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Text from Springsteen and I video (long form)

I am sharing here with you what I am saying on the video regarding my long fanzine relationship with Bruce Springsteen.

He and Paul Simon are probably my most important influences: 

 

Opening: "your other boyfriends couldn't pass the test

   but if you're rough enough for llove

                  baby, I'm tougher than the rest.."

Ah, Bruce. We do go back a long way. I think it was the Summer of 74. I had just been severely humbled and deservedly so by a woman I was pursuing in college. It was the shipwreck summer I started therapy, individual and group. I was listening to the radio for theme songs. It was a bubblegummy period of music, by and large, but some good stuff was percolating through as well. 
 
I think my first song of yours was Spirit In the Night. I had started playing guitar and I was determined to figure out the chords. Wasn't hard and it was fun to play. I like songs in minor keys. "like a spirit in the night, all night.." So I went to my local 5 and 10 store, it might have been a Woolworth's and found the first two albums there. Only had money for one so I bought "Greetings" with Spirit on it. Definitely a fun album with the oversized postcard and all that. And the songs: Spirit In The Night, For You, Growing Up, Blinded by the Light, Hard to Be a Saint. Still..I decided I had to have the other album, too.
 
That other album has since become my favorite album of all time: Wild, Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. It's a blowaway album, the fusion of folk, rock and R&B with a little bit of jazz and classical thrown in for good measure. Sandy/Fourth Of July is also my favorite song of yours, then and now. A love song which at the moment stands as a requiem for the Jersey Shore. But everything else on the album also shines, even Wild Billy's Circus Song. Love the Tuba. No one else was doing that. But then no one else was doing anything like what Wild and Innocent was attempting and by and large succeeding. Rosalita, Kitty's Back, Incident, NYC Serenade (originally titled Vibes Man, I understand). I dare one and all to put that album on just after midnight some night and not be moved.
 
Everyone anticipated Born To Run. I heard it played on the radio in its entirety in October, 1975 when it first came out. Born To Run itself was an instant classic. But, oh my, that Thunder Road song. What an incredible lyric! And the party continued with Meeting, Tenth Avenue, Jungleland and Backstreets. I'm still not too crazy about She's The One or Night. But six out of eight ain't bad, so to speak.
 
The three years between Born To Run and Darkness seemed like an eternity. That Mike Appal turned out to be a bad apple in the end. Jon Landau came along just in time. I think Darkness is the first album to define the current Bruce sound. I liked most of it. You were filling shows at Madison Square Garden at that time, which is where I first saw you from as far back as you can sit in that arena. This was the era of the 4-hour Bruce show. Didn't mind a bit. All the weird bootleg albums of live shows during that time just added to the mystique.
 
In 1979, the Clash came along and presented the first real challenge to your songs and performance energy. Music was starting to shift to the punk sensibility. I was listening to you and to both the Clash and Talking Heads. In 1980, The River, a double album, came along. For me that was a mixed bag. I liked Side Three best, the mournful and reflective Stolen Car and Independence Day. Kind of matched my mood at the time.
 
After the River came your first left turn. No major album for five years. Reagan hangover, maybe? In 1982, Nebraska arrived like a forgotten stepchild. No one expected that. But that album has stood the test of time and for some people, it is their favorite. Didn't know what you were thinking but the songs worked, in particular Atlantic City, Reason To Believe and the title track. Recently, we learned that this was the period you were struggling with depression. Makes sense in retrospect.
 
Then, of course, you came roaring out of the gate in 1985 with Born In The USA. A collection of singles, to be sure, but the old energy was back along with the more quiet and reflective tunes. The videos rolled out one by one, with Glory Days being my favorite. 15 million records sold. World tours. Status as superstar confirmed.
 
Three years later, another left turn of sorts. The divorce album, Tunnel of Love. Mostly a solo album, with some E Street support. But for the most part, an inspired work with some very different stuff on it. One Step Up, Two Steps Back. Brilliant Disguise. Tunnel of Love. And of course, Tougher Than The Rest.
 
Then the nineties happened. Not an easy time, I am sure. You broke up the band and went off on your own for eight years or so. Produced two albums which didn't sell that well. A couple memorable songs.."If I should fall behind..." But was this the end? In 1998, you saw the light. You needed E Street and they needed you. At first it was a reunion album but after that inspired little recording,  you were back in business with the band up to this day,
 
2001-the Twin Towers tragedy. We needed a response to what just took place and really, only you could have provided that response. You gave us The Rising and all those memorable tunes. Anthems like The Rising and Into The Fire, but also masterful miniatures like You're Missing and Paradise. And everything in between. Should have won the Grammy. Yes, Patti, where was that recount?
 
It's now a little over ten years later. Four albums since then, two sort of forgettable and two dynamite efforts. Up and down, but we love you anyway. And this latest one, Wrecking Ball, is so good, I am now counting it as one of your top 5 albums. Way to go, Bruce.
 
There is everything else you do for the music community. The landmark Amnesty International tour in 1988. Benefits for veterans, natural disaster victims and the hungry, for President Obama, for everything else to help this nation move forward. I've never met you in person and never really been close to doing so, but take this as my letter of appreciation for your singularly memorable career and inspiration to me, an aspiring 57 year old musician and performer. May you and your music go on for many more years to come.
 
Michael Gutierrez-May
 
 


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