Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock 'n' Roll

Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock 'n' Roll

Marc Dolan

Language: English

Pages: 528

ISBN: 0393081354

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A vibrant biography of one of the greatest rock 'n' rollers, the America that made him, and the America he made.

Smart and incisive, this unique book takes us through Bruce Springsteen’s life by tracing the cultural, political, and personal forces that shaped his music. Beyond his constant stylistic adaptations, Springsteen developed over the decades from expressing the voice of a guy from working-class New Jersey to writing about the larger issues facing the country, including war, class disparity, and prejudice. Marc Dolan draws on a range of new and little-known sources―including hundreds of unreleased studio recordings and bootlegs of live performances―making this an indispensable reference for avid Springsteen fans as well as those interested in learning the stories behind his music. Combining political analysis, music history, and colorful storytelling, Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ’n’ Roll reveals how a gifted, ambitious community college dropout achieved superstardom―and spent decades refining what he wanted his music to say. 25 illustrations

















had been the places to briefly thrash out arrangements that would make it into the actual performances a few days later, maybe even that night. This time, though, they were more like the alternate songs that Springsteen had tried back in the late January rehearsals: interesting deviations from the tour’s rigid structure, but ones that he seemed to try only when playing to an audience of dozens, not thousands. When no one but the band and crew was listening, Springsteen was playing a much wider

also get several new tries, with harmonica, mandolin, and guitar parts adjusted and readjusted as they went along. Around the studio, Bruce was all goofing and smiles, but he clearly approached this occasion with some “ambivalence.” These mixed feelings are unmistakable in “Blood Brothers,” the song about the reunion that he wrote just before they met in the studio. Considered in toto, the song is best understood as a tacit apology. Its idealized first verse ends with the promise We said until

performed at his birthday party once again that year—and focused more on his family and his community. Indeed, after a year and a half of touring the United States and Europe, his focus now seemed firmly trained on purely local matters. He played only charity gigs that fall, one with Joe Grushecky at the Pony and another with Patti, Max, Jon Bon Jovi, and Bobby Bandiera and his band at the Hedgerow Farm in Middletown, a bedroom community seven or eight miles northeast of Rumson, on the

“Fuse, The,” 370 Gabriel, Peter, 227, 257–58 Gallagher, Big Danny, 32, 46, 420 “Galveston Bay,” 317, 320, 327 Gandolfini, James, 373–74 Garden State Arts Center (Holmdel), 403–4 “Garden State Parkway Blues,” 35, 40, 83 Gardner, Howard, 471–72 gas crisis, 177–78 Gaslight au Go Go (N.Y.), 68, 458 Gavin, Bill, 3–4 Geffen, David, 145 Geldof, Bob, 235, 239 Gentry, Montgomery, 379 “George Bush Don’t Like Black People” (Legendary K. O.), 396 Gerry and the Pacemakers, 8 “Get Up Stand Up”

tall tale, with Clarence (whom he didn’t even meet until 1971) riding by on a bicycle in short pants and playing saxophone with no hands. Still, the core of the story was plausible, and personal. It was about not having the nerve to ask a pretty neighborhood girl her name and finding an echo of one’s shyness in a recent pop single. I never, I never found out what her name was or anything, you know, but that’s good, he told the audience in Memphis that night, I still think about her sometimes, you

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