Because of my Ma, I’m now looking through old Bruce videos. Here’s one, circa 1984-85 when the E Street Band consisted of Nils, Roy, Danny, Patti, Gary, & Max. (There’s a guest spot from Little Steven, who’d left the band in ’84., as well as from Bruce’s 1st wife & his manager.)
This is my 2nd favorite song of all time, specifically this version from Martin Scorsese’s film The Last Waltz: “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” I suppose it’s not a very politically correct song these days, especially if you think it’s a “message song,” but the Band were storytellers, and this is a great story, sung by the only Southerner in the group, rock’n’roll’s greatest drummer, the late Levon Helm. (The rest of the band were from Canada, including its songwriter, Robbie Robertson.)
From the beginning of Martin Scorsese’s film on the original version of the Band’s farewell concert, The Last Waltz, here are the boys playing the last song of the night, a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Don’t Do It.”
So, what did you do today?
The Rolling Stones have been part of my life since I was 12. That was when I lost my innocence: when I heard Mick bemoan his lack of satisfaction. And behind Mick’s bluesy bark and the push-pull of Keith & Brian (or Keith & Mick Taylor…or Keith & Ronnie) was the steady hand of Charlie Watts. Watch the concert videos, and it would appear the man is bored and barely playing, but close your eyes and listen to his jazz inflections, his anchored R&B rumble. Listen to how he follows Keith (rather than the other way around). Charlie was the bedrock of the Rolling Stones. It is a poorer world without him. Rest in peace, Charlie, one of the GREATEST drummers EVER.
Get well, Charlie.