Bruce Springsteen - Classic or Dud ?

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I know he's bound to be considered a monstrous dud, especially with British folks and technoid types, but I'm especially curious as to why. Poor Bruce, he's gotta be more uncool than Richard Marx these days. Not that his 90s albums helped much.

Patrick, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Yep, big fat dud. Always hated him. Crap songs that dominated 1984. Shit voice. The fucking E-street band. Never saw the point of Da Boss. It all when wrong early on when he was proclaimed The Future of Rock 'n Roll way back when. Okay so he wrote "Because the Night" and even that isn't too hot. Almost the perfect antipole of what I look for in music. Sorry, had to be predictable here.

Omar, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

"Born To Run" is a classic, up there with Roxy Music as an early example of po-mo cut-and-paste kitsch pop.

I can't get worked up and annoyed about Bruce in the way I can about some other rockers. He has an ear for a great line (the opening of "Hungry Heart" for instance) and I can forgive him a lot for that. He doesn't resonate with me and like the Replacements I think that's a cultural thing.

I also - and this is totally subjective - never get the impression Bruce ever thinks he's particularly cool. Which is not something I can say of most other 'real rock'n'roller' types, mainstream or otherwise.

Tom, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink


File under yet to be discovered. I was listening to an apologetic defence of his work from Sean Rowley on the radio the other day, and it got me wondering again. People of my generation's first real exposure to him was the 'Born in the USA' air-punching era and that obviously wasn't likely to engender much interest. Yes, I know it was all ironic.

What I have heard of his 70's stuff sounds like I might grow to love it. That midwest blue-collar world his songs inhabit seems harder to relate to than any other, but even in 1988, I had the feeling Paddy McAloon was missing the point with the song 'Cars & Girls'.

At the moment, I'm afraid the song of his I like best is a 90s one - 'If I Should Fall Behind', which I only know from the Grant McLellan cover version.

Badly Drawn Boy is a Springsteen obsessive, which I thought was quite cute.

Nick, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

I guess if want a simple answer as to why he's treated with disdain by the certain people, it's his overwhelming aura of earnestness.


Nick, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Paddy McAloon is an odd one, because he'd already missed a very similar point with "Faron Young", and then said in interviews that he'd missed it, and then proceeded to miss it again. I can't stand "Cars And Girls".

Tom, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

i admit i don't like all of the boss's stuff. i haven't even tried to, really. but "nebraska" and "ghost of tom joad" are terrific records.

matthew stevens, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Classic all the way as well. Soft-spot. As a youth I hated him (I was 7 in 1984 and "Born in the USA" was nowhere as fun as "Karma Chameleon" - I wanted to be Boy George, not some sweaty guy with a baseball cap tucked in his blue jeans). But in my teens I kept hearing fantastic pop tracks on the classic rock radio ("Badlands" for instance), and my English teacher once had us work on the lyrics to "The River" - the long live version with the speech at the beginning - so I went out and purchased a few Springsteen albums. For the record, there's always been City Simon who likes the Dead Boys and the Damned, and Countryside Simon who likes Ry Cooder and the Sundays, and somehow Springsteen linked these two sides of me beautifully. From "Thunder Road" to "Highway Patrolman" (I bought "Nebraska" after seeing Sean Penn's haunting "Indian Runner") to "I'm On Fire", Springsteen's songs have accompanied me through important journeys, love affairs and dry winters.

Simon, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, same as Simon, I used to dislike Bruce too at first, in 1984. I was into British synth-pop at the time and to me, he was just some old guy making a comeback, like John Fogerty or something. And I definitely agree that "Cars And Girls" song makes that Prefab Sprout guy look like a pretentious little twit. I kinda get the feeling that a lot of people dislike him (Bruce) because he's never had much of a sex-and-drugs-and-darkness-and-destruction image (even though Nebraska is as dark as 10000 Trent Reznors).

Patrick, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

DUDE! There is not excuse for even asking this, totally classic, baby. Born To Run (the album and the song) is one of the most glorious moments in rock-pop ever, out Spector-ing Phil Spector. His voice is only crap when he decides to pretend he's Bob Dylan, which is becoming frightfully more and more common. Sure, a lot of the Born In The USA-era stuff is dated now due to production value but it's still got some very solid songwriting.

And yes, Tom, he's got a very good ear for a line.

Ally, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

I get to piss on the parade here. Yay me!

I heard the version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" when I was young and that is pretty spiff, I freely agree. Circa 1984, liking El Bruce was unsurprising for me as that was a pretty damn good radio year -- Chuck Eddy specifically called it as such in _Stairway to Hell_, and he was goddamn right. Thus liking all that stuff he made was a matter of course alongside all those singles from _Purple Rain_ and _Like A Virgin_ and etc.

Time went on and I proceeded to not care. I never cared enough to buy an album anyway, and the 'classic early singles' only made sense in my classic rock phase, which lasted about nine months in senior year.

Then I ended up in LA and encountered the first of Robert Hilburn's 345,234,843 printed sermons on How Bruce Springsteen Heals the Sick, Raises the Dead and Means More to Human Existence Than the Combined Efforts of Louis Pasteur, Billie Holiday and Charles Schulz. I encountered other blowhards. The music touched me with the impact of a dying flea. A roommate was obsessed with him to the point of near mania. I cried.

The end.

Frankly, the Walkabouts any day of the goddamn week, month, year, decade, century, etc. If the relative fame levels were reversed, I would cling to this assumption with even more deep, abiding passion because then I would have The People on my side. Even alone, though, it's comfy. And Frankie Goes to Hollywood's version of "Born to Run" is my fave.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

The Wild, the Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle is a terrific album. Also the live boxed set. Also, The River. Also, hell. Also almost everything thru Tunnel Of Love. One of those artists who you need the right "mood" to get. Or, just to be driving a car.

Sterling Clover, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink


i actually liked born_in_the_u.s.a when it came out at age 7, but later, i found it to be an obstacle in getting to love bruce, and i'm sure there are a ton of artists out there whose work at that time has kept people away from them.

as sterling said, it's funny what driving a car can do, especially when it's another dark and lonely night out on an empty anonymous new jersey highway and "born to run" comes on the highway. but i've been there, so i'll move on.

you can get by on the first five or so albums on the music and production alone -- unless of course you hate phil spector and are, therefore, destined to spend eternity in hell -- and the later stuff will stick if you find something in the lyrics that rings far too true. sure, he mines the same territory in a lot of his songs, but so do belle & sebastian and so did the smiths; except the kids in bruce's songs could kick the ass of their counterparts in the aforementioned.

ned, i think you have the same problem as tom: it's a cultural thing. ;)

fred from new jersey, Friday, 23 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Ooh. The dark and lonely highways of despair. *plays the violin*

It's not a cultural thing; I mean for god's sake Motorcycle Emptiness might as well be Bruce Springsteen on a literacy trip in terms of subject, and I know Tom likes the song, and I believe Ned does too. Whether that particular statement was tongue in cheek or not, it's a tired excuse and reasoning, one usually used by the saddest of Bruce Springsteen fans, the ones who "identify" with his sentiments, seemingly losing track of the fact that BRUCE'S CHARACTERS NEVER ACTUALLY MAKE IT OUT. Some positive role models to rock out to.

The thing is, I think it's the voice and the earnestness, which was already said. The stylistic values of it....the basic cultural and escape sentiments, lyrically, of Motorcycle Emptiness and Born to Run might be very similar in tone, but the style and vocalisings are entirely, 100% different. Bruce has a very sarcastic bent, a very dark bent, lyrically, but his style of music softens the blow and sometimes people just don't like it.

And those people are wrong, incidentally :P

Ally, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

2 albums are CLASSIX: 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' and especially 'Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ'.

Nebraska is half good but doesn't deserve the plaudits it gets as the Springsteen album it's cool to like.

The rest is pretty much DUD.

alex thomson, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

"Oh yes, he's a dud..."

Nevermind that Born in the USA was my first record not meant to be played on the Fisher Price record player (with the STEEL NEEDLE)

Nevermind Tracks Nevermind the fact that Born to Run is one of the best driving albums ever when your top is down and it's summer and the road between Ventura and home stretches out and empty at night with no cops...

Nevermind he has out Dylan-ed Dylan

Nevermind that he can outrage The Man as he pushes the dark side of life. (41 Shots)

Nevermind the line "The record company Rosie, JUST GAVE ME A BIG ADVANCE!"

Nevermind the Live box set, reminding us just how powerful he was

Nevermind Time and Newsweek

Nevermind Thunder-Fucking-Road

Nevermind The cover of Jersey Girl

Nevermind Tracks

Nevermind the MTV Unplugged set where he scrapped the entire notion of an acoustic show and just plugged in and tore down the house

Nevermind everyone on this list who called him a dud.

JM, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

"Nevermind he has out Dylan-ed Dylan"

well, Bruce isn't *that* bad! ;)

Omar, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

The entirety of the lyrics to Rosalita are a Great Rock Moment, Jimmy. Don't just single out that line ;)

Ally, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

I note your list, Jimmy, and yet, somehow, it makes no sense to me. ;- )

La Bruce just collectively calls to my mind a stunted bastard vision of music that presumes he was the sole carrier of the 'spirit of rock and roll truth' that the Beatles and Stones 'started' in the sixties. A CLAIM I HAVE ENCOUNTERED MORE THAN ONCE, though thankfully not here, and happily never from the man's own lips either, at least to my knowledge. Without that rhetoric I would just shrug and ignore him for somebody more interesting, but with it, frankly, he becomes a very very useful target to kick against. Perhaps only a straw man, but one I wouldn't mind seeing go up in flames.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 24 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Springsteen is, doubtless, a spirit of a rock and roll truth, which he has a near monopoly on. I think, maybe, if I had grown up in a real city, instead of a tourist-trap disneyburb retirement town, that whole swaths of music wouldn't resonate with me. But there I was, and I don't know if you have to have that certain feeling to get Bruce. If you have to know that you're suffocating, that you'd rather die than stay, that the air was too think to dream in, if you have to have known that.

The boy has fallen off of late, but... I'm reminded of the Bangs article where he describes how he dismissed this Maoist band as sounding like Bruce, and the band replied "oh, good, the working class like that stuff" or something of the sort, and I'm reading this thinking -- no. no. no. The correct answer is "oh, good. Bruce fucking rocks!"

What I appreciate about Bruce is how he can capture the majesty of a major chord. How so many of his songs have the same progression, but you don't realize it 'till you try to play 'em yourself. How he can take gospel music and write it to a girl instead. And yes, more of them damn anthems.

I mean.. I know that anthems aren't an alien concept to the UK -- after all, The Who were full of them. But maybe British anthems are a different type a "get off of my cloud" or "sod off" type, more cynical and pissy than dreamy and wide-eyed. Maybe this is, after all, because America is The Big Country, The Great Bitch, et cet. Maybe to get America you have to get just how there's always somewhere you might go, maybe.

Along these lines, "Not Fade Away" which is a novel by Jim Dodge is a great rock road story, sort of like the lighter side of Richard Hell's "Go Now" or the more earnest(?) side of Bruce McCullough's "Doors Fan" sketch (on his album, Shame-Based Man). Yes. Get that spirit of the open highway.

Sterling Clover, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

A dud, but only because of unpleasant memories of listening attentively to my copies of *The River* and *Live 1975-1985* like a good rock-critic-in-training, and finding it impossible to feel anything about them other than apathy. He's done a goodly number of really great ones such as "Hungry Heart," "Dancing In The Dark," and "Racing in the Street" but he invariably makes my mind wander after more than a couple songs.

Michael Daddino, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

I have to say Classic, though I can see why some could argue otherwise. Looming large is the cultural gap, for our friends from the Eastern Hemisphere. Hard to tune in to what Springsteen has going on from there. But those first three records are great, still, and Nebraska is also excellent when you're in the mood. In 1984 I owned about 15 albums total, and even then I had Springsteen's entire catalog. So I'm definitely biased. All of Born in the USA is horrible now. That production really sinks it, even though half the songs are strong.

Mark Richardson, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

I should note that, being American myself, the Cultural Gap thing is rather overrated as an explanation. ;-)

I will say, though, that I do lack a car and have never had one. That might serve as a better explanation. ;-)

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 25 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Nah... I don't even have a driver's license and I love the man. Cars are my favorite place to listen to music though.

Patrick, Monday, 26 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

The Automobile as Stationary Listening Environment. How revolutionary.

I wish I wasn't misinterpreting.

Otis Wheeler, Monday, 26 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Uh... I meant when *someone else* is driving, Otis.

Patrick, Monday, 26 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Thank god, otherwise it sounds like something Thom Yorke would do.

Ally, Tuesday, 27 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Smashing, in loads of ways. You have to get used to REPETITION with the Boss - you have to get used to the idea that he is frequently writing pretty much the same song again and again, and is *not apologizing for it*. On Nebraska (yes, probably still the best LP, for my money; but I like lots of the others) he even repeats the same lyrics. The whole rock-writer idea of originality, uniqueness etc is just not in play with a lot of the Boss's stuff: to stretch a point, it's less like a load of individual songs, more like a single fabric that he is reweaving for as long as he likes. In that sense he's something akin to a bluesman, I suppose.

Inspirational in some ways. I have often felt that England needed a Springsteen, albeit not just a a copycat 'rocker'; I mean, someone who would write about all the lost and found small-town lives. But to be fair, I suppose there is already a UK tradition here: the probably Jarvis Cocker is a case in point.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 28 February 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Ah, but that's what you're doing yourself, Reynard :).

Robin Carmody, Friday, 2 March 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

Dud. Never cared much for Brooce's brand of schlock n' roll....Heard "Greetings from.." and "Darkness at the edge of town" and they just sounded like MOR to me. "Nebraska" I do like however but thats even got "Used cars" on used cars are a symbol of poverty...pah!...There isnt too many highways in Ireland and if there was I wouldnt spend time listening to Springsteen...

Michael Bourke, Sunday, 4 March 2001 01:00 (14 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...
A part of the reason he's not being taken too kindly by them there "hip" folks is:

1. they don't understand that he's actually not as "pro-america" as they might think he is

2. they don't have as close a connection to "old school" code (which includes "old school" rock)

3. they are mostly college kids on their way up to some office job or whatever that is removed (if not far removed) from the "underworld" (the "blue collar" or "real" world) to get the lyrical sentiments

4. well, and...sometimes people just don't like something 'cause they just don't like it

I, however, do not apply to any of those 4. For I actually do "get" some of the appeal of Bruce (albeit, it took my until my mid or late twenties to get there). Sure, his overly sentimental (downright broadway or maudlin) look at the working class can be a bit (or a bunch) too much. And sure, his music can be too simple and/or too derivitive. But, that's a part of the whole. Familiarity in both music and lyrics, is a large part of the appeal of his stuff (and those like him, ala Mellencamp, etc). He just had the concept to put nearly a whole career on the working class/blue collar life like no other has (not in such a wide reaching broad sense, at least - other than Mellencamp, but Bruce did it a bit better and first).


Having said all that, 'Nebraska' and 'Ghost of Tom Joad' are the only two full albums that I would declare anywhere near a "classic" state of existence (with 'Nebraska' being the one clear-cut vote). Many of the rest of his 70's and 80's albums have some good solid worthy singles on them, but. I can't go so far as to get 'The River' (for example) anywhere near a "classic" nod. That one, in particular, I find to be overrated (though still having the wonderful track "Stolen Car" and the title track deserving of 'Nebraska'-like attention).

michael g. breece, Sunday, 1 July 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Wow. I'm digging this message board "I Love Music". To think one would find a mention of Bruce McCulloch 'Shame Based Man' in a Bruce Springsteen thread, ahhh...the possibilities.

Anyways, I forgot to mention to huge (to the point of shadowing) element as to one of the why's (or why not's) of enjoy/appreciating Bruce. Which is: DRIVING. Cars and driving is such a central and/or reoccuring figure/subject in his work that...I can't believe I forgot to touch upon that (only after reading some of the others posts, darn it). But yea, I do LOVE to drive. Which also helps to explain the appeal of Springsteen (to me, at least).

*By the way, I do own that McCulloch album 'Shame Based Man' it (some really funny stuff and one of the very rare comedy albums worthy of many plays - if not it's own discussion here on "I Love Music"...anyone?). Every single one of my girlfriends (one present, others past) hated it. "And if (after torching the stolen car) you can still hear the Doors playing...then you have become...a DOORS...FAN!" I'm not a Doors fan, however.

michael g. breece, Monday, 2 July 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

MG Breece (hey, sounds like a car): I wonder whether you agree with me that a large part of the point of the Boss is repetition - the fact that he does the same thing over and over again?

the pinefox, Monday, 2 July 2001 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...
I listened to Born To Run riding the bus to work today. This is the first CD I ever purchased, back in 1985 (I'd already bought a few LPs), and I still have my original copy. Don't believe that business about CD rot -- it's doing fine.

I hadn't listened to this record in a couple of years, but god, it still sounded great. Actually, I kept getting shivers down my spine when it was playing and it had me close to tears a few times (mostly on "Thunder Road" and "Backstreets.") Listening to this today finally settled an ILM debate for me: Music can never affect me quite as much now as it did when I was a teenager. No record I've heard in the last few years, including Loveless, has had as much affect on me as Born to Run did this morning, and I know it's not just because Born to Run is such a great album. This is a record that got to me when I was young and emotionally vulnerable in a way that I'm not anymore, at the age of 32. I still feel music very deeply and appreciate and enjoy a wider range of music than ever, but music doesn’t completely overpower me the way it did when I was 15. Oh well.

Springsteen is still a big classic, by the way, despite all the incredibly corny lines on Born to Run.

Mark, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

I like how he lets the words of "Born to Run" tumble out of his mouth, like a horse taking a dump.

DeRayMi, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

I like how he lets the words of "Born to Run" tumble out of his mouth, like a horse taking a dump.

So much for my epiphany...;0)

Mark, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

Anyway: classic, though not a personal favorite.

DeRayMi, Thursday, 24 January 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink

9 months pass...
I finally bought a Springsteen record! (The G Hits, even though I know it's got lots of shite on, cause I like owning G Hits). It's pretty great up to the point at which it isn't. Let's talk about Bruce again!

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:18 (12 years ago) Permalink

the new one that ponefix and dq agreed on is unfortunately quite boring as to its actual like, er, sound – hence i only played it once so far, curse you persuasive fellows

"candy's room" is the grebtest song ever written about being in love w. a prostitute when you sound a bit like david bowie

mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:22 (12 years ago) Permalink

Tom if you ever feel like owning a whole album I have you pegged as a River man. At what point does G hits peter out?

Mark (MarkR), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:25 (12 years ago) Permalink

"My Hometown" is the first one I didn't really enjoy. "Brilliant Disguise" sounds laboured. After that I don't 'get it' yet (or it sucks).

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:29 (12 years ago) Permalink

(It's obviously my Mark Pitchfork day cos I also bought Vision Creation Newsun!)

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 19 November 2002 23:31 (12 years ago) Permalink

"candy's room" is the grebtest song ever written about being in love w. a prostitute when you sound a bit like david bowie

Is this a new genre? Cos that'd be fucking incredible.

I still love Bruce Springsteen. Put on Rosalita and you will see me go insane.

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:01 (12 years ago) Permalink

So will I.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:23 (12 years ago) Permalink

Right, so next time you are in NYC, that's what we shall do.

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (12 years ago) Permalink

Meat Loaf almost makes me want to like him.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:24 (12 years ago) Permalink

I didn't explain exactly WHY I would go insane, but hey.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:34 (12 years ago) Permalink

I didn't need to ask ;)

Ally (mlescaut), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 03:39 (12 years ago) Permalink

All is well. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 05:21 (12 years ago) Permalink

"Candy's Room" was the first Bruce song I wuvved.

alext (alext), Wednesday, 20 November 2002 11:58 (12 years ago) Permalink

He has done a lot of book reading since the age of 29

curmudgeon, Saturday, 1 November 2014 17:19 (4 months ago) Permalink

it'd be cool to be bruce springsteen and rich and have a lot of time to catch up on great novels you've missed

I dunno. (amateurist), Saturday, 1 November 2014 22:37 (4 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, he's such a rich slacker, isn't he? Just sitting home year 'round, counting his money.

the man with the black wigs (Eazy), Saturday, 1 November 2014 22:45 (4 months ago) Permalink

on Friday i turned on my local classic rock station and they were celebrating 'Springsteen Halloween' and playing nothing but Bruce the entire day. they were playing a lot of cuts not usually played on the radio much, it was fun, although i can't imagine any other stations are doing it.

some dude, Saturday, 1 November 2014 23:12 (4 months ago) Permalink

Don't forget the cross-country motorcycle trips that Springsteen regularly does

DDD, Saturday, 1 November 2014 23:23 (4 months ago) Permalink

i think this "springsteen halloween" sounds made up

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Monday, 3 November 2014 00:56 (4 months ago) Permalink

Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack / I went out for a ride and I never went back Baltimore Halloween, Baltimore classic rock radio Halloween

curmudgeon, Monday, 3 November 2014 14:08 (4 months ago) Permalink

x-post--Didn't critic Dave Marsh start giving Bruce books?...

I skipped most of college, becoming a road musician, so I didn’t begin reading seriously until 28 or 29. Then it was Flannery O’Connor; James M. Cain; John Cheever; Sherwood Anderson; and Jim Thompson, the great noir writer. These authors contributed greatly to the turn my music took around 1978-82. They brought out a sense of geography and the dark strain in my writing, broadened my horizons about what might be accomplished with a pop song and are still the cornerstone literally for what I try to accomplish today.

curmudgeon, Monday, 3 November 2014 14:11 (4 months ago) Permalink

If Fred Goodman is to be believed, Jon Landau taught Bruce the alphabet, while Marsh propped Bruce's eyeballs open Clockwork Orange-style forcing him to watch John Ford films.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 3 November 2014 14:29 (4 months ago) Permalink

Screen door slams
Mary's dressed weird
Like a vision she dances across the lawn
Wearing Mr. Spock ears

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Monday, 3 November 2014 14:52 (4 months ago) Permalink

The Marsh books also mention Jon Landau passing books onto Springsteen in the Darkness era, I think.

cpl593H, Monday, 3 November 2014 15:32 (4 months ago) Permalink

yeah i think jon landau sort of self-consciously decided to turn springsteen into an "organic intellectual"

I dunno. (amateurist), Tuesday, 4 November 2014 18:08 (4 months ago) Permalink

disappointed that Mo Rivera is the baseball reading he cites

things lose meaning over time (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 4 November 2014 19:31 (4 months ago) Permalink

Had no idea Keith Richards was also in the burgeoning business of children's books.

cpl593H, Tuesday, 4 November 2014 20:38 (4 months ago) Permalink

Bruce's buddy Joe beat him to the punch by 3 years:

Don A Henley And Get Over It (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 4 November 2014 20:43 (4 months ago) Permalink

My friend Sarah wrote this and it's wonderful:

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 4 November 2014 21:25 (4 months ago) Permalink


Springsteen started off the annual Stand Up For Heroes event by playing an acoustic set, then offering the instrument to the highest bidder.

When bidding reached $60,000, he threw in a guitar lesson, which someone offered $250,000 for. At this point, he offered up a lasagne dinner at his house, a ride around the block in the sidecar of his motorbike and the shirt off of his back.

Bidding reached $300,000 between two clearly die-hard fans, who agreed to both pay the agreed amount and split the prize in two. Let’s hope that lasagne is home-made.

The event raised more than $1 million, with Springsteen's packages making up over half of the contributions.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 7 November 2014 21:35 (4 months ago) Permalink

good old bruce, always looking out for the ordinary joe with 150k to spend on a sidecar ride and half a plate of pasta

john wahey (NickB), Friday, 7 November 2014 21:47 (4 months ago) Permalink

yep, what a totes fraud getting that much money from rich superfans, and for a meaningful charity no less

ichabron crames (slothroprhymes), Friday, 7 November 2014 21:54 (4 months ago) Permalink

He's a total shitheel, obv

EZ Snappin, Friday, 7 November 2014 21:55 (4 months ago) Permalink

got a wife and kids in baltimore, jack / i went out for a ride and . . . wait, who called me a hack?

Daniel, Esq 2, Friday, 7 November 2014 21:58 (4 months ago) Permalink

Remasters are out now. "The River" sounds great. Biggest boost seems to be the clarity of the horns and Danny's organ playing, but there are all sorts of things I'm noticing - backing vocals, extra guitars. It almost sounds remixed, tbh. Definitely pretty different. FWIW, the little I've listened to the new "Nebraska," despite its lo-fi austerity, has been revelatory as well. Apparently even the recently remastered "Born to Run" and "Darkness' have been re-remastered as well.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 14:35 (4 months ago) Permalink

Actually, the bass on "The River" - like, there is bass playing - is pretty revelatory at times, too. "Crush On You," of all things, sounds great.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 14:39 (4 months ago) Permalink

I didn't properly appreciate Tallent until I watched that Houston show on the Darkness box. Really amazing player, as essential to the E Street dynamic as Max.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:21 (4 months ago) Permalink

got a wife and kids in baltimore, jack / i went out for a ride and . . . wait, who called me a hack?

― Daniel, Esq 2, Friday, November 7, 2014 4:58 PM (1 week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I got very confused for a sec because a "hack" is what they call a gypsy cab in Baltimore

nakhchi little van (some dude), Tuesday, 18 November 2014 16:53 (4 months ago) Permalink

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 21:56 (4 months ago) Permalink

Holy crap, "BitUSA" got a bottom end!

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 19 November 2014 15:56 (4 months ago) Permalink

And now there are some spooky synths or vox (I can't quite tell) at the end of "My Hometown" that I have never noticed before.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 19 November 2014 16:10 (4 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Just officially released the 1978 Cleveland Agora show, a classic, one of his best shows of all time:,11757/Bruce-Springsteen---The-E-Street-Band-mp3-flac-download-8-9-1978-Agora-Theatre-and-Ballroom-Cleveland-OH.html

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 25 December 2014 01:21 (3 months ago) Permalink

Winterland Night is also officially available now and would surely be the one to go for if you only need one '78 show.

There are also these two, which look unofficial to me but are being sold on Amazon so maybe they are kind of semi-official?

This one also from '78:

and this weird mishmash of live and radio recordings:

you've got no fans you've got no ground (anagram), Sunday, 4 January 2015 10:55 (2 months ago) Permalink

I've long had a bootleg of that Agora show and it is terrific. My understanding is that these are the original source tapes and have been really cleaned up, so I may need to grab the official anyway.

Οὖτις Δαυ & τηε Κνιγητσ (Phil D.), Sunday, 4 January 2015 13:38 (2 months ago) Permalink

Winterland my all time fave.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 4 January 2015 15:39 (2 months ago) Permalink

way to go, Bruce, for first and letting the bootleg circulate for decades, then finally release it when no one pays for music anymore.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 4 January 2015 15:40 (2 months ago) Permalink

Wow, had never seen this live page before.

bit of a singles monster (Eazy), Sunday, 4 January 2015 15:54 (2 months ago) Permalink

Agora show RULES

difficult-difficult lemon-difficult (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 4 January 2015 17:54 (2 months ago) Permalink

Looks pretty good.

Dedlock Holiday (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 January 2015 19:04 (2 months ago) Permalink

it's a real rowdy fun show

difficult-difficult lemon-difficult (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 4 January 2015 19:31 (2 months ago) Permalink

xpost Winterland is not legit released yet, don't know where you saw that. Agora/Cleveland is the only '78 show he's selling right now.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 13 January 2015 21:47 (2 months ago) Permalink

oh man that agora show is unbelievable and I'm not even the world's hugest springsteen dude.

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 January 2015 21:55 (2 months ago) Permalink

Winterland is not legit released yet, don't know where you saw that

Oh yeah you're right, I was looking at this and assumed it was official as it is being sold on Amazon but on closer inspection it is a bootleg:

Since when did Amazon start dealing in bootlegs, by the way? Or is this some kind of grey area thing like the two I linked above?

you've got no fans you've got no ground (anagram), Tuesday, 13 January 2015 22:06 (2 months ago) Permalink

I will say, regardless, that anyone who has never heard the Cleveland show will be absolutely agast and baffled that it was never released in any form before now.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 13 January 2015 23:45 (2 months ago) Permalink


difficult-difficult lemon-difficult (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 13 January 2015 23:46 (2 months ago) Permalink

yeah it is maybe the only springsteen anyone needs! ok, maybe not... don't attack me springsteen stans!
bootlegs are always popping up on amazon these days, which does seem weird -- not sure if it has to do w/ copyright loopholes. or it's just illegal!

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 January 2015 23:48 (2 months ago) Permalink

I think the loophole is that it's a radio broadcast. So, technically/theoretically, whoever owns the broadcast recording (like the radio station) can maybe-not-entirely-illegally release it, or at least license it for release (in Europe, at least).

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 13 January 2015 23:52 (2 months ago) Permalink

tyler otm imo, it's pretty definitive

like if you only have one, this is the one to have

difficult-difficult lemon-difficult (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 13 January 2015 23:53 (2 months ago) Permalink

though it is also crazy that the agora show was the *norm* for 1978 (at least the recordings I've heard suggest this). dude was operating on a whole other level.

tylerw, Tuesday, 13 January 2015 23:57 (2 months ago) Permalink


difficult-difficult lemon-difficult (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 14 January 2015 00:02 (2 months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I don't think there is a single Springsteen show up through the breakup of the E Street Band that could be considered less than great, actually. He was famously grouchy during his I think No Nukes festival set, but it's a killer set, still, and I can't think of any of date he's ever played sick or less than 110%. The Tunnel of Love tour was a pretty set setlist, for once, but those shows were also great. Even post reunion there have been no real stinkers. He's a force of nature, really.

Hope they release Winterland, and Roxy. At least as far as 1978 goes. River and BitUSA, the band is still strong, but 78 is his peak. It's no small wonder that he just managed to stretch that peak for 10 more years of touring.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 14 January 2015 02:37 (2 months ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Wow, he just released the 1980 New Year's Eve Nassau show! This is one of my favorite things ever.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 28 March 2015 00:17 (3 days ago) Permalink

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