Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - Christmas Rock & Roll, part five (Bonus Video Wednesday)

I haven't had a shred of good advice since I was 17
My father died that year; Get the picture?
I'll set the scene....."

from "Today Is Father's Day" - © 2000 Ricki C.

My sainted Italian father was the greatest man I ever knew; he completely, entirely made me what I am today.  He bought me my first guitar for Christmas 1968, when I was 16 years old.  He got me in free to all the 1960's rock & roll shows I've detailed in this blog when he worked for Central Ticket Office.  He encouraged me in every way - when I was still a painfully shy child and later a hopelessly withdrawn teenager - to escape the confines of our little house on Sullivant Avenue on the West Side of Columbus, Ohio, and to get out into the world.  When he died of a heart attack at age 56 in April 1970, I was 17 years old and it was effectively the end of good advice in my life.  I am not in any way discounting the role of family and friends in my existence the last 43 years, but I am saying my personal guiding light went out that April day in Mount Carmel West hospital.

What does this all have to do with Bruce Springtseen you might ask?  Just this: The first Bruce Springsteen record I ever bought was The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle in 1974.  (I'd heard tunes from Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. in various record stores and nominally on hippie FM radio stations previous to that and certainly enjoyed them, but Elliott Murphy was easily the more significant of "The New Dylan's" to me at that point.)  When the needle on that vinyl reached "New York City Serenade" and somewhere around the 3:42 mark - while Springsteen was doing his best Van-Morrison-channeled-through-smalltown-New Jersey impression - Bruce sang the lines, "So walk tall / Or baby, don't walk at all."  And just at that moment an entire world, an entire range of possibilities opened up to me.  I could hear my dad's advice when I was a child coming back to me from that record.  I'd largely been drifting those four years from '70 to '74; shuffling in shadows, aimless, absent, not engaging the world I existed - not lived - in.  Bruce Springsteen, echoing the words of my father, put me back in that world.  Thank you, Bruce.  Thank you, dad.

So walk tall, or baby, don't walk at all.  Nine words, and all I needed to know.

Okay, enough with the suicidally depressing holiday musings: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band were placed on this planet to bring joy and solace to everyone residing on it.  Their rendition of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" is the second-greatest Christmas rock & roll tune of all time.  (Number One is coming up on Christmas Eve. Wait for it.)

inspirational verse; very nearly every word I've ever heard come out of the man's mouth.

© 2012 Ricki C.

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