Local Heroes – The Asbury Park

By Jörgen Johansson – Early 1900’s trombone player, band leader and ragtime pioneer Arthur Pryor was the first star. During the big band era Glenn Miller played Convention Hall and come the 1950’s and 60’s doo wop-singers, jazz musicians and rythm’n’blues bands had the Orchid Lounge on Springwood Avenue jumping. People tend to say that the Upstage Club was the birthplace of the Asbury Park music scene. Not quite true, but understandable.’Cause the Upstage, at the corner of Cookman Avenue and Bond Street, was where Bruce Springsteen honed his craft. That’s where married couple Tom and Margaret Potter organized endless, nightly jamsessions uniting the future boss and his friends – “Maddog” Lopez, “Phantom Dan” Federici, Garry Tallent, Little Vinnie Roslin, Southside Johnny Lyon, “Albany Al” Tellone, Big Danny Gallagher… So even if it sort of began decades prior to Bruce Springsteen, let’s agree that without the monumental 1975 success of “Born to Run” not many outside of Monmouth County would still consider Asbury Park music to be as legendary as the sounds of Detroit, Memphis, Seattle or, Liverpool, England. And besides greatness in music, the fascinating comparison is that Asbury Park is a city with only 16 000 residents. (Text from the book “Local Heroes – The Asbury Park Music Scene” by Anders Mårtensson)