This thread is for Polly . I think we are the only Springsteen fans on here because the fashionistas on this board and I guess the world in general don't seem to recognise Bruce's inate hipness at present When you all catch up, Polly and I reserve the right to say I told you so.
This is Bruce doing Jungleland at the London Hammersmith Odeon in 1975. You can get the whole performance with the 30th Anniversary Born In The USA CD and DVD set. The way he plays with his hat kills me. Someday... someday... SOMEDAY
Bruce in Toronto '84 doing the best Cadillac Ranch ever! On the first day [God] made cheeseburgers! Here is to Bruce's giggle, the thing every fan wants to preserve forever.
'We learned more from a three minute record baby, than we ever learned in school'
'I saw rock 'n' roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time.'
'He's the only iconographic figure in my life who ultimately didn't betray me. He keeps growing and changing.'
'It took me a long, long time to decide that I was going to be a songwriter myself, but 'Thunder Road' started the process.'
'Springsteen makes me keep faith in America.'
Dave Marsh Music critic
'The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle is still, to me, one of the greatest records that anybody's ever made. It just left you feeling more alive.'
'I'd like my life to be like a Bruce Springsteen song. Just once. I know I'm not born to run, I know that Seven Sisters' Road is nothing like Thunder Road, but feelings can't be different, can they?'
'And that to me, still, is the exceptional thing about Bruce Springsteen. He writes about ordinary things and ordinary people in an extraordinary way,'
Bono (This is Bono inducting Bruce into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 1999)
'Rock stars are supposed to make soap operas of their lives, aren't they? If they don't kill themselves first. Well, you can't be a big legend and not be dysfunctional. It's not allowed. You should at least have lost your looks. Everyone else has. Have you seen them? It's like Madame Tussaud's back there. Then there's Bruce Springsteen. Handsome mother with those brooding brown eyes, eyes that could see through America. And a catastrophe of great songs, if you were another songwriter. Bruce has played every bar in the U.S.A., and every stadium. Credibility -- you couldn't have more, unless you were dead. But Bruce Springsteen, you always knew, was not gonna die stupid. He didn't buy the mythology that screwed so many people. Instead he created an alternative mythology, one where ordinary lives became extraordinary and heroic. Bruce Springsteen, you were familiar to us. But it's not an easy familiarity, is it? Even his band seems to stand taller when he walks in the room. It's complex. He's America's writer, and critic. It's like in 'Badlands,' he's Martin Sheen and Terrence Malick. To be so accessible and so private ... But then again, he is an Irish-Italian, with a Jewish-sounding name. What more do you want? Add one big African sax player, and no one in this room is gonna (mess around) with you!
In 1974, I was 14. Even I knew the '60s were over. It was the era of soft-rock and fusion. The Beatles was gone, Elvis was in Vegas. What was goin' on? Nothin' was goin' on. Bruce Springsteen was comin' on, saving music from the phonies, saving lyrics from the folkies, saving leather jackets from the Fonz. (Sings) 'Now the greasers, they tramp the streets and get busted for sleeping on the beaches all night, and them boys in their high heels, ah Sandy, their skins are so white. Oh Sandy, love me tonight, and I promise I'll love you forever.'
In Dublin, Ireland, I knew what he was talking about. Here was a dude who carried himself like Brando, and Dylan, and Elvis. If John Steinbeck could sing, if Van Morrison could ride a Harley-Davidson .... It was something new, too. He was the first whiff of Scorsese, the first hint of Patti Smith, Elvis Costello and the Clash. He was the end of long hair, brown rice and bell bottoms. It was the end of the 20-minute drum solo. It was good night, Haight- Ashbury; hello, Asbury Park.
America was staggering when Springsteen appeared. The president just resigned in disgrace, the U.S. had lost its first war. There was going to be no more oil in the ground. The days of cruising and big cars were supposed to be over. But Bruce Springsteen's vision was bigger than a Honda, it was bigger than a Subaru. Bruce made you believe that dreams were still out there, but after loss and defeat, they had to be braver, not just bigger. He was singing 'Now you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore,' because it took guts to be romantic now. Knowing you could lose didn't mean you still didn't take the ride. In fact, it made taking the ride all the more important. "Here was a new vision, and a new community. More than a community, because every great rock group is kind of like starting a religion. and Bruce surrounded himself with fellow believers. The E Street -- it wasn't just a great rock group, or a street gang. It was a brotherhood. Zealots like Steve Van Zandt, the bishop Clarence Clemons, the holy Roy Bittan, crusaders Danny Federici, Max Weinberg, Garry Tallent and later Nils Lofgren. And Jon Landau, Jon Landau, Jon Landau, Jon Landau, Jon Landau. What do you call a man who makes his best friend his manager, his producer, his confessor? You call him the Boss. And Springsteen didn't just marry a gorgeous red-headed woman from the Jersey Shore. She could sing, she could write, and she could tell the Boss off.
For me and the rest of the U2-ers, it wasn't just the way he described the world. It was the way he negotiated it. It was a map, a book of instructions on how to be in the business but not of it. Generous is a word you could use to describe the way he treated us. Decency is another. But these words can box you in. I remember when Bruce was headlining Amnesty International's tour for prisoners of conscience, I remember thinking 'Wow, if ever there was a prisoner of conscience, it's Bruce Springsteen.' Integrity can be a yoke, a pain...when your songs are taking you to a part of town where people don't expect to see you. "At some point I remember riding in an elevator with gentleman Bruce, where he just stared straight ahead of himself, and completely ignored me. I was crushed. Only when he walked into the doors as they were opening, did I realize the impossible was happening. My god, Bruce Springsteen, the Buddha of my youth, is plastered! Drunk as a skunk! ... I have to go back to the book of instructions, scratch the bit out about how you held yourself in public. By the way, that was a great relief.
Something was going on, though. As a fan I could see that my hero was beginning to rebel against his own public image. Things got even more interesting on 'Tunnel of Love,' when he started to deface it. A remarkable bunch of tunes, where our leader starts having a go at himself, and the hypocrisy of his own heart, before anyone else could. But the tabloids could never break news on Bruce Springsteen. Because his fans... he had already told us everything in the songs. We knew he was spinning. We could feel him free falling. But it wasn't in chaos or entropy. It was in love.
We call him the Boss. Well that's a bunch of crap. He's not the boss. He works for us. More than a boss, he's the owner, because more than anyone else, Bruce Springsteen owns America's heart.'
'Remember: You always want an Irishman to give your induction speech ... I knew I always liked you, Bono. You were scaring me a little bit there --- I wasn't that good -- but I like the part about my good looks!'
Bruce Springsteen: rebel soul, rock renegade, the guy from Philly who only ever sang about cars n' girls; his is a legacy tainted by misinformed parody and undeserved malign. In the 70s he was already unstoppable; in the 80s he adopted a commercial bent that propelled him into the realms of superstar (& beyond) - by 1995, with a fair wedge stashed down in Asbury Park, Springsteen had made his millions, and he'd grown old. He didn't need to sing about racing the caddy no more, nor about dating Bobby Jean or sippin' beers after the game. Instead he put it all aside, dispensed with the E-Street sound completely, picked up his acoustic guitar, and made an album from the brink of desolation, a subtle Dylannesque masterpiece, laced with simple, lax melancholy and brimming with wealth of experience, nostalgia and knowing. Never self-indulgent, 'Tom Joad' showcases The Boss' woefully overlooked songsmanship - it's the greatest record he's ever made. A stylistic departure from past releases, and then some, this is the sound of a man unafraid to sound his age - this is grown up music. Springsteen has been a crucial mouthpiece for blue-collar America for the last 30 years. In assessing his career, let us hope that the inclement critic will turn here in his final pause: a phenomenal legacy, and a totally gorgeous, unrefined, bare-bones folk wonder-work: dripping with honesty, sheer grit and irrepressible subtlety. The soundtrack to your salvation.
Alterman, Eric. It Ain't No Sin To Be Glad You're Alive : The Promise of Bruce Springsteen. Little Brown, 1999. ISBN 0316038857.
Coles, Robert. Bruce Springsteen's America: The People Listening, a Poet Singing. Random House, 2005.
Cross, Charles R. Backstreets: Springsteen - the man and his music Harmony Books, New York 1989/1992. ISBN 051758929X. Contains 15+ interviews and a complete list of all Springsteen songs including unreleased compositions. Complete lising of all concerts 1965-1990 - most of them with tracklists. Hundreds of previously unreleased high quality color pictures.
Cullen, Jim. Born in the U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition. 1997; Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2005. New edition of 1997 study book places Springsteen's work in the broader context of American history and culture. ISBN 0819567612
Eliot, Marc with Appel, Mike. Down Thunder Road. Simon & Schuster, 1992. ISBN 0671868985.
Graff, Gary. The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen A to E to Z. Visible Ink, 2005.
Guterman, Jimmy. Runaway American Dream: Listening to Bruce Springsteen. Da Capo, 2005.
Hilburn, Robert. Springsteen. Rolling Stone Press, 1985. ISBN 0684184567.
Marsh, Dave. Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts : The Definitive Biography, 1972-2003. Routledge, 2003. ISBN 041596928X. (Consolidation of two previous Marsh biographies, Born to Run (1981) and Glory Days (1987).)
Wolff, Daniel. 4th of July, Asbury Park: A History of the Promised Land. Bloomsbury, 2005.
Who: Bruce Springsteen
Know him as: Rock god
A year ago, I sat in the front row of a Bruce Springsteen concert in Atlantic City, N.J. I've spent dozens of nights with Bruce over the years, but we'd never been this physically close; he'd never looked at me like this before. It was an amazing night, and he went forever, playing for more than two hours. On the last song, he stood, walking offstage and sucking on his harmonica, breathing hard, his eyes closed in ecstasy. He was spent, exhausted and completely turned on. Really. He was.
In truth, I didn't need to be front row to feel his fire. It was just one particularly intimate glimpse at what he does for fans, whether they're standing at his feet or sitting in the nosebleed seats: At 57, Springsteen puts out like a 23-year-old, every time he goes onstage.
From his Harley-in-heat days to nights he woke up with his sheets soaking wet and a freight train running through the middle of his head, Springsteen has been catholic in his erotic enthusiasms, both literal and figurative.
He started as the hyperactive, hormonal kid, wiggling around a stage in silly hats and scraggly facial hair, closing his eyes and spitting out lyrics about how "little Early Pearly came by in her curly-whirly" as if they were prophecy. He was god's gift, man, and watching him onstage, you knew he knew it.
It was later that he became the balladeer of the badlands, elbow-deep in American restlessness, earnestly balancing his love for girls and cars, and fantasizing about women who were single mothers or who'd "been around a time or two." Eschewing a prettified version of sex, Springsteen opted for an arousingly real one. "You ain't a beauty but hey, you're alright," he sings, and it's one of the hottest lyrics ever written. This is what it means: I want to have sex with you.
But it's never been just about scoring with the girls. Springsteen sweats buckets through his shows, guitar-dueling with his buddies, dancing with "big man" Clarence Clemons; he even penned a love song, "Bobby Jean," about Stevie Van Zandt.
As he's grown up, his passions have become broader. His commitments to working people, to politics, to monogamy and marriage and to his children have deepened, becoming more emotional and making him, in turn, even foxier.
He still skids across the stage on his knees and turns himself upside down on his mic stand, the 15-year-old with a diagnosable need to impress the girls. But he's also the political thinker who finally lost his partisan virginity in 2004, delivering goose bumps to the goose-bump-resistant Kerry campaign with his rededication of "No Surrender." Lately, he's been transforming century-old songs about steel driving into knee-weakeners (listen to him growl, "I'm swinging 30 pounds from my hips on down" on "John Henry"). This fall, weeks after papers reported that his marriage was ending, he and his wife took the stage in Bologna, Italy, to sing a waltz arrangement of "If I Should Fall Behind" ("Everyone dreams of a love lasting and true/ But you and I know what this world can do/ So let's make our steps clear that the other may see/ I'll wait for you and should I fall behind/ Will you wait for me").
Springsteen's is the hardest-working *** in show business; at some point, he committed to making love to every audience who paid to see him. He labors to reach us, to expose his passions and his doubts; he sweats and grunts and giggles and makes mistakes and tells bad jokes and gets angry. But mostly, he just hits it. Every night. Every note. And what could be sexier than that?
Well this stupid thing wont let me post photos at present but here is the Rolling Stone Bio
One question: Are they waiting until Springsteen dies before they name a New Jersey Turnpike rest stop after him? Is that the rule? Or can they go right ahead? And can they save another one for Clarence? Really--what has Vince Lombardi or Woodrow Wilson done for Jersey lately, anyhow? Well, the powers that be can stall if they want, but Bruce Springsteen has already earned his legend as the Garden State's poet laureate, and despite the fact that his mythic stature rubs a lot of people the wrong way, and for perfectly good reasons, the Boss di tutti Bosses remains a one-of-a-kind rock star. He's one of the few male rockers of any generation who sings about women without turning into a pushy little creep. He has never passed out into a toilet, or worn a mullet, or bought a castle, or announced his tantric sex prowess. His live shows are still the stuff of legend. He was smart enough to hire Max Weinberg as his drummer. Bon Jovi wasn't really his fault. Oh, and he rocks.
The young Springsteen made his entrance as a scruffy acoustic Dylan clone on etings From Asbury Park. It's rhythmically sludgy and vocally overwrought, but there's still a spark in songs like "For You." True, at the end of the song he sings, "Who am I to ask you to lick my sores"--but hey, he was learning. Still young, still eager to please, still reluctant to shave, Bruce scored his first triumph with The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, with ridiculous car/girl mythos and jazzy rhythms and horns and guitars all over the place. The highlight: "Rosalita," a pile-driving eight-minute anthem roaring up from deep in the swamps of Jersey, celebrating the ultimate us-against-the-world teen romance.
For Born to Run, Springsteen got the E Street Band together to stomp all over some jaw-droppingly great songs, ascending into a Zen realm of pure carness and girlness. He also obviously watched De Niro in Mean Streets about a hundred times. The result was his breakthrough hit. "Born to Run" was all drama and lust and sax and drums and glockenspiels and one of the great "1-2-3-4!" screams in rock history. "Tenth Avenue Freezeout" sat back right easy and laughed, while "Jungleland" was a fabulously overblown epic about a rumble under an Exxon sign, starring the Magic Rat, his sleek machine, and a supporting cast of Jersey boys and their automotive enchantresses. Some of us are still trying to figure out the plot to this one. (Does the Rat crash in the tunnels uptown? Or does the girl turn him in to the cops? Suggestions, please.)
Darkness on the Edge of Town was grim, bitter, adult. Springsteen added more bite to the music, and more everyday detail to the lyrics, even noting the right kind of engine heads to put in a '69 Chevy. He also obviously watched Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon about a hundred times. His working-class heroes hang tough in "Prove It All Night," "Candy's Room," and "The Promised Land," where the dogs on Main Street howl for the soul of a small-town kid in the Utah desert. And "Racing in the Streets" is still the best Springsteen song ever. The River was a more erratic double-vinyl set, divided between long slow ones with plots and short catchy throwaways. The throwaways are the ones you remember, especially the joyous "Out in the Street" and the morbid "Cadillac Ranch." But the real stunner is the long slow title song. If you love "The River," you should rent the concert flick No Nukes and fast-forward to the scene where Springsteen sings it for a crowd who have never heard it before, but who are singing along by the second chorus. Good question: "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true? Or is it something worse?"
Nebraska, which he recorded at home on a four-track tape machine, and carried around as a cassette in his pocket for two weeks before realizing he wanted to release it, is a bleak, unforgiving acoustic portrait of the dark side of Reagan's America. Releasing these stark demos should have meant commercial disas-ter, but Nebraska struck a nerve with the audience and became a surprise hit. Despite the slow pace, the sheer sonic punch of the thing is still shocking, especially "State Trooper," one of the scariest songs ever recorded. No happy endings, just the terrifying menace of "Nebraska," "Highway Patrolman," and "Atlantic City," the tale of a husband driven to the edge by debts that no honest man could pay. The Notorious B.I.G. would have understood.
With Born in the U.S.A., Springsteen took the stripped-down songcraft of Nebraska back to his band. He also obviously stopped going to the movies so much, and started spending more time in the gym. The result: Born in the U.S.A. blew up like the Chicken Man, pushing Bruce to the level of fame reserved for Jesus, Elvis, and Cher. Even at the time, the synthesizers sounded dated and cheesy, but that didn't keep anyone from hearing how great the songs were, especially given Springsteen's most passionate singing. "I'm Goin' Down," "I'm on Fire," and "Bobby Jean" are desolate yet catchy; "Downbound Train" steals a melody from Jethro freakin' Tull and turns it into country blues. "Born in the U.S.A." is a long nightmare of American betrayals from Vietnam to Reagan, driven by punk-rock screams and Max Weinberg's even angrier drums. The song gets more intense the longer it builds, with Springsteen's howl giving way to a furious instrumental outro, kicking back in for one last chorus just so Max and the band can beat up on the riff a little more.
But fame was clearly taking its toll on a rock star who tried so hard to cultivate his regular-guy cred. His response was Tunnel of Love, a low-key, mostly acoustic meditation on his marriage, exploring good love ("All That Heaven Will Allow"), bad love ("Two Faces"), and the detours in between ("Cautious Man"). Even if the marriage didn't last, the music does; ballads like "One Step Up" and "Walk Like a Man" are alive with hurt and wit and Catholic angst. Unfortunately, it was the last shot of Springsteen's amazing '80s run. He basically dropped out, dissolved the band, and retired to L.A., of all places.
After a five-year layoff, he tried to get a solo career going, but without his rhythm section, he was just another klutzy singer/songwriter, his audience split down the middle by Garth Brooks on the right and Eddie Vedder on the left. (Indeed, two of his E Street comrades, Max Weinberg and Steve Van Zandt, became TV stars and enjoyed better solo success in the '90s than the Boss did.) He simultaneously released two heavily hyped comeback albums, Human Touch and Lucky Town, but the songs were lugubrious and out of focus, overplayed by the hack L.A. studio band, and his fans didn't bite. The Ghost of Tom Joad was a self-conscious attempt to remake Nebraska, this time with a real studio, a big budget, and preachier lyrics--but the songs just weren't there. The Rising was rightly hailed as Springsteen's best since Tunnel of Love, an E Street reunion inspired by the September 11 terrorist attacks. It was still heavy-handed in the lyrics department ("Land of Hope and Dreams," hoo-hah), but the music was punchy and vivid, especially the clincher "Counting on a Miracle."
Springsteen's first archival retrospective came in 1986 with the five-record Live box, which had massive production numbers, "This Land Is Your Land," Edwin Starr's "War," and too many Born in the U.S.A. remakes. But the Nebraska tunes were revelatory--especially "Reason to Believe," which became a blasphemous country-gospel hoedown that blew the studio version away. Chimes of Freedom was a weak 1988 live EP; MTV Plugged was a little-watched MTV gig that failed to shore up the sagging sales of Human Touch and Lucky Town. Tracks was a generous if belated four-CD box of rare and unreleased tunes, most notably "Shut Out the Light," originally the B side of the "Born in the U.S.A." single; it's the same Vietnam vet singing, but the guitars are acoustic and the pain is brand-new. 18 Tracks was a rip forcing fans to pay twenty bucks for three songs foolishly left off Tracks. Live in New York City documented the E Street Band's 2000 reunion tour.
As for Greatest Hits, it's an argument-starter for sure. There are brave choices ("Atlantic City," "The River"), but the final third is all filler; none of the new songs was ever called a hit again, and just because his theme for the movie Philadelphia won an Oscar doesn't make it suck any less. And where oh where is "Rosalita"? "Prove It All Night"? "I'm Goin' Down"? But this is a good place to hear why Bruce remains a legend, particularly when you get to that moment in "Thunder Road" when he sings "from your front porch to my front seat." Consider how easy it would have been for him to sing "my back seat." Easier, in fact--catchier, more crowd-pleasing, more poetic in a way, more pandering definitely. He just had something else to say. If you're one of those people who has trouble understanding why Springsteen still inspires such fervor in his fans, it's all there in that moment. (ROB SHEFFIELD)
Someone on the BTX form sent me the boot for I think this Widener show and the Incident On 54th Street he played here is really the best there is. But this is pretty cool too. Thunder Road, rejigged to become Wings For Wheels. "I can't lay the stars at your feet... but I've got this old car and she's pretty tough to beat".... "the dirty wings them highway angels wear"
Sienna! I am so happy you started this thread! This completely made my day! Great pictures and videos! I love that version of Jungleland - that whole live album is amazing! And I absolutely love his giggle! It drives me crazy.
I will definately be back later to post videos and pictures!
Okay...one more! I hate when people don't know this song is Bruce's - everyone needs to know this is his song!! "Blinded by the Light" - an aoustic version from VH1 Storytellers ...he explains some of his lyrics too. Sorry...I messed up! It's the next post