So with a new album, tour and a glitzy exhibit marking his storied 40-year career on loan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame across the bridge at the National Constitution Center, we decided to take a look back at Springsteen’s early days when he was honing his sound during marathon jam sessions in smoke-filled taprooms up and down the New Jersey Turnpike. With the help of former music writer Randy Alexander, now of Randex Communications in Marlton, we discovered that towns in our backyard helped catapult Springsteen into the star he has become.
Alexander does a marvelous job tracing Springsteen’s path through gigs in Cherry Hill lounges and local college performances; also talking to some of the locals who were instrumental in helping Springsteen go from cramped coffee shops to sold-out arenas across the country. From former band members and managers to longtime fans and famed Springsteen photographer Frank Stefanko, Alexander captures a tremendous era in South Jersey lore that helped shape the future of rock music.
Also this month, we unveil our Spring Fashion feature with some very special young ladies from South Jersey: members of the Phillies Ballgirls. Check out our models Genevieve, Leigh Ann, Rachael and Samantha in this season’s hottest looks captured in our photo shoot at Citizens Bank Park on page 68.
In addition, this issue also takes a closer look at the ongoing battle that surrounds a proposed merger of Rowan and Rutgers-Camden universities, a move that could have profound lasting effects for both institutions. We examine the clever ways local school districts are raising funds; talk hoops with Jersey Shore resident and Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright; see who might give Gov. Christie a run for his money in 2013; and chat with area native Rodney Jerkins, the music producer responsible for more songs on your iPod than you think.
It’s certainly a jam-packed issue and we wouldn’t blame you if you decided to put on a little Springsteen in the background. With all this nostalgia, we’d recommend dusting off the old vinyl and giving it a spin.
Peter J. Proko
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 12 (March, 2012).
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