This Hard Land 05.04.1995

Video di Springsteen del 5 aprile 1995.

Hey there mister can you tell me
What happened to the seeds I’ve sown
Can you give me a reason, sir, as to why they’ve never grown
They’ve just blown around from town to town
Back out on these fields
Where they fall from my hand
Back into the dirt of this hard land

Well me and my sister
From Germantown we did ride
We made our bed, sir
From the rock on the mountainside
We been blowin’ around from town to town
Lookin’ for a place to stand
Where the sun burst through the clouds and fall like a circle
A circle of fire down on this hard land

Now even the rain it don’t come ’round
Don’t come ’round here no more
And the only sound at night’s the wind
Slammin’ the back porch door
Yeah it stirs you up like it wants to blow you down
Twistin’ and churnin’ up the sand
Leavin’ all them scarecrows lyin’ facedown
In the dirt of this hard land

From a building up on the hill
I can hear a tape deck blastin’ “Home on the Range”
I can hear them Bar-M choppers
Sweepin’ low across the plains
It’s me and you, Frank, we’re lookin’ for lost cattle
Our hooves twistin’ and churnin’ up the sand
We’re ridin’ in the whirlwind searchin’ for lost treasure
Way down south of the Rio Grande
We’re ridin’ ‘cross that river in the moonlight
Up onto the banks of this hard land

Hey, Frank, won’t you pack your bags
And meet me tonight down at Liberty Hall
Just one kiss from you, my brother
And we’ll ride until we fall
Well sleep in the fields
We’ll sleep by the rivers
And in the morning we’ll make a plan
Well if you can’t make it stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive if you can
And meet me in a dream of this hard land


Per festeggiare l’ arrivo della primavera ho pensato di metter in palio due bootleg di Springsteen.

Domenica sera, fra tutti gli iscritti al blog, estrarrò i 2 vincitori che sceglieranno che bootleg ricevere direttamente dalle mie liste (audio e video).

Raccomando l’ iscrizione (gratuita) al blog a chi non lo avesse ancora fatto.

Buona settimana e buona fortuna.


In a starless November New York night in 1971, high above the streets in a busy Madison Avenue songwriting factory, the first face-to-face meeting of Bruce Springsteen and Mike Appel took place.
APPEL: Springsteen comes up to the writers’ room of the Wes Farrell Organization. He was wearing ripped-up jeans and a T-shirt. He said he wanted to get an album deal with a major label. I remember he looked at me and said, “I’m tired of being a big fish in a little pond. ” “Fine, ” I said, “let’s hear what you’ve got. ” So he sat down at the piano and played only two songs. The first was the most boring thing I’d ever heard in my entire life. But the second had something. It was a song about dancing with a girl who was deaf, dumb, and blind with a Iyric that included, “They danced all night to a silent band…. “
It was a very weird line and stuck in my head, as did the way he sang, with an intensity I couldn’t believe. I was sitting right on the piano bench next to him and could see the side of his face as he sang And let me tell you, he sang that song like his life depended on it.

Still, I didn ‘t feel the earth moving beneath me. I thought to myself, let me just be polite. So when he finished, I said, “Look, first of all, if you want an album deal, you have to write more songs. You can’t just have two songs. ” Plus, I told him these were the worst two songs I ever heard, utterly devoid of any pop potential. Instead of being incensed, he said, “Well, I’m going to San Mateo to see my folks for Christmas. I’ll write some more songs and come back.” I said, “Great, the door’s always open.

SPRINGSTEEN: [At that first meeting there was]me and Tink, Mike [Appel], and Jimmy Cretecos. Tinker introduced us. He said, “Mike, this is Bruce. ” Mainly, I just remember playing some songs on the piano. Mike said, “I like the songs a lot. They’re great. ” I told him I was going away to California. I’d decided to get out of the area [New Jersey] for a while. I was having personal problems at the time with girls and things. It was just a good time to get away. I saw my folks for a while. [The band] continued working Steve [Van Zandt] came in and kept the organization together…. It was sort of my band. I never really broke it up when I left. I sort of said, “I’ll see you. Maybe I’ll be back. “
Bruce returned to the East Coast in February of ’72. Three months had passed since his first meeting with Appel.

APPEL: He called back sometime in February, and I totally forgot who he was. My secretary said to me, “There’s this guy by the name of Bruce Springsteen on the phone. ” I told her I didn’t know any Bruce Springsteen. “Well,” she said, “he knows you. ” “Tell him I never heard of him, ” I said, figuring that would be the end of it. A few seconds later she came back and said, “Look, he insists he knows you. He said something about a guy named Tinker. ” “Oh, that guy, ” I said. “Sure, I’ll talk to him. “
So I picked up the phone and said, “Hi, how you doin’?” “Okay, ” he said. “I got these songs, I think you’ll . . . Iike ’em now. ” “Fine, ” I said. “Come on up. ” He came up that night and told me he had songs ready to record, a whole album’s worth. I was there, Jimmy, and Bob Spitz, the writer, who at the time was working for me.
Bruce started off with a song he’d written he called “[It’s Hard to Be a] Saint in the City, ” which had the following lyric:
With my blackjack and jacket And hair slicked sweet Silver-star studs on my duds Just like a Harley in heat . . .
When he finished the song, before I told him how great I thought it was, I asked him if he ‘d sing it one more time. This time when he finished, I just looked at him and repeated out loud, slowly, “Like a Harley in heat, ” and told him I thought that was the most amazing lyric I ‘d ever heard in my life. Then he played six or seven others with the most poetic, potent, and powerful lyrics I’ve ever heard to this day. “For You ” was one of them. “Henry Boy, ” “The Angel, ” “If I Was the Priest” were a couple of the others. By this time I was listening to a voice in my head saying, ” Why me ? ” I mean, I ‘m sitting there in this big commercial firm knocking my brains out banging my head against the wall when suddenly this wonderful, talented guy walks into my life. I remember thinking to myself, he should be in Albert Grossman ‘s office, not mine.
Still, I said to Bruce, “Look, all I can tell you is I want to go forward. I want to take your songs around to record companies, I want to do this, I want to do that, I want to do it all. Come in tomorrow and we’ll talk some business, okay?” The next day he came back, and I told him I wanted to sign him up. “Bruce, ” I said, “I don’t think you’re going
to find anybody who’s going to love your stuff any more than I do. You’ve seen both sides of me. When you played songs I didn’t like, I told you they sucked, they were horrible, and when you came back, I told you they were great, so you have to know that I’m being straight with you. If you know anybody else who ’11 bust his ass any harder for you, you ought to go straight to ’em. “
A week or two later he signed up, and we were off to the races.

SPRINGSTEEN: I didn’t say anything He said he had a contract. If we were going to do anything, before we do anything, I have to sign it. It was a basic deal, he said. I took it, looked at it once, and brought it back [about a week later]. I told him I didn’t know. He said, like, “Come on.” We did that for a while and I signed them.
In March of 1972, Appel resigned from the Wes Farrell Organization. Cretecos, who’d never actually worked directly for Farrell, formed a corporation with Mike. They agreed on a straight fifty-fifty split, including publishing and production, all to come under the umbrella of Laurel Canyon, Ltd. Springsteen signed three separate contracts with Laurel Canyon over a period of three months between March and May of 1972.
The first, in March, was a recording contract. The second covered publishing, and the third was a management contract. The terms of the recording (production) agreement gave Appel’s company exclusive production rights to record Springsteen, in return for 3 percent of the suggested retail price of all records sold in the United States, and 1.5 percent of all foreign retail sales (figures to escalate with each album to 5 percent within a three-to-five-year time span). The production deal Springsteen received from Appel was competitive because the artist was brought to the label. When that occurs, the independent producer, being a part of the original deal, gets a higher percentage than if the label adds its own producer after the artist has been signed. In that instance, money and royalties have to be taken from the original deal to pay the new producer.

A P P E L: I came up with the name of the company. People think I knew about California ‘s Laurel Canyon, which I didn ‘t at the time. What happened was, I passed a record store on Broadway in New York City, and in the window I saw Joni Mitchell’s album Ladies of the Canyon. The same day, Jimmy called me from Newton, Massachusetts, where he spent a lot of time working for Emerson Electronics, picking up some extra money being the house electronics whiz kid. It was the fall of ’71, and he wanted me to come up and see the laurel because it was really beautiful this time of year. The word laurel stuck in my head, along with canyon. So, in March of ’72, when I was trying to come up with a name, I just put them together. In fact, our original name was Laurel Canyon Productions, until a name search indicated a Laurel Canyon Productions already existed, which is why we changed it to Limited. Sioux City Ltd. would later become the music company and Laurel Canyon Management the management arm.
Now, I liked Jimmy. He was very quick-witted, funny, and a very talented guy, a tech-head who loved to work the console knobs, while I couldn’t care less about that stuff. So the way we set things up, I handled the daytime operation. In fact, Jimmy stopped coming to the office, preferring to stay at home and putter around the house in Suffern, New York. He’d just gotten married, and his wife wanted him around a lot.
The second of the three contracts was signed by Springsteen in May. This was the songwriter’s agreement between Bruce and Sioux City Ltd., the publishing arm of Laurel Canyon, Ltd. It should be understood that almost all professional songwriters today sign co-publishing deals with some major publishing house at the time they get a legitimate recording contract. In that way, the publishing subsidiary operates for the artist like a bank, advancing monies against future royalties. A major record label and its publishing arm protect their relationship/investment in new and upcoming talent by acquiring control of more profit centers. In 1972, however, it was still possible for an artist to get a deal without having to include his publishing as part of the overall package.
There is what’s known in the industry as “mechanical” income, a royalty paid from the record company to the publisher for every song it controls on every album sold. If an album has ten of a publisher’s songs, the publisher receives ten separate payouts. Twenty years ago (when Springsteen signed his deal with Appel), the
standard industry figure was approximately four * Later changed to Laurel Canyon Music, Ltd.
cents per song (it is 6.50-6.75 cents today). The normal practice (although not by legal statute) when a publisher wholly acquires an artist’s song catalog is an equal split between publisher and composer. The other form of income from publishing is “performance,” or airplay, royalties (as opposed to mechanical royalties, which are paid by the record company from record sales). In the United States, the two largest licensing organizations, ASCAP and BMI, monitor virtually all songs played on the radio, in concert, and on TV, and they pay out direct royalties, again equally split, between publisher and composer.
Mike Appel has often been accused of using undue influence to persuade Springsteen to sign over 100 percent of his publishing rights to Sioux City Ltd. While it’s true that Appel and Cretecos did acquire 100 percent of the publishing, that meant that as publisher, Appel’s company was entitled to and received only its full contractual share of 50 percent of the royalties, with Springsteen receiving the other 50 percent. Springsteen, having signed with ASCAP, received his checks directly from ASCAP, identical in value to those received by his publisher (until 1983, when he bought out Sioux City and became the sole owner of his entire song catalog).
One thing Appel didn’t do, which many other rock managers did and still do, was to put his name on Springsteen’s songs as one of the composers in order to cut himself in on the writer’s piece of the publishing pie. Springsteen is one of very few successful rock acts who writes almost all his own material, without partners or collaborators. The other who immediately comes to mind is, of course, Bob Dylan, who except for a very occasional collaboration has written all of his own songs. Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards, Henley/Frey, Sting and The Police—all shared their writing credits and, subsequently, their royalties.
During Appel’s time, Springsteen never included the E Street Band as coauthors. During the band’s long association with Springsteen, they remained on fixed salaries. Perhaps one reason Bruce kept them on as long as he did was simply that they were a great bargain. Not being cut in on any of his publishing, they were, in effect, salaried (albeit handsomely remunerated) employees. (By comparison, the relatively brief run of The Police may have been due in part to Sting’s having to share his publishing profits with the other two members of the group, even though he did most of the writing and was the most visible of the three.)

A P P E L: It ‘s important to remember that in the beginning it was all academic because there wasn’t any real money, as we got relatively little airplay and had no real sales until ’74, ’75. As a practical matter, when publishing money came into the company, say eighteen or twenty thousand dollars on a publishing statement, we’d take the whole thing and use it to keep the band and the office afloat. It all went into one pot until late 1975, and Bruce always knew it. I’d give him a financial statement, and he’d ask me why he didn’t get any money, and I’d explain how we’d used it to pay everyone’s bills. He’d shake his head and say okay, and that would be the end of it.

The third contract Bruce signed, in May of ’72, was the management contract. According to rock critic Dave Marsh in Born to Run, Bruce “signed a long-term management contract only a few days [after the second meeting with Appel], on an automobile hood in the unlighted parking lot of a bar,” which implies the signing was a hasty, un-thought-out act done under pressure. In fact, it took nearly three months—from March to May—for Bruce to finalize his management contract negotiations, which came after he’d signed separate publishing and production contracts with Appel. Further, the management contract wasn’t “long-term,” but a then industry-standard five years. And finally, it wasn’t the management contract Bruce signed on the hood of a car but the separate Laurel Canyon/CBS record production deal. This deal, which Appel, through his production company, made with Columbia, was for 18 percent of wholesale (9 percent retail) record and tape sales. The Laurel Canyon end of the deal was split equally among Appel, Cretecos, and Springsteen. They each received 6 percent (with Springsteen’s escalating against theirs annually). The longer Springsteen survived on Columbia, the bigger his piece would be.
Still, one of the most long-lasting and damaging attacks on Appel, and the reason most often cited for the split
between him and Springsteen, has been (and continues to be) that the management contract Bruce signed gave Appel 50 percent of all monies Springsteen earned. Here, for the first time, is Mike Appel’s testimony regarding the matter, taken directly from his sworn deposition that was part of the pretrial procedures in the 1976 landmark lawsuit Laurel Canyon, Ltd. vs. Bruce Springsteen,CBS, Inc., and Jon Landau.

Q: Can you recall the substance of anything you said to Mr. Springsteen about the terms and conditions of the original management agreement and the record production agreement at this third meeting that you are now testifying about? A: The only thing specifically I can remember is that we altered the commission in the management agreement, which was originally 20 percent.
Q: What did you say to Mr. Springsteen about the management commission, and what did he say to you ? A: I told him I was under the impression that Elvis Presley and Colonel Parker had a fifty-fifty management arrangement, and the two of us, I said, if that was the most successful combination, why don ‘t we operate that way? And we both agreed to that, and that is why we changed it. That is why you see the 20 percent crossed out. Q: Is it fair to say that the only persons present [to discuss the alterations to the management contract] were you and Mr. Springsteen ? A: Yes, it is. Q: What did you say to Mr. Springsteen, and what did he say to you at that meeting? A: At that particular time [March 1972] the only thing I can remember him saying is when he came back with the contract. He said, “Here they are, ” and we went over them, you know, briefly one more time, and it was basically the kind of things we said the first time. We went over the contracts in general, and it was mutually satisfactory to both of us. He wanted a record deal. I thought I could do it. I thought I could get it for him. I thought we could get the ball rolling and that was it. And he signed them, and that was the end of the signing of the first management and the first, the only production agreement. Q: Do you recall anything that you said to Mr. Springsteen or Mr. Springsteen said to you relating to the terms and conditions or the rights and obligations of the parties pursuant to the first management agreement and record production agreement at this fourth meeting? [A brief exchange takes place between the lawyers.] Q: Subsequent to the signing of the initial management agreement, the company owned by yourself and Mr. Cretecos entered into a second management agreement with Mr. Springsteen, did it not? A: Yes, it did. Q: I believe you testified [previously] that that occurred sometime in May of 1972? A: That is correct. Q: What discussions did either you or Mr. Cretecos have with Mr. Springsteen relating to the second management agreement subsequent to the signing of the first management agreement? A: I don’t remember any conversations between Mr. Cretecos and myself and Springsteen. Cretecos I don ‘t believe was involved in any of the discussions. Q: Did you indicate to Mr. Springsteen what type of change was going to be made on the second management agreement? A: I just told him it would be 50 percent of net rather than gross…. Q: What did Mr. Springsteen say to that? A: Great. Q: So it is your testimony that Mr. Springsteen voluntarily consented in the first management agreement to a 50 percent of gross and in the second management agreement to a 50 percent of net commission agreement, is that correct? A: That is correct.
[More discussion between the lawyers.] Q: Who prepared the second management agreement? A: Jules Kurz [Mike Appel’s attorney for Laurel Canyon] did. Q: Who requested Mr. Kurz to prepare the second management agreement? A: Well, it was kind of mutual between Jules and I. See, Jules had given me the original management contract,
which was a 20 percent contract. I told you that Bruce and I subsequently changed that to a 50 percent. Then I went back and told Jules that, and he said if it has to be 50 percent, if you have okayed it, I would say you make it 50 percent of net. That is how it happened and I talked to him about it…. We discussed it, and I told him that I was under the impression, I think I saw that that was the Colonel’s arrangement with Elvis Presley, and we thought we could emulate the two most successful people in the record industry.

Q: By giving you 50 percent of the gross ? A: That was the Colonel’s arrangement with Elvis Presley, so I thought at that particular time. Q: Did you ask Mr. Springsteen to initial that change? A: We mutually initialled it. It was our agreement. We had just agreed upon it. We initialled it. [Several pages of initial-checking and document verification are followed by the next exchange.] A: 1 then took the contracts to Bill Krasilovsky [Bill Krasilovsky was the lawyer whom John Hammond of Columbia Records suggested Bruce’s camp consult~, and he said to me, “The management contract is too high. ” I went back to Jules and I said, “Look, Krasilovsky said the management contract is too high, even at a net figure. ” So he said, “Why don ‘t we go back to the original thing I told you at the beginning I sent you a twenty percent contract, and why don ‘t you do that?” And he at that time told me that he had found out that the Colonel did not in fact have a 50 percent arrangement with Elvis Presley. He thought it was more like 25 percent. I said, “Leave it at twenty. ” We told Bruce. He knew about it. We operated on a 20 percent basis from that point on. The amended [and retroactive] management contract went into effect that June.
The negotiations and subsequent agreed-upon management contract hardly constitute what Dave Marsh indirectly quotes Krasilovsky (unnamed in Born to Run) as calling “a slavery deal. ” Yet two paragraphs later in his book, Marsh gently admonishes Bruce for “never [bothering] to have these provisions [of the contracts] explained to him by an attorney; he would later pay the price for his cavalier attitude toward money.”
In truth, nobody really seemed to know what they were doing, what they wanted, or what they could get, which is probably why John Hammond suggested that Springsteen’s side consult a lawyer, prior to signing, in the first place. The suggestion in Marsh’s book is that Hammond was “saving” Bruce. Not likely. Hammond, obviously very high on Bruce and optimistic about his future, wasn’t about to go one-on-one with Appel and Laurel Canyon, whom he had to deal with in order to sign Springsteen.
His recommended choice of a lawyer gave Springsteen the opportunity to ask for and negotiate a better, fairer deal. Which is exactly what he did. And nowhere, on the record, is there any reference by anybody to any kind of “slavery deal.” One final note: Krasilovsky, who became involved at Hammond’s urging, wasn’t paid by Appel or Springsteen. It remains unclear as to who, if anyone, paid Krasilovsky for his services. If, in fact, CBS did, a serious conflict- of-interest situation may have existed. Both CBS and the Springsteen office were called regarding this matter. Neither chose to respond.
After signing Springsteen, Mike went to Wes Farrell and, among other things, offered Farrell part of Bruce’s contract, as per their agreement regarding any new talent Appel might discover while working for the organization. Farrell turned him down in no uncertain terms. He had no use for the music of Springsteen and told Appel so.
APPEL: Wes hated acts like Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, all those English acts. He just couldn ‘t remove himself from the pop teen acts off of which he’d made so much money. Make no mistake, Wes, in his day, was the real thing But he couldn’t see the future coming He passed on Bruce, and that’s when I knew I had to leave the company. Had he said, “Mike, this guy’s fantastic, I want to help you with this, do you need any money?” he would’ve ended up with a piece of the Springsteen pie.
The first thing Appel did after resigning from the Farrell Organization was to look for office space. He found
some on East Fifty-fifth Street. In a bizarre twist of fate, he discovered after moving in that the previous tenant had been none other than Albert Grossman.

APPEL: Laurel Canyon’s first office was at 75 East Fifty-fifth Street. It happened to have been Albert Grossman’s office. He’d moved downstairs. I used to run into Albert all the time. He was so big and so fat that when he’d get into the elevator, which was very, very small, there wasn’t much room for anybody else. You had to stand straight up and hold your breath. Otherwise you ‘d be bumping bellies with him. He was always very polite but on Mars. Albert was out there somewhere. But we did have something in common: the only toilet bowl shared by Dylan and Springsteen.
True enough. Although Dylan had brought Grossman to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, Springsteen, Appel, and Cretecos still didn’t have much more than their celebrated, if much pissed-in, pot.


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La Columbia ha annunciato una nuova uscita di Springsteen per il 3 maggio.

Questa volta io passo, voi che farete?



Columbia Records will release Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge of Town” documentary on DVD and Blu-Ray May 3. The award-winning film will be accompanied by the bonus features “Songs From the Promise,” a five-song concert event filmed in Asbury Park, NJ, and “A Conversation With His Fans,” an intimate question-and-answer session.

“The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge of Town” was directed by Grammy- and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny. The film premiered on HBO and received a rapturous critical response around the world, including as an official selection, Toronto International Film Festival, The BFI London Film Festival, and The International Rome Film Festival. The Los Angeles Times gave ‘The Promise’ five stars, while Variety called it “thrilling–a vivid portrait.”

The ninety-minute documentary combines never-before-seen footage of Springsteen and the E Street Band shot between 1976 and 1978—including home rehearsals and studio sessions—with new interviews with Springsteen, E Street Band members, manager Jon Landau, former-manager Mike Appel, and others closely involved in the making of the record.

The film was also included in the 2010 box set ‘The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story,’ which Rolling Stone called “extraordinary [and] fascinating” and The Washington Post described as “a revelation.”

“Songs From The Promise” was filmed before an audience of approximately sixty fans in December, 2010, in Asbury Park, NJ’s historic carousel house. For this one-time concert event, Springsteen and members of the E Street Band lineup—Clarence Clemons, Stevie Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Roy Bittan, and Gary Tallent—were joined by keyboardist Charles Giordano, a full horn section—Ed Manion, Barry Danielian, Curt Ramm, Clark Gayton and Stan Harrison—and special guest David Lindley, who played violin during the original recording sessions. Directed and edited by Zimny and mixed by Emmy-winner Bob Clearmountain, the concert features the only live E Street Band performances of four tracks from ‘The Promise’ plus “Blue Christmas.”

“Songs From The Promise” Tracklist:
1. “Racing in the Street (’78)
2. “Gotta Get That Feeling”
3. “Ain’t Good Enough For You”
4. “The Promise”
5, “Blue Christmas”

Hosted by music critic and Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh, “A Conversation With His Fans” is an intimate, 22-minute question-and-answer session featuring Springsteen at his most candid. Before a small audience in the studios of Sirius XM’s E Street Radio channel, Springsteen discusses the writing and recording of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ and the decision to release the extensive collection of songs that didn’t make the record. “We worked hard on the music that we didn’t put out,” Springsteen tells one fan. “The nice thing about it is it’s still there, it hasn’t gone anywhere–and I think we’re at a point where it’s nice to have the stuff sufficiently see the light of day.” Questions are intercut with highlights from the ‘The Promise’ box set, including the Paramount Theater concert and rare archival footage from 1978.



Mike Appel was born in the Flushing section of Queens, New York, October 27, 1942. Three-quarters Irish, one-quarter Jewish on his father’s side, he was raised Roman Catholic, although today he boasts of having divested himself of “those ecclesiastic burdens.” Appel’s father was a successful real estate broker during the fifties boom years of Long Island’s housing expansion. Mike discovered the guitar at the age of fourteen.

APPEL: I had an acoustic guitar at the time, went to my teacher, and all he would teach was songs like “Buffalo Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight, ” and of course, the songs I was listening to were by Chuck Berry, and I wanted to learn how to play his songs. My mother bought me my first rock and roll records—Carl Perkins’s “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Speedo” by The Cadillacs, and “Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry. Those were the first three records I remember getting As soon as I heard them, I knew that was what I wanted to do—to play music. I dropped the lessons and picked up a black-and-white Sears Silvertone electric guitar with a little amplifier and started teaching myself how to play. Pretty soon I started playing with the guy who lived next door.

At the age of sixteen, Mike formed his first group and went to Bell Sound Studios in New York City to record twelve original songs—eleven instrumentals and one vocal. A year later, the boys had a professional record deal.

APPEL: We went under the name of The Humbugs. We were all going to North Shore High School when we recorded a version of “How Dry I Am” done rock-and-roll style called “Thirsty, ” released on the Studio label, a subdivision of 20th Century-Fox Records. After that we made another instrumental, “Brand X,” on Fields Records, a Tin Pan Alley label owned by a fellow named Jerry Fields, who had an office at 1650 Broadway.
After that we came up a few steps. Al Silver was a guy who lived in Queens and ran a very successful independent record label called Herald-Ember Records. Herald-Ember had had a hit with “In the Still of the Night” by the 5 Satins, the original version of Maurice Williams’s “Stay, ” some real quality stuff. We were then called The Camelots and made a record called “The Chase, ” which was something of a local hit. We played all the local high schools, backed up The Marvelettes one time in a theater in Newark, New Jersey, and became a sort of house band there. We were the only white faces in this entirely black theater. All the patrons and other acts were black except for us. I was friendly with a black DJ on WNJR; he liked me and was looking for a group of solid musicians who could play everybody else’s records. That was us.

We also played other venues and at various times backed up Freddie “Boom Boom ” Cannon, the original Jay and the Americans, Brian Hyland, and Little Peggy March. We also played with Link Wray and the Wraymen.

We played a million of these shows while still in high school. I wasn’t really making a living at it but didn’t have to. I liked golf, I used to caddy a lot, and made just as much money, if not more, doing that at the local blue-blood Long Island golf clubs. We then recorded a second instrumental called “The Scratch, Part One and Part Two, ” the only vocal part being a black guy with a really deep voice at the break singing, “Do the scratch . . ., ” something like the old Cozy Cole “Topsy. ” One time when the E Street Band was playing The Roxy, Garry Tallent arranged to open the show by playing a tape of some of my old records, without saying anything to me, as a practical joke. It was like they’d made me Bruce ‘s opening act. I thought I was going to die! I could have killed them.

Anyway, the second record didn’t do anything, and that was more or less it until about a year or so later, in 1964, when The Beatles hit. I remember I was living with my parents in a three acre colonial estate in Old Brookville, Long Island, near Westbury. I remember the first time I heard The Beatles I was driving my mother’s car, and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” came on the radio. It was a revelation because for the longest time, it seemed to me, my original rock and roll heroes—guys like Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and early Elvis Presley—had been replaced by a different kind of rock, a softer music, like what Bobby Vinton did on “Blue on Blue, ” or Frankie Avalon on “Venus. ” One softie pie after another. America had gone Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. There was nothing really out there in rock I could get into until The Beatles. When I first heard that record in the car, I remember saying out loud, “Hey, this is like old Eddie Cochran stuff! Who are these guys?”

The next time I heard of the group I was in my doctor’s office, and I saw their picture in Life magazine. I still didn’t really know who they were or enough about their music; and then, of course, the invasion. My second wake-up call. Elvis was the first. I was thunderstruck by the British invasion. The British acts were able to reach back to the seminal American rockers and serve up their riffs as something new, and I loved it. My band started learning their music right away. We changed the name of our group to The Unforgiven and cut some tunes for Dot Records, another power independent. “Two of a Kind ” by The Unforgiven was one of our better efforts for them. We even recorded a record with the Les and Larry Elgart Orchestra.

Meanwhile, I was writing songs for various publishers— L. F. Music, Dutchess Music, E. B. Marks Music, H & L Music—and then worked for Liberty Records for a period of time and played at night with a group called Tex and the Chex. Then I produced Michael St. Shaw, my first stab at producing someone other than myself. In those days producing wasn’t thought of as anything really exotic. The producer’s role was really little more than to record voices and instruments. We really couldn’t afford to have anyone else do it, so we did it ourselves. Actually, I’d been the group’s producer all along, by default.

I’d heard Michael sing at The Metropole, at The Phone Booth, and The Peppermint Lounge, the happening clubs of those days. He was a rough, tough, ballsy singer and struck me as a Mitch Ryder type. I took him in the studio where we recorded a song that was a combination of “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. ” I played on and wrote the song on the flip side, “Joint Meeting ” Atco Records bought the record.

This was a transitional time, really the very beginning of the end of the singles thing The British groups, leading up to The Who and The Stones and the long LP cuts by groups like The Vanilla Fudge, were changing the business to a more freeform and, in many cases, self-indulgent format. Michael’s record never went anywhere, but that didn’t hurt you in those days, primarily because it wasn’t that heavy an investment by the label. That was part of what made the scene so exciting, so experimental. You wanted to make a record, you made it. You sold it to a small label, they put it out, and you were in the music business.
The next step I took was joining the group The Balloon Farm, named after the old Andy Warhol club. I played lead guitar, sang lead vocals, wrote the song, and produced the record, although someone else got the production credit. We were signed to Laurie Records, Dion’s label at the time. We put out two records, “Farmer Brown’s Ole Mill Pond, ” which was a Lovin’ Spoonful kind of thing, and a rock record, “A Question of Temperature. ” “Question” actually went Top 40* and was recently chosen as one of the Top 40 songs of all time by the Village Voice, of all publications. We got to tour with The Box Tops, John Fred and His Playboy Band, and Sly and the Family Stone. By this time I was really hooked on the music business.

Meanwhile, I’d been going to college and graduated with a BBA, Bachelor of Business Arts, in 1965 from St. John ‘s University, and sure enough, weeks later received my notice from the army to come down for my physical. It was a cattle call. The war was getting hot, and the draft was increasing its numbers every day. I passed in a second and got a notice soon that said, Greetings, you’re inducted. I said, oh, boy, let me see if I can get into one of those reserve centers. I checked every one, and they all had lists three miles long I didn’t have any particular clout with the military, I didn ‘t know anybody, so I couldn ‘t jump the list, and it looked like I was going

Then my sister happened to mention to me that her boyfriend had joined a Marine reserve unit. “Don ‘t be silly, ” I told her, “the Marines don ‘t have reserves. ” At least that’s what I thought in those days. I called the Huntington Reserve Unit, and sure enough, they had some openings. I went down to talk to them, told them I’d already passed my army physical and was scheduled to show up in two weeks. “Don’t you worry about a thing,” the recruiter told me, and took a little red stamp and stamped my folder. “This is it, ” he said. “We’ll send this to the army. You’ll never hear from them again. ” And I never did. I guess the army figured if I was dumb enough to join the Marine reserves, so be it. Straight to Parris Island for seven and a half weeks, about half the normal time because of the war and the speed with which they had to train new recruits. I got lucky in the Marines—one day I turned over my duffel bag and my college ID fell out. When my senior drill instructor asked if I’d graduated, I said, “Yes sir, ” and he said, “You’re my scribe, ” meaning I became the secretary to the platoon and got out of a lot of bullshit the other guys suffered through. I only had to do six months, then go to weekend meetings for what seemed like the rest of my life.

* It reached number thirty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. When I came home, I got back into producing I signed with a production/publishing company, H & L Music. Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore were the guys who produced Sam Cooke. They produced every one of his hits, including “Cupid, ” “Chain Gang, ” and “Another Saturday Night. ” They were the first producers who ever got their name and logo on their records. They did The Tokens’ “Lion Sleeps Tonight” on RCA, one of the biggest singles of the sixties, number one for three weeks. I was signed personally by Hugo and Luigi as a writer/ producer and recording artist for Laurie Records, with an advance of about a thousand dollars. I wrote a song for them called “Soul Searchin ‘ ” for Bobby Lewis, who ‘d had a hit with “Tossin ‘ and Turnin ‘ ” for Mercury Records.

By 1967, Mike had cut his professional teeth turning out rock and roll records that captured the mood and flavor of sixties Top 40 music. It was around this time that he met Jimmy Cretecos through a mutual friend, Robin McNamara. McNamara was a New York actor/singer who’d been in the Broadway musical Hair, after which he’d recorded a song called “Lay a Little Lovin’ on Me,” a Top 10 hit that Cretecos had co-written with Jeff Barry, one of Tin Pan Alley’s legendary pop/rock songwriters. Mike and Jimmy hit it off and began to write songs together.

During this time, Cretecos was hanging out at a New York organization called New Beat Management, which handled McNamara. New Beat, headed by Mark Allen and the Slater brothers, managed the best club bands and placed them in the hottest New York discos of the day, including Harlow’s, Sybil’s, and The Phone Booth. One day McNamara introduced Mike to Mark Allen, who in turn brought him to see Wes Farrell. Farrell had a successful production/publishing operation at the time.
APPEL: I went over and sang my songs for Wes, who liked me as an artist as well as a writer. I told him that I wanted to write with my friend Jimmy Cretecos, and he said fine, which is how Jimmy became my full-time writing partner.

Farrell offered Mike $250 a week, with an escalation clause to $300, as a writer/artist for the Wes Farrell Organization, and a chance to produce.

APPEL: Although prior to my work with Farrell I’d written a couple of songs that had actually charted, I never saw any real money. No one did. You usually sold the rights when you sold a song in those days. So I decided to go for the steady salary and went to work for the Farrell Organization. A steady income was important to me because I’d just gotten married. Wes was a songwriter who’d had a couple of real big hits, like “Hang On Sloopy,” “Let’s Lock the Door and Throw Away the Key, ” and “Come a Little Bit Closer. ” He ran what amounted to a writing/producing/publishing house.
I was twenty-four years old in 1966 when I met my wife, Jo Anne. She was working at the time in the copyright department of Southern Peer International, a great country-oriented music publishing company. I was up there making a demo, met her, and a year later in ’67 we were married. Meanwhile, with the Farrell Organization I wrote a song for Paul Anka called “Midnight Angel, ” one for Aretha Franklin ‘s sister, Carolyn, “Chain Reaction,” and another one called “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted, ” for David Cassidy and the Partridge Family, which actually went to number six. I then wrote a lot of David Cassidy songs and commercials for several top products.

There was a guy working for Wes, Steve Bedell, whom Wes had hired away from Grey Advertising to do commercials. His job was to expand the operation in that direction. Under Bedell, the Farrell Organization produced dozens of commercials for Pepsi, Coke, and other popular products. All these small independents like Farrell were always looking for cash flow to stay afloat. Farrell figured jingles were as good a way to make it as any, so through Steve’s efforts we did a lot of successful commercials.
Appel was assigned the job of writing material for additional acts handled by Farrell’s organization, which at that time consisted of, among others, the Osmond Brothers (circa Andy Williams), Wayne Newton, and The Brooklyn Bridge with Johnny Maestro. The Wes Farrell Organization was strictly Tin Pan Alley, three-minute-hit, one-minute-commercial mentality. Appel and Cretecos were more or less perceived by the others as house hippies, not so much for the way they dressed, which was as straight as anyone else, but for their taste in rock, which ran toward what was then coming to be known as “progressive.”

In 1969, while with the Farrell Organization, Appel discovered and produced the Sir Lord Baltimore group, which Mercury signed to an album deal. Baltimore’s album, Kingdom Come, for which Appel and Cretecos wrote all the lyrics and produced, became something of an underground pre-heavy metal hit. The publishing and profits remained with Farrell and a manager named Dee Anthony.
APPEL: Sir Lord Baltimore was a power trio, not unlike Cream. The guys were from Brooklyn and played a type of rock that today you’d call heavy metal. It was obvious they were going to need a manager to get them a powerful agent to book tours for them. I decided to call up Dee Anthony. I’d never met him before. I did know who he was, though. It was the studio owner in Jersey who brought Dee to the studio to listen to Sir Lord Baltimore’s tapes. At the time Dee handled such acts as Joe Cocker, Traffic, Cat Stevens, all heavyweights. I remember watching him as I played Baltimore ‘s tapes for him. He closed his eyes and had this expression on his face meant to show he was “really into the music, ” and I felt right then and there the guy was a complete fraud. “Yeah, ” he finally said, “I like the guys, I think I can do something with them. ” And I’ll never forget, he said, “My handshake is my bond. “
That, of course, was the kiss of death. According to Dee, we were “family” now. He kept saying that to me. “We’re family, so don’t worry…. ” The next thing I knew, Dee Anthony took the tapes to Mercury Records and signed the group to the label without me. He took the entire advance monies from Mercury himself. Even though I was the producer and I’d co-written the goddamn songs, I got album credit and that ‘s all. Not a penny. So I had to eat it, as the expression goes. Which was the main reason I decided if I ever got another act, I’d have to be the manager. I never wanted another Dee Anthony in my life.
Shortly after that, the group Montana Flintlock, or Tumbleweed, as they were also known, came into our lives. They were a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-type act, and I took them down to Nashville to make an album for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. They liked the record, but for reasons I believe had nothing to do with the band it was shelved.

At the time, Montana Flintlock had a guy doing their sound, a fellow everyone called Tinker. He doubled informally as their manager and handled a lot of their local bookings. Since I never wanted to be involved in small-time local band activities, I figured fine, let him do it. At the time, I was also working with an artist by the name of Tony Azito, a Cat Stevens soundalike. Jimmy and I wrote some songs for Azito, produced him, and signed him to Epic Records.

By now, Appel had nearly ten years’ professional music experience, including a Top 40 hit with his own group, several major tours with some of the biggest acts of the day, and a legitimate position with two of the hottest songwriting/production/artist houses in the business.

LOPEZ: I’d heard from some other musician friends of mine that there were a couple of producers in New York City looking for singer-songwriters. I mentioned this to Tinker and suggested there might be something in it for Bruce. I knew Bruce was having a hard time and thought this might get him some work. I went to Tinker, who said he knew the guys I was talking about, Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos, and called Appel up.
APPEL: Then one day I got a call from Tinker, who wanted to send a youngster up by the name of Bruce Springsteen to my office to see if I’d be interested in working with him. I’d previously mentioned to Tinker that I was looking for acts who wrote their own music. So I said sure, send him up. Why not? I liked Tinker, I respected his taste in music, so I figured, what have I got to lose?

CAROL 06.08.1981

Credo che sia il mio bootleg di Springsteen più corto questo che contiene la cover di Carol di Chuck Berry datata 6 agosto 1981 suonata al Bayou Club di Washington, DC dura infatti solo 8 minuti e 28 secondi.

Vi raccomando l’ iscrizioni alla ricezione dei post per email. Novità a breve.

Oh carol, don’t let him steal your heart away
I’m gonna learn to dance if it takes me all night and day

Climb into my machine so we can cruise on out
I know a swingin’ little joint where we can jump and shout
It’s not too far back off the highway, not so long a ride
You park your car out in the open, you can walk inside
A little cutie takes your hat and you can thank her, ma’am
Every time you make the scene you find the joint is jammed

Oh carol, don’t let him steal your heart away
I’m gonna learn to dance if it takes me all night and day

And if you wanna hear some music like the boys are playin’
Hold tight, pat your foot, don’t let ’em carry it away
Don’t let the heat overcome you when they play so loud
Oh, don’t the music intrigue you when they get a crowd
You can’t dance, I know you wish you could
I got my eyes on you baby, ’cause you dance so good

Oh carol, don’t let him steal your heart away
I’m gonna learn to dance if it takes me all night and day

Don’t let him steal your heart away
I’ve got to learn to dance if it takes you all night and day
Oh carol