Bruce Springsteen

Showing 4 posts tagged Bruce Springsteen

A Young Bruce Springsteen plays Max’s Kansas City, August 10, 1972

More on this early performance from Marc Dolan’s Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll:

In early August of 1972, Bruce Springsteen finally went back in front of a live audience. For six nights that summer, he did two half-hour sets a night at the bottom of a three-artist bill at Max’s Kansas City, at that point still one of Manhattan’s hottest clubs for live music. Give his promising but still currently stalled career, the young singer probably wouldn’t have gotten a gig that impressive if the featured act on the bill (folksinger Dave van Ronk) hasn’t been an old friend of his new mentor John Hammond. Springsteen became casually friendly with Hammond that summer, frequently dropping into his Columbia office without necessarily calling first, much as he had shown up so often during the spring at Pocketful of Tunes.

Springsteen performed solo for these twelve acts. The first night at Max’s, The MC introduced Springsteen as “a very fine young songwriter with special talents.” The singer then took the stage nervously, adjusting the microphone, and gave exactly the sort of ill-at-ease, on-the-money introduction to his first number that was so typical of singer-songwriters during the latter-day coffeehouse era. This is a song about being new in town, he says about “Henry Boy,” a lively piece about a young man trying and mostly failing to make it as a performer in New York City. 

Awkward as the young singer’s spoken words are, though, everything changes the second he starts to play. Strumming a guitar, he clearly knows what he’s doing. His skills are even more in evidence when he plays his set-closer, the well-honed “Growin’ Up,” which those awkward words were meant to introduce.”

Thanks to Open Culture for bringing out attention to this video.

Track

The Ghost Of Tom Joad

Artist

Bruce Springsteen

Album

The Ghost Of Tom Joad

"[The narrator of ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’] is waiting for a savior to rise up—exactly what the narrator of ‘Thunder Road’ advised his beloved Mary not to doSignificantly, when that savior does arise in the song’s last verse, his conclusive words are not Springsteen’s own, but Steinbeck’s…”

Marc Dolan, unpacking The Boss’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” in Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll, out 6/4.

"Most important for MTV’s purposes, the video for ‘Dancing in the Dark’ showed of the New Bruce….He had been highly attentive to his public image for almost a decade now, and in these last four years, even as he had courted solitude and seclusion, he had also gotten a new haircut, had his teeth fixed, and started pumping some serious iron. His biceps were truly impressive in the video, and, thanks to DePalma, the short-sleeve white thrift-store shirt from which they emerge practically glows as he sings." 

From Marc Dolan’s Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll, out 6/4. 

Track

I'm On Fire

Artist

Bruce Springsteen

Album

Born In The U.S.A.

"[Senator Obama] revealed later in the campaign that he actually was a Springsteen fan, although he named the sultry ‘I’m on Fire’ as a favorite, rather than any song that could more clearly be identified as political. Backstage at a fund-raiser that fall, he joked to his wife, Michelle, ‘The reason I’m running for President is because I can’t be Bruce Springsteen.’" 

From Marc Dolan’s Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll, out 6/4.