When I was a kid, the fastest way to hear live music was to go to a bar. Known as "bar bands" the cats would play basically songs from the "Top 40". Kids would drink and dance, and soon the band was playing to a bunch of drunks. The bands themselves considered it a good nite if they got paid something along with a couple beers, and if they were really blessed, they'd get lucky. Bar bands did this week after week, with the hope that somebody would spot them, and offer them a record deal. More often than not, that didn't happen. As more and more bands entered the scene, the quality of the music seemed to either decline, or kids just got sick of the same old thing. Bar bands started to decline as a result.

Enter Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Unlike other bar bands, Southside Johnny and the boys played their own materiel (unheard of in those days) and rearranged the Top 40 songs, adding horns and more instrumentation. The group became more of a show, attendance increased dramatically, and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes were off and running. Over the years their following became huge, and more importantly, they gave the term bar band some class.

 

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