When Bruce First Cut Loose

Early Bruce. Early Amazing.

Like many artists before him, Bruce Springsteen did not burst upon the scene without prologue. Think of The Beatles laboring in the obscurity of Hamburg and Liverpool and The Band working behind Ronnie Hawkins and then Bob Dylan before launching their own career without those frontmen.

Bruce Springsteen lunch counterThe Boss started his professional life playing at a trailer park, then with bands named The Castiles; Earth, and Steel Mill. He toured the (mostly) Middle Atlantic States as a nobody in a string of proto-E Street Bands, displaying tremendous verve, delivering insightful songs. He was also a master at covering songs by other artists (not unlike The Beatles and The Band). The whole time he absorbed the extant Rock canon, the DNA of the genre encoding itself immutably upon his being.

BuyPlaylistSongsbluewaxseal1_edited-2Most importantly, he soaked in the Wall Of Sound that Phil Spector had perfected in the early-1960s. This influence would not raise up its assertive head completely until the 1975 game-changing album Born To Run, although there were fragrant whiffs of it as early as “Rosalita” and “4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” from 1973′s The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle.

From The Oldest Through 1984 – Spirit In The Night; Rosalita; 4th Of July Asbury Park (Sandy); Thunder Road; Born To Run; The Promised Land; Hungry Heart; I’m Going Down; Bobby Jean.

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Spirit In The Night

Bruce Springsteen
Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (1973)

Bruce takes us on the magical, moonlit road trip of a lifetime – sultry and steamy – straight into the heart of youth, friendship, sex and wild-eyed summer wonder. It’s an oozing affirmation of life, as young rebels dance and twist with abandon under the stars.

“Spirit In The Night” opens to a smokey, seductive groove (almost sleazy), with the late, great Clarence Clemons playing the part of the sax-wielding snake charmer as he pulls us into the electric evening breeze.

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Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Bruce Springsteen
The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (1973)

“Rosalita” comes bucking and reeling out of the shoot like a mad bull let loose at a Rock-N-Roll rodeo.

The result is one of the most powerful and soaring song intros in the history of the genre – surging white-hot as it careens into a seven-minute exaltation on the liberation and heart-pumping desire of young lovers.

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4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

Bruce Springsteen
The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle (1973)

Asbury Park, New Jersey, was Bruce Springsteen’s original land of hope and dreams. When he was coming of age, the seaside town was already decrepit, a mere shell of itself as a honky-tonk amusement park refuge for blue-collar families.

The story that unfolds in “4th Of July” has the singer/narrator explaining to his love of the moment – Sandy – a catalog of failures, shortcomings, and anxieties.

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Thunder Road

Bruce Springsteen
Born To Run (1975)

The first thing the listener hears on Born To Run is the 1975 classic “Thunder Road,” the song that introduced Bruce Springsteen to the world at large, transforming him from cult regional figure to international phenomenon. It’s like being introduced to the business end of a cruise missile.

From the song’s quiet, dreamlike opening, supported by an achy, lonesome harmonica and gently burbling piano, it is big-screen cinematic, begging to be turned into a movie.

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Click to dive even deeper into this song, one of the extraordinary musical works that makes Rock-N-Roll the greatest genre on Earth.

Born To Run

Bruce Springsteen
Born To Run (1975)

“Born Too Late.” “Born On The Bayou.” “Born Under A Bad Sign.” “Born To Be Wild.” “Born To Kill.” “Born As Ghosts.” “Born To Boogie.”

Bruce took up the flag in 1975 with “Born To Run,” and then seized it again ten years after with “Born In The U.S.A.”

Off the album of the same name, “Born To Run,” is a big, bright chrome rockin’ machine. Three decades later it still feels futuristic, something akin to a dystopian movie like “The Road Warrior” of the Mad Max series.

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The Promised Land

Bruce Springsteen
Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978)

Maybe we should open up nominations for a new American national anthem. One that’s easy to sing, one that makes you stand up without being told to.

Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promised Land” would have to be considered, for it embraces everything that’s wrong with the country and everything that’s absolutely right. Sure, Rock-N-Roll is sometimes considered to be too raw and uncomplicated to rise to the level of timeless art. Whoever believes that nonsense has not heard this luminous, transcendent piece of work.

All the best Bruce merch is here – albums, shirts, phone cases, posters, DVDs.

Click to dive even deeper into this song, one of the extraordinary musical works that makes Rock-N-Roll the greatest genre on Earth.

Hungry Heart

Bruce Springsteen
The River (1980)

A Top-10 song is a wonderful thing, especially when it is of such solid durability. “Hungry Heart” is as moving, upsetting and poignant today as it was when it was released in late 1980.

Although Springsteen’s work had been lauded by critics and fans of his album, this is the song that set off the big Bruce bomb – his first smash single.

Foreshadowing the breakdown of a city, the tale is one of dislocation within a working class family, and projects the freedom that the alienated singer – a father and husband – feels by skipping out on his wife and children.

Check out our treasure trove of Bruce merch – albums, hats, shirts, phone cases, DVDs.

Click to dive even deeper into this song, one of the extraordinary musical works that makes Rock-N-Roll the greatest genre on Earth.

I’m Going Down

Bruce Springsteen
Born In The U.S.A. (1984)

All of the major influences that had been dammed up in the frontal lobes of Bruce Springsteen for decades flooded forth in “I’m Going Down,” recorded in 1982 and finally released in late 1985 as the sixth single off the 1984 album Born In The U.S.A. There are the ebullient, swinging Doo Wop rhythms of artists like Dion. The raucous Philly sound throbs along in the song as typified by Springsteen’s sometime collaborator, Gary U.S. Bonds. 

New Wave and its children make appearances, most emphatically in the opening guitar riffs: Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl”; “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl” by The Cars, and Elvis Costello’s “Less Than Zero.” Speaking of Elvis, the other guy by that name has stomped his blue suedes all over this number, too.

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Click to dive even deeper into this song, one of the extraordinary musical works that makes Rock-N-Roll the greatest genre on Earth.

Bobby Jean

Bruce Springsteen
Born In The U.S.A. (1984)

This meditation on a lost love from deep in a boy’s heart is one of Springsteen’s most poignant songs. The losses that he had sung about throughout the first part of his career seem to reach a fine-honed edge in “Bobby Jean.” Something big had been realized.

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