bruce springsteen

All posts tagged bruce springsteen

Blinded by The Light = BEST MOVIE, EVER!

Published August 25, 2019 by Maryanne

Sarfraz ManzoorSarfraz Manzoor

First off, let me just say this is not a movie review. It’s more of a personal account of why I thought “Blinded by the Light” was the best movie I ever saw in my entire life!

I went in last night, thinking it was another beautiful date night with my husband. From the trailers, I knew the movie was going to be fun, and funny. Little did I know how much depth it was going to have, and that it was based on a true story.

While many of us will never know the tragedy of prejudice, which brought tears to my eyes, many of us growing up in the 1980s know the struggle between child/young teen and parents who don’t understand our hopes and dreams. This was a time when there was still a great generation gap between parent and teenager. (Unlike today when parents are best friends with their kids).

When Sarfraz’s father ripped up his Bruce Springsteen tickets, a part of my heart was ripped out. I had a similar experience when my mother ripped up my beloved Queen posters when she was mad at me. That happened when I was 12, and all these years later, it still cuts me like a knife, seeing my young mom standing on my bed tearing down what was to me, my life. I wanted to die right then and there.

Like Sarfraz, I started writing poetry as a teenager, as well as song lyrics I hoped friends from bands would use. (One friend said he’d pay me $100 to use one line. I said, “You could have it for free as long as I could write more songs for you.” That never happened. And another friend stole my lyrics. I realized it later while I was sitting at a bar in a nightclub and I heard my lyric being sung onstage. I was devastated. When I confronted him, he said, “It was just one line.” But it was a great line.) The struggle was real.

You always see movies about how music inspires aspiring musicians to start a band. But this just may be the first and only movie about how music inspires a young journalist.

Before I became a professional journalist, I began reading my poetry to an audience. A girl wanted to interview me for a fanzine. She shamed me by putting every “um” and “uh” I said during the interview. (And later she wondered why I didn’t compliment her on the interview. Well, duh!)

When she asked who inspired me, I rattled off the names of musicians and bands. She insisted I tell her which WRITERS inspired me. Okay, Patti Smith and Jim Morrison wrote poetry, so AGAIN, I tell her about musician who inspired me. She didn’t get it. I could have said e.e. cummings, whose work I carried around with me in my wallet. But, no, I was stubborn and I wanted anyone reading the fanzine to KNOW I was inspired by music. ….And still am. I need music like I need oxygen.

Music fans, whether it’s Bruce Springsteen or not, can relate to “Blinded By the Light” replicating that intense feeling of discovering music that you relate to for the first time and how it can get you moving. Whether it’s writing, starting a band or just getting out! Like a few weeks ago when I first discovered the music of Sierra Ferrell and insisted that my husband take a trip with me to see her in Kingston, N.Y. because, I said, “She’s going to get really big and we may someday regret seeing her in small club.” So we went, and had a fantastic time. She’s the best thing in music since Amy Winehouse! Well guess what? She’s now signed to Rounder Records!

I just ordered Sarfraz Manzoor’s book, “Greetings from Bury Park.” I need to support this author who wrote such an intense account of his life. Like his quest to meet Springsteen, I am now on a quest to meet Sarfraz Manzoor. Just a few weeks ago both he and Bruce Springsteen were in New Jersey for the premiere of the movie!

I missed it. And of course I would. I’m not a big Bruce Springsteen fan. I only have one album, “Darkness on the Edge of Town” which is his best! But perhaps now I may explore more of his music. Ain’t that the way it goes? But more so, I want to explore Sarfraz Manzoor. After all, we authors have to support each other! (Especially authors who are moved by music).

Tell me, readers, how does music inspire you? 

Blinded by the Light: https://www.warnerbros.com/movies/blinded-light

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

Pop Rock Music Icon Tommy James Inducted into NJ Hall of Fame

Published February 20, 2017 by Maryanne

tommy-james-photo-from-carolTommy James (Photo used courtesy of Carol Ross-Durborow)

This article originally appeared in The Verona/Cedar Grove News (New View Media)

Pop Rock Music Icon Tommy James Inducted into NJ Hall of Fame

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Tommy James, said he is “very honored” to be inducted into the NJ Hall of Fame, which will be held in Asbury Park in May. The Cedar Grove iconic musician has 23 gold records, nine platinum albums, and over 100 million records sold worldwide.

“Crystal Blue Persuasion,” “Crimson and Clover,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mony Mony,” “Draggin’ the Line,” “Sweet Cherry Wine,” and “Hanky Panky” are just a few of his many hit records. His songs have been covered by other famous artists like Prince, Joan Jett, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Idol, Dolly Parton, REM, Carlos Santana, and The Boston Pops.

James’ music is heard in 31 films to date and numerous television shows including “Breaking Bad,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Goldbergs,” and “Aquarius.” You can also hear James’ songs in commercials. His “Crystal Blue Persuasion” is now the theme song for Crystal Cruise Line.

Born in Ohio and brought up in Michigan, James has been living in New Jersey almost 45 years. He’s lived in Clifton, and now resides in Cedar Grove. “I love it in New Jersey,” he said. “The weather’s moderate. The people are fun. It’s right by New York, where I have to be. I don’t think I can operate anywhere else. You’ve got the ocean, New York, Philadelphia. You’re in the center of the universe. Nothing is like New Jersey.”

While James has spent such a long time in New Jersey, he’s been in the music business even longer – 50 years! Regarding his endurance in the biz, he said, “I look at three generations of people in concert audiences. The music has never not been on the radio. I’ve been very blessed.”

James started playing music when he was 4-years-old and his grandfather brought him a ukulele. “I learned everything I could,” he said. “I started singing right away.”

His mom, who played piano, got James an acoustic guitar after he saw Elvis on TV. “The ukulele went out the window,” he said jokingly.

In addition to Elvis Presley, James was greatly inspired by the first generation of rock ‘n’ roll. “Gene Vincent … Buddy Holly,” he said. “Then The Beatles came along.”

Always encouraged by his folks, James taught himself to play acoustic, then graduated to playing an electric at the age of 10. He started his first band at 12, and got his first gig at 13. James graduated high school in 1965 and by 1966 his first hit, with The Shondells, “Hanky Panky” exploded.

“That’s how the good Lord works,” said James.

As a writer of so many hits, James says that inspiration for a song can come from anywhere. “I’m always looking on billboards for a little phrase,” he said. “I like to start with chord progression and it will tell you where it wants to go. ‘Crimson and Clover’ started with a title.”

He feels lucky to have had so many other notable musicians’ interpretations of his music. “I’m very flattered,” he said. “It’s always interesting to hear how another artist covers your songs.” His favorite is Prince’s version of “Crimson and Clover.”

James’ critically acclaimed autobiography, “Me, the Mob, and the Music,” was listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s “Best Music Memoirs” and is now in the development for a film, with producer Barbara De Fina, whose credits include “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “Cape Fear,” “Color of Money,” “Hugo,” and the most recent, Martin Scorsese’s new film, “Silence.”

Matthew Stone just finished the screenplay for the film. His credits include “Intolerable Cruelty,” “Man of the House,” and “Big Trouble.”

James may have a cameo appearance in the film. “I may be a corpse,” he said jokingly, referring to his career which is now spanning 50 years and still thriving.

Now working in the studio on a new album, “Alive,” James expects an April release. “This is an album with eight new songs and four remakes,” he said, “A lot of nice little surprises.” One of the surprises includes an acoustic remake of “Crystal Blue Persuasion.”

Being able to thrive in the music business for 50 years and still have fun makes James feel so lucky. He said, “It’s been an amazing journey to be a lifer in this business. The fans, and the good Lord, I thank for the longevity and staying focused. That has meant a lot.”

For more information, visit: https://www.tommyjames.com/