Just a note to quell some of the rumors over here on E Street. While we hope to be back with you soon, the E Street Band won’t be touring in 2019. Before I go back to my day job, the year will be consumed with a break after our Broadway run and various recording projects I’ve been working on. We do hope to see you soon, and until then, we have some mighty E Streeters out there regularly performing with their own projects who’d love and deserve your support. All love and Happy Holidays!
Born to Run was the album that sparked my appreciation for Bruce Springsteen’s music, but Darkness on the Edge of Town was the album that made me a fan.
In 2015, when Born to Run turned 40, I wrote about the day I fell in love with it. A chance discussion about Springsteen at a family reunion sent me reaching for the Bruce albums on my iPod the next day, as my family traversed an epic snowstorm to drive back home. I had five Bruce records on my mp3 player, but I’d never really given full attention to any of them. They were all records from my parents’ CD collection, and at the time, I still stupidly believed (perhaps self-consciously) that older music couldn’t be my music in the same way as something released in my lifetime.
On that snowy drive home, I cycled through the Bruce albums on my iPod: the bombastic, optimistic dream of Born to Run; the scrappy underdog symphony of Greetings from Asbury Park; the deeply ‘80s-sounding Born in the U.S.A.; the resilient recovery rock of The Rising; and the sparse storytelling of Devils and Dust. I loved Born to Run immediately. I liked The Rising a lot, too. I had trouble getting over how dated Greetings and Born in the U.S.A. sounded to my ears at the time, but I liked the songs. And Devils was fine, but mostly didn’t move me.
I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible. I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind. In fact, with one or two exceptions, the 960 seats of the Walter Kerr Theatre is probably the smallest venue I’ve played in the last 40 years. My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music. Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work. All of it together is in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value.
Bruce Springsteen and Joe Grushecky have teamed up for the anti-Trump song “That’s What Makes Us Great.” The song is available for purchase on Grushecky’s website. Joe talked with the Pittsburg Post-Gazette about the song’s origins:
“I had this song, and Bruce and I had been talking. I sent it to him and he liked it. I said, ‘What do you think about singing on it?’ He gave it the Bruce treatment.”
Rather than hooking up in the studio, they handled it all digitally, long distance. The Houserockers laid down the track with Rick Witkowski, Brian Coleman and Grushecky’s son Johnny producing. Springsteen, who wrapped up a world tour with the E Street band in February, emailed his part from Jersey.
The book is like one of Mr. Springsteen’s shows — long, ecstatic, exhausting, filled with peaks and valleys. It’s part séance and part keg party, and then the house lights come up and you realize that, A) you look ridiculous dancing to “Twist and Shout” and, B) you will be driving home in a minivan and not a Camaro.
His writing voice is much like his speaking voice; there’s a big, raspy laugh on at least every other page. There’s some raunch here. This book has not been utterly sanitized for anyone’s protection, and many of the best lines won’t be printed in this newspaper. Most important, “Born to Run” is, like his finest songs, closely observed from end to end. His story is intimate and personal, but he has an interest in other people and a gift for sizing them up.
What might better serve the good of the Republic is the planned release, sometime next year, of Springsteen’s first album of entirely new songs since Wrecking Ball. (His last studio album, 2014’s High Hopes, consisted of covers, new recordings of older songs, and orphaned songs from sessions for his preceding albums.) The new album, as yet untitled, has been finished for more than a year but has sat on the shelf while Springsteen has busied himself with the tour and the book.
That makes at least two really good articles in this issue — the other being from Nick Bilton on Theranos.