A synopsis of my journey to becoming a Bruce Springsteen fan.
My first exposure to Bruce Springsteen was Born in the U.S.A. It came out when I was four years of age, and my father had it in a pile of cassettes. I didn’t know much about albums. They were just a bunch of songs on this rectangular piece of plastic. Back then, we didn’t have the internet, so it wasn’t like I could launch an investigation into his back catalog. I didn’t even know what a back catalog was. So at that time, to me, Bruce was a musician who danced in a video with Courtney Cox, wrote a patriotic song called “Born in the U.S.A.,” and had “Glory Days” played in-between innings at least once per game.
Fast forward to my late teens. I realized “Dancing in the Dark” was actually a decent song. “Born in the U.S.A.” was anything but patriotic. And “Glory Days” was a cool song about days gone by. Outside of Born in the U.S.A., there were soundtrack hits, like “Streets of Philadelphia” and “Secret Garden.” The buck stopped there until about a year ago. It wasn’t that I disliked Springsteen’s music, I just, for one reason or another, ignored it. I’m sitting there, looking at setlists, and call me naive, but I’m thinking, “Why aren’t there any songs from Born in the U.S.A. on here?” I’ve heard Born to Run a bunch of times, but never thought much of it, other than that it was a classic tune.
I then find myself on Rhapsody while I’m sitting, driving, walking, working, reading…listening to the back catalog. Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. introduced me to the Jersey Shore in 1973. I’m fascinated by the songwriting. Fascinated by the Americana and coming of age themes. If songs didn’t do it for me, then the lyrics and imagery did. The somberness and storytelling on Nebraska. 5-star album after 5-star album, all of which have their own sound and exist in their own distinct space…all of which have their own message…all of which lift you up, take you on a journey, and then drop you off after the last note. Needless to say, I’ve become a huge Bruce Springsteen fan.
I can’t help but think about how the music industry has changed, though. Forget how “tastes” have changed, but would Springsteen even have been able to release Born to Run in the 2000’s? Meaning, would he have ever been allowed to get to that point? Greetings… and …the E Street Shuffle, at the time, had almost no commercial success. Nowadays, if you’re not hot out of the gate, the industry is onto the next thing. Gone are the days of artist development. Gone are the days where someone like me can listen to a record like Born in the U.S.A., and then be able to discover a decade worth of other classic material that was less commercially successful.
I wanted to share this little story with you all. Perhaps maybe you’ve experienced a similar music journey.