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Monday, June 10, 2013

Bruce Springsteen

Although his name sounds Jewish, it's actually Dutch.  His ancestors immigrated here over 300 years ago, but the family incorporated Irish and Italian members along the way.  In other words, he's very American, and I've been a fan of his high energy rock and roll for 40 years.

I recently finished reading what has been described as his definitive biography, Bruce by Peter Carlin, and enjoyed it very much.  One major benefit of reading it is that I'm listening again to his music which I hadn't been doing lately because as Springsteen fans go my fanaticism is mild.  For example, I don't often listen to the channel on satellite radio which plays his music and nothing else, and I don't believe I've ever visited any of the internet sites that feature All Things Bruce.  But I invariably come back to his music, and I'm never disappointed when I do because it always lifts my spirits with its passion.

Early in his career there was a famous quote by a rock critic who later became Springsteen's manager and after seeing a live performance stated that he had seen rock and roll's future and its name was Bruce Springsteen.  A less famous but I believe more fitting quote from someone else said that Springsteen was less rock and roll's future than he was the culmination of everything in the music that happened up to that point.  That quote doesn't appear in the book and I've forgotten who said it, but it was meant as praise for the unique way Bruce incorporated country, soul, Top 40, and more into his recordings and live performances.

I'm not certain how many Springsteen concerts I've attended, maybe as many as 10 or 12 going back to 1974, and each time I find myself swallowed by the combined energy of the performers on stage and the crowd in a way I wouldn't allow myself to be at, say a political or religious event.  I don't know if rock and roll has supplanted politics and religion for people like me, but the feeling sure feels right.  Hey, that sounds like a Springsteen lyric.

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