40th Anniversary Retrospective of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run

A little over a year ago, on this very website, I wrote my 30th Anniversary Retrospective of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA which was a fun experience and an endeavor that didn’t hit me to do until the evening of the day of. I am much more prepared for Born to Run… I’m beginning the adventure the night before Run’s 40th birthday.

Not to overstate the importance of Born to Run, but this album is the reason that Bruce Springsteen is Bruce Springsteen. The lead single off the album was the title track which gained Springsteen popularity and, to use a phrase that is overused, the rest is history.

It doesn’t even take you an hour to listen to the album as a whole, 39:26 to be exact, but the term ‘short, sweet and to the point’ was made for this remarkable Springsteen album.

So without further delay, let’s talk about each song on Born to Run on it’s 40th anniversary (August 25, 2015).

 

Thunder Road

Bruce Springsteen entered my life late in high school. Senior year is when it finally hit that this guy from New Jersey was speaking right to me. The first time I listened to The River was driving to move into my freshman dorm for college. That album felt like newfound freedom. Maybe it was just ‘Independence Day’, but whatever that feeling was is multiplied tenfold in ‘Thunder Road’.

You would never think that the combination of harmonica and piano would sound so good, but it sounds like pure gold to kick off this album.

As I grow older, I grow fonder of the namecheck of Roy Orbison in the opening breaths because Orbison is amazing and not enough people are exposed to Orbison. YouTube him, kids.

The thing Bruce does better than anybody is he names his characters. I care about Mary and Mary is fictional, at least to us. I hope Mary took that long walk from her front porch to Bruce’s front seat.

Yes, I am cheating with the favorite line portion. The last stanza is just too darn good to pick apart.

Favorite line: They scream your name at night in the street, your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet. And in the lonely cool before dawn, you hear their engines roaring on, but when you get to the porch they’re gone on the wind. So Mary climb in. It’s a town full of losers and I’m pulling out of here to win.

 

Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

This is one of the weirdest Springsteen songs. Anyone that doesn’t think it’s a little bit weird is a little too weird themselves. To prove the weirdness, nobody knows what a ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’ actually is… at least, Springsteen isn’t really telling us what it is. Whatever it is, it sounds cool.

This song is about the formation of the band, mainly how Springsteen paired up with the late great Clarence Clemons, one of the best saxophone players to ever grace this little marble we call Earth. That is what makes this song great.

I have only seen Springsteen once in my life. That was back in 2012, about the toddler stage of my Springsteen fandom, they played this song at the show I was at and it hit me how important Clarence Clemons was. Right after Bruce sings ‘Big Man joined the band’, the band quit and the crowd went nuts. The crowd showed their love of Clarence for minutes where his sax solo should have been and that was one of the coolest concert moments I have ever been a part of. When I catch live performances of this song on E Street Radio on SiriusXM, I get goosebumps and choke up when that part hits. It’s special.

Some songs you don’t get until you really start to know the artist and this is one of those songs. If you are just getting into Bruce, this song seems like just a fun little song, but when you are a die-hard, well, then it becomes a true classic.

Favorite line: Well everybody better move over, that’s all. I’m running on the bad side and I got my back to the wall.

 

Night

Bruce Springsteen has the ability to paint the blue-collar life so beautifully. Maybe that’s why sportswriters love him so much. Sportswriters love the guys who leave it all on the field and Springsteen describes that kind of character in a good handful of his songs.

This song is about working, cars and wanting to get some loving from a lady. That is a deep shade of blue-collar. As someone deeply surrounded by blue-collar folk, I don’t know if many would come up with the line ‘she’s so pretty that you’re lost in the stars’.  I am literally jealous of that line.

I am well aware that I am very biased when it comes to Springsteen, but I think this song is so good and it’s my least favorite on the album. I don’t dislike it, but I like the mysterious Bruce. I like thinking a little bit and Bruce almost did this one too straight forward.

I am weird. That’s probably why I like ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’ more.

Favorite line: She’s so pretty that you’re lost in the stars.

 

Backstreets

This song is perfection.

I love this song so much. First off, sonically this thing is kickass. There’s songs out there that just sound good and this is one of them. When I die the piano in ‘Backstreets’ will still be playing in my mind. That’s how good this song is.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the elephant in the room, no this song is not about a homophobic relationship. The Terry, another named character from Bruce, is a woman. His live performances early had an interlude that he would improvise and it would say ‘little girl’, ‘she’ and such. Not that that kind of thing matters, but wanted to clear that up.

There is such passion and heartbreak in this song. You hear it all the way through. It’s what makes this song special. The sonic matches perfectly to the lyrics, it’s like French fries and ice cream, my friends.

The question that remains is, what the hell did Terry do to ruin this?

Also, what a killer way to close side one of a record for all you vinyl lovers out there.

Favorite line: Blame it on the lies that killed us, blame it on the truth that ran us down. You can blame it all on me, Terry, it don’t matter to me now. When the breakdown hit at midnight, there was nothing left to say, but I hated him and I hated you when you went away.

 

Born to Run

This one of those songs that get people hooked on Springsteen and there’s not a real mystery as to why. It’s still weird to have this song as the official anthem of New Jersey when Springsteen is signing about needing to get out of Jersey. It seems counterintuitive to me.

‘Born to Run’ makes you want to roll down the windows and blast your speakers as loud as they’ll go. I’ve done this multiple times. Living in Minnesota, I will tell you that this song has made me do that at temperatures where most people would have the heater blasting in their vehicle and not being even close to thinking about rolling down their windows.

If I ever quit a job, I am probably going to walk out the door with a Bluetooth connected speaker blasting this song just because it’s another song that just exudes freedom.

Plus, Wendy, another named character, has to strap her hands across ‘his engines’ and I think I know what that means… Go Bruce!

Favorite line: Baby this town rips the bones from your back, it’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap. We gotta get out while we’re young, ’cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

 

She’s The One

Do not let the title fool you. She is not ‘the one’. Whereas ‘Backstreets’ had heartbreak pouring all over it from the beginning, this song is has a sense of haunt and excitement all wrapped up in one. Springsteen basically signs about a bad addiction and that addiction just happens to be a woman.

The narrator in the song realizes that this woman isn’t great for him, but she makes him feel good… at least she used to. She’s always there and he keeps going back. I’m just a guy that likes to write and play music, but that sounds like the definition of addiction. Some may insanity, but I am nicer than most people.

Sometimes the live versions of songs are even cooler than the studio version and I’d say this song would have that going for it. In certain live versions, Bruce and the E Street Band lead into the song with a cover of Buddy Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’ which is maybe one of the coolest things to ever do.

The song reads like a country song, that’s what corral Springsteen would be in if he magically appeared today, but we’ll talk about that more on the next track.

Favorite line: With her soft French cream, standing in that doorway like a dream, I wish she’d just leave me alone.  Because French cream won’t soften them boots and French kisses will not break that heart of stone.

 

Meeting Across the River

Change this from gangsters going from Jersey to New York to, umm…, outlaws running away from cowboys and you have, my friends, the perfect country song. This song needs no changing though. The storytelling in this song is beautiful. Some details are missing, but that makes the song that more haunting, a really good haunting feeling.

We need to take a moment and point out the trumpet in this song. I could barely play saxophone in middle/high school and now am a very mediocre guitar player, but this song makes me want to learn the trumpet. This whole album makes me want to learn piano, but that trumpet is one of the highlights of this album.

Cherry is a really cool name for a chick. I wouldn’t name a future daughter Cherry, but I like it. No matter what I do, I see Steve Van Zandt every time I think of Eddie. Maybe it’s his time on The Sopranos, I don’t know.

Favorite line: Tonight’s gonna be everything that I said and when I walk through that door, I’m just gonna throw that money on the bed. She’ll see this time I wasn’t just talking. Then I’m gonna go out walking.

 

Jungleland

This song is almost too much of an epic to totally understand. Romance and violence all wrapped up together in one song which works all too well. Springsteen does a lot of things magically, but one he does better than most is now how to structure an album. ‘Born to Run’ as a whole sounds a whole lot differently on shuffle than it does in the intended order of play.

It takes a while when getting into Springsteen that he isn’t where the music stops and ends. The E Street Band is a major part of the magic in this music. The band itself is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if you need some proof about how amazing they are. Once again, Clarence Clemons takes the cake on this song with the beautiful sax solo smack dab in the middle of the song.

The Rat didn’t quite have the ending he wanted, but his ending was only the beginning for his creator, the Bruce Springsteen.

Favorite line: The poets down here don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be.

 

Springsteen fans absolutely adore this album. Rolling Stone did a fan poll of fans’ favorite songs and the top ten features four songs from ‘Born to Run’. ‘Backstreets’ was at seven, ‘Jungleland’ at three, ‘Born to Run’ at two and ‘Thunder Road’ at one.

Yes, the three most favorited Springsteen songs come from this one eight-song album. Half the album gets in the top ten. That is insane.

The magic of music is that if it is good it will stand the test of time. Good music you don’t really have to explain to your children, you just have to press play or put the needle down and let everybody listen and soak in what’s going on in the album.

‘Born to Run’ stands the test of time. 40 years later, people are still trying to write songs that are good as these and rarely are people succeeding.

The future of rock and roll was Bruce Springsteen and now that we are in that future, it is safe to say, Springsteen was an excellent choice.

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Take Me To Church: Eric Church

SKULLI fell in love in the backseat of my friend’s truck. That sounds like the line to a horribly cheesy country song, but it’s true. They say you know when that moment of love hits and that moment for me was Sunday, December 4, 2011.

The Denver Broncos were in Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings. 2011, more specifically late 2011, was what will go down in history as ‘Tebow Time’. Tim Tebow was doing the miraculous while being a horribly flawed quarterback. I saw ‘Tebow Time’ in person, but that’s not what I fell in love with.

Young people don’t know what the radio is, so we listened to an iPod through the truck speakers for the whole 90-minute trip to and fro the stadium. Only one artist was played: Eric Church.

I’d known of Eric Church. Hell, I’d seen him in concert as the opening act for Sara Evans, but he never really captivated me. I loved ‘Smoke A Little Smoke’ and I had downloaded ‘Homeboy’ from the iTunes store, but it wasn’t until December 4, 2011, that I realized Eric Church was, well, a badass.

This guy captivated me the way only a couple other artists have. Eric Church captivated me so much that the next time I was at Best Buy, full disclosure I forced myself into a trip, I bought all three albums that Church had released to date.

I was sold.

‘Chief’, the most commercially successful album for Church thus far, was unlike any ‘country’ album I had ever heard. I say ‘country’ because Church has been quoted as saying that genres are an outdated concept. The earlier two albums weren’t as groundbreaking, but it was beyond solid typical country music.

The aviators that I wore turned from being in honor of my family’s obsession with Tom Cruise and ‘Top Gun’ to being because I wanted to be Eric Church. I wanted to be that guy that was on the album cover of ‘Chief’ and wore his glasses onstage.

I finally got to see the guy I wanted to be onstage again.

It was a ‘freakin’ Tuesday in Minneapolis’ and the Target Center was packed to the rafters. Internet connectivity was sketchy with 19,000 people and, I’d assume, 19,000 or so internet cable devices trying to SnapChat their friends. A problem I assume the Timberwolves never face.

Church ran through a blistering 23 songs with only two breaks, one of those breaks was hidden behind a video montage of the prelude to ‘Devil, Devil’ which is featured on his latest album ‘The Outsiders’.

The concert was heavy on ‘The Outsiders’ and ‘Chief’, but touched on all four of Church’s studio albums. Including his second single, ‘Two Pink Lines’ which was selected by a list Church gave a fan before the show and Church and his band didn’t know what they would be playing until ten seconds they were playing it.

Church laughed through the song, especially after forgetting the words to the second verse of the song that reached number 19 on the charts just eight short years ago.

The concert was insanely rocking, especially for what Church pointed out was a Tuesday. The energy, the all-encompassing stage, the attention of the crowd was always on Church and he gave a hell of a show off of that energy.

There’s a million things a guy that is a little biased towards Eric Church could say about the concert. He did the essential hits, he did the true fans’ favorite album cuts, he tied in ‘Born to Run’ in his breakout smash spectacular ‘Springsteen’.

A million memorable moments, but there is something insanely fun about one of your favorite artists having the same admiration you do for another one your favorite artists.

No one was singing ‘Born to Run’ louder than me and Eric Church in that moment.

I couldn’t put my finger on why I loved Eric Church so much until after the concert. I love reading the reviews of the concerts that I have just been to just so I can see how incredibly biased I am compared to the fellows that get paid to review concerts.

Both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune gave the show a thumbs-up. Both noted that the show was not the typical country concert because Eric Church is not the typical country act. Both papers compared Eric Church to other artists and that’s when it hit me.

Both Ross Raihala of the Pioneer Press, a must-follow on Twitter, and Jon Bream of the Star Tribune compared Church to Bruce Springsteen. Church will always be tied to the Boss since Church’s biggest single, he’ll probably never top it, shares the Boss’ last name. Bream also threw in Garth Brooks.

It clicked.

Eric Church is a beautiful combination of Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks.

Musically, Church is the country equivalent of Springsteen. Springsteen had remarkable commercial success with ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ and has had mild chart success around that, but nothing ever meeting that level again. Church had ‘Chief’ and that will be his penultimate commercial success. It brought out a lot of great radio hits while being a great piece of music, but he’s going to, and intentionally, stay directly out of the spotlight.

Church has said that’s why ‘The Outsiders’ is such an out of left field concept to some country music consumers. It’s real music, but it doesn’t need to be radio popular to be popular. Springsteen has built a career out of that and so will Church.

One of the best songs on ‘The Outsiders’, ‘Cold One’ only got to number 20 on the charts. ‘Cold One’ is remarkable well written and performed, but is not yet accepted, and might never be, by the bro-country loving radio listeners.

Church will continually sell out Target Centers and Xcel Energy Centers for a string of years and get modest airplay. Church is set music wise.

Garth Brooks comes in on the performance aspect. Church had his audience captivated the whole time he was on stage on Tuesday night. No one ever sat down. I’ve only seen Springsteen once, so take this with a grain of salt, but there was a time when everyone sat down.

Springsteen is a great performer and shows emotion onstage, but both Brooks and Church shove their emotions in your face, but in a very nice way. Garth and Church both continually are laughing onstage, not because something is funny, but they are both so happy they can’t help put laughing through the ear-to-ear smiles.

They scream. There’s so much emotion in their shows that both Church and Brooks at times will lean back and just scream. If you saw someone do this on the street, you’d be freaked out, but onstage it seems normal. Beyond normal.

Church’s music is deeper than anything on the radio, much like Springsteen. Brooks’ most commercial singles have never been insanely deep, but his show, just on DVD, is incredible.

I don’t know if I saw a rock show, a country concert or if I saw a disciple of that ‘Country Music Jesus’ Church sings about, but I finally know why he’s so captivating.

Church has taken the two best qualities of two of the best artists of all-time and is pulling himself up onto that pedestal with them.

December 4, 2011, was a big day for me. I saw my two favorite NFL teams face off with my friends, I had my first taste of the God-send that is Chipotle and I caught the lifelong earworm that is Eric Church.

I don’t know how to describe September 16, 2014. Eric Church said he’d expected we’d all have a ‘religious experience’ on Tuesday night. If that was ‘religious’, I’m going to be in the front pew of Church until the world burns down.

30th Anniversary Retrospective of Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA

bornintheusa

 

In preparation for this writing I want it to be known that I did a lot of research. I listened to Born In The USA three times today, twice by CD in my car and once by vinyl at home, which probably is more commonplace than special, but I still call it research.

Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA album turned 30 years old on Wednesday (June 4). Born In The USA is the most successful album of Springsteen’s career going off of sales. It’s a diamond record going over the platinum threshold fifteen times. The album spurred every song he’d release off of it to the top of the charts. Plain and simple, the album made Bruce Springsteen a household name and a real commercial success.

Most hardcore Springsteen fans will tell you that Born In The USA is nowhere near close to being his best album musically or artistically, but after doing my research today I must admit that Born In The USA is more than just an in to the Bruce Springsteen world. Everyone knows the album cover and therefore Bruce’s ass, but everyone also knows about the classic songs.

Born In The USA

If you are ever feeling patriotic this is an easy go to. Being a Springsteen snob, this song sometimes annoys me. The title track wasn’t the biggest single off the album, but it seems that whenever you bring up Springsteen to someone who isn’t big into Springsteen they start belting the chorus.

The interesting thing about the song is that it might not be that patriotic if you actually listen to it. It’s quite a sad song sang to an upbeat musical score. It’s a hidden message of sadness, something that Bruce Springsteen does better than anyone else.

On The Charts: #9

Favorite Line: You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much, till you spend half your life just covering up.

 

Cover Me

When the Minnesota Twins were playing against the Yankees in New York last week, the game went into a rain delay. The grounds crew rain out to cover the field with the tarp and this song started playing over the stadium speakers. For a moment I loved the Yankees or at least the Yankees’ game ops. It was a weird moment.

Covering a baseball diamond is a weirdly perfect presentation of this song. In the song Bruce sings about being desperate for someone to cover him up and just get lost in their love. A baseball diamond needs that too. This desperation is so vivid and strong and is only emphasized by the sound of emergency in the music.

On The Charts: #7

Favorite Line: Turn out the light, bolt the door. I ain’t going out there no more.

 

Darlington County

References to prostitution, women and working. If that’s not enough to suck you in, the fun in the sound should be more than enough. Besides, I’m pretty sure it’s a fact that every song that has a ‘sha la la’ in it has to be loved by the masses. I still don’t know why Wayne disappears for a week, but I’m thinking that it has to do with one of those things that Bruce references. I’d say it’s probably the first one I list, knowing Wayne’s fate.

My favorite line in the song was kind of ruined by the national tragedy that inspired virtually all of Bruce’s 2002 release, The Rising.

On The Charts: Song was not released to radio

Favorite Line: Our pa’s each own one of the World Trade Centers, for a kiss and a smile I’ll give mine all to you.

Favorite Line 2.0: Driving out of Darlington County, seen Wayne handcuffed to the bumper of a state trooper’s Ford.

 

Working On The Highway

A couple years ago some publication, probably Rolling Stone, had a slideshow feature kind of thing on ‘the songs that even Springsteen die hards don’t know’. One of those songs was entitled ‘Child Bride’ which was written for Nebraska or at least during that time period. It probably isn’t as perverted in nature as it could be, but the gist of it is that the girl is underage as is easily guessable. ‘Working On The Highway’ is basically the same exact song just Born In The USA-fied.

Y’know how her daddy says she’s just a little girl and she knows nothing about this cruel, cruel world. Also the narrator was taken in the black and white and the judge put him straight away. It’s because the girl was too young. Bruce points out in ‘Child Bride’ the following, ‘well they said she was too young, she was no younger than I’ve been’, but that doesn’t stand up well in a court of law.

Bruce again hides the story rather well in the happy-go-lucky sound of the song. When listening to ‘Working On The Highway’ perversion doesn’t exactly cross your mind, but it’s there waiting behind the hammering guitar at the end of every line.

On The Charts: Song was not released to radio

Favorite Line: I went to see her daddy but we didn’t have much to say. “Son can’t you see that she’s just a little girl, she don’t know nothing about this cruel, cruel world”

 

Downbound Train

God, I love this song. It’s another one of those really depressing love went wrong and it sucks songs and I absolutely love it. I don’t know what that says about me. I add my love of the song up to my love of The Boss, trains and one line in this song.

The bridge of the song is so vivid that it’s almost scary. Bruce never made a music video for ‘Downbound Train’, but I can see in my mind Bruce running through the forest to this old house that he used to live in. I think that’s what really good songs do for the listener. They provide a vivid movie in your mind that doesn’t need to be supplemented by a music video.

On The Charts: Song was not released to radio

Favorite Line: Now I work down at the carwash where all it ever does is rain.

 

I’m On Fire

The closing song to side one of the album, if you go the vinyl route, and an insanely popular song. Bruce again pens a song desperate for a girl and it kills him not to be with her or at least there is a burning sensation of some sort without her.

It’s such a simplistic song. It’s straight forward which isn’t a thing that Bruce does a whole lot of. The directness of the song almost cuts like the edgy and dull knife he talks about in the song. Plus, the music video to this song is masterful. Bruce Springsteen as a mechanic is basically a picture of the ideal America.

On The Charts: #6

Favorite Line: Tell me now baby is he good to you. Can he do to you the things that I do? I can take you higher.

 

No Surrender

If you want a good song to start side two of a record, I’d say that ‘No Surrender’ is a pretty good choice. The drums in the beginning are awesome and instantly grab your attention for the rest of the ride.

It’s a combination of rebellion and perseverance. The start of busting out of class is a feeling that anyone that has ever had any kind of schooling can relate to. As the song progresses so does the time line, but they aren’t going to give up. They’re not going to surrender.

I hope a high school graduating class used this as their class song somewhere. It’d be perfect for that occasion. Let’s pray some group of Bruceheads got to their class out it New Jersey.

On The Charts: Not released to radio

Favorite Line: We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school.

 

Bobby Jean

It’s widely believed that Springsteen wrote ‘Bobby Jean’ about Steve Van Zandt, who needs no introduction but is Bruce’s right hand man guitarist and co-producer on many albums. Little Stevie was leaving the band at the time and allegedly this was Springsteen’s way of saying goodbye. It was a strong goodbye.

‘Bobby Jean’ is one of those songs that you don’t really understand, or as some would say ‘get’, until you’re a little older. Once a little life happens, you start drifting away from people or people are gone. I think Bruce puts that feeling of someone being gone perfectly in this song.

On The Charts: Not released to radio

Favorite Line: I’m just calling one last time not to change your mind, but just to say I miss you baby, good luck goodbye, Bobby Jean.

 

I’m Goin’ Down

Girls are out there, man. This is probably a well-known fact, but one that men don’t go saying to everyone because, frankly, we don’t want to be slapped. Springsteen illustrates the whole ‘what the hell am I supposed to do, honey’ side of the argument. Maybe what he is supposed to do is the sexual innuendo that is in the title…  Are we supposed to ignore that?

Apparently, people we’re giving Bruce grief that he kept releasing singles off the album with this being his sixth release off of it. There’s an argument to be had there, but if the people want more stuff off of Born In The USA, give them more. Bruce responded by releasing another song off of the album to radio after ‘I’m Goin’ Down’.

On The Charts: #9

Favorite Line: I’m sick and tired of you setting me up. Setting me up just to knock-a knock-a knock-a me down.

 

Glory Days

‘Glory Days’ is the more fun, laid back cousin to ‘No Surrender’. It has that same kind of vibe of ‘we’ll always be together’ type of thing, but yet brutally honest about nostalgia. Bruce points out that nostalgia is fun, but maybe there’s more to life than reliving it. He later admits he does the same, because that is how life works. Life was fun when you drove too fast, drank too much beer and could do things athletically that you can’t do now.

The song is fun for me two years out of high school when you can see this happening a little bit already. I can’t wait until the 40th and 50th anniversary of this album, so I can look back and tell you all how much I love the ‘Glory Days’ and how badass I was. I wasn’t that badass.

PS. Bruce calling a fastball a speedball is one of the most adorable things ever because no one ever called a fastball a speedball until now and that’s because of him.

On The Charts: #5

Favorite Line:  I had a friend was a big baseball player back in high school. He could throw that speedball by you. Make you look like a fool, boy.

 

Dancing In The Dark

I don’t know if ‘dancing in the dark’ is a sexual innuendo because it’s just that obvious. Apparently people love sex, because ‘Dancing In The Dark’ is the highest charting song in Springsteen’s career. There’s more to this song than just sex though. Bruce hides this need for sex a little bit behind his discontent, need for change and depression. It’s virtually a pouring out of his soul that life sucks, but, hey, I can go have some sex and that’s kinda cool.

Also, I’m pretty sure that Springsteen refers to his penis as a ‘gun’ which is awesome and about the ballsiest thing you can do.

On The Charts: #2 (that’s right, Bruce Springsteen has never had a #1 hit)

Favorite Line: You sit around getting older, there’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me.

 

My Hometown

Neil Young recently did an album that he recorded in an old-timey recording booth owned by Jack White called A Letter Home. The album features a bunch of covers including one of Springsteen’s ‘My Hometown’. Rolling Stone called ‘My Hometown’ a third-tier single from Springsteen and that Young should have done anything off of Nebraska instead of this song for his acoustic album. Pretty strong words for one of Springsteen’s best charting songs.

‘My Hometown’ has the small town feel to it. I can relate to it coming from a corn field. Well, everything but the racial violence thing which is a weird lyric to include in the song, but that’s beside the point. Stores closing and people getting out are still very prominent to a lot of small towns across this country. That might be the magic behind a lot of Bruce’s music, it’s still relevant 30 years later.

On The Charts: #6

Favorite Line: He’d tousle my hair and say son take a good look around this is your hometown.

Born In The USA was insanely popular. It’s one of only three albums ever to have seven singles make the top ten on the Hot 100. Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 are the other two.

It’s no Born To Run musically, but I probably have Born In The USA to thank for my getting into Bruce Springsteen. I think all current day Springsteen fans have a lot to thank Born In The USA for. The popularity of this one album fuels a lot of fans to go to Springsteen concerts and let real Tramps enjoy him for a long, long time.

Depression and love are intertwined throughout this album, subtly some ways and other ways not so. Nebraska shows the obvious depression, Born In The USA hides it and laughs it off and Tunnel Of Love shows that love can be found. Bruce Springsteen had a very interesting 1980’s.

I’m going back to my research now. I have only a year and change until the 40th anniversary of Born To Run. More importantly, a year and five months until the 20th anniversary of The Ghost Of Tom Joad. 

Power Ranking the Potential Acts at TCF Bank Stadium for July 2014

A view of the football field at TCF Bank Stadium during Gopher football.
A view of the football field at TCF Bank Stadium during Gopher football.

As a music geek, I love a good drum line. I find it pretty cool for a bunch of people with one type of instrument to make a whole song sound full. I’ll never love drumming more than I do than the fact that Drum Corps International has to move their annual date for their competition at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Why? Per a press release, Drum Corps International was knocked off for ‘a major concert’.

This major concert will correlate with the MLB All-Star Game that will be occurring at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis this summer. A concert is fun and all, but the Star Tribune’s list of potential semi-educated guesses is what makes it fun.

The Strib points to Prince, Garth Brooks, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and Kenny Chesney as the potential headliners at the second major concert to happen at The Bank.

I’m going to power rank who I want it to be and you won’t be surprised, but the thought of one out of 50% of this group happening is amazing.

6. Pearl Jam – I’m not a Pearl Jam guy. I haven’t listened to a lot of Pearl Jam. There is no Pearl Jam in my music library. Sorry, Pearl Jam.

5. Kenny Chesney – Kenny is extremely popular in the country music world, I know because I live there. Kenny has been to Minnesota two years in a row at Target Field, he doesn’t need to come again. Plus, currently Chesney has no tour plans for this summer making him a so-so candidate in the first place. If Kenny has a fantastic opening act, I’ll go. I like Kenny just not enough to break the bank.

4. Prince – The Strib pointed out that Prince hasn’t done a major show in Minnesota in a long time and it would be cool if he was the guy. I don’t know if I would pay super bucks to see Prince, but it’s a for sure sellout. Prince puts on a hell of a show apparently, too.

3. Bruce Springsteen – You know it’s a good list when I put Springsteen at number three. I love Bruce and if it’s Bruce, Lord knows that I’ll put a lot of good money down to see him again. Bruce is the live king and he’ll be on tour in America later this summer. This might make the most sense on an already on-tour basis. The Boss and the E Street Band just slip because of who else is on the list.

2. Paul McCartney – Sir Paul is one of the performers on my bucket list and, to paraphrase something Springsteen said in a recent interview, you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. McCartney isn’t going to be around forever, no less touring forever, and I want to see him before one of us leaves the game. The ex-Beatle is still figuring out 2014 tour plans, so this would be a good thing to start the setting of his plans.

1. Garth Brooks – I’ve been a Garth Brooks fan my whole life. I’m young enough though that by the time I was of concert going age that Garth Brooks had taken his hiatus to spend time with his girls in Oklahoma. I’m ready to see Garth. It’s one thing I’ve been looking forward to in my music loving career since I can remember, the problem is that this probably won’t be the venue. Garth will come to town, I’m 110% positive of that, but this is before his big she-bang in Ireland. The Strib points out this would be a good tune-up, but when Garth does something, he does it big. Other than maybe a couple more Vegas dates, I’d expect Garth to fire it up in Ireland and keep it trucking until the big rig runs out of fuel. I hope I’m wrong.

Update: The following from the Pioneer Press’ Charley Walters:

Contrary to rumors elsewhere, Bruce Springsteen will not be the concert’s performer. Neither will be Garth Brooks. Baseball is still considering concert performers. The show is expected to include multiple acts.

If it truly is going to be multiple acts, that means there’ll be little to no big names. Have fun with that lovers of mediocre bands.

I Wish Clarence Clemons Had Entered My Life Sooner

Back in high school, which was such a long time ago, I played the saxophone in the band, kind of. I wasn’t very good, but that’s probably because I wasn’t very interested in the thing. It was fun, but like most things for teenagers, it lost its luster after a year or two.

I wish I would have learned to play better and possibly flourish with that instrument now. In childhood, I was immersed in country music, which I still am, but I have expanded my horizons. I now have the likes of Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen in my music wheelhouse. What I’ve noticed is that their music features saxophone and a lot of it. When talking about the saxophone, talk starts and stops with Clarence Clemons, Springsteen’s other half in the E Street Band.

I was reminded that it was Clemons’ birthday today via an Instagram post by fellow Springsteen aficionado Dana Wessel.  Clemons would have been 72 today.

Now that I’m a huge Springsteen fan, I wish I would have practiced my saxophone more and moved up to that lovely tenor saxophone, the usual weapon of choice for Clarence. I wish Clarence Clemons would have entered my life earlier, because he entered it after he was gone.

Should I have practiced my saxophone more? Definitely. Would I had I known that Clarence Clemons was a god living amongst mere mortals? You better your ass I would have.

You can’t go through a single song penned by Springsteen and not think of Clarence. It’s such a special connection that few people ever share. So go now and look through your Springsteen collection and think of Clarence and then do it again tomorrow, because it’s just that damn good.

Happy birthday, Big Man.