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NOD TO THE GODS: Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band, ‘Thunder Road’
April 27, 2014
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Each and every Sunday night when the clock hits eight, The Strombo Show takes over CBC Radio 2. It's music for music lovers by music lovers. To kick off the program, we always tip our hats to the legends, the noisemakers and the ground-breakers in a segment that we like to call: Nod to the Gods.

Tonight's program kicks into gear with a song about the open road and conquering the great beyond.

After Bruce Springsteen's first two records failed to sell well, he was in danger of losing his record deal. But when Born To Run came out, his troubles were soon forgotten. The Strombo Show invites you into the program with the first track off that record, "Thunder Road."

The title for the song itself comes from the Robert Mitchum film Thunder Road, which Springsteen said he never watched, but saw the poster for in the lobby of a theatre. It had initially inspired a plan to have this song bookend a concept album that would span the course of a day. There would have been an acoustic version at the beginning and a full-band version as the conclusion. Although that never came to fruition, both ideas have been explored in his on-stage performances and adapted by many artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Cowboy Junkies, Tori Amos, Frank Turner, Bonnie Prince Billy and others.

Aside from his obvious influences in the world of music, Springsteen has left an impact on other fixtures of pop culture, including Rob Fleming in High Fidelity, Jon Stewart and comedian Ben Stiller. On his short-lived variety program, Stiller would often impersonate him as part of the ongoing sketch "Legends Of Springsteen." Here are some of the highlights from that.

During his first concert in Europe at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1975, Springsteen and the E Street Band opened their set with a stripped down rendition of "Thunder Road." Prior to the performance, there was a a lot of publicity throughout the city for the concert — which famously caused Springsteen to react by ripping down the promotional posters that read: "Finally London is ready for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band".

In a project that took more than a year to restore, the entire concert was remastered and remixed. All the glorious sound and stage banter from Springsteen with Roy "The Professor" Bittan, Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, Garry Tallent, Max Weinberg and Steven van Zandt. Experience the entire performance below.

A few seasons back, Little Steven van Zandt, the man who's been at the Boss's side for all those years, sat in the red chair to discuss his partnership with Springsteen, his political involvements and other such things. If you missed it or want to revisit the conversation, stream the full interview.

For further musical musings, new and old, join the collective for The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2, every Sunday night at 8PM. And if you'd like to catch up or relisten, all of the episodes are archived here.


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