BORN TO RUN: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN IN REVIEW
“I’m the President, but he’s still The Boss” President Barack Obama, Citation for Bruce Springsteen, Presidential Medal of Freedom Induction Speech 2016
“Those piercing brown eyes of his are the eyes that see through America” Bono (U2), Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Induction 1999
“He doesn’t just sing, he testifies. He wants his songs to bear witness to the hardships and heroism of everyday life” Jon Stewart, Kennedy Centre Honors Awards 2012
Born 23/09/1949, he is the son of Irish, Italian and Dutch immigrants.
He overcame a blue-collar upbringing on the streets of working – class Freehold, New Jersey and translated a dysfunctional relationship with his emotionally unavailable, alcoholic father into one of the most fabled rock n roll careers of all time
He has never touched drugs and only had his first alcoholic drink aged 22, yet he battled his inner demons and personal darkness for decades and could never accept his successes nor form a stable romantic relationship until he was into his forties.
He picked up his first guitar aged 14 and by 22 was already a local New Jersey shore bar band legend with hundreds of gigs under his belt as he perfected his craft with a driven determination to succeeed against the odds stacked against him.
By 32 he had sold millions of records (including the international breakthrough “Born to Run” which put him on the covers of both Time and Newsweek) and was an established international act yet he only had $20K in the bank due to a naive management deal entered into at a young age (Author’s note: 2018 Estimated net worth is $460M – a happy and well deserved ending!)
"BORN TO RUN" 1975
Bruce Springsteen (aka “The Boss”) is unlike any rock n roll superstar who has ever gone before. He simply did it the HARD way; paying more than a decade of dues before his eventual breakthrough. His success is based on those good old-fashioned values of resilience, overcoming of every obstacle fate threw at him and a legendary capacity for hard work. Allied to this, from the very start of his career he surrounded himself with a loyal band of musicians and sideman; the E-Street Band are all largely from the same New Jersey area where he grew up, and all tried and trusted confidantes and friends besides their unparalleled musical talents. This committed “band of brothers” has endured for over 40 years (Although sadly two of the original members have passed on in recent years)
A Bruce Springsteen concert is so much more than a concert – it’s an event and a sweat-soaked celebration of life – a wall of sound, driven by a 4-guitar attack hits you and sweeps you away on an extended and exuberant carnival ride where you can forget all your issues and problems for a few glorious hours! Whereas most artists will play 1.5 to 2 hour set lists, Bruce and the E-Street band started out playing 5 hour (!) concerts in the early days. Even today as he and his band all approach 70 years of age, they regularly put in 3 to 3.5 hours sets. Sometimes, in the middle of the program Bruce will call for the band to play an entire album’s worth of material back to back besides the rest of the planned setlist. Most artists will end their shows with a single or at most 2 encores; not Bruce – he’ll regularly follow a 3 hour show with a further 8 or 9 encores. (Authors note: A BS concert is still a big “must-do” on my list!)
"BADLANDS" 1977 (Live Performance from the "Darkness on the Edge of Town" tour 1978)
“I’m the custodians of people’s aspirations, dreams and emotions for those couple of hours, I take that responsibility very seriously”, Bruce Springsteen.
Transcending all this success and achievement is Bruce’s strongly committed social conscience – a true American patriot who is driven to tell the stories of his country, his generation and its people “warts and all”. At the height of commercial acclaim he looked within – the more success he achieved the more he he felt he needed to question. For Bruce growing as an artist meant taking on the bigger questions – Vietnam and what it’s legacy meant, unemployment in the heartland and the disenfranchisement of the poorest Americans, the reaction to 9/11 and more.
“I try to meld my voice into the story I’m telling; when a moment comes in our common history I want to be there” Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen has achieved what very few artists before him have done – he has transcended his art – feted by Presidents, recipient of the highest civilian honors his country has to offer, he simply wants to continue playing for the people.
My respect and admiration for this man, this legend knows no bounds – he deserves every cent he has earned and every accolade that has and will still undoubtedly come his way. He remains simply “The Boss” and with a bit of luck he’ll be playing in a town near to you soon – don’t you dare miss it!
"THE RIVER" 1980 (LIVE PERFORMANCE FROM "THE RIVER" TOUR 2016)
“I’m in the middle of a long conversation with my audience. It’ll be a lifetime journey for both of us before it’s done” Bruce Springsteen
Credits: “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen (Autobiography, 2016)
“Bruce” – Peter Ames Carlin (Biography, 2012)
Youtube – Music Clips & speeches by Pres. Barack Obama, Bono and