Audio Review — Born to Run

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

I listened to this from Audible.com read by Bruce Springsteen.

Back in the 70s in very blue collared Cleveland, Ohio I first heard Bruce Springsteen. Darkness on the Edge of Town was the first vinyl LP I owned. I owned plenty of 8-tracks but albums were things you kept recorded to cassettes. Springsteen, although a New Jersey native, was the patron saint of my hometown. With the regularity of Big Ben ringing the hour, every Friday at 5:00 pm WMMS would blast Born to Run with every single one of the fifty thousand watts. There was a better life outside of the Jungle Land and we all wanted to find it. We knew the steel mills wouldn’t last forever and, although romanticized, no one really wanted to be a factory worker. Bruce Springsteen and a few others like Patti Smith and The Pretenders have followed me around for almost the last half century.

Love or hate audio books, but there is something about the author reading his own life to you. It is warm and personal. Springsteen is no different. You can hear the range of emotions in his voice from ecstatic to sorrow. Although in his mid-sixties he still has that youthful punkish tone to his voice and attitude.

A great autobiography for rock and roll fans. Springsteen is honest and doesn’t hold back although he seems not to hold grudges. He seems to take things as learning experiences. Unlike flash in the pan musicians, Springsteen has paid his dues albums stretching back over forty years. He has more than enough stories to fill those years. There is rarely a dull moment in his life story. He includes background on his parents, friends, band members (especially Miami Steve and Clarence Clemmons), and his family. There are the ups and downs of running a band and the swings in popularity as well as trying to lead a personal life. Springsteen also opens up about depression and its treatment.

He is still celebrated as the hero of the blue collar worker (although concert ticket prices reflect otherwise… but the shows are long) although he freely admits he’s never worked a day in his life. Perhaps, I am a bit biased and see some of my younger years and environment in his writing (and songs), but this is is an excellent, candid, and sincere book well worth the read.

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