Thursday, June 25, 2009
Working Class Hero
Photos by Lynn Goldsmith, 1977-1978:
Photos by Frank Stefanko, 1977-1978:
Next two photos from the Nebraska period, 1982:
Bruce Springsteen holds an interesting place in American pop culture - Part good ol', demin-clad Jeresy boy; part rock superstar; part liberal, socially-conscious figure; and part uneasy sex symbol. Not one of these things, however, feels disingenuous to me, but rather parts of a man who has struggled to just be himself in a career that is often label-making and soul destroying. I've always had a softspot for the Boss, not because I'm his biggest fan and own all his albums, but because there is something I find so easily accessible about his music. It's the music my parents played when I was growing up, and I remember all of those long drives from D.C. to rural New Hampshire with Meredyth and I lounging in the backseat of the Volvo wagon, "Born To Run" reverberating from the speakers. Springsteen is good highway music.
Of course, New Jersey is my favorite state, but the way I feel about The Boss is certainly unlike the way I feel about, say, Jon Bon Jovi. Having spent a good deal of time in various locales in Jersey, I can attest that Bruce's lyrics - often describing big dreams in small, beat up towns - are beautifully yet simplistically accurate. Even if I had never even been to New Jersey, I feel like he turns people and places, drugstores and summer nights, into vivid mental pictures. People like to give him shit for espousing these working-class values when, through all his mainstream success over the years, he has become a multi-millionaire and rock celebrity. People do this with a lot of musicians, and I find the notion completely ridiculous. The hunger one must experience when young and poor I imagine mitigates when they become accustomed to more comfortable surroundings, but that's like asking someone to stay struggling and unknown forever. And if that were the case, we would miss out on a lot of great music.
Anyway, I decided to make this post because as of late I've been listening to the 1982 tune "Atlantic City" over and over, which is such a heartbreaking and amazing song. "Well I got a job and tried to put my money away, but I got debts that no honest man can pay..." DIE. This is off the dark Bruce solo album, Nebraska, which I am quite fond of. That, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, and Born To Run are probably my favorite of his albums.
**All above pictures are from the Morrison Hotel Gallery, and are by photogs Lynn Goldsmith or Frank Stefanko, copyright 1977, 1978, and 1982**