I was told by a friend that she didn’t like Bruce Springsteen that much and only liked one of his songs ‘Tougher Than The Rest’ Yes, just the one song! Really! only likes one song! I will hand it to her, it’s an amazing song but there are so many other songs of his that are even better. I could easily make her sit through an hour long PowerPoint presentation on how great he his but I thought this blog would be better for our friendship.
This will explain the wonder of the man to her and anyone else.
The first time I had heard a Bruce Springsteen song was when at a friend’s house going through his brother’s album collection looking for stuff to copy on tapes. Having flicked through the records I quickly found Queen’s Greatest Hits and put it on my first C90 cassette tape, hoping it would fit on one side, l mean come on there was only six in a packet and I wasn’t made of money. Then after three albums in a row where I asked, ‘Who is she?’ only to be told it’s a man, I picked up an album with a man stand in front of some red and white stripe background, with his back turned and a red cap stuffed in his back pocket.
Born In The U.S.A/Bruce Springsteen was written across the top, I had to listen straight away. I had a feeling I would love this album, the blank tape when in, I pressed record with one hand and play with the other, within one second there was a chord played followed by a loud banging of a drum. This went on for 18 seconds (thanks to cd’s & Spotify I now know its 18 seconds) each banging of the drum sounded like a gun being fired, then came a voice sound like he was singing about a painfully time:
‘Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
End up like a dog that’s been beat too much
‘Til you spend half your life just covering up’
I quickly looked to see what the name of the song was, and it was also called Born In The USA. Thinking he doesn’t sound like he is happy being born there, I took the lyric sheet out and read along as he sung. Realising it’s about someone coming back from fighting in Vietnam and not being treated well when he came back home. I would never have thought then that a song about that would hold any interest to me, but it did. Then the great songs kept coming then it came to No Surrender. Who would have thought that a man from New Jersey would be able to write something that could relate to someone in South Wales?
‘Well we busted out of class
Had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a three-minute record
Baby, than we ever learned in school’
I knew I was going to be deep into his music and this was before Bobby Jean, Glory Days and one song from the end, Dancing In The Dark. What seems like a happy song when you just listen to the music, but one listen to the lyrics and it’s a totally different song. It was like he had written the song for me, a feeling millions of others got as well; “I check my look in the mirror, I wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face” these songs as I got older had more and more meaning.
I had to listen to every Bruce Springsteen song I could get my hands on, every song was a story that someone could write a book about. Thunder Road for example, there have never been a better description of some making an entrance, he even sings about what song was on the radio.
‘The screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that’s me and I want you only
Don’t turn me home again
I just can’t face myself alone again’
The rest of the song is just as beautifully descriptive. The River, the story of his Sister and Brother in Law’s life, sucks you right in. Born To Run, the ultimate getting away from it all song. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day, a song he is singing to someone who is feeling down, telling them how much they pick him up every day and it will all be ok (if only I had the talent to have written just one of those lines in that song) at this point there would be a slide on the PowerPoint with the lyrics but you can google them for yourselves. I could bore you for days listing all his great songs from the 1970’s to the 2020’s. Give The Boss a go, he will change your life.