Bruce Springsteen sits among the titans of rock history as both a dynamic performer and a talented wordsmith. With the Boss enjoying sell-out tours with the E Street Band over the past 45 years, it’s hard to imagine his tenacious snail crawl to international stardom over the early 1970s.
Springsteen became interested in rock and roll music as a child after seeing Elvis Presley perform on television, but his clear-cut ambition took shape after hearing four lads from Liverpool. “I saw Elvis on TV, and when I first saw Elvis, I was nine but I was a little young, tried to play the guitar, but it didn’t work out, I put it away,” Springsteen once told Rolling Stone. “The keeper was in 1964, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ on South Street with my mother driving.
He added: “I immediately demanded that she let me out, I ran to the bowling alley, ran down a long neon-lit aisle, down the alley into the bowling alley. Ran to the phone booth, got in the phone booth and immediately called my girl and asked, ‘Have you heard this band called The Beatles?’ After that, it was nothing but rock ‘n’ roll and guitars.”
With a vision of guitar-wielding success with screaming fans and lucrative record deals, Springsteen persuaded his mother to buy him a $60 Kent guitar in 1964. With his gear in check, he began to sing and play the guitar with a few different groups in his childhood town of Freehold, New Jersey.
After gaining relative success with his formative power trio, Earth, in the late ‘60s, Springsteen set his sights a little higher. Through the early ‘70s, Springsteen built an early incarnation of his E Street Band and began to take the show on the road as far out as California while working on material for his first studio exploits.
With a Columbia Record deal signed in ‘72, things were looking up, but tough times were in store for the following year. After the commercial disappointment of his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., released in January ‘73, Springsteen had already begun pouring long-laboured material into his second shot, September’s The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Sadly, Springsteen’s second studio album, like the first, proved to be a commercial failure despite a positive reaction from critics.
Encouraged by the critical reception of the first two albums, Columbia gave Springsteen a generous make-or-break recording budget for his third album, which was understood to be a last-ditch effort at commercial reception. “So, I was going to have to give it everything I had,” Springsteen recalled of the tense period in an interview with BBC News in 2018. Thankfully, the third album that he managed to conjure up was Born To Run, his masterpiece and a golden ticket to the top.
Continuing in his conversation with the BBC, Springsteen revealed that while recording the seminal album, he was inspired by three musicians. This time, neither Elvis nor any of The Beatles received a shout-out. “I’d been listening to three records,” he said. “I’d been listening to Duane Eddy, the twangy guitar sound, Roy Orbison, the very unusually and unstructured songs, and, of course, [Bob] Dylan.”
“So, those are the three things that kind of found their way — and inspector records — so, those are the three things that really found their way into Born to Run because I was never really much of a revolutionary musician,” he continued, “but I was an alchemist. I put a lot of things together along with stuff I pulled up out of myself.”
Springsteen perfected his alchemy in 1975; with soaring beauties like ‘Thunder Road’, ‘She’s the One’, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’, and of course, the title track, the album scaled the charts and saw him off into his thunderous career. Without this pivotal album, The Boss may well have been lost to the sands of time as a forgotten talent.
See Bruce Springsteen perform alongside his muse Bob Dylan in 2003 below.https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/m...ngsteen-born-to-run/