I have always loved listening to rock music–especially classic rock. I listen to it all the time, even at work (though of course when I’m at work I keep the volume down so my colleagues don’t think too badly of me.) Right now, in fact, as I begin writing this post, I am cranking John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow album. Classic rock plays a fairly important role in “Green Bay Outsiders”, the second story in the upcoming collection of short stories entitled Three Billy Maddox Stories. (The first story, of course, is the already-completed story, “Billy and Darla“).
Last week, I saw Bruce Springsteen in concert in Washington, DC. It was my third time at a Springsteen concert. My first time was in Syracuse, NY in 1992 (road trip from SUNY Binghamton). Then it was Los Angeles in 2009 (during a brief visit to my brother-in-law at the time).
One of my favorite Springsteen songs is a little-known tune called “New York City Serenade” that closes out his second album, The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.
I’ve never known Springsteen to play the song live and I wasn’t quite sure, going into last week’s concert, why he should. It’s not, like, one of his greatest hits. I mean, you know “Rosalita” will make an appearance and “Spirit in the Night” will have everyone raising the roof.
But against all laws of probability, and with the kind of stunned good luck that might come from walking down the street and finding a dropped $100 bill at your feet, Springsteen opened last Thursday’s concert with “New York City Serenade”.
The first line? “Billy, he’s down by the railway tracks….”
I’m not saying the name of the protagonist from my novel, Billy Maddox Takes His Shot, was inspired by one of Springsteen’s characters. But I can’t say for sure that it WASN’T inspired by Springsteen either.