#Springsteen @GivensPAC August 28


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Each year the blog takes on a different focus. In 2019 the goal is for each post to bring you the reader a lesson, quote, message, or story that can help you grow.

Springsteen

From time to time I welcome an offer from a reader to let them do a post. Well today it is James Bass offering up some perspective on a Bruce Springsteen song.

James is the Executive Director of the Givens Performing Arts Center at UNC Pembroke. He is also a lover of the Arts. He is a very talented photographer, story teller, and dynamic dad/husband.

james bass

At UNC Pembroke there are additional Springsteen fans. Dick Christy the Director of Athletics boat bears the name of one of his songs. “She’s The One”

she's the One

Other former UNCP employees who are Springsteen fanatics include Mary Helen Walker.

So here is James Bass take on the Springsteen song Atlantic City.

Side note and diversion… I love reading True Crime books…and this summer I read the autobiography of former Philly mob underboss Philip Leonetti, who before Sammy the Bull and after Joe Valachi, was the most important mobster to flip and turn Federal witness. It’s a compelling read and delves into the sheer evil of former boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo who held a stronghold on Jersey, Philly and Atlantic City.

I came to find out that Springsteen’s song, “Atlantic City,” which is hauntingly beautiful as an acoustic piece (Springsteen recorded it in his bedroom with a guitar, harmonica and mic) is written about the mob in Atlantic City, and specifically about the killing of mob boss Philip “Chicken Man” Testa.

“Well, they blew up the ‘Chicken Man’ in Philly last night,
Well they blew up his house too
Out on the boardwalk their getting ready for a fight
Gonna see what them racket boys can do…”

In 1981, less than a year after the NY mob gave the blessing for Testa to run the Philly family, a greedy underboss had him whacked (he thought he had the approval of the mob commission, but he did not, and murder of a boss without sanction from the commission, essentially means whoever pulled the trigger has to go…). They got the Chicken Man with a homemade bomb they put under his porch.

Anyway, never knew about that connection to the Springsteen song. I am pretty sure that Dan Kenney having come from Jersey, probably knew the names of the cast of characters in this story.

I have always held Springsteen in high esteem on my playlist but I’m gaining a greater respect for him. His Broadway performance was filmed for Netflix and it’s amazing.

My 8th grade teacher, whom I still keep in touch with, got to see it live. It’s been sold out weeks on end every time I look it up. But that’s a show I’d LOVE to see. Dan you remember Mary Helen Walker who used to work at UNCP she was the biggest Springsteen fan ever. She has seen him literally probably a hundred times.

Thanks for the opportunity to do a guest post. Gotta get back to ‘Dancin’ in the Dark’ over here before the real Boss comes down on me… but I thought you might enjoy knowing that neat little song reference.

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