Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes' ties with Cleveland ran deep. The New Jersey group, which burst onto the scene with 1976's roof-raising LP I Don't Want to Go Home, was supported early on by Cleveland audiences and radio. The big, brassy band led by Southside Johnny Lyon and championed by "Miami Steve" Van Zandt was signed to Epic by A&R man Steve Popovich, now-legendary record man and founder of Cleveland International Records. In 2017, the frontman remembered Popovich in an interview with Pittsburgh's Tribune-Review: "We didn't even have a record contract. We only had an oral agreement with Steve Popovich...They could have heard it and said, 'We don't want it.' We would have been badly in debt for a couple of young guys. We were lucky they wanted to put it out. But that wing-and-a-prayer stuff really separates stuff from people who are serious about what they are doing and those who aren't." Now, Southside and co. are coming to Popovich's label with the June 3 CD release of Live in Cleveland '77.
The upcoming release presents Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes' second performance in less than a year at Cleveland's famed Agora on East 24th Street. (That storied venue was damaged by fire in 1984. A new Agora sprung up on Euclid Avenue which is still operational today.) In addition to performing favorites from their first two albums ("This Time It's for Real," "I Don't Want to Go Home," "Without Love," "Got to Get You Off of My Mind," "Broke Down Piece of Man," and of course, the Bruce Springsteen-penned showstopper "The Fever" and joyous cover of Sam Cooke's "Havin' a Party"), Southside and the Jukes welcomed a special guest. Ronnie Spector took the stage to reprise her triumphant performance of Billy Joel's Wall of Sound pastiche "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" which she had recorded with Van Zandt and Jukes pals The E Street Band for a 1977 Epic single.
Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes still bring down the house today with many of these same songs. The 14-song set will be released on one CD by Cleveland International on June 3. You'll find pre-order links and the full track listing below!
- This Time It's for Real
- Got To Get You Off of My Mind
- Without Love
- She Got Me Where She Wants Me
- Little By Little
- It Ain't the Meat, It's the Motion
- When You Dance
- Say Goodbye to Hollywood (feat. Ronnie Spector)
- The Fever
- I Don't Want to Go Home
- Broke Down Piece of Man
- We're Having a Party
- You Mean So Much to Me
- You Don't Know Like I Know