” Bob Dylan
“There was an oped a while back in the New York Times that I would advise every American who cares about his country to read. It is called ‘The America We Need.’ Now let me paraphrase from just a small, small piece of it. Frank Delano Roosevelt said liberty requires opportunity to make a living, a living decent according to the standard of the time. A living which gives a man or a woman not only enough to live by, but something to live for. Now the … pandemic has laid bare the inequalities in wealth and in health that plague our nation. In Michigan, hard-hit by the coronavirus, African-Americans make up 14 percent of the population but 40 percent of the deaths from this disease. So many disenfranchised Americans lack the essential liberty to protect their own lives, and the lives of their families. This pandemic has shown the great divide between our American Dream and American reality, between current America versus the ideals enshrined in our founding documents. Now that’s just a small piece of the editorial, and I hope I didn’t do it a disservice. But all I know is, here in the beginning of the 21st century, in Paterson and other New Jersey cities, in Michigan, in rural America, and all across the United States, this reality is so frustrating that, as the great Marvin Gaye said, then we should want to holler.”
“Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler),” Marvin Gaye
“Slim Dunlap, who was one of the members of The Replacements, the great Minneapolis group … Slim Dunlap, in my opinion, is simply one of the best rock ‘n’ roll songwriters we have. He deserves a much, much larger audience than he’s gathered. This is a beautiful song of his called ‘Times Like This.’ ”
“Times Like This,” Slim Dunlap
“Well, it’s time for me to go. I’ve enjoyed spending this time with you. And to take us out, there is a group with a wonderful name. They are called The Consolers. Something we could use a little bit of, right now. … Until we speak again, stay safe.”
“Over Yonder,” The Consolers
“Many Rivers to Cross,” Jimmy Cliff
We need your help!
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $20, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.