Tag Archives: Bruce Springsteen

Song: “Like a Rolling Stone”

Rolling Stone Magazine selected this as number one on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Works for me. Uploaded by andromeda84.deviantart.com.

“Like a Rolling Stone” is Bob Dylan at his cynical best. It’s clear that he dislikes the girl (“Miss Lonely”) and what she stands for (“How does it feel?”). Yet he also recognizes that by abandoning her position in society, she can enjoy a freedom she’s never known (“You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal”).

Uploaded by briefandtothepoint.blogspot.com.

The recording of this song is legendary. Dylan had written a long (10 or 20 pages, accounts differ) story/poem, and he extracted the lyrics to create these four verses. But in the studio, he couldn’t get the sound he wanted. Al Kooper, who wasn’t even supposed to be in the session, sat down at the Hammond organ and improvised the now-famous riff. The session’s producer wanted it removed, but Dylan liked it, and insisted it stay. Then when he performed live at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965, he was booed – electric guitars! A rock sound! The folk icon Bob Dylan was dead, long live rock star Bob Dylan.

“Like A Rolling Stone” was the closing track on the legendary album Highway 61 Revisited. Bruce Springsteen described the moment he first heard the song:

The first time I heard Bob Dylan, I was in the car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody’d kicked open the door to your mind … He invented a new way a pop singer could sound, broke through the limitations of what a recording could achieve, and he changed the face of rock’n’roll for ever and ever “

Rolling Stone anointed “Like a Rolling Stone” as number one in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Album: Born To Run

 

When Born to Run was released in 1975, it was the perfect counterpoint to the disco craze that had overwhelmed the music world. Springsteen showed that great rock and roll still ruled the day. Uploaded by gibson.com.

Like a volcano, the early albums of Bruce Springsteen caused the earth to shake, and some impressive fire to pour out. But the entire rock and roll landscape was transformed when Born to Run erupted onto the scene. At the same time that pop music was experiencing the impact of disco, Springsteen reminded everyone of what great rock and roll was all about.

If you’ve ready anything about Springsteen, you know he’s a control freak in the recording studio. Like many great artists, he had a sound in his head that he was desperately trying to capture on tape. The band obliterated the budget allotted for recording, and kept going because it still wasn’t right.  Fourteen months went into the recording, six months alone on the song “Born to Run.” Springsteen told Dave Marsh, “The album became a monster. It just ate up everyone’s life.”

Clearly, though, they got it right. Both Time and Newsweek put Springsteen on their covers, and the album received critical raves. Though it peaked at number 3 on the album chart, no question lingered about whether Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band had the chops to handle success. Look at these amazing tracks:

Side 1: “Thunder Road” * “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” * “Night” * “Backstreets”

Side 2: “Born to Run” * “She’s the One” * “Meeting Across the River” * “Jungleland”

In the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Born to Run came in at number 18.

Singer: Bruce Springsteen

Photo courtesy of Flickr, posted by daMusic.be

Photo courtesy of Flickr, posted by daMusic.be

A first for me: a guest blogger. Reader JMQ from New Jersey (surprise!) sent not just a suggestion, but a fully written entry about Bruce Springsteen. I’ve been a big fan for years, and Bruce would definitely have found his place here. So thanks, JMQ, for this excellent submission.

In many ways, Bruce Springsteen is the embodiment of rock & roll. Combining strains of blues, rockabilly, and especially R&B, his work epitomizes rock’s deepest values: desire; the need for freedom; and the search to find yourself. He’s got his feet planted on either side of that great divide between rebellion and redemption.

All through his songs there is a generosity and a willingness to portray even the simplest aspects of our lives in a dramatic and committed way. His music has an almost cinematic quality to it, and has always had enormous range in terms of subject and emotion, as well as volume. His quietest stuff is as introspective as anyone’s, but at its loudest, it is the best house party or cruisin’ with the windows down/singing at the top of your lungs music there is.

But he also is one of the few songwriters who understands the sense of music as a healing power, embodied by The Rising album. Released in response to 9/11, it salutes the innocence of the victims, the courage of the responders, and holds out a hand to those who mourn them, who seek the comfort of an explanation for the inexplicable.

His concerts with his E Street Band are legendary for their epic length and a commitment to his audience to bring it every night – “it” being the ability to induce goose bumps and crowd pleasing rave ups. For the uninitiated, just multiply his Super Bowl appearance by 100 and you get an idea of what a typical show is like.

37 years, 16 albums, and 19 Grammy Awards later, his most resonant works stand as milestones in the lives of millions of fans. Long live The Boss.