I was reminded that it has been a while since I continued my “10 Favorite Albums” list. And as usual, once I start writing about music, I can’t stop at just one album. So today — two great albums, two very different decades in my life.
We begin in the late summer of 1975 sitting in a friends apartment (his parent’s apartment to be precise.) It was a lull in time; I was done with college, medical school would be starting shortly. I had no responsibility, nothing to attend to. I don’t remember what we were talking about, maybe another bad White Sox season. And then he put a record album on the turntable, and out of nowhere, there was Bruce.
“Born to Run” was the most exciting album in years. I was instantly hooked. I had missed out on Springsteen’s first two albums, but there was no way I was going to miss this one.
With only eight songs on the album, this was no double LP monstrosity loaded with filler. The title track got most of the early attention, with its wall of sound, its glockenspiel, its lyrics yearning to be free. But I soon appreciated other standouts. The opening track, “Thunder Road,” evolved into my personal favorite while the long moan at the end of “Jungleland, ” the closing number, became a haunting echo in my head. And I can still feel the mood of anticipation in the United Center as the piano intro to “Backstreets” welcomed the band back after intermission at the only live Springsteen show I have attended, some 30 years after “Born to Run’s” release.
It was only 12 years between the release of BTR and my album of the 80’s, U2’s “The Joshua Tree,” but it was 12 years filled with lots of changes for me. I was now married with two young children, finished with medical school and residency and in practice at Holy Family Medical Center while taking night courses for an MBA. Maybe because of all going on in my life I was barely aware of the Irish band U2. That changed with the back-to-back release of the singles “With or Without You” and “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Toss in “Where the Streets Have No Name” and those first three songs from the album became an endless loop on whatever music player I was listening to through the years. Even Roy Leonard, the midday host and show-biz critic on good-old conservative WGN Radio was a fan of the band, encouraging his listeners to buy “The Joshua Tree” in order to knock The Beastie Boy’s “License to Ill” out of the top spot on the Billboard charts.
Barb and I have seen U2 many times in the last 10 years, including the 2017 “Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour” show at Soldier Field. I loved seeing the band perform all the songs on the album live, but I love even more hunkering down with a good set of headphones in a dark room and listening to every note.
Two great albums from a long time ago. They might be dinosaurs, but so am I!
A reminder, please sponsor me and the UroPartners Team in the SEABlue Prostate Cancer Awareness Run this September. Here is the link!
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