Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes – Love on the Wrong Side of Town

“Oh I did most of the talking…but you were the one who lied”

There have been several music scenes over the years that have produced massive waves of spectacular artists.  Liverpool and the British Invasion, the Seattle grunge scene and Chicago blues spring to mind.  Asbury Park, NJ was one of these places in the early 1970s, producing, most notably, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  Another group emerging from that scene onto Epic Records in the mid 70s was Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.  Southside was a peer of Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt in the Jersey Shore clubs and the sound produced was a mix of Phil Spector pop, Stax soul and ‘Dylan Goes Electric’ Rock N Roll.  While Springsteen eventually hit the big time, Southside struggled to maintain his success, even as his live shows became legendary through the years.

‘Love on the Wrong Side of Town’ was a song written by Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt and was featured on the 1977 Epic release “This Time It’s For Real”.  Like many other songs on Southside’s first four albums, the production was done with Spector-ish flair by Van Zandt, reflecting the feel of Southside’s whiskey soaked vocals and the Juke’s horn drenched bombast.  This song in particular captures the essence of classic soul, with a longing vocal that haunts as well as soothes.  There are many other Southside Johnny classics that have never been enjoyed by rock fans, but this song deserves another airing based on it’s effervescent musical qualities. 

“Oh you were the one who cheated…but I was the one who cried”

After the 1970s alliance with Van Zandt, Springsteen and Epic Records, Southside went his own way through the 1980s to a less successful degree, both commercially and critically.  While it is unknown why his professional relationship with his Jersey Shore brethren soured, it was a devastating blow.  He came back with a revamped Jukes in the 90s and has toured each summer since to great acclaim.  His self released albums have also seen the return to former glories and his career has become a legend in his own time.

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2 responses to “Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes – Love on the Wrong Side of Town

  1. Definitely like the introduction of Springsteen fans to Southside. I would also recommedn Little Calcutta. Nice use of the horns, since most often they are way overdone. You might add that Southside appears in Adventures in Babysitting, since it is a cool movie, but also the band playing at the party shows off Southside’s performance style.

  2. I agree that Little Calcutta is one of his best…it was on his 1988 “Slow Dancing” LP and features some of his signature harmonica work.

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