Last week I featured a song from Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 album The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle. That classic album was Bruce’s sophomore effort, and amazingly he had released his debut the very same year.
In January of 1973, Springsteen hit the scene with Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, an ambitious collection of wordy Dylan-esque folk songs sped up and set to a beat. Right out of the gate, Springsteen cast himself as a sensitive poet for working class dreamers, a mantle he would carry for more than five decades.
I’ve written about another of my favorite 1973 albums a number of times already. In fact, this is the fifth track from Bruce Springsteen’s The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle I’ve posted as a Song of the Day. And the album has only seven songs.
In one of those posts, I described this as “an album bursting with musicality, theatricality and an infectious creative energy. Springsteen spins his street-smart character sketches with staccato bursts of bruiser poetry. The lyrics could pass for stream-of-conscious if they weren’t so meticulously shaped. Musically, the newly formed E-Street band tore through multiple genres, but mostly settled into a jazz-rock groove that makes every track feel like the world’s coolest lawn concert.”
I recently saw the film Blinded by the Light, a movie about a young Pakistani teen in London who finds creative salvation in the music of Bruce Springsteen. It’s a lovely, uplifting film that really understands the mind-blowing phenomenon of discovering an artist who speaks to your very core.
It also made me want to dig up some old Bruce Springsteen albums and pay my respects, though I haven’t gotten around to that just yet.
Last week, Bruce Springsteen announced the June 14 release of a new studio album, titled Western Stars, and marked the occasion by dropping one of the album’s tracks, today’s SOTD.
Western Stars is Springsteen’s first album in five years, and his first album of new, original material since 2012’s Wrecking Ball. It’s the Boss’ 19th studio album and comes out the year he turns 70. What an amazing career he has had.
Has any millionaire rock star ever captured the yearning of the underclass as well as Bruce Springsteen?
Bob Dylan did it in his early years, when he was still something of a vagabond himself, but as he grew older and more successful he turned to more internal and cerebral subject matter (with plenty of exceptions, I know… please spare me the hate comments, Dylanphiles!).
I’m skipping Random Weekends this week (and for awhile longer, as you’ll learn soon) in order to close out February with the rest of my Best Original Song posts. Over the next five days I’ll feature some of my favorite Academy Award-winning songs.
Bruce Springsteen has been nominated for two Oscars, one for the title track of 1995’s Dead Man Walking and two years earlier for ‘Streets of Philadelphia,’ from the late Jonathan Demme’s film Philadelphia. Springsteen took home the trophy that year against a relatively weak field (which included another track from the same film, Neil Young’s ‘Philadelphia’).
Of all the songs in my music collection, the oldest may well be ‘Froggie Went A Courtin’,’ an English folk song dating back to the 16th century.
I own two versions of the song, one by Bob Dylan on his 1992 album of folk covers Good As I Been To You, and this one by Bruce Springsteen, which appeared on his 2006 album We Shall Overcome: The Pete Seeger Sessions.