Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.
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Born to Run
by Bruce Springsteen

     Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.
     He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.
     Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.
     Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs (“Thunder Road,” “Badlands,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “The River,” “Born in the U.S.A,” “The Rising,” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.

  • Back in the 70s in very blue collared Cleveland, Ohio I first heard Bruce Springsteen. 
Darkness on the Edge of Town was the first vinyl LP I owned. I owned plenty of 8-tracks but albums were things you kept recorded to cassettes. Springsteen, although a New Jersey native, was the patron saint of my hometown. With the regularity of Big Ben ringing the hour, every Friday at 5:00 pm WMMS would blast Born to Run with every single one of the fifty thousand watts. There was a better life outside of the Jungle Land and we all wanted to find it. We knew the steel mills wouldn't last forever and, although romanticized, no one really wanted to be a factory worker. Bruce Springsteen and a few others like Patti Smith and The Pretenders have followed me around for almost the last half century.

Love or hate audio books, but there is something about the author reading his own life to you. It is warm and personal. Springsteen is no different. You can hear the range of emotions in his voice from ecstatic to sorrow. Although in his mid-sixties he still has that youthful punkish tone to his voice and attitude.

A great autobiography for rock and roll fans. Springsteen is honest and doesn't hold back although he seems not to hold grudges. He seems to take things as learning experiences. Unlike flash in the pan musicians, Springsteen has paid his dues albums stretching back over forty years. He has more than enough stories to fill those years. There is rarely a dull moment in his life story. He includes background on his parents, friends, band members (especially Miami Steve and Clarence Clemmons), and his family. There are the ups and downs of running a band and the swings in popularity as well as trying to lead a personal life. Springsteen also opens up about depression and its treatment.

He is still celebrated as the hero of the blue collar worker (although concert ticket prices reflect otherwise... but the shows are long) although he freely admits he's never worked a day in his life. Perhaps, I am a bit biased and see some of my younger years and environment in his writing (and songs), but this is is an excellent, candid, and sincere book well worth the read.

  • My husband (also a musician) does not share my enthusiasm for Springsteen’s music (yes, this has caused a few tense moments in our marriage) but admits that he is a great songwriter.
 When celebrities who are not authors write a memoir they undoubtedly get help from ghost writers so I did some searching and learned that he worked on his book alone for seven years before seeking out a publisher. I was pleased to discover that his songwriting chops crossed over intact to authoring and was engaged from the start. Bruce is a showman and entertainer. This one is verbose with many songs on the set list and no fan lucky enough to attend one of his legendary 3-4 hour concerts (that would be me) would expect anything less.
After reading about early then later family life, the inspiration and heartache behind the music, coping with serious depression, reinventing his music, the “brotherhood” of the band (RIP Big Man C), and the great blessings of his marriage and children, I was gratified to learn that I really like the generous and talented man behind the music I love.

That moment at the L.A. Coliseum when he sang
“So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore . . .”
then held the mike out to us and we sang right on cue . . .
“Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright
Oh, and that's alright with me.”
Thanks for such a memorable night Bruce. It was right up there with seeing The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. Yes . . . I “ain’t that young anymore” but I danced through the entire concert and only sat down at the intermission.

Fans, musicians (yes, even my husband) and music lovers everywhere will find this one is worthy of your time, especially if you grew up in the era of great rock and roll. I was doing the E. Street shuffle throughout the pages ‘cause tramps like me were born to run . . . and read. Music and reading from one source . . . A twofer!