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Thursdays with the Boss Presents: Tenth Avenue Freeze Out!

May 20, 2010

I love a good superhero origin story, particularly if it’s set to a shuffling, slamming beat and has some good blaring horns. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, from the stick-it-to-the-man classic Born to Run, recounts the formation of the band in a convenient, danceable form. It is not a bad day when I find a new live performance of this song. Here are a couple of my favorites. I’m sure it goes without saying, but this is my favorite Springsteen song!

I also enjoy doing this song at Karaoke!

Live in NYC:

The student does his teacher proud:

Now there are some concern trolls who take issue with the lyrics:

    When the change was made uptown/And the big man joined the band

This is a reference to the legendary sax player Clarence Clemons, who is in fact – a big man. Once, while I was trying to enjoy my TAFO time in the school supply section of Kmart, a friend insisted this lyric was an example of The Magical Negro trope, which does in fact exist, though is not being utilized here. Maybe the magical fatty or something. Or the magical sax player. Or the magical guy who gets along with Van Zandt.

In the mid 80s, Clemons scored a hit of his own when he joined Jackson Browne1 on the tune, “You’re a Friend of Mine” which is one of my absolute favorite songs. Don’t be shy, get your Molly Ringwald on!

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1 The internet seems to have forgotten that Darryl had to call the cops on Jackson a couple of times, but I haven’t. I remember being sad upon hearing the Mermaid from Splash had a very cruel boyfriend. It left quite the impression on me.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 20, 2010 1:48 pm

    When I saw Springsteen in concert (and in the videos) the “big man joined the band” line always gets thunderous applause. This is like Springsteen’s version of Creeque Alley. Every band should have one.

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