Sunday, November 05, 2017

"Born to Run", memoir from Bruce Springsteen

This book was published in 2016 and reviewed positively by many.  Never having been a hard core Bruce fan, it didn't hit the radar here at first.  Just finished, it was an exceptional book of stories and identification points.  Springsteen was born in 1949, and while the circumstances and locations were different, his timeline was identical to mine.  Elvis, Bo Diddley, James Brown, early rock and roll, Dylan, the 60's assassinations, the Rolling Stones, Vietnam, the counter culture, and on and on...even up to attending Jingle Ball at the Garden with a tween.

My first experience with Springsteen was buying his second album, "The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle".  At that time, 1974, he was being touted by media as it existed then as the next Bob Dylan.  I liked the album, but had to try to like it as much as reviews said I should.  His storytelling was strong, certain phrases were memorable, but overall total identification was not there completelly... not enough blues, too much experimentation maybe.

The memoir follows his career album by album, place by place.  There were some who were major Springsteen aficionados who, like fans of the Grateful Dead, would tell you how many concerts they had seen.  It was not a calling here, though some told me that it should be.  In the early 1980's I  finally saw him live for the first and only time at a concert in Central Park.  Then I understood.  The concert was sensational.  It went on and on until the police told him to close up.  Near the stage, Springsteen was compelling and the band completely together even while the solos seemed completely fresh and interpretive, like jazz?

"Born to Run" is a very personal book and at times could be seen as giving advice.  That's not the way it was seen here.  The details of his life with friends and family are laid bare(at the end he says not completely but it seems that way when reading).  His challenges with periodic depression would not have been guessed but his frankness will help people.  The recurrent descriptions of his hometown and its influence are brought to life in an honest seeming way that many could understand.

His writing is that of a storyteller.  Strands of adjectives that go on and on, multiple verbs in a row, the overuse of certain words(craft as both verb and noun got to me at times), all of that was not important.  Even repetition between certain chapters was overlooked.  Gems of anecdotes were too frequent to worry about that.  Certainly like any writer he had editors, but he did write this book.  It is not an "as told to" and does not have a small cap co-writer.

First given a break by the legendary John Hammond, Springsteen slowly reached superstar status, not a one year or even one decade wonder.  His lyrics must be listened to and he wonders how many people that howl along to "Born in the U.S.A" have any idea what the lyrics are about.  He accepts and appreciates all fans.

So much more could be written, but obviously the book is recommended.  Highly recommended for those with similar time spans.


Post a Comment

<< Home