The Boss

Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. 

(Belmar, actually, but I wanted to open with the name of the album.)

It’s been many years since I’ve been to this stretch of the Jersey Shore.  Some good friends were kind enough to invite us to join them for the holiday weekend.  We are thrilled to see them and to be back “down the shore,” in that order.

This is hallowed ground for fans of Bruce Springsteen.  And I am definitely one.

In the summer of 1975, having never heard of him, I saw Springsteen perform at a concert hall in Norfolk, Va., and my life was forever changed.  The Born to Run album had just come out and, to a girl of fifteen, Bruce’s energy and stage presence were electrifying.  Once I knew what he was actually singing, I was inspired. 

It can be hard to understand Bruce when he sings but, within no time after the concert, I had the album and was reading and memorizing the lyrics.  That, boys and girls, was back when an album cover was large enough to print all the lyrics in readable type.

At fifteen, I was already disillusioned with the sappy pop music of Top 40 radio.  The Captain and Tennille just didn’t capture the pain and angst that kids my age were feeling.

But Bruce?  No candy coating there, his songs were real.  They were life in the streets and broken hearts and hard knocks.  They ripped your heart out and offered hope at the same time.

I’ve always considered Bruce Springsteen a modern poet.  On this occasion of my visit here, I’d like to share some of my favorite of his lyrics.

From the song, “For You”

We were both hitchhikers but you had your ear tuned to the roar
of some metal-tempered engine on an alien, distant shore

From “Growin’ Up”

I was open to pain and crossed by the rain and I walked on a crooked crutch
I strolled all alone through a fallout zone and came out with my soul untouched

From “Thunder Road” 

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets
They scream your name at night in the street, your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn, you hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they’re gone, on the wind, so Mary climb in
It’s a town full of losers, and I’m pulling out of here to win

From “Jungleland”

In the parking lot the visionaries dress in the latest rage
Inside the backstreet girls are dancing to the records that the DJ plays
Lonely-hearted lovers struggle in dark corners desperate as the night moves on
Just one look and a whisper, and they’re gone. 

I’m going to sign off now.  I have a lump in my throat.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Music, Travel

7 responses to “The Boss

  1. Dianne

    Just got my copy of the new Live in Hyde Park DVD & am hoping that high def on the big screen is the next best thing to being there! Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuce!

  2. Katherine

    As close as we are, I had no idea you were a Bruce fan. I couldn’t read the lyrics without singing them. For me, I was a late Bruce bloomer…didn’t see him until early 80’s for the Born in the USA tour. Wow! The way he moved a crowd was like no other concert I’ve attended.

    My favorite album has always been Darkness on the Edge of Town. Here are some of my favorite lyrics:

    Prove it All Night
    You heard their voices telling you not to go.
    They’ve made their their choices and they’ll never know
    What it means to steal, to cheat, to lie…
    What it’s like to live and die.

    You better listen to me baby:
    Talk about a dream; try to make it real.
    You wake up in the night with a fear so real.
    You spend your life waiting for a moment that just dont come.
    Well dont waste your time waiting


  3. Kathleen

    I have to comment on this one being a Jersey Girl but maybe not that kind of Jersey Girl. Loving the Jersey Shore but not that MTV Jersey Shore.
    I was the ‘elder’ of the crowd, perhaps 4.7 years past the true fan base. Certainly Born to Run and Thunder Road are strong in my high school memories. And many Bruce songs call to mind those vivid déjà vu moments.
    Anything Bruce brings to mind the Bruce Springsteen concert that I did attend. At the invitation of a good friend, the ladies filled the SUV. I had a good 7 years on all of them. We were on the approach into the Meadowlands Arena and Tim called, “What? You girls haven’t popped a cold one? What are you waiting for? Open the cooler ladies!”
    When I think of Bruce Springsteen, I think of Big Tim. Cantor Fitzgerald had tickets. I am sure the men went earlier in the tour – (and probably with better seats).
    A handful of tickets went to Big Tim’s wife and her lucky friends – all women who were eager and well deserving of a night out.
    What a concert! What a thrill!
    From our seats, Bruce looked small, but the feeling was huge! The crowd was enthusiastic, the music all familiar and the ladies had a blast. After all it was Bruce.
    When I think of Bruce, I think of Big Tim. And I miss him.
    Tim, this Bud’s for you!

    • Wow, that’s moving. I will second your toast to Big Tim, having never met him but trusting he was good people. May he and his Cantor associates be looking down and smiling.

  4. Marile Cloete

    I am a new Springsteen fan in a country where he is virtually unknown. (Yes, there seems to be places like that!) I am so happy to find this blog. Please visit my brand new blog at

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