Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes - New Romeo

Some bands are just better live.  Case in point:  Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes.  While their live shows were the stuff of legend, this never seemed to translate to vinyl.  As a result, they were local heroes at the Jersey Shore, but never became household names.

Southside Johnny (John Lyon) began playing in bars in the early 1970's, and was part of the dynamic Asbury Park, NJ music scene, which also included Bruce Springsteen and musicians who eventually became the E Street Band.  By 1975, the Jukes lineup had more or less solidified, and included Steven Van Zandt.  A recording contract followed, as did a bunch of records, but Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes were never able to really establish themselves, hurt by the long shadow of Springsteen and a lack of standout original material.  In fact, many of the group's best-known songs were covers, which bring us to ...

"New Romeo" which was a modest hit for the band in 1984.  The song was off their In the Heat album and did generate a bit of radio play at the time, but was not a major success.  The album reached #164 on the charts, while the song peaked at #103.

It turns out that "New Romeo" was a cover of an Alex Call song.  Who is Alex Call? (glad that you asked).  Call was a founding member of the California country rock band Clover, who are best known as the backing band for Elvis Costello's spectacular debut album, My Aim is True.  Huey Lewis was also a member of the band for a time.  But Call is probably best known for co-writing "867-5309/Jenny" for Tommy Tutone, which was featured on ERV back in June.

The Southside Johnny video is not half bad, and features early appearances by actors Willem Dafoe and Vince Spano:



And the original Alex Call version of the song:

video

4 comments:

  1. This was a pretty good song. Should have been a lot higher in the charts.

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  2. I love this song. One of my favorites from the 80s. The video kicks ass too. It makes ya happy.

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    1. Glad that you liked it and thanks for stopping by. By the way, I think that any time a song (any song) makes you happy, that's a pretty good thing.

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