> “THE BOSS” <
I’ve always liked Bruce Springsteen, but it wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I started to listen to his music seriously. Everyone had their own way of dealing with the inherent drama and stress of their teenage years, and mine was Bruce. There was just something about putting headphones on, closing my eyes and feeling the power behind his voice that made me feel like the world wasn’t such a bad place. He just has that effect on people.
Although the reasons are virtually endless and different for every fan, here are my 10 Reasons to Love Bruce Springsteen. ☺
1. He’s incredibly handsome.
If beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, that beholder’s name is Bruce Springsteen. I mean seriously – just look at that stone cold stare and chiseled jawline! Not to mention his sweat-glistened biceps and Jersey tan. *swoon*
He was born on September 23rd, 1949, so many would assume his prime years are over. WRONG! Bruce is still a strappin’ lad at age 66 and is even on tour right now. And although looks aren’t everything, they definitely don’t hurt.
2. He’s proud of his roots.
It’s no secret that Springsteen is a Jersey boy. From the title of his first album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. to his songs “Jersey Girl” and “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” it’s easy to see that he’s proud of it too. Early lyrics like that of “Born to Run” often allude to a need to break free of hometown ties: “Oh 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.”
However, Springsteen readily admits that such constraints are what made him the man and musician he is today. Growing up on the crumbling Jersey Shore and struggling to understand his family’s issues influenced his music to become his music. Various musicians have the typical “making something out of nothing in a good for nothing town” backstory. Perhaps what sets Mr. Springsteen apart is that he never left Jersey behind amidst his incredibly successful career. In Colt’s Neck, he and his wife Patti Scialfa raised their three children and reside permanently.
3. He’s never abused drugs or alcohol.
This might be another subjective point, but too many great musicians have perished as a result of the drug and alcohol abuse that seemingly comes paired with living in the limelight. Bruce never had a drop of alcohol until he was 22 years old because of the consequences he’d seen in his father’s alcoholism. This interview notes that Bruce “saw some talented musicians really lose themselves” while taking drugs. He viewed the building of a career as a bigger reward than temporary highs, which is advice we should all take.
4. He wanted to start a great band – not be a solo star.
There’s nothing wrong with solo musicians. I’m actually a huge fan of independent artists like Tallest Man on Earth and Courtney Barnett, and I assume it’s not an easy task to get crowds of thousands engaged in your music all alone. Just as difficult though is utilizing an entire band to create music with just as much intimacy, and that’s exactly what Mr. Springsteen sought out to do.
Elvis Presley was Bruce’s biggest influence as a child, but becoming a solo act like the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was never his intent. The formation of the E Street Band ultimately made Bruce Springsteen into a rock and roll legend (and subsequently a husband for the second time). Clarence Clemons’ defiant sax solos among Danny Federici’s bellowing organ and Steven Van Zandt’s stylistic rhythm guitar, just to name a few of the iconic members, saved Bruce from becoming “just another [Bob] Dylan,” as his early critics predicted.
5. He loves redheads.
We all know that redheads are doomed to be the butt of one too many jokes. At one of my high school One-Act competitions, a boy walked on stage during a traditional game of Park Bench with his hood up and quietly told the girl on the bench, “You probably shouldn’t sit there…” After the girl asked why, the boy pulled his hood down and shamefully exclaimed, “BECAUSE I’M A GINGER!”
He received a standing ovation as the girl ran off the stage in fear.
Bruce on the other hand is an overt lover of gingers. Both of his marriages (first to Julianne Phillips and then to Patti Scialfa) have been to women of red hair. He literally howls over these rare pale beauties in his sultry song “Red Headed Woman.”
So come on, gingers! How could you not be a fan of someone who’s a big a fan of you?! ☺
6. He knows how to play one hell of a show.
In today’s world of digital music at your fingertips and outrageously priced tickets for musical festivals (that arguably only serve the purpose of getting Instagram photos and taking drugs…), people just don’t appreciate live music as much as they used to.
Springsteen alters that fate with his ability to make every member in his audiences feel like he’s playing directly to them. He’s also characterized by his lengthy stadium concerts. On July 31st, 2012 at Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, Finland he played his longest show to date: 4 hours and 6 minutes. “Dancing in the Dark” has become iconic to Bruce’s live performances not only because it’s one of his biggest hits, but he always invites an audience member on stage to dance with him. F.R.I.E.N.D.S star Monica (Courteney Cox) famously danced with Bruce in the song’s music video.
7. He’s a family man.
Bruce told us “It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City,” but what about the difficulty being a father and multi-million dollar rock star?!
Upon marrying fellow E Street band mate Patti Scialfa in the ’90s, they left Los Angeles to raise their three young kids in a more conventional setting. Evan, the oldest Springsteen child, is a successful singer/songwriter. Middle child Jessica is a nationally-ranked equestrian. And the youngest, Sam, is a firefighter.
As I briefly mentioned before, Bruce didn’t have the best relationship with his father. His mother, Adele, and he still share a close relationship though. He recently invited his mother, now 90 years old, to be his partner during his performance of “Ramrod” at Madison Square Garden on March 28th, 2016. Watch the heartwarming mother-son interaction here.
8. He’s a lyrical genius.
Springsteen’s lyrics mainly focus on the fierce imagery of working-class life and ephemeral young love. I can say so much about how his words speak to me personally, but I understand that each listener interprets them differently.
“Workin’ in the fields, ’til you get your back burned. Workin’ ‘neath the wheel, ’til you get your facts learned. Baby I got my facts, learned real good right now.” – “Badlands”
“We learned more from a three-minute record, baby, than we ever learned in school.” – “No Surrender”
“I come from down in the valley, where mister, when you’re young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.” – “The River”
“Now off down the highway there’s the last stream of cars.. We sit a while in my front yard, with the radio playin’ soft and low. I pull Carol close to my heart, and I lean back and stare up at the stars. Oh I wish, never had to let this moment go.” – “County Fair”
“Sandy, that waitress I was seeing lost her desire for me. I spoke with her last night, she said she won’t set herself on fire for me anymore.” – “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”
Can you see why he’s so dear to my heart? ☺
9. He can seriously SHRED.
Bruce is no Eric Clapton, but watch this 1978 live performance of Prove it All Night. Despite the fact that Rolling Stone Magazine placed him at #96 on their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists, you cannot honestly say he’s just another bozo with a guitar after watching such a performance- the connection between Bruce and his Fender Esquire is almost spiritual. When paired with his roaring vocals, his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 is undoubtedly well-deserved.
10. He’s “the Boss.”
During the early years of the E Street Band, Bruce was responsible for paying the members at the end of a show, hence the nickname “the Boss.” However, the name stuck with him beyond the ’70s because of his perfectionist qualities. Albums weren’t complete, practices weren’t over, and musicians weren’t hired until Bruce said so.
But that is not to say he was a musical dictator! Bruce welcomed the opposing views of his band because those differences are what made the E Street Band as diverse as it is. “The Boss” was simply a name that poked fun at Bruce’s adamant strive to create a great rock and roll band.
Bruce will always be one of my heroes. I love his music, but there’s so much more to his career than selling records. He had a dream, and he made it real.
Why do you love Bruce? Tell me in the comments below!
Until next time,