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‘I Still Back Obama-But From The Sidelines’ Springsteen

Rock star Bruce Springsteen said on Thursday he still supported US President Barack Obama but indicated he would not be taking part in the campaign to get him re-elected.

At a press conference in Paris to promote a new album and tour, Springsteen was asked whether this year he would join the campaign trail to back Obama, as he did in 2008 and also in 2004 for Democratic challenger John Kerry.

“I got into that sort of by accident. The Bush years were so horrific that you couldn’t just sit around,” Springsteen declared.

“I never campaigned for politicians previous to John Kerry and at that moment it was such a blatant disaster occurring at the top of government, you felt that if you had any cachet whatsoever, you had to cash it in because you couldn’t sit around and watch it.”

But, he added, “I’m not a professional campaigner and every four years I don’t think that I’m going to go and pick a guy and go after him.

“I prefer to stay on the sidelines. I genuinely believe an artist (is) supposed to be the canary in the coalmine, and you’re better off with a certain distance from the seat of power.”

Springsteen said he thought Obama had a mixed record.

“There’s a lot of things” that were positive, he said.

“He kept GM alive, which was incredibly important to Detroit and Michigan, and he got the healthcare law passed, although I wish there had been a public option and didn’t leave the citizens victims of the insurance companies, he killed Osama bin Laden, which was extremely important. He brought some sanity to the top level of government.”

However, Obama was “more friendly to corporations than I thought he would be, (and) there’s not as many middle-class or working-class voices heard in the administration as I thought there would be,” said Springsteen.

“I would like to have seen more activism in job creation sooner than it came, I would like to have seen people helped out, seen some of these (home) foreclosures stopped somehow.”

Springsteen said: “I still support the president, but there are plenty of things that I thought took a long time and would have been closed by now. But on the other hand, we’re out of Iraq and hopefully we’ll be out of Afghanistan soon.”

The new album “Wrecking Ball” goes on sale on March 6, followed by a US and European tour beginning on March 18 in Atlanta, Georgia. It is Springsteen’s 17th studio album.

Stars Tour The White House, But Obama Isn’t Home

Jessica Simpson, Gabourey Sidibe, Jeremy Renner, and Kristin Davis received VIP White House tours on Sunday, following the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. The only thing missing from the house tour? The main occupant.

President Barack Obama was in Louisiana all day Sunday, overseeing recovery efforts from the massive BP oil spill.

Had he been home, the stars would likely have gotten at least a handshake, if not a few minutes of chatting with the Commander in Chief. In the past, Obama has met with Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Bruce Springsteen when they visited Washington.

Springsteen Lightens Music For Obama Era, Meet The New Boss!

By Walker Simon


Thanks to NEW YORK (Reuters)


rAfter years of excoriating the Bush administration for what he believed was the hijacking of American values and ideals, Bruce Springsteen is welcoming the Obama era with a noticeably lightened tone, both political and musical.

 Springsteen’s “Working On A Dream” album, released a week to the day after President Barack Obama‘s inauguration, turns inward and addresses relationships and aging in lush arrangements with a sound evocative of classic 1960s pop music.

 ”In terms of lyrics, it’s a much more personal album, focusing on themes like romance and maturity rather than expressing outrage sparked by government policies,” said Entertainment Weekly music critic Simon Vozick-Levinson. 

The album stands in stark contrast to 2007′s “Magic,” on which he railed against the war in Iraq and the erosion of civil liberties. Touring for that album, he told fans that America was now known for voter suppression and illegal wiretapping. 


 The new album isn’t the only thing to raise the Boss’s profile lately. Springsteen appeared at Obama’s pre-inaugural concert, won a Golden Globe award for the title song for independent film The Wrestler, and will be the halftime act at Sunday’s Super Bowl.

 Experts say the new record and more relaxed approach to politics is simply a reflection of the changing times.   ”Working on a Dream is loosely evocative of the moment of optimism and engagement in the Obama administration,” Jim Cullen, author of “Born In The U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition,” told Reuters.

 ”Working on a Dream” is the fourth Springsteen album produced by Brendan O’Brien since 2002, and music watchers say its sound was clearly influenced by 1960s pop hits by Roy Orbison, The Turtles, The Byrds and The Beach Boys. “It’s a throwback to (his) musical heritage of melodic 1960s pop,” said Cullen. “There’s an aural lushness … with a dense smooth background,” incorporating multiple keyboards, several guitars and a synthesis of the sound of strings.

 The 59-year-old Springsteen and his long-time group the E Street Band will kick off a tour in San Jose, California, on April 1, then head to Europe at the end of May. 

While Springsteen’s legions of fans will no doubt scoop up the new album and concert tickets, their idol’s decision this month to sell a “Greatest Hits” compilation solely at Wal-Mart riled some.   Wal-Mart is know for its anti-union stance and has faced criticism from those who believe their cut-rate prices overwhelm “Mom and Pop” businesses.

 ”Doing a deal with Wal-Mart goes against his principles that he has said he has stood for,” said Charles Cross, author of “Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man and his Music.”

 (Editing by Christian Wiessner, Mark Egan and Philip Barbara)

Bruce Springsteen, Blue-Collar Boss

IN NEW York, two weeks before the US presidential election, Barack Obama was introduced at a fund-raising rally which featured one of his most famous supporters, rock legend Bruce Springsteen. Senator Obama revealed to the crowd: “I just told Michelle that the reason I’m running for president is because I can’t be Bruce Springsteen.”
Given the election’s outcome, it was a momentous personal accolade from the future president for Springsteen, known to all and sundry as The Boss of rock ‘n’ roll. Always a champion of left-leaning causes, Springsteen became one of the first major figures in the US entertainment industry to overtly back Obama for the presidency. It was a risk, for when he endorsed John Kerry’s unsuccessful challenge to President George W Bush, in 2004, it led to an erosion of his fan base in the United States. His backing for Obama, however, is set to win him more fans than he lost over Kerry.

Obama genuinely is a long-term fan of Springsteen, and repaid his rock hero for his endorsement. At the presidential inauguration on Tuesday, the Boss sat in a place of honour on the platform near Muhammad Ali, Stevie Wonder, Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce Knowles and the basketball celebrity, Magic Johnson.

Springsteen’s last album was called Magic, and was reckoned by critics and fans to be his best work for 20 years, a return to his rock roots. Its release heralded a worldwide concert tour on which Springsteen was once again accompanied by his long-term collaborators, the E Street Band. They played to an estimated two million people on the tour and grossed $232m, the concerts showing little slowdown from the high-energy, enervating performances which first made the Boss’s name.

The audiences at the mostly stadium concerts were a mixed bag. Grey-haired, beer-bellied men in their 50s whooped and hollered on the pitch alongside teenage girls who had only just encountered the music of the man who has had more than 30 years at the top.

Magic reminded people that Springsteen is a true original, a working-class poet whose work weaves tales of blue-collar life and love, and aggrandises ordinary existence to almost mythical status. As a singer-songwriter, he acknowledges Bob Dylan and especially Roy Orbison as his influences, while in his quieter moods he emulates folk musician Woody Guthrie. At last weekend’s pre-inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial, Springsteen sang Guthrie’s anthem ‘This Land Is Your Land’, which has long been in his concert repertoire.

It is a busy time for the Boss as he approaches his 60th birthday in September. Not only has his support for Obama proved spectacularly correct, but Springsteen has just won a Golden Globe for his theme for the film The Wrestler, though he won’t be adding to his Oscar for the song of the 1993 film Philadelphia as Springsteen’s ‘Wrestler’ failed to win a nomination. He is also up for two Grammy awards next month for Magic, to add to the 18 he has already acquired.

His new album, his 24th, entitled Working On A Dream, is due out this week and next weekend Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band will perform live during the Super Bowl interval. The television audience in the US alone will be 150 million, with an estimated 400 million worldwide watching live or recorded broadcasts. The President and the Super Bowl – it doesn’t get much bigger than that.

Born in New Jersey, Springsteen was the archetypal high-school dropout who could play a guitar. Avoiding the draft for Vietnam on medical grounds, he formed a band with some friends called The Castiles which went through several transformations until emerging as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in 1972. Its members included giant black saxophonist Clarence Clemons and ‘Miami’ Steve Van Zandt.

It was at this time that the Boss earned his nickname, as he wrote the songs, collected the money and paid the musicians at the concerts they performed. His early fame was largely confined to the American east coast, where music fans were exhilarated by Springsteen’s energetic concert performances which could last up to four hours.

In May 1974, the respected critic Jon Landau wrote: “I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” The following year’s release of his third album, Born To Run, catapulted the Boss into the front rank of rock music. Just as his career began to take off, Springsteen got involved in a long dispute with former manager Mike Appel. It ended with Landau becoming the manager and producer of Springsteen and the E Street Band.

After the success of his double album The River and a year-long concert tour, in 1984 Springsteen brought out the album which earned him superstar status, Born In The USA, which featured seven top 10 hits. Ronald Reagan, no less, hijacked the eponymous title tack as a jingoistic anthem, but the president had not read the words – the song is directed at America’s mistreatment of Vietnam veterans. On the tour to promote the album, Springsteen played sell-out stadium concerts across Britain and made a sizeable donation to the fund set up for the wives and children of striking miners.

It was one of the many times that Springsteen showed his progressive politics. He is well aware of the irony of a multi-millionaire dressed in blue jeans singing songs of working-class angst, but his support for anti-nuclear causes and Amnesty International, among others, has been heartfelt.

His personal life has had its troubled moments. He famously fell out with his father, Doug, for many years, and wrote the intensely moving song ‘Independence Day’ about it, but the two were reconciled before the latter’s death in 1998. Springsteen married Californian actress Julianne Phillips, who was 10 years his junior, in 1985, but the marriage fell apart while all the time, the woman who would become Springsteen’s true love was behind him – E Street Band backing singer, Patti Scialfa. The couple married in 1991 and have three teenage children.

Springsteen was creatively quiet in the 1990s as he raised his youngsters, but a year-long reunion tour with the E Street Band revived him, and after 9/11 the Boss was one of the first musicians to organise benefit gigs for victims of the attacks, commemorated in his elegiac song ‘The Rising’. The death, last April, of his friend and keyboard player Danny Federici, and the age of some of the band members – Clemons is 67 – led to suggestions that touring would cease, but fans were relieved to learn the band will tour again in the summer. As ever with Springsteen, there’s always time for one more encore.

You’ve been Googled!

• Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s first concerts in Scotland were at The Playhouse Edinburgh on May 16 and 17, 1981. A ticket for the balcony cost £6.

• The name Springsteen is Dutch in origin. His bus driver father Doug had Dutch and Irish ancestry, and was known as Dutch. His mother Adele was of Italian parentage.

• In the 1970s, Springsteen the songwriter provided hits for the likes of Patti Smith and Manfred Mann.

• In 1984, Springsteen became a star with his massive hit ‘Dancing In The Dark’. In the video of the song, he dances with a pretty, fresh-faced teenager, Courtney Cox, left, later a star of Friends.

• Springsteen’s son Evan loves football, or soccer as he calls it. When he played Old Trafford last summer, Springsteen told the audience his main task was to get a Manchester United jersey for his son. The Boss couldn’t understand why some people booed this announcement.

Bruce Springsteen, Reader’s Comments

Claire McNab

This must be the highest-profile-ever performance of the song with the often-omitted “private property” verse:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

And so, in a thoroughly brilliant illustration of why Woody wrote that verse, HBO go and slap a “private property” sign on the recording of a free concert.

You couldn’t make it up.

Bruce Springsteen, Joins the Lyrical Messages About an Inclusive America


Thanks to By JON PARELES & The New York Times.  Photo by Justin Sullivan/NY Times & Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Gospel and soul set the tone on Sunday afternoon for “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.” The African-American music that finds the promise of hope amid tribulation was just about everybody’s music at an all-star event designed to be somberly uplifting and devout, as well as celebratory without triumphalism.

A swaying, red-robed gospel choir started Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” his song about a Sept. 11 rescuer who finds a kind of resurrection in his sacrifice. A choir joined John Mellencamp on the “Ain’t that America” choruses of “Pink Houses,” which also mentions wanting a boy to grow up to be president.

The county music star Garth Brooks had a youth choir — in red and blue windbreakers — singing along as he segued “American Pie” into the Isley Brothers’ soul classic “Shout” and then his own ’We Shall Be Free,” a gospel-rooted song about community and the end of discrimination. And the concert’s finale belonged to Beyoncé, whose “America the Beautiful” started out sultry and turned into a hymn.

In some ways, “We Are One” was the kind of all-star inaugural pageant that also began the Clinton presidency: pop performances sandwiched between quotations from presidents — and, at “We Are One,” from Rosa Parks and Thurgood Marshall — calling for unity and renewal. Hundreds of thousands of people attended, and it was telecast and broadcast live by HBO and National Public Radio.

Agenda points were ticked off: the economy, the environment, the arts, respect for the military, community service. After quotations from Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy came Mary J. Blige, belting the affirmations of Bill Withers’ gospelly hit “Lean on Me”; HBO’s cameras showed Michelle Obama singing along. Mr. Springsteen and one of his role models, the 89-year-old folk and agitprop singer Pete Seeger,

Yet “We Are One” was also very consciously a recognition that Mr. Obama is America’s first African-American president-elect. There was video from the concert Marian Anderson gave at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after being refused the use of Constitution Hall. When the sexagenarian soul singer Bettye LaVette and the New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” they changed the last verse to declare: “A change has come.” And when U2 sang “Pride (In the Name of Love),” its song about Martin Luther King, Bono spoke about the 1963 March on Washington and added, “On Tuesday, that dream comes to pass!”

Bono also changed the lyrics of U2’s “City of Blinding Lights” to praise Mr. Obama and vow, “America is getting ready to leave the ground.” He also offered what may have been the concert’s only contentious, off-message moment; during “Pride,” he preached about Ireland, Europe and Africa sharing Martin Luther King’s dream and added, “It’s also a Palestinian dream.”

Reflecting the current state of pop, a plurality of the program’s stars were R&B singers — so many of them that they often shared songs. Usher and Shakira sang verses of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”; Mr. Wonder presided from a platform, playing his clavinet, and sang an a cappella “O-ba-ma” as a playful postscript.

Heather Headley, a Broadway star who just released a gospel album, joined the operatic singer Josh Groban in “America,” adding churchy flourishes. John Legend out-sang James Taylor on Mr. Taylor’s “Shower the People,” which also featured the country singer Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland. And, whose music-video adapation of an Obama speech became the widely seen online hit “Yes We Can,” was joined by Herbie Hancock on keyboard and Sheryl Crow in Bob Marley’s reverent “One Love”; in it, he rapped, “to discriminate only generates hate.”

It was, by design, a concert full of messages about an inclusive America. Its penultimate song had Mr. Seeger, who survived being blacklisted during the McCarthy era, leading a singalong on a full-length version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” with one of his admirers, Mr. Springsteen, by his side. Tom Hanks narrated Aaron Copland’s orchestral setting of quotations from Lincoln, “A Lincoln Portrait.”

But not all was earnestness. When Jamie Foxx followed quotations from Thurgood Marshall with quotations from Mr. Obama, he did an affectionate impression of Mr. Obama’s own delivery — drawing laughs down the length of the mall, and a broad, delighted smile from the president-elect.

Bruce Springsteen, On the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial

Rock, race, tradition intermingle at pre-inaugural concertbruce-inaug2_edited-11

WASHINGTON – Under the gaze of Sitting statue of Abraham Lincoln’s who seems to be imposing his will, Bruce Springsteen belted out “Come on up for the rising,” a military band below him, a gospel choir right behind him. American Flags were waving everywhere.

It was a difinitive picture of rock, race and tradition intermingled, just one piece of Americana on Sunday as some of the biggest names in show business commanded the marbled sweep of the Lincoln Memorial in front of the vast waves of people — and four dancing Obamas.

U2, Beyonce, James Taylor, Garth Brooks and Usher were among the A-list performers who served as opening acts for a president-elect ascending to the White House in two days.

Several hundred thousand people flanked the reflecting pool, filling the Mall past the World War II Memorial and back to the Washington Monument. They transformed a historical staging ground of protest into a roaring celebration.

They cheered for Obama’s arrival. They cheered for each high-energy act and for the two magnificent bald eagles that stretched and flapped their wings on cue from their handlers on the stage.

They cheered for Obama when he asserted, “The dream of our founders will live on in our time.”
U.S. Park Police Chief Sal Lauro said the crowd appeared to be similar in size to the one that rang in the millennium on New Year’s Eve nine years ago. An estimated 300,000 people attended that event.

All the checkpoints surrounding the area were closed before the show began because of concerns about crowding, Lauro said. He said crowd was well-behaved.

There was no red carpet, but the event had the feel of a Hollywood awards ceremony, with stars taking the stage to praise, serenade and even impersonate the next president. Their music was loud, their faces enlarged on jumbo TV screens for the masses in the distance, all under a gray sky.

“I want to be in that picture of history,” said Caryn Lustig, 27, of Arlington, Va., explaining why she came four hours early. “I want to say I was that little speck behind the tree.”

She wore a “Yes We Did” button.

Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their girls sat with Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, behind bulletproof glass near the stage erected on the steps of the memorial. Helicopters overhead cut through the thick air. Military Humvees blocked street corners.

Imposing columns of portable potties lined the National Mall at the service of the multitudes.


The “We Are One” celebration began with Springsteen, dressed in black, singing “The Rising,” with the help of the red-gowned choir. He took a song best known as a call to action following the 2001 terrorist attacks and used it to usher in a new era in politics.

Denzel Washington was the first celebrity to speak, telling the crowd, “We come here knowing that we are all in this together.”

Tom Hanks, who as Forrest Gump famously gave a speech at the monument steps and jumped into the reflecting pool, this time appeared in a dark suit and read a somber tribute to Lincoln.

Jamie Foxx brought many in the crowd — and the Obamas — to their feet by repeatedly urging those from Chicago to make some noise: “Chi-town, stand up!” he demanded.

Foxx then launched into a quick impersonation of the president-elect.

The Obamas rose and danced when Stevie Wonder, Usher and Shakira pumped out Wonder’s classic “Higher Ground.” Brooks’ thumping rendition of “Shout!” was supported by a massive choir wearing red and blue jackets against the cold.

“America, we are one,” Beyonce told the crowd after singing a closing rendition of “America, the Beautiful.”


The words of other presidents were invoked from the stage — from Ronald Reagan back. John Kennedy’s call to national service and Franklin Roosevelt’s appeal to face down fear were played to the throngs.

The concert came on the eve of the day that honors Martin Luther King Jr., which itself precedes the inauguration by one day.

Obama’s imminent historic achievement in becoming the first black president was celebrated on the same steps where King famously imagined a “table of brotherhood” of white and black. In that “I Have a Dream” speech of 1963, he never quite imagined this.