Top 5 Favorite Max Weinberg Drum Songs
In honor of Mighty Max Weinberg’s 66th birthday today, here are my Top 5 Favorite Max Weinberg drum songs:
This shouldn’t be # 1 (lol), but because Max once told me that this was his favorite and it is his birthday and all, I’ll put “Candy”s Room” at the top.
His explanation was simple: “…because for the first 7 or 8 seconds of the song it’s Max Weinberg & The E Street Band.” This is undeniable logic.
“Born In The U.S.A.”
In his recent autobiography, Bruce Springsteen called this Max’s greatest recorded studio performance. Again, undeniable logic. The version on the album is the second take of the song. That’s it—all of two takes were ever laid down in the studio. As noted by Mr. Springsteen, the whole thing was basically improvised. Max’s performance here alone was good enough to get him into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. My go-to live version is from, appropriately enough, 4th of July weekend 1988 from Stockholm (7/3/88) and Bruce & The E Street Band’s world-wide live radio broadcast. Max takes 3 different solos, and Bruce’s searing guitar work is for the ages. The song opened all but a small number of shows over the course of the two year (1984-85) Born In The U.S.A. tour.
This is Max at his razor-sharp best. Bruce’s answer to the Three Mile Island accident. The anger and venom in the song is highlighted by Max’s incredible drum work here. He drives the song from start to finish. The song, inexplicably left off The River album, first saw the light of day as the B-side to “One Step Up” in 1988 and was subsequently included on the Tracks boxed set. It became one of the staples on Bruce and The E Street Band’s Tunnel Of Love Express tour to the delight of many of the Springsteen faithful. One of the greatest moments in the history of the Bruce Brunch on 105.7 The Hawk was one of the Sunday mornings where Max was visiting live in the studio. I was playing “Roulette” leading into his appearance, and as we were getting ready to go live on the air Max drummed along with the outro of the song in perfect time (duh) on the counter top. I’m not often at a loss for words. For a couple of seconds, that day I was.
“My Love Will Not Let You Down”
A Born In The U.S.A. outtake that ended up on Tracks proved to be a great (and at the time surprise) edition to the live show. The song opened a great many show over the course of that tour and was an amazing table setter. Night after night Max was firing on all cylinders and whenever it gets played since then it raises the roof.
“Land Of Hope And Dreams”
So many things are going on in this song. It was Bruce’s “reintroduction” of he and the band and first premiered in Asbury Park at Convention Hall in March 1999. Fans who’d been gathering on the boardwalk and beach to nab some inkling of what was to come kept talking about a “train song” that “Max really kicks ass on.” True on both accounts. Max is a tour de force throughout. This is easily one of my favorite later-day Bruce Springsteen songs.