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More Bruce Springsteen at The Pinkpop Festival In the Netherlands!

Bruce Springsteen Pinkpop Festival Setlist Landgraaf, The Netherlands 5/28/12 Setlist Wrecking Ball Tour Mumford & Sons

Thanks once more to our new friend, Josh Hathaway, who is a Huntsville, AL resident.  Josh Hathaway has turned a lifelong musical obsession into a not-very-lucrative career as a freelance music writer. BlindedBySound is the best chapter in that adventure, where he serves as site publisher.  He is also helping us spread the word of all that is Bruce Springsteen and more!

The E Street Band look to rebound from calamity in Cologne with their headlining set at the Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, Netherlands tonight. This set being part of a festival, it comes in several songs lighter than recent stadium shows on the European leg of the tour.

It’s too much to expect a complete recovery, then, from last night’s debacle but it’s a step in the right direction. This abbreviated set actually improves on things because they didn’t play the turds; it was addition by subtraction.

Not only that but look at this stretch: “Spirit In The Night,” “Because The Night,” and “Radio Nowhere.” That’s mighty! Look at just before and just after them: “My City Of Ruins” and “I’m On Fire” (the latter being a tour premiere). It’s hard to imagine how much energy came out of the place after fiery “Because The Night” and “Radio Nowhere” down to “I’m On Fire,” but it’s one of the songs on Born In The USA that doesn’t make me cringe

This being a festival and Bruce being a man of the people, there were guest musicians who came out to hang with the band during the encore. Amazingly, you can get more people on stage with the E Street Band and the E Street sideshow! Garland Jeffreys joined them for a rendition of “96 Tears,” a cover they played when I saw them in Atlanta on the Working On A Dream tour.

The other guest tonight was Mumford and Sons, who joined the band on “Hungry Heart.” I’m actually curious what that sounded like. I wonder if they changed up the arrangement or the harmonies to include the Mumfords or if it was played straight.

In addition to “96 Tears” and “Hungry Heart,” the encore included the now familiar run of “Born In The USA,” “Born To Run,” and “Dancing In The Dark.” That asshole fan in Cologne may have done us all the greatest disservice of all by encouraging Bruce to start playing “American Land” again. There really is no justice in this world if that individual is not found and tried in The Hague for crimes against humanity.

Here is the full setlist for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at the Pinkpop Festival, featuring special guests Garland Jeffreys and Mumford & Sons.

  1. We Take Care Of Our Own
  2. Wrecking Ball
  3. Badlands
  4. Death To My Hometown
  5. My City Of Ruins
  6. Spirit In the Night
  7. Because The Night
  8. Radio Nowhere
  9. I’m On Fire
  10. Shackled & Drawn
  11. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day
  12. The Promised Land
  13. The River
  14. The Rising
  15. We Are Alive
  16. Thunder Road ### ### ###
  17. 96 Tears [with Garland Jeffreys]
  18. Born In The U.S.A
  19. Born to Run
  20. Hungry Heart (w/Mumford and Sons)
  21. Dancing in the Dark
  22. American Land
  23. Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

Why Has Boston Become Such a Favorite Son for Bruce Springsteen?

The Springsteen Information Center would like to thank our good friend By Pete Chianca, Blogness on the Edge of Town and mysurburnlife.com out of The Geneva Republican!

Call it Springsteenian Guilt Syndrome (SGS) — I’m almost embarrassed to be getting three stadium shows in Boston on the fall leg of Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” tour (as many as Jersey), especially when Bruce has yet to hit Pittsburgh, Kansas City or the Pacific Northwest. Just ask the commenters on our Facebook page, who are starting to get a little frantic, frankly.

(All right, here is my 2 cents before we go any further.  There was this semi-famous rock and Roll Reporter/Producer who penned the now famous words that help catapult Bruce Springsteen’s Career. “I have seen the future of Rock n’ Roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen!”  The writer was Jon Landau, now The Boss or Partner of ’The Boss,’ depending how you look at it.   He was the guy who helped work through the road block for the album, Born To Run.  He was the guy who took over for the hated Mike Appel, who pretty much had Bruce signed to what a lot of folks call  Endebted  Servitude, where every and all songs that Bruce Wrote, belonged to Appel!  Back in the Day, this was common practice in the music business for most Managers/Producers and unknown talent who might become one hit wonders.   Who cares after they get their 15 minutes of fame. they made their money quick and dropped the act when it cooled off.   The problem was that Springsteen would become anything but a one hit wonder.  So the pendulum would end up swinging back at Appel who was severed at the head by Bruce, his new confidant and a bunch of 1,000 hour lawyers!  Well all of this Rock n roll Future happened in Boston!  Yes, Jon Landau was up in Boston when he made those remarks.  It’s no secret that Boston was one of the few really strong areas for Bruce and the Band.  It was up there with Jersey Shore, NYC, Philly and burbs, Cleveland, Washington DC area.  Places that were less than a days drive from home and could be gotten to quickly.  So it just proves that Bruce hasn’t forgotten his roots and returns to the places where they have been fans the longest.   this can be another of the reasons he has added a 3rd show in Beantown!  Now back to Pete’s article.),

What possessed him to embark on two Fenway shows and a Gillette Stadium stop in the same week we’ll never know — Maybe it’s because he’s enjoyed the time spent here while son Evan, who graduated this week, was attending BC. Or it could be because Camp Springsteen knows that we’ll pony (boy) up for the tickets no matter how many times he comes. Pittsburgh won’t come out unless he’s there with Grushecky. (Ahem.)

As for me, I have tickets to Fenway 1 and Gillette. Will I go for night 2 as well, or will sanity (along with my mortgage, my car payment and my family vacation fund) prevail? Stay tuned, and in the meantime, catch up with the Springsteen stories you may have missed if you for some reason aren’t glued to our Facebook page (and Twitter feed, natch) 24 hours a day, even though you should be.

• Speaking of Beantown, see Springsteen wandering the streets of Boston! (Above.) And where was I? That’s right, at work. What was I thinking?

22 seconds of the “Rocky Ground” video, for some reason.

Official release of the 1978 Cleveland Agora show? Yeah, I’d buy that.

• Springsteen clocks in at No. 5 and No. 30 for Paste’s “70 Best Albums of the ’70s.” You can probably guess with which ones.

Seville photo gallery: The Boss dresses down. Arriving in Gran Canaria photo gallery: Stevie dresses … well, “down” is probably not the word, but it’s something else. (Also, see great pix from the show here.) Finally, some fine shots from Barcelona.

• IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Rev. Jeffrey B. Symynkywicz’ essay on spirituality on “Wrecking Ball” is a must-read.

Video: Bruce Springsteen Credits Occupy Wall Street For Inspiring Newt Gingrich

21812bruce.jpg

 BROOOOOOCE performing at the Grammy Awards (AP)

 Coming off  an invigorating performance to kickoff the Grammy Awards, Bruce BROOOOOCE Springsteen was in Paris this week to formally introduce his new album, Wrecking Ball, for a select group of reporters. Springsteen gave over much of the press conference to discussing the current state of American politics, and how his “angry patriotism” was reflected in the new music: “Previous to Occupy Wall Street, there was no push back at all saying this was outrageous—a basic theft that struck at the heart of what America was about, a complete disregard for the American sense of history and community.”

Springsteen expects some people may misunderstand the politically charged songs—a mix of folk music, gospel music and the E-Street Band sound—on the new album, just as Ronald Reagan misunderstood “Born In The USA” almost 30 years ago. That’s especially true for the rousing first single “We Take Care Of Our Own,” an ironic song that sums up the broken promises of the country as far as Springsteen sees it. “I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream…What was done to our country was wrong and unpatriotic and un-American and nobody has been held to account,” he later told the Guardian. “There is a real patriotism underneath the best of my music but it is a critical, questioning and often angry patriotism.”

Inquirer Editorial: Springsteen Exhibit OK, But What’s Next?

Posted: Sun, Feb. 19, 2012, 3:01 AM

Prior to the exhibit

Prior to the exhibit’s opening, an empty display case at the National Constitution Center awaits Springsteen’s favorite Fender Telecaster – the one featured on the cover of the “Born to Run” album. Bruce planned on using it during the Grammys telecast, but ended up playing another guitar instead. The Fender is actually a hybrid. It has a 1954 Telecaster body with a 1952 Esquire neck. (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer)

True, both were born in the same country (the U.S.A.) and, in fact, within about 50 miles of Trenton. And both were born to run (in the Constitution’s case, a nation). And, of course, both continue to enjoy rock-star adulation despite advanced age and significant imperfections.

Springsteen is not the most incongruous figure the Independence Mall museum has featured. At least the Boss’ title was, in the American tradition, earned rather than inherited – unlike that of Princess Diana, the subject of another recent Constitution Center exhibit. What, after all, could be more diametrically opposed to American democracy than British royalty?

New Jersey royalty is a different story, and if the Constitution Center had to feature a popular musician, Springsteen is much more appropriate than, say, Lady Gaga (another aristocrat, judging by her sobriquet). As rock stars go, Springsteen is an avid student of American history and society. His often politically pointed lyrics might get him in trouble in a country without the First Amendment.

Short of arguing that “Cover Me” foresaw the debate about the constitutionality of a health-insurance mandate, the museum has tried valiantly to emphasize Springsteen’s relevance to its mission. An ad invites visitors to “celebrate freedom of expression at the must-see exhibition.” The gift shop sells T-shirts that read “Freedom Rocks” underneath a silhouetted rock band composed of great American statesman (drums: “Honest” Abe Lincoln).

The very American imperatives of capitalism are clearly pertinent here. Pop-cultural exhibits no doubt help the Constitution Center sell tickets. And the resulting crowds may well glance over its handwritten congressional copy of the 13th Amendment as well as Bruce’s original handwritten draft of “Atlantic City.”

But the Constitution Center is also congressionally chartered and has benefitted from no small amount of government support – all of which should be considered carefully before anyone dreams up an exhibit about, say, American Idol. For a museum devoted to serious ideas, forgetting that would be a suicide rap indeed.

Bruce Springsteen: Rocker Charges US Government With ‘Un-American’ Acts

Posted on Feb 17th 2012 4:00PM by Jason MacNeil

Taylor Hill, FilmMagic

Bruce Springsteen didn’t mince words Thursday night at the Theatre Marigny in Paris during a press conference while promoting his upcoming ‘Wrecking Ball‘ album. The topic: His utter disappointment with the current state of America. “What was done to our country was wrong and unpatriotic and un-American and nobody has been held to account,” Springsteen told The Guardian. “There’s a real patriotism underneath the best of my music. But it is a critical, questioning and often angry patriotism.” Springsteen, who gave critics an advanced listen of the new studio album, also said the fury behind some of the record’s lyrics, including the title track, was because “a big promise has been broken.” “You can’t have a United States if you are telling some folks that they can’t get on the train,” he said. “There’s a cracking point where a society collapses. You can’t have a civilization where something is factionalized like this.”The musician noted he plans to back President Barack Obama leading up to the November election but he may not offer his support as overtly as he did during the 2008 election. “I don’t write for one side of the street… But the Bush years were so horrific you could not just sit around,” Springsteen said. “It was such a blatant disaster. I campaigned for Kerry and Obama, and I am glad I did. But normally I would prefer to stay on the sidelines. The artist is supposed to be the canary in the cage.” As for Obama’s first term as President, Springsteen listed Obama’s healthcare legislation (“thought not the public system I would have wanted”), the death of Osama Bin Laden and bringing “sanity to the top level of government” as successes. But he also said “big business still has too much of a say in government” and felt the Guantanamo Bay detention camp “would have been closed” by now. Springsteen also cited the recent Occupy movements around the world, especially Occupy Wall Street, with pushing important issues to the forefront. “The Occupy Wall Street movement has been powerful about changing the national conversation,” he said, as reported by The Telegraph. “The Tea Party set the conversation for a while but now people are talking about economic equality. That’s a conversation America hasn’t had for 20 years.”

Watch Bruce Springsteen’s ‘We Take Care of Our Own’ Video

According to the rocker, the album’s first single ‘We Take Care of Our Own’ — which Springsteen performed last week at the Grammys — gets right to the point. “The song asks the question that the rest of the record tries to answer which is, ‘Do we?’ We often don’t,” he said as reported by The Evening Standard. “I write carefully and precisely and I believe clearly. If you’re missing it, you’re not quite thinking hard enough.” The Telegraph reports Springsteen addressed the strong emotion driving the album, too. “You can never go wrong in rock ‘n’ roll when you’re pissed off,” he said. “My work has always been about judging the distance between American reality and the American dream.” Springsteen also said “a lovely moment for me” on the album is the sax on ‘Land of Hope and Dreams,’ a song that features the late Clarence Clemons. “Losing Clarence is like something elemental, it’s like losing the rain, that’s a part of life,” he said. Springsteen launches the ‘Wrecking Ball’ world tour in Atlanta on March 18. The European leg begins May 13 in Sevilla and runs through July 31 in Helsinki. Although nothing is confirmed, there’s speculation a second North American leg is planned for later in 2012.

Bruce Springsteen: “I Enjoy Artists Who Take On The World!”

Bruce Springsteen’s 17th studio album is his most overtly political yet.

At its launch in Paris, the blue-collar icon reveals why

Bruce Springsteen: 'I enjoy artists who take on the world'

Bruce Springsteen: ‘I enjoy artists who take on the world’ Photo: Rex Features

6:25PM GMT 16 Feb 2012

“You can never go wrong in rock’n’roll when you’re p—ed off,” according to   Bruce Springsteen. In Paris yesterday to unveil his new album, Wrecking   Ball, to the world’s media, Springsteen admitted it had been written in a   spirit of political anger. “My work has always been about judging the   distance between American reality and the American Dream.”

Right now, he suggested, the distance was greater than it had ever been in   his lifetime. With the financial crisis, “an enormous fault-line cracked the   American system wide open and its repercussions are just beginning to be   felt.”

Wrecking Ball is the 17th studio album from America’s blue-collar rock icon.   Befitting troubled times for the working man, it is Springsteen’s most   overtly political collection of songs. The title, he said, reflects “the   flat destruction of some American ideals and values over the last 30 years.   It seemed like a good metaphor.”

While the album is underpinned by a dark fury, in person Springsteen was relaxed, amusing and philosophical. Asked if he felt that his role as voice of protest was a burden, he laughed out loud. “I’m terribly burdened at night when I’m sleeping in my big house. It’s killing me,” he joked. “The rock life is brutal, don’t let anyone tell you different.”

Actually, he conceded, just to be a musician was “a charmed life. That’s why   they call it playing.” But he spoke eloquently about how his family   background, growing up in a household where his father had been   “emasculated” by long-term unemployment, fuelled his interest in the   underlying political causes, describing his songwriting as “having a   conversation with myself”.

Despite the anthemic roar and gutsy drive of the opening track, We Take Care   Of Our Own, Wrecking Ball is not the kind of back-to-basics E Street rock   Springsteen has been essaying in recent years. Reaching into the raucous   roots of his Seeger Sessions, referencing gospel, folk and blues while   bringing in drum loops, hints of hip hop and a raw mix that pushes vocals   high, Springsteen appears keen to build bridges between the past and the   present, finding contemporary resonances in timeless sources.

It also features the last sax solo from his long-time sparring partner, the   late Clarence Clemons. “I met Clarence when I was 22, my son’s age, still a   child really. Something happened when we got close, it fired my imagination.   So losing Clarence was like losing something elemental, the air or the rain.   There’s just something missing. We were lucky to get him on Land of Hope and   Dreams. When the sax solo comes up, its a lovely moment for me.”

There is, in the essence of Springsteen’s oeuvre, a very American sense of   exulting in the heroic underdog, but here there is a blackness to his mood,   fuelled not just by the sense that the dignity of the working man is being   assaulted and undermined, but that such assaults are, perhaps, a politically   inevitable expression of the very character of the nation.

Time and again, Springsteen sets the image of the honest toiler against   “bankers”, “fat cats” and “robber barons”. “An outrageous theft occurred   that struck to the heart of the American idea,” suggested Springsteen. “And   there has been no accountability.”

He does, however, see cause for optimism. “The Occupy Wall Street movement has   been powerful about changing the national conversation. The Tea Party set   the conversation for a while but now people are talking about economic   equality. That’s a conversation America hasn’t had for 20 years.”

There is also a religious dimension to Springsteen’s latest songs. The album   shifts towards the spiritual uplift of gospel music in its rousing finale,   evoking Jesus and the risen dead. “I got brainwashed as a child with   Catholicism,” joked Springsteen, who says biblical imagery increasingly   creeps into his songs almost unbidden. “Its like Al Pacino in The Godfather:   I try to get out but they pull you back in! Once a Catholic, always a   Catholic.”

Springsteen supported Obama’s presidential campaign, and We Take Care of Our   Own has already been added to the Obama re-election playlist, yet the often   bitter tone of the album suggests Springsteen is not impressed with the   powers-that-be.

He admitted, however, that he still supports Obama, who he felt had achieved   some things in a difficult political environment. Springsteen doubted he   would be actively involved in Obama’s campaign, however.  “As an artist, its   better to maintain a certain distance from the seat of power.”

He said the only thing he was really good at was making music. “I enjoy   artists who like to take on the world as well as entertain their audience. I   write to process my own experiences and if I can do that for me, I hope I   can do that for you.”

He did, however, suggest that Obama could have a shot at Springsteen’s job.   “Obama can sing!” he joked, referring to the Presidential karaoke   performance widely viewed on YouTube. “Let’s stick together,” croaked   Springsteen, then laughed at his own poor effort. “He’s better than me! I   can’t sing that!”

Wrecking Ball is released on Columbia on March 5

Angry Springsteen Gauges Gap Between American Dream & Reality

16 February 2012 – 21H53

 Bruce Springsteen performed at the Staples Center during the 54th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, on February 12. Springsteen’s latest album “Wrecking Ball”, presented to journalists in Paris on Thursday ahead of release on March 6 and a US and European tour, is a tableau of the American Dream that has gone horribly wrong.
Anger at unfettered greed, sympathy for the poor and the unemployed, and gospel-style appeals for hope are the emotional threads that run through the 17th studio album in Springsteen’s 38-year career.

Springsteen said America had become a society where “people were locked into the strata under which they were born”.

“We’ve destroyed the idea of an equal playing field,” he said.

That’s a big promise that’s been broken. There’s a critical mass point where a society collapses, and you can’t have a civilisation with a society that’s as factionalised as that.”

The 11-track album kicks off with the already-released “We Take Care of Our Own”, which contrasts glib patriotic slogans with the dour reality for Americans fighting to keep a job or save their homes from foreclosure.

Other tracks pour bile over the “robber barons” of the financial system and wave an angry fist at anonymous corporations, able to destroy a town without a shot being fired.

“The banker man grows fat / The working man grows thin / It’s all happened before and it will happen again,” says “Jack of All Trades”, which adds, “If I had me a gun / I’d find the bastards and shoot ‘em on sight.”

Springsteen said the album was triggered by the 2008 financial crisis, which he said was a culmination of three decades of deregulation and unbridled profiteering.

Until the Occupy Wall Street movement began last year, no-one was even deemed accountable for the disaster, he said.

“A basic theft had occurred that struck the heart of just what the entire American idea was about, really. It was a complete disregard of history, of context, of community, and all about, ‘what can I get today?’.

“So it was an enormous faultline that cracked the American system wide open, and its repercussions were really just beginning to really be felt,” he said.

Springsteen said he had always had a close interest in inequality and unfairness in America and hit at those who chose to misinterpret his lyrics as unpatriotic, as happened in the 1984 classic “Born in the USA”.

“There is a feeling of patriotism underneath (…) in my best music, but at the same time, it’s a very critical, questioning, often angry sort of patriotism,” he said.

“That’s not something that I’m prepared to give up for fear that someone might simplify what I’m saying.”

He added: “My work has always been about judging the distance between American reality and the American dream. How far is that at any given moment?” he said.

The first part of the album — “very angry, particularly”, said Springsteen — cedes to songs that have an almost biblical feel in their longing for hope, solidarity and salvation.

Asked about this, Springsteen referred to a working-class Catholic childhood in New Jersey, where he lived next door to a church.

“I got completely brainwashed as a child with Catholicism,” he said. “(…) It’s given me a very active sense of spiritual life — and made it very difficult sexually,” he quipped.

In musical terms, the album borrows on folk, gospel and 1930s recession songs for what Springsteen described as “historical resonances” to convey social themes.

One of the strongest tracks is “Land of Hope and Dreams”, an anthem that feels rooted in the “Born to Run” album that propelled Springsteen to stardom in 1975.

It notably features the blasting saxophone of Clarence Clemons, aka “The Big Man”, a close friend of Springsteen who died last year from complications of a stroke. Clemons’ nephew, Jake Clemons, has been rostered to play sax on the upcoming tour, opening in Atlanta on Saturday.

“Losing Clarence is like losing something elemental. It’s like losing the rain, you know, or air,” Springsteen said.

“That’s a part of life. The currents of life affect even the dream world of popular music. There’s no escape.”

This Day in Music Spotlight: Bruce Springsteen’s American Dream

Bryan Wawzenek  07.07.2011

Special thanks to ThisDayinMusic.com.

There are few stylistic changes more jarring than the one Bruce Springsteen made between 1982’s Nebraska and 1984’s Born in the U.S.A. The first is essentially an album of demos, recorded without the E Street Band; the second is as pop-oriented as “the Boss” ever got, with the addition of synthesizers and bright, radio-friendly arrangements. While some have seen Born (which went to #1 on the Billboard charts on this day in ’84) as a reaction to the starkness of Nebraska, the fact is that many of the songs on both albums were written – and even recorded – concurrently. You could say that these two wildly different works are something akin to two halves of a whole. Born in the U.S.A.’s famous title track actually dates back to 1981, when Springsteen was asked to write a song for a Paul Schrader film tentatively titled Born in the U.S.A. (which later came out in 1987 as Light of Day). Bruce had been working on a song called “Vietnam,” and incorporated some features of that tune into a new one, which took its title from the film. He recorded a stripped-down, non-anthemic version of “Born in the U.S.A.” and nearly included it on Nebraska, but left it off because he felt it was just slightly different, thematically, from the rest of the tracks on the album. Around the same time, in early 1982, Springsteen also had written and recorded “Cover Me” and “I’m on Fire,” but felt they would be more appropriate for a different release. In spring of that year, Bruce called in the E Street Band to lay down tracks that would be for an album that was separate from the Nebraska project. They recorded the full-band versions of “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Darlington County,” “Working on the Highway,” “Downbound Train,” “I’m Goin’ Down” and “Glory Days” in April and May at The Power Station New York City. With Nebraska not yet in stores, Springsteen and the band had already recorded the bulk of what would be the album’s follow-up. The songs were drastically different in sound (with a shiny, rock radio sheen), but not always in tone. He would later discuss the similarities (in terms of lyrics) between the Born and Nebraska songs: “If you look at the material, particularly on the first side, it’s actually written very much like Nebraska – the characters and the stories, the style of writing – except it’s just in the rock-band setting.” Following Nebraska’s release, Springsteen and friends cut a few more of the final Born in the U.S.A. tracks – “My Hometown,” “No Surrender” and “Bobby Jean” (an allegory for his pal Steven Van Zandt, who had announced his departure from the E Street Band). But the album’s true, blockbuster hit single wasn’t written and recorded until just a few months before Born in the U.S.A.’s release in June of ’84. “Dancing in the Dark” came out of a disagreement between Bruce and Jon Landau, his manager. Landau was happy with the album, but felt it could use something aimed directly at pop-rock radio. Springsteen was less than thrilled with Landau’s suggestion, but channeled his frustration into some lyrics (“You can’t start a fire without a spark,” “I’m just tired and bored with myself”). The synthesizer-driven song, “Dancing in the Dark,” would provide Bruce with the pop-friendly firepower that Landau felt he needed. It was released as the lead single off the album and turned into Springsteen’s biggest hit (rising to #2 on the Billboard charts, second only to Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” and Prince’s “When Doves Cry”). Years later, Springsteen would appear conflicted about writing, recording and releasing the song. “It went as far in the direction of pop music as I wanted to go – and probably a little farther,” he wrote in Songs. “My heroes, from Hank Williams to Frank Sinatra to Bob Dylan, were popular musicians. They had hits. There was value in trying to connect with a large audience.” And Springsteen certainly connected with a large audience via “Dancing in the Dark” and Born in the U.S.A., which hit #1 on the Billboard album charts a month after its release. It would end up spending 139 weeks on the Billboard charts, and eventually be certified 15-times platinum. In the mid-’80s, as Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna were becoming music superstars, Bruce Springsteen – a guy from the rock world – was turning into an equally dominant pop idol. An enormous world tour (which spotlight both the material from Nebraska and Born in the U.S.A.) put Bruce and the band before giant crowds. In the meantime, he equaled Jackson’s Thriller record of seven Top 10 singles from one album, set the previous year. Between spring of 1984 and winter of 1985, “Dancing in the Dark,” “Cover Me,” “Born in the U.S.A.,” “I’m on Fire,” “Glory Days,” “I’m Goin’ Down” and “My Hometown” all hit the Top 10 – flooding MTV, with videos directed by Brian De Palma and John Sayles, and radio airwaves with all things Bruce. It seemed that everything related to Born in the U.S.A. was everywhere. The album’s cover (featuring Springsteen’s behind before an American flag) became iconic. And you really know you’ve become a superstar when the President misinterprets your music. Like many Americans, President Ronald Reagan heard a patriotic anthem in “Born in the U.S.A.” and overlooked the angry protest at the heart of the song. But, being misunderstood is part of the price you pay when you aim for superstardom. And it’s a bit tough to be seen as the voice of the common man when your album goes multi-platinum. Springsteen admitted to the changes in his life when he talked to Rolling Stone in the middle of Born in the U.S.A.’s staggering success. “Yeah, there’s a change [in me]. [Being a rich man] doesn’t make living easier, but it does make certain aspects of your life easier,” he said. “Money was kind of part of the dream when I started. I don’t think… I never felt like I ever played a note for the money. I think if I did, people would know, and they’d throw you out of the joint. And you’d deserve to go. But at the same time, it was a part of the dream.” A decade after the dust settled, Springsteen reflected about the significance of this chapter in his career: “Born in the U.S.A. changed my life and gave me my largest audience. It forced me to question the way I presented my music and made me think harder about what I was doing.”

Springsteen, Van Zandt Salute E Street Band Saxophonist Clarence Clemons

E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt will salute his late bandmate, saxophonist Clarence Clemons, on his Sirius XM Radio channel on Friday.

The two-hour special on Little Steven’s Underground Garage channel will start at 4 p.m. Pacific time (7 p.m. Eastern) and will cover Clemons’ storied career playing alongside Bruce Springsteen in concert and in the recording studio, as well as his outings apart from the E Street Band.

The latter includes his prominent part on Aretha Franklin’s Grammy-winning 1985 hit “Freeway of Love,” his duet the same year with Jackson Browne “You Are a Friend of Mine,” and a collaboration with Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter on “All of the Good Ones Are Taken.”

Van Zandt also plans to incorporate interview segments with Clemons and audio excerpts from  movie and TV appearances he made, such as in “New York, New York,” “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Wire.”

Clemons died at age 69 on June 18, six days after suffering a stroke at his home in Florida. A few days after his death, Springsteen delivered a eulogy at a private service for Clemons, and in it he hinted that the E Street Band will find a way to continue:

My pal was a tough act but he brought things into your life that were unique, and when he turned on that love light, it illuminated your world.  I was lucky enough to stand in that light for almost 40 years, near Clarence’s heart, in the Temple of Soul….

“C” always knew how to live. Long before Prince was out of his diapers, an air of raunchy mysticism ruled in the Big Man’s world. I’d wander in from my dressing room, which contained several fine couches and some athletic lockers, and wonder what I was doing wrong! Somewhere along the way all of this was christened the Temple of Soul; and “C” presided smilingly over its secrets, and its pleasures. Being allowed admittance to the Temple’s wonders was a lovely thing. …

Clarence doesn’t leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die.

So, I’ll miss my friend, his sax, the force of nature his sound was, his glory, his foolishness, his accomplishments, his face, his hands, his humor, his skin, his noise, his confusion, his power, his peace. But his love and his story, the story that he gave me, that he whispered in my ear, that he allowed me to tell … and that he gave to you … is gonna carry on. …

I won’t say goodbye to my brother, I’ll simply say, see you in the next life, further on up the road, where we will once again pick up that work, and get it done.

The full text of what’s described as “a slightly revised version” of the eulogy has been posted on Springsteen’s website.

Readers Poll: The Greatest Bruce Springsteen Songs

Last weekend we gave our readers the challenge of picking their single
favorite Bruce Springsteen song. It’s not an easy decision. Do you go for an
iconic song like “Born To Run,” or a slightly lesser known (but equally
brilliant) track like “Backstreets”? Do you pick a rocker like “Rostalita (Come
Out Tonight)” or a quiet, acoustic track like “Atlantic City”? Our readers went
for all of the above. Click through to see the winners.

By Andy Greene

10. ‘Racing In The Street’

The devastating loss of Clarence Clemons was clearly on the
minds of some voters as some of his greatest sax work is represented in the list
– which kicks off with 1978′s “Racing In The Street.” While the debate still
rages
about whether you can put fuelie heads on a 1969 Chevy 396, the song
is a longtime fan favorite and contains some of the greatest keyboard/organ work
in the Springsteen catalog.

9. ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’

The title track to 1978s Darkness On The Edge Of Town remains one of
Springsteen’s most powerful statements. He’s performed it solo acoustic, with
various incarnations of the E Street Band and even with the “Other Band” in
1992/93 – but for our money the definitive version was cut under two years ago
at Asbury Park’s Paramount Theater. Shortly after the Working On a Dream
Tour
ended in late 2009, Springsteen and the members of the E Street Band
who played on the original (with Charlie Giordano subbing for the late Danny
Federici) convened at theater to play Darkness On the Edge of Town
straight through for a DVD shoot. It culminated with this fiery rendition of the
song. By the end, the veins in Bruce’s head seem to be on the verge of
exploding.

8. ‘Atlantic City’

In March of 1981, mob boss Philip “The Chicken Man” Testa was killed when a
nail bomb exploded under his front porch. He lived about an hour away from
Atlantic City, and owned a bar on the boardwalk where Donald Trump later built a
massive casino. The incident kicked off an incredibly bloody mob war, and
inspired Bruce Springsteen to wrote one of his most evocative songs. In early
drafts of the tune, when it was still called “Fistful of Dollars,” Springsteen
can be heard methodically shaping the tune until he settled on the final form.
It’s the highlight of his stellar 1982 disc Nebraska, though check out
Live In New York City for a amazing live take with the E Street Band.

7. ‘Backstreets’

Like most Bruce Springsteen songs, “Backstreets” is significantly better live
in concert. The tale of lost love wraps up side one of Born to Run, but
onstage it really popped. To many fans, the definitive versions are found on the
1978 tour. Bruce would typically slow the song down in the middle to deliver a
passionate “Sad Eyes” rap, which eventually evolved into 1980′s “Drive All
Night.”

6. ‘Badlands’

Almost no song in the Springsteen catalog gets a crowd riled up like
“Badlands.” The opening track to Darkness on the Edge of Town has a
drum intro so memorable that Best Coast swiped it for their 2010 song
“Girlfriend,” and it just gets more anthemic from there. Earlier this year,
Springsteen performed it in Boston with the Dropkick Murphys. The place went
absolutely insane.

5. ‘Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)’

“Rostalita (Come Out Tonight)” was the highlight of countless Springsteen
live shows during the E Street Band’s original incarnation between 1973 to 1988.
In the 1990s, Springsteen had enough and only played it on extremely special
occasions in New Jersey. In 1999, the reunited E Street Band played a 15-night
stand at Jersey’s Continental Airlines Arena. Most nights the fans held up signs
for “Rosalita,” but Springsteen didn’t budge until the very last night. “It’s
been a great gift being able to stand up here and make this music come alive and
to look out into your faces,” he told the crowd before the final song. “How
could I say thanks? I know there’s a way. I’m sure there’s a way. I haven’t seen
any of those stupid signs. So maybe just once . . .”  It would be another four
years before it became a regular part of the setlist again.

4. ‘The River’

When Bruce Springsteen’s sister Virginia was just 17 she became pregnant, and
wound up marrying her high school boyfriend. Their struggle inspired Springsteen
to write “The River,” about a couple in a similar situation. He debuted the song
in 1979 at the No Nukes concert at Madison Square Garden, and he dedicated the
song to his sister and brother-in-law. Twenty years later, he played the song on
the E Street Band’s reunion tour in a drastically slowed down, sax-heavy
arrangement – making it somehow even sadder. Check it out here.

3. ‘Jungleland’

In his book Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales, Clarence Clemons
recalled the origins of the Born to Run album. “In the beginning, I
think Bruce was going for a rock opera kind of thing about this character called
Magic Rat,” Clemons wrote. “He had lots of songs and themes that were built
around this narrative he had in his head. Eventually he let that go.” The Magic
Rat did make it into the album’s epic closer “Jungleland,” which contains
Clarence’s most famous sax solo. In the summer of 2009, they played it at
London’s Hyde Park right as the sun was coming down. Check it out here.

2. ‘Born To Run’

In early 1974, Bruce Springsteen was listening to Duane Eddy’s 1960 hit
“Because They’re Young” when a similarly twangy, dramatic guitar riff came into
his head. It soon became the intro for the “exhilarating, orgasmic” new song the
struggling 24-year-old singer-songwriter was trying to create: He called it
“Born to Run.” “I had these enormous ambitions for it,” says Springsteen, now
56. “I wanted to make the greatest rock record that I’d ever heard, I wanted
it to sound enormous, to grab you by your throat and insist that you take that
ride, insist that you pay attention – not just to the music,
but to life, to being alive.” – Brian Hiatt

1. ‘Thunder Road’

When Bruce Springsteen arranged the track order on Born to Run, he
wanted the album to convey the sense of one long, sweaty day in New Jersey.
“There is something about the [piano] melody of Thunder Road’ that
suggests a new day,” Springsteen told Rolling Stone in 2005. “Which is
why that song ended up first on the record, instead of ‘Born To Run.’”
Springsteen spent months slowly tweaking the song before he cut it in the
studio, often playing those in-progress versions on the road. It was originally
called “Wings For Wheels,” but when he saw the poster for Robert Mitchum’s 1958
movie Thunder Road he knew he had a title.