Jun 092010

Under the Radar shines a light on a lesser-known cover artist. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should.

“How can a man who plays guitar for Bruce Springsteen and used to be in Crazy Horse be considered under the radar?” you may be asking. Fair question. Millions of people have watched Nils Lofgren spin and flip during his “Because the Night” solos, but how many of them own any of his solo records? I rest my case.

Out of all the E Street Band’s solo records, Lofgren’s may be the best. Originals like “No Mercy” and “Keith Don’t Go” became minor hits, but Lofgren sprinkles his albums liberally with covers. His most recent release is a disc of acoustic Neil Young songs titled, appropriately, The Loner: Nils Sings Neil. One of the songs he performs is “Like a Hurricane.” On the album it lasts 3 minutes and 59 seconds. An outtake he posted on his website jams past the nine minute mark. Needless to say, that’s the one we’re posting.

Nils never shies away from covering mentors. He’s run through a good number of Springsteen songs on his own, including the brilliant “Man at the Top” on charity tribute Light of Day (get it here) and the heart-melting “If I Should Fall Behind” (below). If you’ve got a wedding coming up, listen close. Heck, it might be worth getting married just to use this song for your dance.

Rounding out the set comes a sensitive “Wonderful World,” a raucous “Anytime At All” and my personal favorite, his version of Randy Newman’s “Baltimore.” The song about his hometown appears on Lofgren’s terrific 1978 album Nils, which is well worth tracking down.

Nils Lofgren – Like a Hurricane (Extended Version) (Neil Young cover)

Nils Lofgren – If I Should Fall Behind (Bruce Springsteen cover)

Nils Lofgren – Wonderful World (Sam Cooke cover)

Nils Lofgren – Anytime At All (The Beatles cover)

Nils Lofgren – Baltimore (Randy Newman cover)

Hear more Nils at his website, where he gives guitar lessons and offers plenty of downloads.

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One Response to “Under the Radar: Nils Lofgren”

Comments (1)
  1. Totz the Plaid says:

    He also fronted a band called “Grin” for a while at one point. I’ve searched all over for their albums, but can’t find them. I know that they had some great songs, though.

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