Ooh a chance for my favorite Anne Murray story! In 1974 Schaefer Beer sponsored a summer concert series in NYC’s Central Park. One week it was supposed to be Boz Scaggs headlining, Anne Murray middle, and Brewer and Shipley opening (honestly can you get more 1974 than that line up). At the last minute Boz Scaggs pulled out and the producers had to scramble to find another act. They decided on a local guy and his band who happened to be available, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
The producers bumped Murray to headliner and told Springsteen he’d be the middle act. Springsteen’s manager, the notorious Mike Appel, went to Murray’s manager and said you need to let Bruce headline. Murray’s manager was incredulous. Murray had two #1 hits and Springsteen was nothing but a songwriter with a band. Appel tried to reason with him, saying if this was Toronto or even someplace in the Midwest he’d be right, but this was NYC and you don’t want your client going on AFTER Bruce in NYC. The compromise they settled on was Murray would still go on last, but Bruce would get to do his full 80 minute show.
Bruce then went directly to Anne Murray and repeated how she didn’t want to go on after him, but she blew him off as some cocky New Jersey bastard (her words according to legend). So the night of the concert 5000 people cram into the makeshift venue built for the concert, suffer through Brewer and Shipley, go wild when the E Streeters hit the stage, and when Anne Murray walks on stage she discovers the crowd has now dwindled down to less than a thousand people. Appel and Springsteen had been right, you follow Springsteen at your own risk.
This reminds me of similar stories about Jimi Hendrix and The Monkees in 1967, I like The Monkees but how the hell can you follow Jimi Hendrix or Bruce Springsteen?
The last word goes to The Boss with an early NYC performance of Jungleland at Avery Fisher Hall in the same year the E Street Band blew Anne Murray off the stage: