4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

Infobox Song
Name = 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

Artist = Bruce Springsteen
Album = The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Released = September 11, 1973
Format =
Recorded = 1973 at 914 Sound Studios in Blauvelt, New York [cite web|title=Bruce Springsteen On the Tracks, The Wild the Innocent &the E Street Shuffle|url=http://www.brucebase.org.uk/4.htm|accessdate=2007-07-27]
Genre = Rock
Length = 5:36
Label = Columbia Records
Producer = Mike Appel, Jim Cretecos
Reviews =

"4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)", often known just as "Sandy", is a 1973 song by Bruce Springsteen, originally appearing as the second song on his album "The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle". It is one of the best-known and most praised of his early efforts,cite book | last=Hilburn | first=Robert | authorlink=Robert Hilburn | title=Springsteen | publisher=Rolling Stone Press | year=1985 | isbn=0-684-18456-7 p. 58.] remains one of his most popular ballads,cite book | last=Santelli | first=Robert | authorlink=Robert Santelli | title=Greetings From E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | publisher=Chronicle Books | year=2006 | location=San Francisco | isbn=0-8118-5348-9 p. 25.] and has been described as "the perfect musical study of the Jersey Shore boardwalk culture." It was recorded as a 1975 single by The Hollies.

Themes and recording

Set on, as the title suggests, the Fourth of July in Asbury Park, New Jersey, the song is a powerful love ballad, dedicated to one Sandy and describing the depressing atmosphere that threatens to smother the love between the singer and Sandy. Locals include the "stoned-out faces," "switchblade lovers" and "the greasers" who "tramp the streets or get busted for sleeping out on the boardwalk till dawn." The singer is tired of "hangin' in them dusty arcades" and "chasin' the factory girls."

The song begins with the line: "Sandy, the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight". Writer Ariel Swartley views the song's verses as depicting the narrator as something of a "adolescent loser ... [who's] ruining his chances with the girl: he can't stop telling her about the humiliations, about the girls who led him on, about the waitress that got tired of him."cite book | author=Ariel Swartley | chapter=The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle | editor=Greil Marcus (ed.) | title=Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island | publisher=Knopf | year=1979 p. 52.] Nevertheless, Swartley observes the choruses to be warm, immediate, and portray an irresistibly romantic atmosphere.

Van Morrison's influence can be heard in this song, as "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" closely parallels his romanticization of Belfast in such songs as "Cyprus Avenue" and "Madame George".Fact|date=September 2008

"Sandy" showcases the wistful side of Springsteen; "Los Angeles Times" writer Robert Hilburn later wrote that "the verses [were] whispered as if he was singing into his girlfriend's ear." During recording of the song for the album, Springsteen wanted a children's choir to sing on it, but they did not show up for the session.Horovitz, David, [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1192380619484 "Bruce Springsteen's kibbutz violinist"] , "The Jerusalem Post", October 22, 2007.] Instead, he recorded the high, clear voice of Suki Lahav, overdubbing it repeatedly, to give a choir-like effect.. Lahav, the wife of Springsteen's sound engineer at the time, would not be credited for her role,. but would later join the E Street Band for six months as a violinist and singer.

No singles were released from "The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle". "Sandy" would, however, along with "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)", become fan favorites from the album, and would garner progresive rock radio airplay during the ramp-up of Springsteen's visibility preceding the 1975 release of "Born to Run". The song would be released as a single in Germany, in late 1974 or early 1975, with the title reversed into "Sandy (4th July, Asbury Park)". [cite web | url=http://www.brucespringsteen.it/DB/Discox.htm | title=SANDY (4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK) / THE E STREET …. (Germany) (search for song) | publisher=The Killing Floor | accessdate=2008-07-26] "Sandy" also attracted the attention of other musicians; it was one of the two Springsteen songs that drummer Max Weinberg knew when he auditioned for Springsteen's E Street Band in late 1974.cite book | last=Appel | first=Mike | authorlink=Mike Appel | coauthors=Marc Eliot | title=Down Thunder Road | publisher=Fireside Books | year=1992 | isbn=0-671-86898-5 p. 117.] Once "Born to Run" made Springsteen a major rock figure, "Sandy" received additional airplay on progressive and album oriented rock formats.

Live performance history

"Sandy" was included on Springsteen and the E Street Band's best-selling 1986 box set "Live/1975–85", in a 1980 Nassau Coliseum performance that nevertheless had a "club feel" to it.cite book | last=Marsh | first=Dave | authorlink=Dave Marsh | title=Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s | publisher=Pantheon Books | year=1987 | isbn=0-394-54668-7 p. 419, 429–430.] Its sequencing in the box set represented the opening stages of the journey that the core characters in Springsteen's work take; Springsteen said, "Then you get 'Sandy'. That's the guy and he's on the boardwalk, and I guess that was me then, when I was still around Asbury. And there's the girl.... Here it is. This is the beginning of the whole trip that's about to take place." It is also included on the 2003 compilation "The Essential Bruce Springsteen".

The song was a mainstay of Springsteen and the E Street Band's concert set lists during the early part of his career, and a 1975 performance is included on the 2006 "Hammersmith Odeon London '75" audio and video release. It became much rarer to hear after the 1980–1981 River Tour, appearing only very sporadically, and then usually in New Jersey. [cite web | url=http://www.brucespringsteen.it/DB/Databasex.htm | title=The Killing Floor DB Page (search for song) | publisher=The Killing Floor | accessdate=2008-07-26]

Within the E Street Band, the song was heavily identified with Danny Federici's accordion part, which is the main musical element. "Sandy" was played several times late on the first leg of the 2007–2008 Magic Tour, including Federici's final regular appearance in November 2007 before taking a leave of absence for melanoma treatment. When Federici made his only return to the stage after that, on March 20, 2008, when he appeared for portions of a Springsteen and E Street Band performance at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, "Sandy" was the one song that he requested be performed. Following Federici's April 17 2008 death, "Sandy" was performed in tribute to him, with Roy Bittan taking over the accordion part. In July 2008, the live EP "Magic Tour Highlights" was released, with the final Federici performance of "Sandy" the closing track.

Other versions

One of the first artists to cover Springsteen were The Hollies who recorded a single of "Sandy" (under that title) in 1975, and included it on their "Another Night" album. Released on Epic Records in the U.S. in April 1975, it only achieved minor airplay, reaching number 85 on the U.S. pop singles chart. [cite web | url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&searchlink=THE|HOLLIES&sql=11:w9fpxqw5ldje~T51 | title=The Hollies: Charts & Awards: Billboard Singles | publisher=Allmusic | accessdate=2008-07-26] It had better success in New Zealand, reaching number 12 on their singles chart. It was not released as a single in the UK. While not a big hit unto itself, The Hollies use of "Sandy" presaged other artists mining the early Springsteen songbook for material, a notion that would soon be exploited to much greater commercial success by Manfred Mann and others.

This song was chosen by Tony Blair as one of his Desert Island Discs, apparently because he listened to it many times when he was courting his future wife Cherie Booth.

Air Supply recorded "Sandy" for their 1985 album "Air Supply". Singer-songwriter Richard Shindell recorded what has been described as a "near-holy reading" of this song for his 2002 live album, "Courier".Jeff Schwatcher, [http://www.allmusicguide.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&token=&sql=10:fbfixql0ldfe Courier review] at the "Allmusic" (4.5/5)]

Madam Marie

One of the song's most famous lines is: [To some observers, this closely parallels a line in Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks" album, from the song "Madame George": "She jumps up and says Lord have mercy I think it's the cops".]

:"Did you hear, the cops finally busted Madame Marie,:"for tellin' fortunes better than they do ...

The "Madame Marie" mentioned in the song was a real-life fortune teller on the Asbury Park boardwalk named Marie Castello, who died June 27, 2008 aged 93.cite news | title=Boardwalk fortune teller Madam Marie dies | url=http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080701/NEWS/80701031 | publisher="Asbury-Park Press" | date=2008-07-01 | accessdate=2008-07-26] Springsteen offered memories and condolences of her on his website, saying:

"Back in the day when I was a fixture on the Asbury Park boardwalk, I'd often stop and talk to Madam Marie as she sat on her folding chair outside the Temple of Knowledge. I'd sit across from her on the metal guard rail bordering the beach, and watched as she led the day trippers into the small back room where she would unlock a few of the mysteries of their future. She always told me mine looked pretty good - she was right. The world has lost enough mystery as it is - we need our fortunetellers. We send our condolences out to her family who've carried on her tradition. Over here on E Street, we will miss her." [cite news | url=http://blog.nj.com/springsteen/2008/07/bruce_springsteen_remembers_ma.html | title=Bruce Springsteen remembers Madam Marie | author=Stan Goldstein | publisher="The Star-Ledger" | date=2008-07-02 | accessdate=2008-07-26]
Springsteen said some of the same remarks on stage during the next show on the Magic Tour, dedicating a performance of "Sandy" in Gothenburg, Sweden on July 4, 2008 to her.

The dedication, word-by-word, from Gothenburg.:"We always send this one out to Danny,:"and just a few days ago, Madame Marie,:"who was the gypsy teller in the Asbury Park:"boardwalk passed away, she was 98, :"that's a lot of fortune-telling.

:"There's enough mystery lost in the world,:"we need all the fortune-tellers we can get,:"so tonight we're gonna send this one out to:"Madame Marie...

Springsteen incorrectly noted she passed away at 98; she was in fact 93. The song is always dedicated to Danny Federici as of April 17 as this was "his" song, featuring a prominent accordion throughout the song.


External links

* [http://www.brucespringsteen.net/songs/4thOfJulyAsburyPark.html Lyrics, at Bruce Springsteen official web site]

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