Monday, November 14, 2005

FINALLY! A Springsteen Fan!

Back in 2001, the goofy red-haired guy on "Sunday Morning" chronicled the tragic passing of a man in his New Jersey community. A loving father, Little League coach, and successful business man, he was truly beloved by his fellow townfolk who were shocked at his death in the attack on the World Trade Center.

At his funeral, his lovely wife played his favorite music: Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road." Oh, brother, I thought. How long was this guy gonna hang on to his youth? I mean, hasn't he listened to anything since the 1970s?

Well, "Sunday Morning" (and later, Terry Gross on "Fresh Air") brought me to my senses. Both shows featured interviews with Springsteen on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the release of "Born to Run," which is being re-packaged and re-released with a lot of extra cool stuff.

I was sitting in my office, alone, when the Terry Gross interview aired and... OH. MY. GOD. When "Thunder Road" came on, my heart clenched, my stomach flipped and instantly my thoughts stretched back to teenage summer nights, driving around late at night, looking for something but not sure what. Springsteen's teenagers are yearning -- he describes this as "pull your pants down" but for me, they shared my longing to get out of this dinky little town and escape to something thrilling somewhere, anywhere, else.

Whatever it is, Springsteen achieved his goal. He wanted to eternally preserve that era for all of us. Frankly, you gotta be a little brave when you listen to "Thunder Road" -- in middle age, past longing and deep emotion can be too much.

But the New Jersey man who died on 9/11 was courageous enough to remind himself of all that and still dive into his present and future with his whole self. Adults and children alike mourned his passing. He wasn't trying to re-live his past. He embraced it and used it to enliven his future. Like Springsteen, he was a very wise man indeed.

Born to Run Reborn 30 Years Later: NY Times


At 3:51 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Have you heard Springsteen's new album? "Devils and Dust" is the best antiwar song of this, and perhaps any generation... and I'm not a huge Springsteen fan.

Every time I hear Springsteen I'll think of college. "Born To Run" must have hit the stores the very second I was getting in my 1972 Ford Gran Torino (later affectionately called "Engine Fall-Off Floyd") to drive from the Bronx to Washington, DC for my freshman year. By the time classes started a week later, I would have considered killing people who played the dang thing non-stop.


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