Call him The Boss
Hmm, I don't know what my first memory of Bruce Springsteen is. I remember my dad had "Philadelphia" taped on Betamax and he had put some cartoons for me on the same tape, after the film. So everytime I rewinded the tape to see the cartoons, I saw
the credits of "Philadelphia", the Jonathan Demme-movie from 1993. The credits were accompagnied by a song called "Streets Of Philadelphia", sung by one Bruce Springsteen. Yes, I think that's when I first heard the name.
Believe it or not, but I never was "hooked on" the Bruce until 2003 or so. Now, he's as essential as breakfast in my musical life, but that wasn't the case until two years ago. I talked to Luc, the father of Véronique from my class back then, who
said he'd just been to a Bruce Springsteen-concert in Brussels, Belgium. We talked a bit about his work and I told him I only knew the Very Big Hits, genre Born In The U.S.A.. He told me : "Rent (or buy, but don't download) the Greatest Hits-cd and listen
to it!". I didn't have to rent, borrow, steal, buy (or download) it, because my dad already bought it.
"Bruce rocks!" I thought, when I was done listening. I then 'borrowed' (read : took and never gave back) the 5 LP-set Bruce Springsteen and the E street band : live 1975-85 from my dad. Brilliant box! I then ... etc, you get the picture, I listened to every Bruce-thingee we have at home.
Ok, that's not everything (I still haven't heard The E Street Shuffle, Nebraska, The Rising ...), but it was a start.
I was hooked forever! Bruce really is The Boss!
My favourite song is Brilliant Disguise from 1987's Tunnel Of Love. Speaking of Tunnel, I bought that album last month for - get this - 1 euro (around 1.5 dollar)!!
The album that was his real breakthrough, commercially at least, was of course Born In The U.S.A.. I hope everybody knows already that this is NOT a chauvinist or patriotic album.
Reagan wanted to use the titletrack for his re-election campaign in 1985, "because it showed the spirit every good American should have". Right, especially with lyrics as "Sent me off to
a foreign land, to go and kill the yellow man", which is no criticism, eh?
Anyway, Born is a fantastic album, with many highlights - Cover Me, Working On The Highway, I'm On Fire, I'm Going Down, Dancing In The Dark, Glory Days, My Hometown ...
I still don't understand I'm On Fire, though (who can help? E-mail me!). I've read it's an optimistic song (as opposed to Born about Vietnam, Bobby Jean about lost friendship etc.), but he sings about a "little girl" who should cool his desire, cause he's on fire. And her daddy apparently knows about this!
Then her daddy must be one of those filthy bastards who makes a prostitute of his daughter?! How is this supposed to be an optimistic song?!
Bruce is one of the b(igg)est singer-songwriters ever to grace the earth. Thank you, Bruce, for all that wonderful music!
Julian, 25 June 2005
update 2 August 2006
I still had a lot to 'learn' when I wrote this text last year in June. Born To Run, for example? I just knew the title track. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, Backstreets and Thunder Road are super, but one of Bruce's best songs is also included on that album : Jungleland. An extremely epic song.
I have also bought The Rising in August 2005, which is a thoroughly recommended album. Highlights include Into The Fire, Let's Be Friends (Skin To Skin), Further Up (On The Road), My City Of Ruins and especially Worlds Apart (the best song from The Rising).
His first album Greetings From Ashbury Park, N.J. is not his best effort ever, but it's amazingly tight for a debut.
Last year's Devils & Dust is an acoustic effort. I prefer the rockier Bruce, but the album is worth buying for Reno, Long Time Comin' and the titletrack alone.
Finally, 2006's We Shall Overcome - The Seeger Sessions (reviewed in full elsewhere on this site) should be in your collection as we speak.
And although Bruce forgot Belgium in his "Seeger Sessions"-tour schedule, a November 2006-revue has recently been added! I've got my ticket!