Music Monday: Early Hints of Stardom?

I’m not really sure what led me to the following video, but it shows the band Brand New in its early days, playing at a rec center that holds up to 150 people.

The video was filmed in 2001, one year after Brand New had formed. The lead singer is about 23 years old. I just love how they play with complete abandon.

As you might imagine the success rate for new bands is pretty low, and it’s hard to predict what bands will make it and which ones won’t.

Fast forward 14 years, and here is a video of Brand New playing the same song at Lollapalooza, an outdoor festival that attracts up to 100,000 attendees per day.

The lead singer may be a bit more subdued than he was in the original video, but to me the passion still shines through.

So who could have predicted, looking at that 2001 video, that Brand New would make it to the big time.

By the way, my son actually took me to a Brand New concert a couple of years ago. Of course, I wrote a blog about it, describing my first experience with a mosh pit.

So after seeing these before and after videos, I thought of who else might have such videos, and of course my first thought was Bruce Springsteen.

Here’s a video of Springsteen performing my favorite song of all time, Thunder Road, in 1976. Now at that point, Springsteen had enjoyed some success (he was on the cover of Time and Newsweek back in the Fall of 1975. But he hadn’t yet become the global superstar that he is today.

Here’s Springsteen performing that same song 25 years later in Barcelona. You can hear the crowd singing the words, and you can see Clarence on the sax at his best.


And here’s an acoustic version, 40 years after the first video shown above:

While some people may have seen the genius in Springsteen early on, it still took a while for him to become widely known.

I often think about what changes I would notice if I were able to compare myself teaching 30 years ago vs teaching today, besides watching the color of my hair change. Hopefully, it would show that I still have as much enthusiasm as I did when I started, but that I have also gotten better over the years.

I’d love to hear about, and see, any videos you might be aware of that shows a band in its startup days, and then several years later as a success. It would be interesting to see if there are any common themes that could be picked up to allow you to predict such success.

*image from Find Your Better Life

6 thoughts on “Music Monday: Early Hints of Stardom?

  1. I would like to go back and watch it all from your view at the head of the lecture hall. How you have seen students change over all those years must have been amazing to watch. Hair styles, clothing, likes, dislikes, fears, wants, etc, all changing right in front of your eyes. Great post!


  2. I love this very phenomenon as well. it’s so fun to look back to where someone, (ourselves included), began and to see where they’ve traveled. I don’t think we can ever truly predict the path with any certainy. I have watched this with a band I love, the Avett brothers, first heard as a filler on an npr show and before that, very simple beginnings. now playing here and around the world, with a huge following and many albums. a recent documentary of them (may it last) kind of sums it up.


    1. What a great song; I’ll have to look for clips of him playing that same song years later. And my guess is that there is no secret sauce that would allow us to detect someone who is going to be successful…


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