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Bruce Springsteen's Rosalita

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    Rock & Roll: Bruce Springsteen's Rosalita

    Hi. Can anyone help me out with how to play the organ parts on "Rosalita?" Specifically the intro (over the guitar arpeggios), and the parts before "Now i know your momma she dont like me"
    I can't find anything more than the chords, which sucks, b/c it happens to be an awesome organ song (I read an interview where Danny Federici said it was his personal favorite to play on)
    If it matters i have a Hammond XK-1


    I listed to Rosalita several times on my way home from work, at the reinforced volume that it deserves. If you have the chords for the song and therefore know what key it is in, you should be good to go. If you don't know your keys or scales, no problem. Recognize what sharps or flats are used within the chord structure of the song, stay within that pattern, and you should be fine.

    In my opinion, the organ is most prominent in the intro of the song. Reving up the Leslie and volume pedal. Sounds like maybe some palm smears or glissandos and you should be able to find some youtube clips on how to perfect that technique and then apply it to this song.

    During those guitar arpeggios, a little over 3 minutes into the song, I feel the organ is realty buried in the mix and might just be sustaining chords. That sounds like the 'bridge' in the song so that the chord structure / key might change, but if you have the chords for the song you know what to play. I know the organ is in this part of the song, but IMO the sax and piano have a larger role.

    I'm getting off topic here, but my favorite Bruce song for Hammond organ is Jungleland. "From the churches to the jails..." It kicks in with that cathedral sound. Gets me every time. The end organ chords right before the piano at the very end are also great.

    Hammond RT-3, Estey circa 1903, Baldwin Acrosonic spinet piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano.


      Rosalita was buried in my subconscious, but I never thought of it as a song with any keyboard interest. As the previous poster said the downward smears at the beginning characterize the organs role in the intro. I think some other kind of keyboard besides organ is providing what actual keyboard interest there is in the song. Other than C major, maybe F, it's hard to think of a key that would allow for that intro, but I'm a classical guy there is lots I don't know about PLAYING rock music. I listen to plenty of it, however. IMHO there are way better pieces to want to get curious about. If the o.p. has the chords they are doing about as good as can be done. I can't think of anyone who is going to take the time to transcribe that music for keyboard note for note. Organists used to playing in that style are just going to work it out from listening to it. Even a stodgy old classical cat like me could make something half decent out of it IF and ONLY IF the rest of the instrumentation is there for support. This (IMO) would not be the piece to want to be a one man (organ) band on.


        I'm sorry, but I realize I wasnt very clear. I know the guitar chords for the song, and for the most part the organ follows along and sounds right (its in F), but the very beginning, w the palm smears, I was wondering if anyone knew what chords the organ was playing. The guitar is playing f and fsus arpeggios, but it doesnt sound right/accurate. Maybe its just me.

        Its being played with a band, if that matters


          The organ isn't playing chords. Palm smears are not chords. They aren't anything. They are essentially downward glissando. But I suspected they had to be played in the environment of a key with plenty of white notes open: C or F. You have confirmed F since that is what the guitar is playing the organ must also be in F. The beginning and/or ending notes of the palm smears should be in F. Trust your ears.


            To me, this intro sounds something like this: First four drawbars are set at 8 and all others are at 0. This applies to both manuals (keyboards), Leslie running at fast speed, percussion on upper manual is on.

            On the lower manual swipe up with your left hand and hit the highest F with your right. While sustaining the F the left hand swipes up and down a few times. Release F, swipe your left up and hit the highest C. Sustain the C and swipe down with the left, then release the C.

            From there you play the upper manual. The notes are high A and Bb, which follow the rhythm of the chord changes, playing the A when the sax is playing F, etc. This is how it sounds to me until the vocals come in for the first verse.

            Maybe someone will have some fine tweaks to this solution, as I didn't spend a while lot of time on this, but this should point you in the right direction.
            Hammond RT-3, Estey circa 1903, Baldwin Acrosonic spinet piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano.


              Thank you. Thats exactly the direction i needed. I really appreciate it. The sustained notes were where i was lost. It sounds way now.