Larger Than Life: E-Streeter Little Steven Turns 66 Today

by Steve Spohn
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Van Zandt [photo: Wikipedia]

SongMango’s rock-n-roll kindred spirit, Little Steven, turns 66 today. Here’s a heartfelt Happy Birthday to one of rock’s biggest personalities and one of its most underrated guitar players.

With retirement much further on up the road, Little Steven recently announced his participation in a $20 million fundraising effort to expand New Jersey’s Red Bank Count Basie Theatre.

The aging but tireless rock star will host a concert series at the Red Bank theatre dubbed “Little Steven’s Underground Garage.” I should note for those who don’t know, the Underground Garage is a satellite radio show hosted by Van Zandt that features a mixture of garage rock, old and new.

Steven has plans to open an “Underground Garage” nightclub in the near future and to start an Underground Garage TV show similar to American Bandstand.

For Van Zandt, looking to the past always involves looking forward. Last year he produced and arranged the legendary Darlene Love’s well-received album, Introducing Darlene Love. Of course, there’s irony in the LP’s title because Love has been singing since the ’50s. Her resume includes work with Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick, Bill Medley, The Beach Boys and Tom Jones.

MenWithoutWomanCoverArtVanZandtAlways on the move, Van Zandt recently gathered a new expanded version of his band, Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul at Indigo2 in London. Rave reviews from across the pond could mean Steven will bring the band stateside soon. It would be a crime against rock-n-roll if he doesn’t.

Although Van Zandt can come off as a reluctant frontman with the Disciples (he’s the capo for one to the greatest frontmen ever), when he does step up to the mic, he’s an impassioned performer.

Here’s the recent take in London on his soul classic “Until The Love Is Gone” off his Men Without Women album:

Nothing can be written about Steven without touching on his dream of freedom for all. His song “I Am A Patriot” seems to sum up that dream nicely. Here’s Little Steven and Jackson Browne performing it:

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Steve Spohn is a former Saturday Night Live and Nickelodeon Television executive. Growing up near Princeton, NJ, led to a musical addiction, with WMMR in Philly and WNEW in NYC providing the daily dose. When not attending or planning to attend Bruce Springsteen concerts, he's plugging away as a screenwriter in Beverly Hills. Reach Steve at SSpohn@SongMango.com.

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