Not the most ambitious tune of this era, “Seaside Bar Song” is still a blast and merits discussion if only for the title. If “Zero and Blind Terry,” “Incident on 57th Street,” and “New York City Serenade” embody the portion of Springsteen’s early ’70s output that rhapsodizes the big city across the river, much of his other work of the time could be called seaside bar songs. “Kitty’s Back,” “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” “Thundercrack,” maybe even “Rosalita”—these may not explicitly take place in Seaside or even seaside, but nonetheless conjure the salty smells of the sea and sweat, the clink of beer bottles hitting the trash over the house band, and the sight of the Jersey shore at night.
So Springsteen naming a song “Seaside Bar Song” in 1973 is like Springsteen naming a song “This Car is a Metaphor for Escaping Small Town Life” in 1975 or “Whoops, This Car is Actually a Metaphor for Paralysis and Emotional Isolation” in 1977. Not that cars hadn’t already become a factor. Wanna guess how Springsteen referred to “Seaside Bar Song” on setlists? “Coupe Deluxe”!
That wasn’t the only working title for this speedy little rave-up. As if to stress how disposable Springsteen already considered the song by the time sessions began for album #2, “Seaside Bar Song,” indebted to the organ-heavy sound of Johnny & the Hurricanes, was noted in studio logs as “Johnny & The Hurricanes Song.”1 Johnny and his band don’t merit a mention in “Seaside Bar Song,” but Bo Diddley does, and so do (the fictional, as far as I can tell) Little Willie and His Soul Brooms. But the oddest cameo of all here is Tom Joad, courtesy of a line that Springsteen would find another use for 22 years later.
1 Source: Heylin, Clinton. 2012. E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. London: Constable & Robinson.
Much of my furniture is New York hand-me-down: a rustic cabinet from a roommate’s sister’s friend’s divorce; a simple bookshelf from a Williamsburg sidewalk, pre-bedbug scare of 2010; a bench left by the prior occupants of my first apartment (a band with a terrible name and my size and taste in…
i moved in across the street from bullhead cantina about 16 months ago. bullhead was the greatest. imagine a bar where you can sit at the bar, eat the best tacos in chicago (and i KNOW), not feel harassed, not feel crowded, just feel safe and welcome. the most important part about Bullhead,…
“I am getting married in the fall and we are inviting a fair number of gay couples and single people. Enough to fill a few tables. Some of these guests know each other and some of them don’t. Would it be inappropriate to have a few gay tables? I don’t want to create small gay ghetto but genuinely think that they would like to meet each other and will get along really well. Should I distribute the gay guests throughout the wedding just to avoid having gay tables?”—If you are asking this question in 2013 today currently, HOW do you have so many gay friends that it literally would fill up tables and tables at your wedding? How big are these tables?!