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Eric Weighs In On Bruce


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Our 'Boss' has a few things to say about 'The Boss' :-)

Bernie

- - - -

Just finished reading the posts debating the merits of Bruce, both humanitarian and musical. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Here's mine.

Bruce Springsteen totally gets it. When I listened to the "Born To Run" album ( which I did, by the way, during the time that I was writing the "Boats Against The Current" album, almost every night) it did everything for me that a great record should do. It drew me in, it made me smile, it made me think, it gave me chills, it inspired me. Those were brilliant songs, movingly performed.

Every time I hear "Born In The USA" I wish I had written it. That's a special secret award songwriters reserve for only those songs that make them a little bit envious that they didn't think of it first. Sometimes it's a couple of lines, ("Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac…") sometimes it's the whole song ("Desperado").

The breakdown section toward the end of the record when Max starts playing those seemingly random, erratically brilliant drum fills and finally explodes back into the opening synth riff, followed by Bruce's primal scream is as perfect a rock 'n roll moment as I have ever heard. It gives me chills every time I hear it. It took me a couple of spins before I realized that all that tension, all that emotion, all that fire, was created using only the same two chords from beginning to end. Over and over, just two simple chords. That, my friends, is genius.

Bruce is the goods.

Now on to the "humanitarian" side of the debate. In all the years that Bruce has been on top, I've never heard a single person say one bad thing about him. That is extraordinary. That says a lot about him. As far as I can see he doesn't drink, use drugs or make a fool of himself in public places. He doesn't have to say one word about the Raspberries when he walks on that stage in front of 20,000 fans every night. The fact that he's done it two nights running is the ultimate compliment.

Bruce knows we get it, too.

When he mentioned "'Overnight Sensation" I couldn't help but think of that drum fill after the fake piano fade, and I wondered if maybe he and Max had listened to it one night and said, "Let's do something like that here at the end of "Born In The USA." And maybe that inspired him and he inspired me. That's the way music works. One artist inspires another.

Just between us, Bruce is as good as it gets. And when he mentions us or our records on that stage we are eternally grateful. Amen.

Eric

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There is a real simplicity in much of Bruce's music, but then there are other songs such as "Racing In the Street", "Jungleland" and "Into the Fire" which are overtures. To an unintiated observer, a song like "I'm A Rocker" might seem simplistic, yet that same person will readily agree to the greatness of "Overnight Sensation." You don't have to be a fan of an artist to appreciate that they have the ability to speak to the listener at every level.

Marv

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Very elegant and to the point. I think many of the "against" opinions in that thread, sometimes don't think about the simplicity, and genius of that. No, I am not a diehard listener of Bruce, as a whole (although, I do LOVE many of the tunes) but, I can appreciate the genius of his melodies, the emotions in it, the effect on people, and the fact that he "gets it". I think many here predominantly love music with the harmonies and jangly guitars in the music, and really aren't concentrating on the raw musical aspect of Bruces music when making negative comments.

Eric, I find the "Born in the USA" writing comment interesting, as it appears, when you sit down to write a song, you carefully craft very complicated, chord progressing, key changing tunes. I guess maybe the comment was more of a common human case of "simplicity envy" -- we all have it sometimes, like "Why didn't I think of that?" type of thing - Heck, I do quite well, but everytime I slip one of those coffee condoms on my hot morning coffee at Starbucks, I bang myself in the head !! So, it's not only a songwriters secret award laugh

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What a great piece of writing by Eric. Thank you, Eric!

You know, I came slowly to being a fan of Bruce Springsteen. I think in part it was because I envied the success he was having back in 1975 when my own personal favorite band had already broken up ;-). And part of it was because growing up in Cleveland, if you listened to WMMS (which I did as a teenager anyway), all you heard when Kid Leo was DJ'ing was, over and over again, how great "the Boss" was...It became a running joke..."How many minutes can Kid Leo be on the air before another reference to 'The Boss'"? Especially when he released a new album or was coming to town for a concert or had just been in town for a concert...what Bruce owes to Kid Leo in terms of his career is legendary.

But as time went on I came to really listen to his songs and appreciate them, and "Born in the USA" really woke me up to that. And "Born to Run"...what an album! I developed a whole new way of looking at Springsteen. Eventually I actually got to see Bruce in concert while I was in grad school...at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse...and lo these many years later, I discover, who else was in the audience that night? Marvin. Now if that isn't bizarre I don't know what is! I'm from Cleveland, he's from Calgary, but for one night in 1985, we were in the same arena...years before we actually met!

But I digress...

One of the nights after a BBK concert, I was telling someone (I think it was powerpoplarry) about having an iPod Shuffle and how the unpredictability of the shuffle and being unable to see what's coming up next makes you more cognizant of certain things. I have both "Born to Run" and "I Wanna Be With You" on my Shuffle, and never have I been more aware of how similar the opening drumroll is between those two songs. Listen...it is EXACTLY the same. When either song comes on my Shuffle, I can't tell which one it is until the guitars kick in.

There's definitely a link between what Bruce does and what the Raspberries do...and I think in some subconscious place, I began over time to feel that. And that breakdown of "Born in the USA" is something I love too. Many's the time I have wished I could write songs, so I could write like either Bruce OR Eric (or Wally or Dave)...alas, I am a prose writer, and that's it.

To hear now that Bruce is actually dedicating songs to the Raspberries on stage and telling his audiences to go get their records...well, that's just amazing. I can only imagine how much further this will go to get people to listen to them and to help their whole comeback. No, he doesn't have to do it. But how nice that he is.

Bruce...you're a class act!

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A trait that I believe both Bruce and Eric shared was the the strength and the persistence to 'make it'in music. Bruce has said in many interviews that from the time that his mom first bought him that japanese guitar that they saw in a Freehold store window, he thought of nothing else. There have been possibly better musicians that have come out of NJ and maybe even out of Cleveland, but not too many have had the success that Eric and Bruce have had because they had the will and the desire to keep pushing when others gave up.

Marv

Marv

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More than the desire, they had a vision. They could see past every obstacle, kept "their eyes on the prize," and never let themselves think it might not happen. I would say Jon BonJovi did the same. If you "think" it may not happen, you get caught up in distractions going on around you, and it won't. When you "know" it will happen, it will, because you see past those distractions, keep your eyes on where you're going, and you get there "before you know it." And because they "knew" it would happen, every fibre of their being was directed toward that end. Every performer who keeps his/her attention completely on the "vision" and images themselves there, makes it happen. There's no other way.

Their vision was equalled or surpassed by sheer talent, and voila...!

smile --D

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What a great response Eric!

As many of you have also - I have been to hundreds of concerts and seen everyone I've wanted to see (I can say that now that I've seen the Raspberries finally!). Though I've enjoyed all of the shows I've seen, there are a few that really moved me... the Raspberries, Supertramp, Barbara Streisand, Ozzy Osbourne, and Bruce Springsteen. Since this link is about Bruce I'll elaborate a little bit (Those of you who are fans will know what I mean).

I first saw Bruce live in 1980 at Arizona State University - The River Tour. We had front row center seats and from the first notes of the show until the end I was hooked. He played from 8:00pm until 1:00am with 1 short break halfway through. By the end of the show Bruce, the band, and of course the crowd was exhausted. Every time we thought it was the last song and it couldn't get better, the show kept going. You couldn't help but get emotionally involved in the show because Bruce and the entire band put everything they had into every note of every song! You felt as though he was singing just to you and your friends. What a show! I have seen him 4 times since including the Born in the USA tour and just a couple of years ago. All of the energy is still there - I will never get tired of Jungle Land live in concert!

As Eric said: "Bruce is the goods."

Tim

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  • 11 months later...

Well this is a fantastic testament to your music. I remember mainly listening to Raspberries, Mott the Hoople, and then Bruce Springsteen, while in High school. I know it may be a odd combination, yet it's the lyrics that drew me in to each of them. There is depth to their songwriting, not just jingles. I'm glad to see that Mr. Springsteen feels the same way. Congrats and best wishes...

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  • 1 year later...

"Bumping this "High Blistex" thread..."

Very well put, Lew!!!

On a more serious note....as usual, I believe we all appreciate hearing from Eric! As I'm one who clearly hasn't worshipped sufficiently at the altar of The Boss on this board, though, a comment or two.....Yes, I agree with Eric about Bruce "getting it", at least musically. As a human being, he also appears to get it.

A lot of negativity on my part regarding Bruce has more to do with discussions down in the weeds, versus on a higher level. While I don't particularly appreciate or "get" a lot of his music since "Born In The USA" (and believe me, I wish I did!), which was 23 years ago, I've never doubted his overall talents or skills. I was once a huge fan, but my tastes changed, as far as Bruce's music.

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A couple things...

A) Hey, music is such a personal thing... No one should have to apologize for what they like or don't like. Like you, JohnO, I haven't been a huge follower of Bruce for quite a few years, but that's okay. He's still one of my favorite listens, and a lot of his albums are brilliant and timeless. He deserves the accolades, even though for me, personally, I haven't "absorbed" his recent albums like I did his earlier ones.

B) My favorites among Bruce's records, in order of preference:

1. Tunnel of Love (1987). Yep, I LOVE this album. Seriously. It's just killer stuff that I really connected with (some music just helps you get through hard times). "One Step Up," "Valentine's Day," "Tougher Than the Rest" --- awesome. "Walk Like a Man" is really touching --- makes you want to pick up the phone and call your dad. And "When You're Alone"... What a simple but great summation: "When you're alone, you're alone you ain't nothin' but alone."

2. Born to Run (1975). "Thunder Road" makes my personal Top 20 Songs of All Time list, and "Born to Run" is pretty close. And Jungleland" is always 10 well-spent minutes...

3. Born in the USA (1984). I know it's not as "cool" to dig this one over Bruce's first three or four LPs, but damn, it's good. This is the record that pushed me from being an admirer to a huge fan back at the time. "Glory Days" is my favorite all-time baseball song, and I love "No Surrender," "Bobby Jean," "Downbound Train," and "My Hometown." Every song on this one works....

4. The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle (1973). When the first shuffle-play CD players came out, I'd program "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)," "Incident on 57th Street," and "New York City Serenade" to play over and over... And sometimes "Rosalita." None were huge hits, but all classic in my book.

5. The River (1979). Now that I know Raspberries Best was an inspiration here, I love it even more. A rare double-album about which you don't have to say, "It would have been a really strong single album..." Isn't "Drive All Night" a great song?

Favorite songs not on those albums: "I Wish I Were Blind" and "Man's Job" (whew! -- well-said!) on Human Touch ; "Spirit in the Night" from the first album; "Badlands" and "Candy's Room" from Darkness on the Edge of Town ; and "Better Days."

I guess I haven't delved into his last several albums so much, although I do like a few tracks on The Rising.... However, I do plan to pick up the new album, and I'd see Bruce in concert anytime....

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Nice list LC. Mine would be very extensive, but there are also a bunch of Bruce's songs that I don't care for at all.

The new album has got some real winners, in my book:

1. Radio Nowhere

2. Long Walk Home

3. You'll Be Comin' Down

4. Living' In the Future

5. Gypsy Biker

6. Girls In Their Summer Clothes

7. I'll Work For Your Love

8. Last To Die

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