It Was 40 Years Ago Today...

Born To Run, released this day:

August 25, 1975

And the world saw the future of Rock & Roll, and his name was Bruce Springsteen.
What happened since then? We used to love Bruce. He kinda lost me or I lost him after Tunnel of Love. Up to then, solid stuff; maybe afterwards too - but it seems like something changed. Don't know if in me or in his music...maybe a little of both. Hard to believe it has been 40 years.
I tend to agree with Ghosthouse.
I found that his concert was very well organized with plenty of energy and entertainment, but not interesting at all.
He's too commercialized
I still don't get Springsteen. Highly over-rated IMHO.
He's a performer better seen live and in a small club, which hasn't been possible for years now. The energy he creates in an intimate setting is dissipated in a stadium, and he isn't a great recording artist, I don't feel. The people who got to see him before B2R are lucky indeed!
..he is the -1%er especially with his alleged involvement with ticket prices and Stub Hub ... lost him after ;
'' Born in the USA ''....
Without question, the most important artist of his generation, and the greatest live rock performer of all time. A consistent and passionate advocate for working people, veterans and the needy since finding his voice in the late 70s.
Never got him until I heard him with an acoustic guitar and no band behind him. Still can't stand the E-Street Band stuff.
"and the greatest live rock performer of all time."

Wow, that's *quite* a statement to make. Especially if you haven't seen all of the greats. I've seen Bruce and a bunch of others - Stones, Who, Santana, Deep Purple, and J. Geils Band among many, many others.

J. Geils is my personal nominee for greatest live act ever - Peter Wolf was an incredible front man and the band was super tight and just plain rockin' great fun!! And Peter was man enough to snag Faye Dunaway at the height of her popularity - pretty cool...

IMHO, Springsteen was not the best, not by a longshot...

The Future of RR? Not even 40 years ago.
Actually the world saw the future of rock and roll via Little Richard and Chuck Berry.
Springsteen tagged along.
Kb54, since the situation of the working class,veterans and
the needy has been on a steady decline since the 70's it is obvious he was/is of little to no importance .
"and the greatest live rock performer of all time."
That's funny
Guess you never saw Freddy Mercury.
End of story.
I'll stand by what I said. Neither the Stones, the Who, Queen, etc., were able to connect with people emotionally, communicate a compelling message and create a sense of community in the way Springsteen was. The other band that has been able to do this (and they credit Springsteen, among others for it) is U2.

Schubert, your comment is incredibly ignorant, since Springsteen almost single handedly led Asbury Park out of the ashes (My City of Ruins was originally written about that town), raised awareness of the mistreatment of Vietnam Veterans, has helped shelters and food banks throughout the country, etc., etc., etc. He's also campaigned against politicians who have no interest in the underserved. Do you think it's possible that repeated cuts to essential programs, corporate greed and lack of political will has something to do with their worsening situation?
If "the situation of the working class, veterans, and the needy has been on a steady decline since the 70's", does that not make him (and others like him) of all the more importance? Since he doesn't overdo his "dogoodiness" like some others do (Jackson Browne, for one), he hasn't become a bore about it.
Springsteen used to be one of my favorite artists but I lost interest after "Tunnel of Love." That was the time when Bruce decided that quantity trumps quality. I saw him do an acoustic set at the Berkeley Community Theater in the 90's and remember thinking that he has a powerful stage presence, and the talent to go with it. I understand why the call him "The Boss." Add to that his charity work and he really does belong in the R&R Hall of Fame. I just miss the quality of his early albums, where every song was a classic.
LOL! None of them actually give about "working class" situation or even poverty.
Kb54, your commment is incredibly illogical as usual.
I did not say Springsteen was a bad person and I am
aware he has done charitable works , it is however true
he has had zero influence at the macro level in our society.
You would be well served to see if your local community college has an opening in Logic 101 for the coming semester.
Kb54, nothing is "without question" in a subjective field. I've had two or three guitar students over the years who did not like the Beatles. There are no absolutes.
In retrospect, Bruce's recording career arc has been almost straight downhill for me. At a time whe Rock n Roll seemed potentially played out, Bruce's first three records were (in pretty much descending order IMO) inspirational testaments to the ongoing potential of rock n roll as an art form. He stayed "within the box" and still produced exhilarating music when rock n roll was generally straying from its central organizing principle: simplicity.

It may be churlish to diminish Born to Run (relative to Wild, Innocent or Asbury Park), but it's less compelling to me than either of its predecessors. None of his subsequent recordings resonate with me. He gave it a shot with the acoustic material, but that simply doesn't play to his strength (kinetic energy) for me. His live performances are IMO certainly top tier, but there are a host of great live rock performers - I'd never point at one person as "best".

As to artists and political activism, there's little question that Bruce has been a consistent and energetic champion of change and an articulate spokesman for his particular economic causes. No matter what position you're taking, that is almost never an effort that bears fruit immediately. It's easy to be dismissive of anyone who advocates for change, but it's also misguided IMO. He's contributing his efforts to his movement and the value of those efforts won't be clear for a very long time.

Whether I agree with a person's politics (or not), whether they've been effective to date in changing policy (or not), I'll acknowledge the effort and try to remember that long-term political change is a process that plays out over time. My own politics are likely very different from his, but I certainly respect what he's doing.

I only wish that his music of the last 35ish years was of more interest to me.
I don't know whether he's the greatest rocker ever, has he had an effect at the macro level (WTF?), is "BTR" a great album or how someone with a net worth in excess of $200 million is a working class icon, but I do know one thing -- they blew up the Chicken Man in Philly last night.
Martykl, our mass society is controlled by economic elites
who may or may not do something phrased in terms of ideology IF it coincides with their interests.
To suggest any "artist" of any kind whatsoever could have any real impact on policy over any length of time is ludicrous .
I never know what to say about Springsteen other than I like some of his stuff. Mostly his early stuff like Marty but also doteot and the river to some extent. Born in the USA is ok too. I have his live box set. It's just ok. And this from a Rutgers class of 81 grad. I grew up in pa but observed how bs was/is worshipped in nj. So be it we all have our heroes.
Should we add Homer, da Vinci, Shakespeare, Wagner, Griffiths and N.W.A. to that list of artist who have had no real impact and are of little or no importance? Who remembers the wealthiest family at the time of Homer? The influence of great art survives over millennia. That's probably why they call it great.
It seems to be the rule (rather than the exception) that in rock music, most of the artists' best, most unique and creative work arrives early in their careers. Most people would say that about Bob Dylan, The Beatles (together and apart), the Stones, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne and on and on. Why should Springsteen be any different? I agree that his best recordings end with Tunnel of Love (I personally never cared much for Born In The USA; Bruce himself has said during interviews that he was only happy with half of the songs, and it's his most commercial and dated sounding production). If interested, check out his many live concert recordings on Youtube from 1975-1980 (especially 1978) to hear him at his peak. Now he's in his mid 60s; we shouldn't expect him to be the same performer he was in his 20s.

Schubert, good luck with your narcissistic personality disorder.
I myself love the live sets he has released of the 1975 Tours, both London and Philly. Check them out at
For the most part I agree with you Kb54.
However, although The Beatles early work was energetic and ground breaking, their best work arguably was Rubber Soul and after.
Springsteen is like climate science, it really doesn't matter what you think. It is what it is. Undeniably, Springsteen and the E Street band are one of the greatest recording and performing artist the world has or will ever see!
I'm just say'n ✌️
Dylan's latter recordings starting with time out of mind are some of my favorites from him so he broke that model to a large extent in my mind.
I agree that Bruce circa 1975 to 1983 was probably the best live act I've seen together with Prince (whose music I do not like nearly as much). And I have seen them all live since the late 60s except the Beatles, Hendrix and Janis (ie I've seen Stones, Zep, Who, U2 in their prime and after). By the way all of the above acts put on great shows---among my favorite of all time, but Bruce was always a step above--I always felt that he was born to play live, loved to play live and the audience felt it. Plus he has tremendous stage presence and charisma as well as a great sense of humor. Unfortunately, he sold out big time with Born In the USA. What an awful pop record that was. And what a step down for a genuine artist. He occasionally pops out a great album but nothing has been in the league of Wild and Innocent, BTR or, especially Darkness. This is just my humble opinion. Based on films I've seen (eg Monterey Pop) Hendrix may have been up there. Beatles too.
Andrew, when I said early in their careers, I didn't necessarily mean their first several albums (although for some of the artists that I listed, I feel that those albums included a lot of their best work). I meant to say that rock and roll seems to be a young person's game, and that much of their best music is written and performed in their teens, 20s and 30s. Of course there are exceptions; I agree with Mapman-Dylan's Time Out Of Mind is among my favorites of his albums.
Thanks but no thanks. I'll take Sarah Vaughn.
Mapman, bingo! Especially Modern Times. Shame about the aggressive compression. Maybe they'll come out on cassette.
Mapman and Geoffkait, I'm right with ya. I played the Love and Theft album for some old friends who had lost interest in Bob after that trio of covers albums he did in the 90's, and they were stunned. For a good sounding Dylan album, I'm still waiting on Mobile Fidelity's upcoming SACD and LP of his album with The Band, Planet Waves. It's very "unproduced"---no studio manipulations, just what sounds like he and them playing live in a room. I really disliked the way he was produced by Daniel Lanois, preferring his own under the pseudonym Jack Frost. By the way, Bob Johnson, the producer of his Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde albums, passed away a couple of weeks ago.
I had the good fortune of seeing Bruce twice in his prime, at a a bar named Fat City in NJ in Sept. 73 and in Columbus OH in April 76.

The young Boss was killer, a man born to rock. He started losing me when he became a serious man and I was gone when he became the socially conscious muscleman. Who needs that?
Just the world in general .
Look to Springsteen for rock music, seek moral and political direction elsewhere.
Never got him, although I do like a couple of his works, Nebraska and Darkness on the Edge of Town. The rest of it does nothing for me. I did see him live and appreciated his tribute to the late Johnny Cash who had just passed by opening up with "I walk the Line."

The rest of the show was just OK for me.
Tomcy6, Look to Springsteen for pop music, seek rock elsewhere.
Excellent post, Martykl.

Onhwy61: also liked your post about Homer, et al.
The River and Tom Joad are excellent.
The rest is commercial crap.
The River might be the equal of Born To Run? Point Blank is one of his best!
Never dug the populist agenda of the Boss. Born to run a was overly dramatic, Born in the USA overproduced. I will concede "Pink Vadillac" which is a great single.
The only bands that ever truly mattered were Ramones, Saints, Pistols. For a moment, they brought back the simplicity of 50s/6Os style music, albeit in a hi-octane form which was very exciting.
I like what Cyril Jordan (The Flamin' Groovies) said about the Pistols album: Every song is in the same key---now THAT'S simplicity!
"And the world saw the future of Rock & Roll, and his name was Bruce Springsteen."

Its name turned out to be Nickelback actually. :^(
You guys make me laugh 😎. Your obvious dislike for "The BOSS" is laughable. A singer song writer along with his tight fantastic E Street band who have been at the top of album/song charts, sales and touring for over 40yrs with no signs of slowing down. A band who arguably have written and preformed some of the greatest albums recorded in rock and roll history. A singer who was on the cover of time and newsweek at the same time when they mattered. A man who has been honored countless times for his achievements. As I sit here and listen to "Born in the USA"(which is an amazing perfect album despite a remark made earlier on this forum) and think back to the several times I saw Bruce and how that music still rings true today. How hearing a Bruce song makes you smile or dance or brings back memories. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Bands place in music history is permently in place despite some of your cryptic crititiques of his accomplishments. You sound like a pack of few trying their best to belittle a master of lyrics, music and performance. He has stayed relivent with The Rising, Magic, etc.You don't have to love everything a performer does to see their greatness. I am sure we have not heard the last of Bruce. Other bands stay with their early successes, Springsteen keeps pushing the limits.
I'm just say'in ✌️