On My Wish List

Springsteen’s autobiography is due in stores shortly.

And at least one reviewer raves.

I do love this particular pull-quote:

“One of the points I’m making in the book is that, whoever you’ve been and wherever you’ve been, it never leaves you,” he said, expanding upon this thought with the most Springsteen-esque metaphor possible: “I always picture it as a car. All your selves are in it. And a new self can get in, but the old selves can’t ever get out. The important thing is, who’s got their hands on the wheel at any given moment?”

In Born to Run, the Bruce in the driver’s seat is often the kid or the conflicted young man who cowered or sulked in the presence of his father, Doug. The Springsteen catalogue abounds with songs about difficult father-son relationships, such as the recriminatory “Adam Raised a Cain,” the rueful “My Father’s House,” and the valedictory leaving-home ballad “Independence Day” (“The darkness of this house has got the best of us”), the last of which Springsteen introduced to the Gothenburg crowd as a song about “two people that love each other but struggle to understand one another.”

Book going on sale soon ?   I’ll be there on time, and I’ll pay the cost.

For the book, I mean.

(Not a Bruce fan?  Get your own blog).

13 thoughts on “On My Wish List

  1. I like Bruce. I like that most of his songs aren’t silly love songs. I like that he isn’t from California or Seattle. Very few people could write and sing a song like The River. Also, listening to his concerts on Sirius Radio from the 80s and his political prothesizing….I like how he reminds us how lucky we were to have Ronald Reagan as President instead of Jimmie Carter or Fritz Mondale.

  2. My 20 year old son, who is smarter than all of us times two, got mom’s old Fisher turntable out and went to Jerry Raskin’s Needle Doctor and got it running. Pair that up with dad’s old Sony receiver and Bose speakers, he’s got a nice set up.

    He was looking at Half Price Books and bought a used copy of Born to Run, $8 ouch!

    The other day he said he finally played it for the first time. He, being a rap fan, said, “dad, he can really write and the arrangements are terrific, I’ve played it now a few times”.

  3. Mitch, I wish I knew what kind of anti-emetic you take before listening to Springsteen. Here’s a choice quote from The Boss: “This [the admiration of Reagan for “Born in the USA”] was when the Republicans first mastered the art of co-opting anything and everything that seemed fundamentally American, and if you were on the other side, you were somehow unpatriotic,” said Springsteen in a 2005 NPR interview. “I make American music, and I write about the place I live and who I am in my lifetime. Those are the things I’m going to struggle for and fight for.”
    The guy is full of pseudo-blue collar populism, and his musical ability does not give him a pass for his left wing rants, on and off stage. I choose not to listen to him for that reason.

  4. I’ve been more of a fan of his earlier work than the later stuff. Clarence Clemons always was my favorite of the E Street Band.

  5. I think Troy was being funny. If I recall my JCM history….he was signed and billed as a Midwestern Springsteen.

  6. I like the early Springsteen, when he seemed to understand the struggle of becoming an adult and the rage against the World As It Is that most young men experience. His later stuff is ok, but it didn’t tap into me quite the same way as when I discovered his early stuff. I still love “… I’m pulling out of here to win!”

    Honestly, I don’t quite understand why Bruce says that Reagan co-opted “Born in the USA.”

    Born down in a dead man’s town
    The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
    End up like a dog that’s been beat too much
    Till you spend half your life just covering up.

    Anybody who grew up in the 60s and 70s and had to live through the economy at the time could relate to that. The economic liberals Johnson, with his deficit spending on Vietnam that spawned an inflation monster, and Nixon, with his price controls and Bretton Woods, both created nasty economic conditions. And don’t even get me started on Carter and WIN.

    Got in a little hometown jam
    So they put a rifle in my hand
    Sent me off to a foreign land
    To go and kill the yellow man

    Ah, you mean the war that Kennedy(D) started, Johnson(D) turned into a massive conflagration, and Nixon(R) finally ended? That war?

    Come back home to the refinery
    Hiring man said “son if it was up to me”
    Went down to see my V.A. man
    He said “son, don’t you understand”

    Who tanked the economy at the time again? And who is the major defender of the status quo at the V.A. again? The VA has been dysfunctional since Johnson(D) to my certain knowledge — you should hear the stories my dad tells of them back in the 60s….

    I had a brother at Khe Sahn
    Fighting off the Viet Cong
    They’re still there, he’s all gone

    He had a woman he loved in Saigon
    I got a picture of him in her arms now

    Who was President during Khe Sahn? Somehow I think he had a (D) after his name since it was 1968…

    Oh yes, and who was in control of Congress and refused to honor Nixon’s agreement to come to the aid of the South Vietnamese government in its hour of need? Strange, but I believe that that group also was majority (D). So yes, they’re still there in Khe Sahn, but only because of Democrats without honor.

    Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
    Out by the gas fires of the refinery
    I’m ten years burning down the road
    Nowhere to run ain’t got nowhere to go

    Ten years down the road and Reagan had just begun to tame the stagflation beast and turn the country around from the disastrous liberal economic policies that had taken root during Johnson, Nixon, and Carter. It would be another year or two before the Reagan Recession turned into the Reagan Recovery and America began firing on all cylinders.

    So no, Reagan didn’t co-opt the protest part of “Born to Run”. He embraced it as raging against the powers and policies that were there before he came in. He raged about the ill-advised Democratic war of containment and the idea that you would send men not to win a war, but into a meat grinder that meant their death rather than a victory. Reagan raged against the idea that you should control the economy and impoverish Americans in the name of societal improvement rather than trusting the wisdom of each person to choose what is best for them. But I guess Bruce just refused to see the situation that his chosen policies and political party had created. More’s the shame, because it’s a good song and he didn’t think through who the real villains were.

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