Stevie Van Zandt on World Cafe
Stevie Van Zandt
World Cafe
  • Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
  • "I Don't Want to Go Home" Little Steven
  • "Some Things Just Don't Change" The Dovells
  • "Bristol Stomp" Bruce Springsteen
  • "Born to Run" Little Steven
  • "Solidarity" Artists United Against Apartheid
  • "Sun City" Alabama 3
  • "Woke Up This Morning (The Sopranos Mix)"

*This session originally aired on March 25, 2022

Stevie Van Zandt has led an incredible life — a life I’m not sure you could replicate in this day and age. That was my first takeaway from reading his new book, Unrequited Infatuations. It’s a memoir that highlights the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s career with Bruce Springsteen, his diverse and underrated solo career, and of course his work on The Sopranos as Sylvio Dante. The book is much more than straight autobiography, though — it’s a bit of rock ‘n’ roll history, something Van Zandt knows keenly, having grown up during the British invasion — and having been inspired by The Beatles and the Stones.

It’s also a field guide to the art of making music, with Van Zandt doling out advice like what the five crafts of rock ‘n’ roll are. But it’s the stories, the “I can’t believe this happened to this guy” moments — of which there are many — that really drive home my first thought. The music industry today, for better or worse, wouldn’t elevate a guy like Little Stevie, making his memoir essential to the canon of rock history.