Song of the Week – Let’s Roll, Neil Young; I Can’t See New York, Tori Amos; My City of Ruins, Bruce Springsteen

Ignored            Obscured             Restored

Today we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrible terror attack on the United States.  In reaction, many music artists wrote songs about the horrible 9/11 events.

In November 2001, Neil young released “Let’s Roll”, a phrase that was attributed to Todd Beamer, one of the heroes on Flight 93 that crashed in PA.  Todd was heard on a phone uttering the words as he and other passengers took action to take control of the flight to prevent the hijackers from using the plane to crash into its target.

This wasn’t the first time Young quickly released a record in response to a news event.  In 1970, Young wrote “Ohio” after the May 4 shooting of students at Kent State University.  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded the song and released it in June 1970.

Tori Amos gave us the haunting “I Can’t See New York.”

Thirteen thousand and holding
In the purring
Of her engines

But I can’t see new York
As I’m, circling down
Through white cloud
Falling out
And I know
His lips are warm
But I can’t seem
To find my way out
My way out I can’t see
Of this hunting ground

Bruce Springsteen devoted an entire album – The Rising (2002) – to songs that addressed the aftermath of events of 9/11 from various perspectives.  This was an ambitious project that only someone with Springsteen’s perception could handle so deftly.  “My City of Ruins” is a hymn in the mold of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready.”

There’s a blood red circle on the cold dark ground
And the rain is falling down
The church door’s thrown open, I can hear the organ’s song
But the congregation’s gone
My city of ruins

Now the sweet bells of mercy drift through the evening trees
Young men on the corner like scattered leaves
The boarded up windows, the empty streets
While my brother’s down on his knees
My city of ruins

Now there’s tears on the pillow, darling, where we slept
And you took my heart when you left
Without your sweet kiss my soul is lost, my friend
Tell me how do I begin again
My city’s in ruins

The song’s sadness of the verses change to healing in the final section:

Now with these hands, with these hands
With these hands, with these hands
I pray, Lord (with these hands, with these hands)
I pray for the strength, Lord (with these hands, with these hands)
I pray for the faith, Lord (with these hands, with these hands)
I pray for your love, Lord (with these hands, with these hands)
I pray for the strength, Lord (with these hands, with these hands)
I pray for your love, Lord (with these hands, with these hands)
I pray for the faith, Lord (with these hands), alright (with these hands)
I pray for the strength, Lord (with these hands), come on (with these hands), come on
Come on rise up, come on rise up
Come on rise up, come on rise up

May all we Americans heal together as we mourn on this solemn day.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – My City of Ruins, Bruce Springsteen


All of the recent natural disasters – multiple hurricanes and a huge earthquake off the coast of Mexico – have caused me to think about Bruce Springsteen’s “My City of Ruins,” today’s SotW.

“My City of Ruins” was included on Springsteen’s album The Rising (2002). The Rising was The Boss’s answer to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center although “My City of Ruins” was actually written a couple of years earlier about Asbury Park.

In Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run, he describes “My City of Ruins” as “the soul gospel of my favorite sixties records, speaking not just of Asbury Park but hopefully of other places and other lands.”

“Soul gospel”… that’s just how I always heard it. Let’s call it a distant cousin to Curtis Mayfield’s (The Impressions’) “People Get Ready,” a long time favorite of mine.

Springsteen is one of the few artists whose later albums speak to me as completely as his early albums. There aren’t many.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Heroes, David Bowie – It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City, David Bowie – Let’s Dance, M Ward – Wake Up, Arcade Fire w/ David Bowie


I hadn’t really planned to post about David Bowie today. All week there have been media articles, radio tributes, and playlists to honor his passing. Sirius/XM even turned The Loft into an all Bowie station for a limited time. What more is there for me to add to the conversation?

But a very good friend of mine sent me an email saying he was looking forward to my take on the Bowie legacy so I decided to take a stab at it after all. My slant is to illuminate the various facets of Bowie as a performer, interpreter, writer and collaborator.

I’ll start by simply offering my all-time favorite Bowie song, “Heroes.”

“Heroes” was released as a single but never really achieved meaningful chart success. It was a well-known album cut but wasn’t among his most commercial releases. So I was surprised when I notice that it is the 3rd top Bowie song listened to on Spotify (with over 25 million streams, behind only “Space Oddity” and “Life on Mars”).

I’ve always dug the way it starts off with such power but continues to build and build, even when you think it’s no longer possible.

Next let’s listen to Bowie covering another artist – Bruce Springsteen’s “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City.”

Bowie was an early proponent of Springsteen, having recorded two songs (“It’s Hard to Be A Saint…” and “Growin’ Up”) from The Boss’ first album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

There are scores of great covers of Bowie songs by others. Take a listen to “Let’s Dance” by M Ward.

This melancholy version of Bowie’s exhilarating club hit underscores the simple beauty of the song.

Finally, Bowie was always generously shared his talent with other artists, from Bing Crosby (“Little Drummer Boy”) to Mick Jagger (“Dancing in the Street”) to Queen (“Under Pressure”). My pick for a cool collaboration is his effort with Arcade Fire on their “Wake Up.”

There we go Mike. I hope I didn’t disappoint!

Enjoy… until next week.