Friday, December 14, 2007

The Boss

I finally got my hands on Magic, Bruce Springsteen's new disc. It's fantastic. It's like the Bruce of old, only grown up. You really should go buy a copy. Even TCBIM, who, for the longest time has barely tolerated my undying affection for Mr. Springsteen, really likes this CD.

But it started me thinking - pretty soon, my musical idols are going to start dying (I know, what a cheery thought for a Friday afternoon, huh?). When Freddy Mercury died, I was sad, but I was, what? 25? It was shocking, but it didn't upset me for long.

(Not really a video, but this song kills me. In a good way.)

It's kind of sick that I dread the thought of some of my favourite singers and actors dying. It's something I've been thinking about recently and I have no idea why. Maybe I'm getting maudlin in my old age.

But this is the only song that consistently brings tears to my eyes and sends shivers and thrills down my spine. I can still remember the first time I heard this song - I was a freshman in high school, working on a photo montage to be shown at graduation and someone thrust a battered copy of Born To Run, on vinyl, into my hands and said "Use something from this for it." And I cued up Thunder Road and was blown away. It's my go-to song when I'm sad or pissed off or in a really great mood. It's what I blast when I'm doing 80 down the Mass Pike. It's what I play on the first warm day, when you can drive thru town with your windows down. The plaintive harmonica opening, then those amazing lyrics (Roy Orbison singing for the lonely, Hey, that's me and I want you only), the piano that sounds like a carnival, each instrument joining in, getting more insistent as the lyrics push for leaving, getting out, and finally, all of it comes together in a crescendo of let's-go-let's-go, get in the car, fuck 'em all.

I wound up stealing the album. I still have it somewhere, mixed in with the Depeche Mode and Cars (OK, OK, and Wham. You wanna make something of it? Huh?) albums. It's warped as hell and I don't have a record player to play it on but I'll never get rid of it. It was the beginning of a long, sometimes painful (Ghost Of Tom Joad, Bruce? Really? I dealt with Nebraska, but that? That was asking a lot.) frequently rekindled love affair.

Now if I could just get my hands on this documentary I saw on VH1Classics called Wings For Wheels, I'd be thrilled. I can't find it anywhere. I'm starting to think I hallucinated it.


LJ said...

fuckin' awesome! just awesome guy and music! This summer as a moving present I bought a greatest hits album. I fell in love with this guy all over again. I keep thinking of that song...on fire (or something like that) sadly it wasn't on my compilation. I shall find it. I'm rambling and make no sense. Oh you're not alone in this thinking of how I'll feel when my favorite singers start dying. ACK! I feel so freakin' old!

Major Bedhead said...

Are you thinking of I'm On Fire?

Sorry that didn't wrap.

It's on the Born In The USA disc.

elizasmom said...

Oh, I like this disc so much. Something about I'll Work For Your Love puts a lump in my throat EVERY time I hear it.

And I can relate to your fandom, for all that I came to it late — I was a casual fan, even saw him in 1992 — until The Birthday Show, which to the rest of the world was a concert he did in Hartford on my birthday in 2000. At 4 p.m. that day, Jim told me to go put on some jeans and kidnapped me — I didn't figure out until we crossed the state line into Ct. what he had up his sleeve. Best present EVER, because the show was FANTASTIC.

Are you going to the Feb. concert?

I'm not an unqualified fan — although my first Bruce show was with the fake band, I can take or leave both those albums, and though I will never admit this to Jim, I fell asleep during one of the two Devils and Dust concerts we saw.

Still, so much of my life is tied into his music. We drove around Ireland listening to bootleg after bootleg in 2003, Eliza experienced him in utero in 2004, and I can't be completely sure, but I think Promised Land may have been playing when she was born in 2005.

As for the thought of actor/singers dying, you aren't the only one. There are certain bands whose music figures prominently into various epochs in my life, and I will be devastated to lose them.

elizasmom said...

Huh. Sorry for the book. Bruce+me=longwinded rambling.

Shannon said...

Bruuuuuuce! When I was little, I used to think the audience was booing him. I was appalled that they were doing that until my dad told me they were saying "Bruce".....

Thunder Road was blasted when my friends and I would drive down the shore in my NJ days.

Now, I blast it when I drive the kids to the ocean in NH ;)

I love Bruce. He's completely genuine.

Joke said...

Glad he's back. He lost me with that "divorce" album ages ago.

Still the best concert.


Jess said...


You want the 30th Anniversary Compilation of Born To Run - it has the Wings For Wheels film in it (along with a kick-ass concert film)

Love Springsteen.

sandy shoes said...

I had Born to Run on vinyl too, as a young teenager. My parents took it away because they thought it was unsuitable, and I have never forgiven them.

Thunder Road is a powerful song.

MsPrufrock said...

I like I'm On Fire, and I have that and Cash's version on my iPod. Speaking of Cash, I was very upset when he died, but if we're going on dying of old age alone, he was really the only artist I like that was up in that age range. I can't think of anyone else...

As you have listed some YouTube clips, if there are any clips on there that you would like as an mp3, let me know and I'll hook you up.

OhTheJoys said...

Screen door slams
Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonly
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again I just can't face myself alone again

oh, oh come take my hand...

I can just go and go and go.

Debbie said...

I will only say that I possess not only Wham *and* the Pretty in Pink Soundtrack but also Michael Jackson *and* The Pointer Sisters *and* The Cars *and* Rufus and Chaka Khan on vinyl. But then, I've acknowledged on a regular basis that I lack the appropriate amount of shame. Anyway, I criticize you not. Plus I've never been able to shake my weak-kneed-ness over I'm on Fire. *whew*

I may have gone a tad overboard with the asterisks.

Anonymous said...

My aging friends saw the Boss & Co at the new Garden recently - a great show apparently - and said it was extra emotional since one of the E Streeters was diagnosed with cancer; this will be his last tour. So the usual show routines (band intros, etc.) were all done as a tribute. No dry eyes from what I heard.

As for Bruce and me, The River was the soundtrack to my senior year in HS. A weird time, I admit.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Ahh man! You need to check out Patois' blog at She is a MAJOR Bruce fan, and just blogged about him again today, as a matter of fact! I'll bet you guys would be kindred spirits! LOL

Patois42 said...

Clearly, Not Afraid to Use It told me of your obsession, and so I am here, tearing up at your memory of hearing Thunder Road for the first time. It's the song I most associate with him, too. Loved your post. (Of course, how could I now?)