Declaring himself bellyache-free, a healthy Bruce Springsteen saluted the state where he used to live, California, on the 31st edition of his “From My Home to Yours” DJ show on SiriusXM satellite radio, which debuted Nov. 20. “While it’s not New Jersey, it’s pretty spectacular,” he said of the Golden State.
It wasn’t a particularly personal show, though Springsteen did confess to still owing Don Henley a wedding present, and sent out get-well wishes to Mike Ness of Social Distortion, who is recovering from cancer. Springsteen kept most of his introductions — to songs by The Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Joni Mitchell, Lana Del Rey, 2Pac, Dave Alvin and others — brief, though he did recite some poetry, written by others, at a few points.
Here is the show’s transcript and videos of the songs Springsteen played. In some cases, a version of the song may have been played that is different from what is embedded in this post.
“California Sun,” The Rivieras
“Hello, hello, hello. This is Bruce Springsteen, and I have no bellyache! Today, we are heading west, we are going to California, California, California. I lived there for six years, on and off, and while it’s not New Jersey, it’s pretty spectacular. I loved the beaches along the Pacific Coast Highway. I loved the Santa Monica Mountains, taking my bike out along Mulholland Drive, or up into the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles Crest Highway, riding along the L.A. Aqueduct, north into Death Valley, or south from San Francisco past San Mateo, on California 1. My folks lived in San Mateo for 30 years after bailing out of New Jersey in 1969. But California is an incredible state to ride your motorcycle in. Yosemite is a hint of an Eden on Earth. And California is a big state, and we’ve got a big show for you today.
So let’s get going. We started off with The Rivieras and their classic “California Sun.” Now here’s The Cruzados, with “Hanging Out in California.”
“Hanging Out in California,” The Cruzados
To the coast! — the coast! — and we haste away
Down to Santa Monica’s vale,
Where hoary old Neptune casts up at our feet,
His treasures so fair and so frail.
Never was nature so truly prolific,
As on the coast of our noble Pacific.
That is from the poem “Los Angeles,” by Lizzie F. Baldy.
“The Boys of Summer,” Don Henley
That, of course, was “Boys of Summer,” one of my all-time favorite California records. A great song and a fabulous recording. My understanding was, Mike Campbell had that track and Tom Petty passed on it, and Don picked it up, and wrote this great song to it, you know. So … love that record. Don, I think I still owe you a wedding present.
Here’s David + David, “Welcome to the Boomtown.”
“Welcome to the Boomtown,” David + David
That was David + David, with “Welcome to the Boomtown.” That would be David Baerwald, terrific songwriter, and David Ricketts, guitarist, producer and married briefly to my California sister Pam, for a while. Let’s hear “The Voice.”
“California Blue,” Roy Orbison
That was the voice of the one and only Roy Orbison, the immortal. And he’s singin’ there with the London Philharmonic, a great song called “California Blue.”
When day is done there falls a solemn hush:
The birds are silent in their humble nest.
Then comes the Master Artist with his brush,
And paints with brilliant touch the golden west.
From a poem by W.E. Hutchinson, “Sunset in the Golden State.”
Here’s Dave Alvin.
“King of California,” Dave Alvin
Love that song. That was, of course, Dave Alvin, who with his brother Phil helmed The Blasters, one of my favorite all-time L.A. bands. I had the opportunity, one night, to play a set with The Blasters, with Phil Alvin singing, and had the time of my life.
Well, let’s get into some California soul.
“Hollywood Bed,” The Blasters
Oh, land of golden dreams,
Where sunshine paints the skies,
And ocean waves embrace the shore,
With gentle lullabies.
The rolling hills stretch far and wide,
Adorned with vines that yield,
A nectar sweet, a treasure trove,
From California’s fields.
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, here they come.
“California Soul,” Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Now here’s my pal Mike Ness of Social Distortion. Mike, I’m gonna send this out to you, my good friend, wishing you a strong recovery. Mike had a cancer struggle, and I love this guy and his music. God bless Mike. We hope to see you soon back on the boards and in good health.
“California (Hustle and Flow),” Social Distortion
“California Love,” 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
Oh man, that’s 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre. Hell yes! Well, they finally made an arrest in 2Pac’s murder, and I hope 2Pac finds some posthumous justice.
And this is Lana Del Rey, and “Bel Air.”
“Bel Air,” Lana Del Rey
That was Lana Del Rey with “Bel Air.” She is one of our current great American songwriters. She writes fabulously about California. She’s got a great song, “California,” and another one called “Venice Bitch.” All should be checked out! Particularly her Norman Fucking Rockwell! record: That’s got some great writing on it. I love the detail in her writing. She gets that fabulous noir ambience on her records, aided by my good friend, Jack Antonoff.
Here’s Lesley Gore.
“California Nights,” Lesley Gore
Cars. Cars, cars, cars.
… fast and loud.
Racing around the track, exciting the crowd.
Drivers pass each other without any fear, while the fans in the stands drink their beer.
Pit crews jump over the wall in a flash to change tires and give the gas tank a splash.
Crew chiefs pray their drivers don’t crash because at the end of the race they could win big cash.
That’s from the poem “Stock Car Racing,” by Stephen Forcier
“The Little Old Lady From Pasadena,” Jan & Dean
We can’t do California without Joni. Joni Mitchell. It’s so good to see her back onstage. One of the absolute greatest songwriters, of course, of the second half of the 20th century. Just an amazing artist. This is her “California.”
We can’t do California without The Beach Boys, of course. But first:
Listen to the surf’s symphony,
As waves crash upon the shore,
A melody composed by nature,
Surfers dance upon the crests,
Defying gravity’s embrace,
Riding high, then plunging deep,
In an endless chase.
Golden sands, azure skies,
Create a backdrop, mesmerizing,
As palm trees sway in gentle breeze,
California’s sun is rising.
“California Saga (On My Way to Sunny Californ-i-a),” The Beach Boys
“California Dreamin’,” The Mamas & the Papas
The Mamas & the Papas, with the ever-evocative “California Dreamin.’ ” Man, I remember when that song came out. One, you had to play it in your band, which was a little tricky, because the singing was really good. (laughs) And in The Castiles, we were hit-and-miss, you know. But God, that song made me … it was so strangely and darkly romantic. You know, it starts in New York City. “All the leaves are brown and the skies are gray, I went for a walk on a winter’s day.” I remember sitting in my little snowbound house in New Jersey, and just imagining that song, in all of its beauty and its richness, and thinking of getting to California, somehow, someday. Of course, I did, in the back of a ’48 Chevy, in 72 hours. It wasn’t exactly how I pictured it. And we ended up in Big Sur, which is just out of this world. We thought we landed on Mars.
And before that was The Beach Boys, with “California Saga.”
Here’s Tom Petty.
“California” (home demo), Tom Petty
All right. That’s our California spectacular. Damn, I feel like I’ve been there. I’m goin’ back, back to Benedict Canyon. I’m gonna get my bike and I am gonna hit the Pacific Coast Highway.
“Pacific Coast Highway,” The Beach Boys
So go west, young man. Go west, go west, and check it out! If you haven’t been to California, that is someplace you have got to visit before you die. (laughs) I will be there with you. I’m gonna take that bike straight up through the Central Valley, back up into Northern California, and just smell those eucalyptus trees one more time.
And here’s the Pet Shop Boys.
“Go West,” Pet Shop Boys
And to sign us out, we have Jackson Browne. We all must stand before the deluge. I’ll be seeing you after the flood.
“Before the Deluge,” Jackson Browne
Springsteen did 29 “From My Home to Yours” shows from April 2020 to October 2021. Click HERE for an index of all the songs played in the series, as well as links to videos for the songs and transcripts for each show.
The 31st show will be available on demand and will also be re-broadcast on E Street Radio Nov. 21 at 4 p.m.; Nov. 22 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 23 at 6 p.m.; Nov. 24 at 9 a.m.; and Nov. 25 at 5 p.m.
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