Enduring music, enduring themes, Bruce Springsteen, 72, captures the American Zeitgeist – blue collar in origin, blue collar in delivery.
The Boss – earning that nickname when collecting the performance fees from club owners for the band Earth he was playing in – is one of the most successful musicians of all time.
In the U.S. alone he has sold more than 65 million albums, won more than 20 Grammys, his left-leaning political causes, resulted in him being honoured with the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2016.
Springsteen started his career – playing in bars in New Jersey – while assembling his famous E Street band.
Born in a working-class household Springsteen had a troubled relationship with his dad, a relationship that had a seminal and lasting influence on his music.
“When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house. One was me, and the other was my guitar.
“I’ve gotta thank him…because what would I conceivably have written about without him? I mean, you can imagine that if everything had gone great between us, we would have had disaster. I would have written just happy songs — and I tried it in the early ’90s and it didn’t work… Anyway, I put on his work clothes and I went to work. It was the way that I honored him. My parents’ experience forged my own. They shaped my politics, and they alerted me to what is at stake when you’re born in the U.S.A.”
Here are four of the Boss’s great songs for your listening pleasure.