While visiting the Jersey Shore, it’s unlikely that many fans will have the chance to get their picture snapped with Bruce Springsteen’s iconic Fender Esquire guitar. But in Belmar, there’s a pretty big alternative.
An 8-foot plywood replica of the guitar, created by area artist Bob Mataranglo, has been on display at the corner of 10th Avenue and E Street in Belmar since 2011.
The intersection, home to the Belmar Public Library, is rife with Springsteen lore. The E Street Band took its name from the road, where former keyboard player David Sancious lived and the band rehearsed in its early days.
“My recollection is we were on the bus one night trying to come up with a band name,” Springsteen said at a 2017 event at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. “(E Street Band) seemed pretty easy — it just had a nice ring to it. … E Street. E Street. Well, David lives on E Street. David was a big, important part of the band at the time, and it just came up.”
The cross street of 10th Avenue, in turn, brings to mind the “Born to Run” (1975) classic “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” a song rich with lyrical self-mythologizing for Springsteen and his bandmates.
Over the last decade, Mataranglo’s tribute has itself become a go-to destination for sightseeing Springsteen fans.
“It means a lot to me," Mataranglo said. "It’s very cool for an artist to have their work recognized like that. I mean, if it was just Bob, somebody might look at it and drive by. But it’s Bruce, and it’s iconic.”
The guitar Mataranglo re-created can be seen on a number of Springsteen’s album covers, including “Born to Run,” “Live 1975 – 1985” (1986), "Human Touch" (1992) and the “Blood Brothers” EP (1996).
“If you’re a Bruce fan, that’s it,” he said. “And it’s on the corner of 10th and E, where they started out. You know, E Street Band and everything. So I was grateful that Belmar had the confidence in me to do that.”
While in Belmar, be sure to check out another Mataranglo work: a mural at the intersection of 10th Avenue and Main Street, with depictions of Springsteen and the E Street Band inspired by their appearance in the “Hammersmith Odeon London ’75” concert film.
The Belmar Arts Council also is fundraising for a tribute to Sancious and his mother, Stelma. A piano, designed to be placed and played outdoors, is planned to be installed in Pyanoe Plaza on Main Street. To learn more about the project, and to donate to the cause, visit belmararts.org/piano-4-pyanoe-plaza.html.
Go: The Fender guitar replica, is located at the corner of 10th Avenue and E Street, Belmar, just outside Belmar Public Library.
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This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Belmar corner of 10th Ave, E Street home to Springsteen guitar replica