I am in the midst of reading Bruce Springsteen’s (@springsteen) autobiography, Born to Run. After hearing an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, On Jersey, Masculinity And Wishing To Be His Stage Persona, I felt compelled to read his memoir. Listen to the interview at the link below. Terry Gross brings out the poet, the social commentator, the musician, and the creator of Born to Run in a way that helped me understand why his music resonates with me.
An avid fan of Springsteen’s music since the 1980s when I lived in New York City, I purchased all of his albums and listened to his music while walking, running, or looking for inspiration. A Madison Square Concert may be one of the most memorable experiences I have from my New York music days.
Springsteen’s talent as a writer and storyteller comes through in every page of the book. Not only is he a great songwriter, he matches that talent with telling his life story in a way that keeps you connected to his journey from childhood to now. Here is a quote from the book that captured my attention and illustrates his power with words. Speaking about his deep friendship with John Landau and their mutual admiration for the importance of music, he writes:
Whatever that took, I was in. Now, if you don’t have the raw talent, you can’t will yourself there. But if you have the talent, then will, ambition, and the determination to expose yourself to new thoughts, counterargument, new influences, will strengthen and fortify your work, driving you closer to home.
What I find interesting in Springsteen’s memoir is his ability to unravel his complicated life, his love for music, and the journey that led him to write some of the most iconic rock n roll songs in past thirty years. Home, Freehold, Asbury Park, and the Jersey Shore, is a thematic element in so much of Springsteen’s work. It comes through his lyrics and emerges in the varied stories he tells in his memoir.
If you’re a Springsteen fan, I recommend Born to Run, a fascinating ride through his life and the E Street Band’s many years of success.