The Art of Compromise: Little Steven Style

Post.Compromise.rascalsHow do you bring The Rascals, first known as The Young Rascals, to Broadway after all these years? When the members of this legendary group don’t even talk to each other, how can they go on stage together night after night? What do you do? Bringing in a mediator is sometimes the only way to get opposing parties to talk. How about getting them to sing together? Sounds like a job for that mighty negotiator, Little Steven Van Zandt.

Groovin’…Good Lovin’…It’s a Beautiful Morning…Lonely Too Long…How Can I Be Sure…People Got to Be Free…

Post.Compromise.stevevanzandtIt was Little Steven who welcomed Gene Cornish, Felix Cavalieri, Dino Danelli, and Eddie Brigati, The Rascals, into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Bitterness and lawsuits kept them apart throughout the years. It was Little Steven who urged them to reunite. When asked why this didn’t happen for so long, Eddie Brigatti answers, “the catalyst, the person who had to put this together had to be a person that a) you respected, that b) you trusted …”

As evidenced by his radio show, Little Steven’s Underground Garage, Steve is on an impassioned quest to preserve rock ‘n’ roll. And if you’re Little Steven, you don’t let anything get in the way of a great music idea. You get the members to put their differences aside. You figure it out. You plug away. You make it happen. It’s all in the compromise. Peacemaker and diplomat Little Steven told them, Talk to each other, how’s the family, how are you, leave it at that.” Then get on stage and do what you do best.

After all, this is the man that is introduced by The Boss as the Minister of Faith and Friendship. No ultimatum. No debating. Just get along and get going. Now why can’t lawmakers and big business take a cue from The Boss’s chief negotiator? Compromise, Little Steven style.

com·pro·mise [kom-pruh-mahyz] noun 1. a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of opposing principles by reciprocal modification of demands. 2. the result of such a settlement. verb to settle by a compromise. dictionary
Origin 1426 “a joint promise to abide by an arbiter’s decision” from Middle French compromis, from Latin compromissus from com- (together) + promittere (promise). etymology

Settle your differences. Make concessions. If any group can get past their differencePost.Compromise.rascals.peoplegottobefreesingles and make peace, it has to be The Rascals. After all, these are the guys whose songs have hopeful lyrics and an upbeat sound: Groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon, Really couldn’t get away too soon, I can’t imagine anything that’s better, The world is ours whenever we’re togetherand Yes indeed, all I, I really need, Good Lovin’, now gimme that good, good lovin’and then there’s this one … Written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati in 1968, People Got to Be Free is nothing if not an idealistic yet impassioned plea for tolerance. Tolerance. Isn’t that a basic tenet for compromise?

Peace in the valley, People Got to Be Free
You should see, what a lovely, lovely world this would be,
If everyone learned to live together,
It seems to me such an easy, easy thing this would be,
Why can’t you and me learn to love one another,
All the world over, so easy to see
People everywhere just wanna be free,
I can’t understand it, so simple to me
People everywhere just got to be free


The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream is on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre through May 5, 2013.

The Rascals photo source: The Rascals performing at the Capitol Theater in December 2013 by Chad Batka for The New York Times
Steve Van Zandt photo source:
Eddie Brigati and Steve Van Zandt quotes source: CBS This Morning Show
People Got to Be Free single cover: Atlantic Records
People Got to Be Free lyrics: EMI Music Publishing



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