The enduring power of Bruce Springsteen's music: a fan's journey

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I’m not the superfan you are, but I do like his music a lot, and he seems like a good person. I live not too far from where he grew up. About once a month or so, I go shopping at the nearest Sam’s Club, which is in his hometown of Freehold. Every time I go through there, I think, “This is where Bruce Springsteen grew up. This is the place he’s talking about in My Hometown. Cool!”


But seriously folks, it’s kind of amazing how some of his best work has happened in his later years. The Rising was a masterpiece meditation on the mess of 9/11 and Western Stars is, for my money, one of his most beautiful albums. Kind of weird how a Jersey kid can write about the west with such clarity. There’s also a subtle subtext perhaps implying that America’s cowboys really only ever existed in Hollywood.


I love this story of his.


I didn’t delve into Bruce fandom to quite your extent (I think we’re about the same age), as I missed out on his 1978 tour, but by 1979 I vowed to catch him at least once on the following tour, and saw him several times on the River tour. When he toured solo for Devils and Dust, I took my father, and when he toured with the Seeger Sessions Band, I took my son, and finally my spouse got me to see him “one last time” on the last tour before his book came out. I have many bootleg concert “tapes” now, and I listen to them as I run.

His later work tends to be uneven, but there are masterpieces (Wrecking Ball, Western Stars) in there, both as songs and as albums, and I very much appreciate the wide variety of music he creates as we age together.

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