“Waiting on a Friend” was the theme of Bruce Springsteen’s 21st DJ show on SiriusXM satellite radio, which debuted April 28 on the network’s E Street Radio channel (channel 20).
“There is no friendship in the world like a rock ‘n’ roll friendship,” Springsteen said. “Music is the unspoken language of companionship. When you find that soulmate who understands every note, every syllable of every lyric of every song that ever ripped a hole in your heart, you know you’ve found a friend for life.”
Springsteen also devoted some of the show to friendship gone bad, via songs by artists such as Bob Dylan (“Positively 4th Street”), Steely Dan (“Through With Buzz”) and Elmore James (“My Best Friend”).
It was one of the longest of Springsteen’s recent shows, and featured five of his own songs, plus his “It’s Been a Long Time” collaboration with Southside Johnny and Steven Van Zandt, and a live duet with Alejandro Escovedo on Escovedo’s “Always a Friend.”
You can read what Springsteen said here, and see videos for the songs that were played. In some cases, a version of the song may have been played that is different from what is embedded in this post.
“Greetings, creatures of Earth, fellow New Jerseyans, citizens of Mars, fans, friends and listeners from coast to coast and around the world. Welcome to Vol. 21 of ‘From My Home to Yours,’ titled ‘Waiting on a Friend.’ There is no friendship in the world like a rock ‘n’ roll friendship. Music is the unspoken language of companionship. When you find that soulmate who understands every note, every syllable of every lyric of every song that ever ripped a hole in your heart, you know you’ve found a friend for life. You are bonded forever through the magic, the mystery and the miracle of rock ‘n’ roll.”
“Blood Brothers” (alternate version), Bruce Springsteen
“Waiting on a Friend,” The Rolling Stones
“You’re a Friend of Mine,” Clarence Clemons and Jackson Browne
“That was Clarence. Clarence Clemons and Jackson Browne on their big hit, ‘You’re a Friend of Mine.’ Before that, of course, the Glimmer Twins, Mick and Keith, and the Rolling Stones, with Sonny Rollins on sax, and Nicky Hopkins, one of the great rock ‘n’ roll piano accompanists, on keyboards. And I started us off with ‘Blood Brothers,’ the alternate, alternate track. We had three or four different versions of ‘Blood Brothers’ and we spent several days in the studio, trying to sort out which was the correct version. And we ended up with the version that was on our Greatest Hits album. And we left this one off, and I’m not sure we made the right decision. I love the one that’s on Greatest Hits, but this thing really has something to it, too. So that was ‘Blood Brothers,’ alternate version. The E Street Band.”
“Always a Friend,” Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, with Alejandro Escovedo
“See My Friends,” The Kinks
“That was ‘Always a Friend of Mine,’ live. I think we were in Austin, I’m not sure about that. Alejandro Escovedo and yours truly, and the E Street Band. And that was followed by The Kinks, with Ray Davies’ 1965 composition, ‘See My Friends.’ I used to love this song. It was one of the first records to incorporate the modal Indian raga sounds, produced by Shel Talmy, who was a hell of a producer in the early ’60s, and produced many, many classic records by The Kinks, The Who, as well as producing ‘Friday on My Mind’ by the Australian Easybeats. He was amazing.”
“Me and Bobby McGee,” Janis Joplin
“That was Janis, with Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee.’ That song was released posthumously, and was quite a hit. It was only the second record released posthumously to become a hit. The other one, obviously, the great Otis Redding song, ‘Dock of the Bay.’
“Now, friendships, even among the best of friends, get complicated. Just ask Elmore James.”
“My Best Friend,” Elmore James
“Through With Buzz,” Steely Dan
“Mixed Emotions,” The Rolling Stones
“Positively 4th Street,” Bob Dylan
“And that was Bob Dylan, with the fabulous all-time kiss-off, ‘Positively 4th Street.’ Before that, ‘Mixed Emotions,’ by Mick and Keith, the Rolling Stones. Before that, Steely Dan, who are ‘Through With Buzz,’ and I don’t blame them! Terrible behavior! And I started us off, up top, with Elmore James, who was having the problem of his lover being attracted to his best friend. Ouch! That does hurt.”
“Me and Michael,” MGMT
“None but the Brave,” Bruce Springsteen
“Ramblin’ Boy,” Tom Paxton
“That was the beautiful ‘Ramblin’ Boy,’ by Tom Paxton. I have had a recent re-infatuation with folk music, and Tom Paxton is just great. Love that song. ‘Ramblin’ Boy.’ Before that was the E Street Band with ‘None but the Brave.’ ‘None but the Brave,’ I believe, was recorded for Born in the USA, for which many, many, many, many other songs were recorded … many of which could have come out, but did not, due to … insanity at the time, I suppose. Before that, MGMT with ‘Me and Michael.’
“I played this next cut over and over, in my bedroom on South Street, as a teenager: the first rock song, I think, to try and contextualize the Kennedy assassination, which was a sacred subject in the early ’60s. And it was on The Byrds’ 1965 album, Turn! Turn Turn! Roger McGuinn has said he wrote this version of what was a traditional folk song in 1963, the night Kennedy died. I was 13 when Kennedy was assassinated. I always remember I was in gym class, playing soccer in the field. Someone came running out of the high school, slammed themselves up against the chain link fence and said, ‘The President’s been shot.’ We all rushed inside, and the rest is history. Now this is just a lovely version of ‘He Was a Friend of Mine.’ The Byrds.”
“He Was a Friend of Mine,” The Byrds
“I’ll See You in My Dreams,” Bruce Springsteen
“Pal of Mine,” Joan Baez
“That was ‘Pal of Mine,’ by Joan Baez. Previous to that yours truly, with ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams,’ and of course The Byrds’ ‘He Was a Friend of Mine.’ ”
“It’s Been a Long Time,” Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, with Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt
“Two Lucky Bums,” Dave Alvin, with Chris Gaffney
“And that was ‘Two Lucky Bums,’ by Dave and Phil Alvin. Before that, the great Southside Johnny, with ‘It’s Been a Long Time,’ accompanied by Steve and myself. And … all right, let’s go!”
“Two Hearts,” Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
“That’s our show. May ye be wealthy with friends in this world. Hold them close to your heart. Give them a home in your soul. And don’t sweat the small stuff. Until we meet again, go in peace.”
“Backstreets,” Bruce Springsteen
Springsteen has been doing “From My Home to Yours” shows since April of 2020. You can read transcripts of what he has said on the previous 20 shows, and see YouTube videos of all the songs he has played, via these links:
APRIL 8 (a tribute to the late John Prine and more)
APRIL 24 (thoughts on life during pandemic, New York songs and more)
MAY 6 (when the pandemic is over, he promises, “50,000 people will once again scream their heads off somewhere in New Jersey”)
MAY 20 (a tribute to the late Little Richard and more)
JUNE 3 (protest songs and more)
JUNE 17 (a “rock ‘n’ roll requiem” for those who have died from coronavirus)
JULY 1 (discussion with and songs by Southside Johnny and Steven Van Zandt)
JULY 15 (summertime songs and memories)
JULY 29 (discussion with and songs by Patti Scialfa).
AUG. 14 (“In Dreams,” nocturnally themes songs and memories)
SEPT. 2 (songs about work, in honor of Labor Day)
SEPT. 16 (end of summer)
OCT. 7 (songs about cars)
OCT. 28 (Election Day- and Halloween-oriented songs)
NOV. 25 (Election Day victory, “music about music”)
DEC. 16 (“Hits of the Week”: music that he has been listening to lately)
JAN. 20 (“Lawyers, Guns & Money: An Inaugural Special”)
FEB. 24 (“New Born Soul”: songs of rebirth)
MARCH 10 (“Fans and Bands”: Songs about bands, their muses, and their fans).
MARCH 31 (“Here Comes the Weekend”)
The shows have lasted between one and two hours each, with repeats and on-demand availability following the initial broadcast. “Waiting on a Friend” also will air April 28 at 6 p.m.; April 29 at 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.; April 30 at 10 a.m., 4 p.m. and midnight; May 1 at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.; May 2 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; May 3 at 7 a.m., 4 p.m. and midnight; and May 4 at 8 p.m.
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