Asbury Park's Glory Days: The Story of an American Resort by Helen Chantal-Pike. Paperback: 240 pages. Publisher: Rutgers University Press (February 22, 2007). Long before Bruce Springsteen picked up a guitar; before Danny DeVito drove a taxi; before Jack Nicholson flew over the cuckoo's nest, Asbury Park was a seashore Shangri-La filled with shimmering odes to civic greatness, world-renowned baby parades, temples of retail, and atmospheric movie palaces. It was a magnet for tourists, a summer vacation mecca—to some degree New Jersey's own Coney Island. In Asbury Park's Glory Days, award-winning author Helen-Chantal Pike chronicles the city's heyday—the ninety-year period between 1890 and 1980. Pike illuminates the historical conditions contributing to the town's cycle of booms and recessions. She investigates the factors that influenced these peaks, such as location, lodging, dining, nightlife, merchandising, and immigration, and how and why millions of people spent their leisure time within this one-square-mile boundary on the northern coast of the state. Pike also includes an epilogue describing recent attempts to resurrect this once-vibrant city.
Asbury Park (Images of America) by Helen-Chantal Pike. Paperback: 128 pages. Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (May 1, 1997). Founded as a Christian resort on the Jersey Shore at the turn of the century, Asbury Park was carved from a small but striking stretch of sand dunes and towering forests. Home of the East Coast's first baby parade and boardwalk music, Asbury Park has grown to host a variety of cultures and faiths. Author and local historian Helen-Chantal Pike shares her noted knowledge of New Jersey history in this volume of vintage images chronicling the development of a resort from foundation to its present diversity and dynamism.
Asbury Park: Where Music Lives, edited by Helen-Chantal Pike. Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation (March 6, 2011). 62 pages, illustrated. Where Music Lives is a series of essays from 12 noted Shore musicians and two ardent music fans about the genres they know best: sacred, gospel, blues, ragtime, jazz, opera, musical theater, classical, folk, old-school and new-school rock, and the unique “sound of Asbury Park” known as S.O.A.P. Also included are two essays about the latest music traditions that reflect a growing Latin and Caribbean culture in the city. “Their lyrics and rhythms are part of our collective soul,” writes award-winning author Helen-Chantal Pike in her introduction. “In Asbury Park are the sounds of America."
Dorian Parreott, Willie Mitchell and Rick Benjamin examine American roots music that formed Asbury Park's earliest music heritage. Veterans such as Sonny Kenn, Patsy Siciliano, and George Wirth write about the post-war influences that shaped their sound and lyrics. Organist Gladstone Trott writes about the versatility of an instrument that is found equally in bars and at the sides of baptismal fonts. Haitian vocalist Cassandra Momplaisir and Gee Guillen of Xol Azul Band explain why this East Coast city attracts musically talented immigrants looking for freedom of expression. Rock blogger Jean Mikle, opera singer Brett Colby, and anthology editor Helen Pike present evidence that proves Asbury Park to be the undisputed music capital of the Jersey Shore.
With a preface written by Mayor Ed Johnson, Where Music Lives is filled with anecdotes, analysis, photos, and historical facts that will surprise and entertain everyone.
"Although its rock and roll legacy is well known around the world, other music forms...have an Asbury Park address that contributes to the American music treasury. Asbury Park: Where Music Lives is the story of how and why this great Shore city has a permanent place in our music history," writes Bob Santelli, author of Greetings From E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Asbury Park: Where Music Lives softcover, dimensions 6 inches x 9 inches
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Beyond The Palace by Gary Wien. Trafford Publishing (July 6, 2006) 405 pages. Paperback. Description: Asbury Park, one of America's best-known rock and roll music scenes, finally has its story told in the new book "Beyond the Palace" by Gary Wien. The struggling city along the Jersey Shore has long been known as the place where artists like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi got started but its legacy goes much further.
"Beyond the Palace" takes you on a ride through the city's long and illustrious music history; from the Upstage Club where musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Billy Chinnock, David Sancious and Southside Johnny used to jam all night to early clubs like The Student Prince and Sunshine In; from the legendary Stone Pony and Fastlane to alternative clubs like the Green Parrot, T-Birds Cafe and The Saint. The book contains interviews with over 40 artists and features over 70 rare and never before seen photographs, many from the world-famous photographer Debra L. Rothenberg.
"This is really the first comprehensive look at the entire Asbury Park music scene," said the author. "There are a lot of books out there that focus solely on Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi, but 'Beyond the Palace' also features the artists that had good careers but didn't sell millions of records. It covers local rock and roll history from the 60s to today, including a look at artists like Matt Witte, Danny White and DeSol that prove the Asbury Park music scene is alive and well."
"Beyond the Palace" takes you inside the scene like never before. You'll hear the stories right from the artists themselves. It's a look at drugs, sex and booze; bands that made it big, artists on the rise, and those that just missed the mark. It brings you inside the music industry from how bands fight to get signed to how things can fall apart overnight. But most of all, it shows how artists don?t have to sell millions of records to be remembered.
Asbury Park, currently in the early stages of a rebirth, truly deserves its place in music history. As the city changes, this book will become even more of a collector's item. Asbury is banking on its past to build its future. For those who were there, "Beyond the Palace" will bring the memories flooding back and for those who missed out here's a chance to learn about a small city with a musical past unlike any other.
About the Author: Gary Wien is a life-long music fan of the Asbury Park music scene. Born in nearby Red Bank, he spent many weekends in Asbury Park while growing up. He would hang out at old Palace Amusements building, walk the boardwalk and sneak into the clubs whenever possible.
Wien graduated from Lynchburg College in Virginia with a Degree in English in 1992. Since then he has been a freelance author, playwright and website designer. He has been printed in such publications as Backstreets, New Jersey Webguide Magazine, Discover Guides of New Jersey and Princeton Magazine. Mr Wien currently lives in Belmar, NJ with his wife Sherry.
Excerpt: (reprinted with permission) This is where it all began. Musicians gathered each night at a club on the corner of Cookman Avenue and Bond Street that was set on top of a Thom McAn shoe store. The Upstage brought the sights of San Francisco psychedelia and the sounds of Greenwich Village together in an endless array of all night jam sessions, which attracted the best young musicians in the area.
"There was no place anywhere like the Upstage," said David Mieras, a regular at the club who grew up in Ocean Grove. "That place was totally in a league of its own. It was very, very different. It was a really avant-garde place, very art-oriented, individualized and where people found an identity. It was like your club. There was no liquor there, but you’d identify it as your club.
"Most people had passes to get in. It was no different than being part of a high school club. In Neptune, the cool kids belonged to their club, which was called the Centaurs. The Ocean Grove kids who had long hair and stuff like that and played music, they weren’t cool enough for the Centaurs, but they had their own club called Upstage. That was the difference. We identified with music and stuff like that. We could care less about getting into a bar because we had the Upstage. It was the greatest place. I mean, we just had so much fun there it was incredible."
David Sancious, one of the original members of the E Street Band remembers the Upstage well. "You’d walk up this long flight of stairs and the next level was like a coffeehouse and they had folk acts in there, folk music, a small stage and some tables and a couple of coffee machines in the back. You walk up another flight of stairs and it was all done like a psychedelic club, you know. With a bigger stage, Day-Glo painting on the wall, no tables, no chairs, just a big open dance floor. There used to be a lot of bands that would play there and a lot of jams got started. In the early days, I used to go to Upstage to dance. I had some friends of mine from Belmar that used to go and dance and just be a part of the whole scene."
According to Big Danny Gallagher, the origins of the Upstage arose from a series of parties that were held by Tom Potter. "I had a job working at around four in the morning. One night my boss says to me, ‘Wanna go to a party?’ I’m thinking a party at four in the morning, what the hell’s up with this? He told me to go over to Tom Potter’s house. He lived over the top of Park Drugs, which was located two doors down from the Upstage. It turns out that these parties got so big that he decided to rent the building next door, which eventually became the Upstage.
"He sold memberships for two dollars. So, if you came and you had a membership it was a dollar and if you didn’t it cost two bucks to get in."
Local Heroes: The Asbury Park Music Scene by Anders Mårtensson and Jörgen Johansson. Rutgers University Press (May 19, 2008). 256 pages. Description: During the 1950s and 1960s, Asbury Park, New Jersey, was the place to be-to stroll along the boardwalk, to sunbathe, and, most importantly, to listen to live music. But since the city fell into ruin, culminating in the race riots of the 1970s, many were left to wonder if the former rock 'n' roll mecca had been silenced forever. In Local Heroes, author Anders Mårtensson and photographer Jörgen Johansson revisit the myths, legends, and romantic visions of the music scene in a town that is striving to make a comeback.
While the story of Asbury Park is inseparable from widely popular artists, such as Bruce Springsteen, Steven van Zandt, and Southside Johnny Lyon, Local Heroes pays tribute to these musicians alongside the many other talents who stayed behind, playing in local clubs, helping to forge what became known as the "Jersey Shore sound." In a series of original interviews, readers will hear first-hand from the people who wrote, performed, and lived the music. Accompanied by exclusive photographs, musical personalities such as Max Weinberg, Garry Tallent, Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg, Danny Federici, Bill Chinnock, Vini Lopez, Pete Yorn, and many others are brought to life.
Whether the redevelopment efforts underway in Asbury Park today will someday serve as the stage for music legends of tomorrow is a story that has yet to play out. But for now, rock 'n' roll fans can delight in a stunning tribute to a city and its talents whose music continues to play on.
About the Authors: Anders Mårtensson is a Swedish author and journalist who grew up listening to Bruce Springsteen. Jörgen Johansson is an award-winning photojournalist and a long-time follower of the Asbury Park music scene.
4th of July, Asbury Park: A History of the Promised Land by Daniel Wolff. Bloomsbury USA (June 27, 2006). 288 pages. In attempting to blend the social and musical history of New Jersey's faded seaside resort Asbury Park—where Bruce Springsteen first made his name in the 1970s—Wolff has an overabundance of engrossing material that never quite coheres to animate his thesis that the history of Asbury Park is the history of America. Founded in 1871 by James A. Bradley as a Methodist retreat, Asbury Park was designed to attract religious, moneyed vacationers who wanted a resort uncorrupted by alcohol and gambling. But the history of the resort is not so pretty, according to Wolff. The many African-Americans who served the rich there were restricted to the dingiest part of the beach. The Ku Klux Klan moved in, as well as organized crime. Continuing racism led to rioting in the 1970s, when the ghetto erupted in looting and the destruction of local businesses. Wolff (You Send Me: The Life and Times of Sam Cooke) weaves into his narrative the musical heritage of Sousa, Sinatra and Bill Haley to underscore the social changes affecting the town over time. Asbury Park's current renewal efforts are mired in troubles—but the song Wolff hears there is still one of hope.
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Anyone familiar with Bruce Springsteen's music knows about the role place plays in his work, and no place more than Asbury Park, New Jersey, a seaside resort town that has seen many ups and downs and for Springsteen exists in imagination as well as reality. In this luminous history of Springsteen's Asbury Park, journalist, biographer, and poet Wolff tells the story of a promised land. This Asbury Park somehow inspired hope in people like Springsteen, who were able to see beyond its often shabby exterior to what once was and could be again. Asbury Park was also the hometown of Springsteen's fellow outsider, author Stephen Crane (1871-1900), who saw it as symbolic of both a still-young nation's ideals and the hypocrisy of late-nineteenth-century America. Contradictions are a part of Asbury Park's history. Established to honor Francis Asbury, the pioneer of American Methodism, the city was envisioned by founder James Bradley as a resort town. Despite its small size, it has embraced many paradoxical visions--model religious community, beach town, haven for music from ragtime to rock--and represented freedom, fun, and democracy, though also Northern racism, violence, and corruption. Writing about the idea of a place, Wolff creates popular history at its best. Springsteen fans will love it, and so will anyone interested in American social history. June Sawyers Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved