The revelatory and wildly bestselling memoir by legendary rock star Bruce Springsteen: “Glorious...a philosophically rich ramble through a rock ’n roll life...It’s the lyric he was born to write” (USA TODAY, 4 out of 4 stars).
Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life. The result is “an utterly unique, endlessly exhilarating, last-chance-power-drive of a memoir” (Rolling Stone) that offers the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.
He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work.
Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs (“Thunder Road,” “Badlands,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “The River” “Born in the U.S.A,” “The Rising,” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.
“Both an entertaining account of Springsteen’s marathon race to the top and a reminder that the one thing you can’t run away from is yourself” (Entertainment Weekly), Born to Run is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This book is a “a virtuoso performance, the 508-page equivalent to one of Springsteen and the E Street Band's famous four-hour concerts: Nothing is left onstage, and diehard fans and first-timers alike depart for home sated and yet somehow already aching for more” (NPR).
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Bruce Springsteen has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of twenty Grammy Awards, the Academy Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors. He lives in New Jersey with his family.
Read an Excerpt
I come from a boardwalk town where almost everything is tinged with a bit of fraud. So am I. By twenty, no race-car-driving rebel, I was a guitar player on the streets of Asbury Park and already a member in good standing amongst those who “lie” in service of the truth . . . artists, with a small “a.” But I held four clean aces. I had youth, almost a decade of hard-core bar band experience, a good group of homegrown musicians who were attuned to my performance style and a story to tell.
This book is both a continuation of that story and a search into its origins. I’ve taken as my parameters the events in my life I believe shaped that story and my performance work. One of the questions I’m asked over and over again by fans on the street is “How do you do it?” In the following pages I will try to shed a little light on how and, more important, why.
DNA, natural ability, study of craft, development of and devotion to an aesthetic philosophy, naked desire for . . . fame? . . . love? . . . admiration? . . . attention? . . . women? . . . sex? . . . and oh, yeah . . . a buck. Then . . . if you want to take it all the way out to the end of the night, a furious fire in the hole that just . . . don’t . . . quit . . . burning.
These are some of the elements that will come in handy should you come face-to-face with eighty thousand (or eighty) screaming rock ’n’ roll fans who are waiting for you to do your magic trick. Waiting for you to pull something out of your hat, out of thin air, out of this world, something that before the faithful were gathered here today was just a song-fueled rumor.
I am here to provide proof of life to that ever elusive, never completely believable “us.” That is my magic trick. And like all good magic tricks, it begins with a setup. So...
I am ten years old and I know every crack, bone and crevice in the crumbling sidewalk running up and down Randolph Street, my street. Here, on passing afternoons I am Hannibal crossing the Alps, GIs locked in vicious mountain combat and countless cowboy heroes traversing the rocky trails of the Sierra Nevada. With my belly to the stone, alongside the tiny anthills that pop up volcanically where dirt and concrete meet, my world sprawls on into infinity, or at least to Peter McDermott’s house on the corner of Lincoln and Randolph, one block up.
On these streets I have been rolled in my baby carriage, learned to walk, been taught by my grandfather to ride a bike, and fought and run from some of my first fights. I learned the depth and comfort of real friendships, felt my early sexual stirrings and, on the evenings before air-conditioning, watched the porches fill with neighbors seeking conversation and respite from the summer heat.
Here, in epic “gutter ball” tournaments, I slammed the first of a hundred Pinky rubber balls into my sidewalk’s finely shaped curb. I climbed upon piles of dirty snow, swept high by midnight plows, walking corner to corner, the Edmund Hillary of New Jersey. My sister and I regularly stood like sideshow gawkers peering in through the huge wooden doors of our corner church, witnessing an eternal parade of baptisms, weddings and funerals. I followed my handsome, raggedly elegant grandfather as he tottered precariously around the block, left arm paralyzed against his chest, getting his “exercise” after a debilitating stroke he never came back from.
In our front yard, only feet from our porch, stands the grandest tree in town, a towering copper beech. Its province over our home is such that one bolt of well-placed lightning and we’d all be dead as snails crushed beneath God’s little finger. On nights when thunder rolls and lightning turns our family bedroom cobalt blue, I watch its arms move and come to life in the wind and white flashes as I lie awake worrying about my friend the monster outside. On sunny days, its roots are a fort for my soldiers, a corral for my horses and my second home. I hold the honor of being the first on our block to climb into its upper reaches. Here I find my escape from all below. I wander for hours amongst its branches, the sound of my buddies’ muted voices drifting up from the sidewalk below as they try to track my progress. Beneath its slumbering arms, on slow summer nights we sit, my pals and I, the cavalry at dusk, waiting for the evening bells of the ice-cream man and bed. I hear my grandmother’s voice calling me in, the last sound of the long day. I step up onto our front porch, our windows glowing in the summer twilight; I let the heavy front door open and then close behind me, and for an hour or so in front of the kerosene stove, with my grandfather in his big chair, we watch the small black-and-white television screen light up the room, throwing its specters upon the walls and ceiling. Then, I drift to sleep tucked inside the greatest and saddest sanctuary I have ever known, my grandparents’ house.
I live here with my sister, Virginia, one year younger; my parents, Adele and Douglas Springsteen; my grandparents, Fred and Alice; and my dog Saddle. We live, literally, in the bosom of the Catholic Church, with the priest’s rectory, the nuns’ convent, the St. Rose of Lima Church and gram- mar school all just a football’s toss away across a field of wild grass.
Though he towers above us, here God is surrounded by man—crazy men, to be exact. My family has five houses branching out in an L shape, anchored on the corner by the redbrick church. We are four houses of old- school Irish, the people who have raised me—McNicholases, O’Hagans, Farrells—and across the street, one lonely outpost of Italians, who peppered my upbringing. These are the Sorrentinos and the Zerillis, hailing from Sorrento, Italy, via Brooklyn via Ellis Island. Here dwell my mother’s mother, Adelina Rosa Zerilli; my mother’s older sister, Dora; Dora’s husband, Warren (an Irishman of course); and their daughter, my older cousin Margaret. Margaret and my cousin Frank are championship jitterbug dancers, winning contests and trophies up and down the Jersey Shore.
Though not unfriendly, the clans do not often cross the street to socialize with one another.
The house I live in with my grandparents is owned by my great- grandmother “Nana” McNicholas, my grandmother’s mother, alive and kicking just up the street. I’ve been told our town’s first church service and first funeral were held in our living room. We live here beneath the lingering eyes of my father’s older sister, my aunt Virginia, dead at five, killed by a truck while riding her tricycle past the corner gas station. Her portrait hovers, breathing a ghostly air into the room and shining her ill-fated destiny over our family gatherings.
Hers is a sepia-toned formal portrait of a little girl in an old-fashioned child’s white linen dress. Her seemingly benign gaze, in the light of events, now communicates, “Watch out! The world is a dangerous and unforgiving place that will knock your ass off your tricycle and into the dead black unknown and only these poor, misguided and unfortunate souls will miss you.” Her mother, my grandma, heard that message loud and clear. She spent two years in bed after her daughter’s death and sent my father, neglected, with rickets, off to the outskirts of town to live with other relatives while she recovered.
Time passed; my father quit school at sixteen, working as a floor boy in the Karagheusian Rug Mill, a clanging factory of looms and deafening machinery that stretched across both sides of Center Street in a part of town called “Texas.” At eighteen, he went to war, sailing on the Queen Mary out of New York City. He served as a truck driver at the Battle of the Bulge, saw what little of the world he was going to see and returned home. He played pool, very well, for money. He met and fell in love with my mother, promising that if she’d marry him, he’d get a real job (red flag!). He worked with his cousin, David “Dim” Cashion, on the line at the Ford Motor plant in Edison and I came along.
For my grandmother, I was the firstborn child of her only son and the first baby in the house since the death of her daughter. My birth re- turned to her a life of purpose. She seized on me with a vengeance. Her mission became my ultimate protection from the world within and with- out. Sadly, her blind single-minded devotion would lead to hard feelings with my father and enormous family confusion. It would drag all of us down.
When it rains, the moisture in the humid air blankets our town with the smell of damp coffee grounds wafting in from the Nescafé factory at the town’s eastern edge. I don’t like coffee but I like that smell. It’s com- forting; it unites the town in a common sensory experience; it’s good industry, like the roaring rug mill that fills our ears, brings work and signals our town’s vitality. There is a place here—you can hear it, smell it—where people make lives, suffer pain, enjoy small pleasures, play baseball, die, make love, have kids, drink themselves drunk on spring nights and do their best to hold off the demons that seek to destroy us, our homes, our families, our town.
Here we live in the shadow of the steeple, where the holy rubber meets the road, all crookedly blessed in God's mercy, in the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, race-riot-creating, oddball-hating, soul-shaking, love-and fear-making, heartbreaking town of Freehold, New Jersey.
Let the service begin.
It’s Thursday night, trash night. We are fully mobilized and ready to go. We have gathered in my grandfather’s 1940s sedan waiting to be deployed to dig through every trash heap overflowing from the curbs of our town. First, we’re heading to Brinckerhoff Avenue; that’s where the money is and the trash is finest. We have come for your radios, any radios, no matter the condition. We will scavenge them from your junk pile, throw them into the trunk and bring them home to “the shed,” my grandfather’s six-by-six-foot unheated wooden cubicle in a tiny corner of our house. Here, winter and summer, magic occurs. Here in a “room” filled with electrical wire and filament tubes, I will sit studiously at his side. While he wires, solders and exchanges bad tubes for good, we wait together for the same moment: that instant when the whispering breath, the beautiful low static hum and warm sundown glow of electricity will come surging back into the dead skeletons of radios we have pulled back from extinction.
Here at my grandfather’s workbench, the resurrection is real. The vacuum silence will be drawn up and filled with the distant, crackling voices of Sunday preachers, blabbering pitchmen, Big Band music, early rock ’n’ roll and serial dramas. It is the sound of the world outside straining to reach us, calling down into our little town and deeper, into our hermetically sealed universe here at 87 Randolph Street. Once returned to the living, all items will be sold for five dollars in the migrant camps that, come summer, will dot the farm fields on the edge of our borough. The “radio man” is coming. That’s how my grandfather is known amongst the mostly Southern black migrant population that returns by bus every season to harvest the crops of rural Monmouth County. Down the dirt farm roads to the shacks in the rear where dust-bowl thirties conditions live on, my mother drives my stroke- addled grandpa to do his business amongst “the blacks” in their “Mickey Mouse” camps. I went once and was frightened out of my wits, surrounded in the dusk by hard-worn black faces. Race relations, never great in Free- hold, will explode ten years later into rioting and shootings, but for now, there is just a steady, uncomfortable quiet. I am simply the young protégé grandson of the “radio man,” here amongst his patrons where my family scrambles to make ends meet.
We were pretty near poor, though I never thought about it. We were clothed, fed and bedded. I had white and black friends worse off. My parents had jobs, my mother as a legal secretary and my father at Ford. Our house was old and soon to be noticeably decrepit. One kerosene stove in the living room was all we had to heat the whole place. Upstairs, where my family slept, you woke on winter mornings with your breath visible. One of my earliest childhood memories is the smell of kerosene and my grandfather standing there filling the spout in the rear of the stove. All of our cooking was done on a coal stove in the kitchen; as a child I’d shoot my water gun at its hot iron surface and watch the steam rise. We’d haul the ashes out the back door to the “ash heap.” Daily I’d return from playing in that pile of dust pale from gray coal ash. We had a small box refrigerator and one of the first televisions in town. In an earlier life, before I was born, my granddad had been the proprietor of Springsteen Brothers Electrical Shop. So when TV hit, it arrived at our house first. My mother told me neighbors from up and down the block would stop by to see the new miracle, to watch Milton Berle, Kate Smith and Your Hit Parade. To see wrestlers like Bruno Sammartino face off against Haystacks Calhoun. By the time I was six I knew every word to the Kate Smith anthem, “When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain.”
In this house, due to order of birth and circumstance, I was lord, king and the messiah all rolled into one. Because I was the first grandchild, my grandmother latched on to me to replace my dead aunt Virginia. Nothing was out of bounds. It was a terrible freedom for a young boy and I embraced it with everything I had. I stayed up until three a.m. and slept until three p.m. at five and six years old. I watched TV until it went off and I was left staring alone at the test pattern. I ate what and when I wanted. My parents and I became distant relatives and my mother, in her confusion and desire to keep the peace, ceded me to my grandmother’s total dominion. A timid little tyrant, I soon felt like the rules were for the rest of the world, at least until my dad came home. He would lord sullenly over the kitchen, a monarch dethroned by his own firstborn son at his mother’s insistence. Our ruin of a house and my own eccentricities and power at such a young age shamed and embarrassed me. I could see the rest of the world was running on a different clock and I was teased for my habits pretty thoroughly by my neighborhood pals. I loved my entitlement, but I knew it wasn’t right.
When I became of school age and had to conform to a time schedule, it sent me into an inner rage that lasted most of my school years. My mother knew we were all way overdue for a reckoning and, to her credit, tried to reclaim me. She moved us out of my grandmother’s house to a small, half- shotgun-style house at 39½ Institute Street. No hot water, four tiny rooms, four blocks away from my grandparents. There she tried to set some normal boundaries. It was too late. Those four blocks might as well have been a million miles. I was roaring with anger and loss and every chance I got, I returned to stay with my grandparents. It was my true home and they felt like my real parents. I could and would not leave.
The house by now was functional only in one room, the living room. The rest of the house, abandoned and draped off, was falling down, with one wintry and windblown bathroom, the only place to relieve yourself, and no functioning bath. My grandparents fell into a state of poor hygiene and care that would shock and repel me now. I remember my grandmother’s soiled undergarments, just washed, hanging on the backyard line, frightening and embarrassing me, symbols of the inappropriate intimacies, physical and emotional, that made my grandparents’ home so confusing and compelling. But I loved them and that house. My grandma slept on a worn spring couch with me tucked in at her side while my grandfather had a small cot across the room. This was it. This was what it had come to, my childhood limitlessness. This was where I needed to be to feel at home, safe, loved.
The grinding hypnotic power of this ruined place and these people would never leave me. I visit it in my dreams today, returning over and over, wanting to go back. It was a place where I felt an ultimate security, full license and a horrible unforgettable boundary-less love. It ruined me and it made me. Ruined, in that for the rest of my life I would struggle to create boundaries for myself that would allow me a life of some normalcy in my relationships. It made me in the sense that it would set me off on a lifelong pursuit of a “singular” place of my own, giving me a raw hunger that drove me, hell-bent, in my music. It was a desperate, lifelong effort to rebuild, on embers of memory and longing, my temple of safety.
For my grandmother’s love, I abandoned my parents, my sister and much of the world itself. Then that world came crashing in. My grandparents became ill. The whole family moved in together again, to another half house, at 68 South Street. Soon, my younger sister, Pam, would be born, my grandfather would be dead and my grandmother would be filled with cancer. My house, my backyard, my tree, my dirt, my earth, my sanctuary would be condemned and the land sold, to be made into a parking lot for St. Rose of Lima Catholic church.
Table of Contents
Book 1 Growin' Up
1 My Street 3
2 My House 8
3 The Church 13
4 The Italians 19
5 The Irish 23
6 My Mother 33
7 The Big Bang (Have You Heard the News…) 38
8 Radio Days 44
9 The Second Coming 48
10 The Show Man (Lord of the Dance) 54
11 Workingman's Blues 58
12 Where the Bands Are 61
13 The Castiles 68
14 Once There Was a Little Steven 88
15 Earth 96
16 The Upstage Club 104
17 Tinker (Surfin' Safari) 114
18 Steel Mill 121
19 Homecoming 139
20 Endless Summer 147
21 Beatnik Deluxe 153
22 California Dreamin' (Take Two) 159
23 It's a Bar, You Idiots 165
24 Onward and Upward 170
25 Losing My Religion 179
26 Road Work 185
27 The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle 190
23 The Satellite Lounge 200
Book 2 Born to Run
29 Born to Run 207
30 Jon Landau 212
31 Thunder Road 219
32 Jackpot 223
33 The E Street Band 234
34 Clarence Clemons 241
35 New Contracts 246
36 Living with the Law 254
37 Darkness on the Edge of Tom 260
38 The Drop 263
39 Downtime 271
40 The River 275
41 Hitsville 286
42 Hello Walls 295
43 Nebraska 298
44 Deliver Me from Nowhere 301
45 California 308
46 Born in the USA 313
47 Buona Fortuna, Fratelio Mio 318
48 The Big Big Time 321
49 Going Home 338
50 Regresar a México 343
51 Tunnel of Love 343
52 Goin' Cali 358
Book 3 Living Proof
53 Living Proof 367
54 Redheaded Revolution 370
55 Changes 374
56 LA Burning 377
57 Going to the Chapel 379
58 Earthquake Sam 387
59 "Streets of Philadelphia" 396
60 The Ghost of Tom Joad 400
61 Western Man 406
63 Eastern Woman 415
63 King of New Jersey (Hollywood Days) 418
64 Bringing It All Back Home 421
65 Revival 423
66 The Rising 437
67 Wild East 444
68 The Seeger Sessions 449
69 Magic 455
70 Super Bowl Sunday 460
71 Moving On 465
72 Wrecking Ball 468
73 Losing the Rain 471
74 The Wrecking Ball Tour 476
75 Zero to Sixty in Nothing Flat 484
76 Garage Land 488
77 High Hopes 491
78 Home Front 497
79 Long Time Comin' 502
Photo Credits 611
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was great! He tells it like it is, demons and all. Thank you Bruce, for letting us into your head, heart and soul. Philly girl
Bruce Springsteen's memoir is perhaps the literary equivalent of his four hour concerts. Springsteen's book ranges from his earliest memories to his current inspiration. I am humbled at the craft and honesty in this book. His life story is shaped and nuanced for sure, but it still is stunningly compelling. Springsteen delves into his musical history in quite some depth. His early bands - the Castiles and Steel Mill helped the young Springsteen grow into the leader of the E Street Band. Stories from the road abound. Freehold, Asbury Park, New York City, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Memphis, and even Big Sur's Esalen make an appearance. Springsteen also dives into the thoughts behind his most important albums. The tension between the spontaneous nature of his live shows and the crafting of his music into recordings is palpable in the pages of "Born to Run". Springsteen also opens old wounds to shine a light on his family's history of mental illness and his own struggles with depression. This is an important American story that is not to be missed.
I'm not really a fan of Springsteen's music, but i nevertheless truly enjoyed this autobiography. It is not an easy read because his writing style is quirky and stuffed with detail and obsevations. There is an honesty and authenticity to his descriptions of himself, his family, and his fellow performers. My lifestyle is so different from Springsteen's, but in spite off that difference i still found so much connection to the basic human aspirations we all try to achieve. Definitly recommended!
As a fan, I enjoyed this autobiography of singer,songwriter, guitarist, and legendary frontman Bruce Springsteen. Bruce recalls his childhood vividly, introducing the reader to many colorful characters from his home and neighborhood. Seeing Elvis on tv sparks a lifelong obsession with music. Getting a guitar, finding his voice, finding musicians to play with, places to play, places to crash, girls. These are the things he is Born to Run for! Themes in Springsteen's life are restlessness, love for his parents, trying to understand their bond, building relationships and writing songs. He describes the way performing fuels his spirit. Also, his experiences traveling to Europe, meeting fans. Springsteen discusses some charitable endeavours as well. The writer is a simple man with an extraordinary drive. His stories are funny, and generally make a point. I liked reading about his relationships with bandmates and, especially his wife Patti. He objectively reads everyone, including himself. This is a mature person, a forgiving person, who has great appreciation for therapy and family and life. Check it out!
This book is an honest portrait of the man who evolves into one of America's greatest songwriters and performers. Writing is an art; and Bruce has achieved a masterpiece, .
I went to a wedding in Minnesota in 1987. While I was at the reception, a woman in her late 30’s asked me where I was from and upon hearing New Jersey, wanted to know if I ever met Bruce Springsteen. She said his name the way a 5 year old says ice cream. It is easy to forget that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are known and loved far and wide when they are practically your neighbors. I was born and raised in NJ and Bruce Springsteen has been with me my entire adult life. I graduated high school in 1978 and remember a TV commercial for Born to Run sometime before then. My older sister gave me Greetings from Asbury Park for Christmas 1977. I am not a Bruce mega-fan. I possess the above vinyl and a 30th anniversary Born to Run CD. I knew the other hits as they came out on the radio. Bruce and the E Street Band are like local dudes who did alright. I know of them, but let’s not get carried away. This is Jersey. I heard Bruce on NPR last year talking about his book. I liked the interview because it sounded like a lot of thought went into his responses. He spoke openly of his struggles, put it all right out in front the way a true rocker does. For that matter, like any hard working man does: this is me, take it or leave it. I wanted to read the book, but I put it on hold because I had other priorities. About a month ago I decided to order the book and thought I’d read some reviews. NEVER READ REVIEWS. The most positive reviews said it is really good, BUT… So I decided maybe not. A few days later I was at work talking to a coworker about music, when the quintessential Jersey music topic came up: Springsteen. As I was talking about the biography and the reviews, I talked myself into buying (and reading) it. Less than 100 pages in I was hooked. Bruce if you read this: I laughed, I cried (literally). I was sitting in a DD parking lot on a Saturday morning when I read Three Dreams. I sobbed. What you wrote was incredibly honest and powerful. You addressed multiple themes that added the all-important third dimension to the two that are visible from the audience: 1) Success in rock entertainment (and anything else) requires hard work, 2) you can run from your demons, but you can’t hide, and 3) cooking for your children is incredibly satisfying. I do have one question. I was born in Jersey. I have a Dutch last name. I went to catholic school (14 years total). I had a hardscrabble childhood. I have a brother, a father, and a grandfather named Clarence (the only white boys I ever met so named). Why didn’t I become a rock star? At what point did I take a wrong turn and just keep going? I highly recommend Born to Run (the book and the album). I admire the courage it took to write it. Thank you Bruce.
Pretencisous & condicending to women. What a looser. Sorry I read it. I liked his music, but his band gets credit for that, like many front men he starts believing his own press.
He writes songs way better than he does a book
I read the BRUCE book last year (Peter Carlin written). I thought then, everything you wanted or thought you needed to know about this guy was there. I STAND CORRECTED! This is over the top stuff! Bruce wants his shows to be a conversation with this fans. THIS is a rare, special, conversation all in itself! You don't have to be a crazed fan to get something out of this. Read about the thoughts behind stardom, pop culture, parents and their kids, the world at large - there is plenty to GET here! As epic as any of his epic songs!
Thank you Bruce for sharing your story with us. I have always loved your music and the fact that you are a Jersey boy - I am a Philly girl, always felt you were a local hero. After reading, I realized you really are just a Jersey boy, more real than I ever imagined. Thank you for the great read.
Even for a "non-fan", this is a good book. Very well written, it's a in-depth evaluation of the motivations behind the music as well as his choices in life, both professional and personal. A look at his past explains the emotional obstacles he had to overcome, and the dedication to his passion is impressive. It held my interest all the way through and left me with much respect for this man and what he has accomplished, as well as admiration for his wife Patti.
I don’t typically read a lot of nonfiction, and it’s even rarer for me to delve into the realm of celebrity memoirs. But in the case of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, I just couldn’t resist. I’ve been a pretty diehard fan of Springsteen ever since I first heard and was captivated by the lyrics from “Born to Run” and “Thunder Road.” I’ll admit that I was a little intimidated by the idea of a 538 page autobiography, but it’s The Boss so ultimately I couldn’t resist picking up a copy. I ended up settling on the audio version and I highly recommend it. There’s just something magical about listening to Springsteen talk about his life in his own words. I loved listening to him talk about his childhood and his humble beginnings, as well as when he got further along in his career and became famous. His passion for his craft, his sense of perfectionism when it came to putting together each album, and his determination to retain as much control over his career as possible were fascinating to read about and really gave a lot of insight into the man behind the music. My favorite parts of the book were where he got more personal. Not only does Springsteen reflect a lot on the various demons that he has fought throughout his life, but there are some very moving chapters where he talks about his wife, his children, his relationship with his father, and especially the ones where he recalls his wonderful friendship with Clarence Clemons, legendary saxophone player for Bruce’s E Street Band. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Born to Run for any fan who wants to hear about Springsteen’s life and career in his own words. It’s a moving and intimate portrait of both Springsteen the man and Springsteen the artist. 4.5 STARS
shipped quickly and in excellent shape
An inciteful autobiography from one of America's most amazing songwriters/performers. Springsteen, as usual, digs deep into his heart and opens up his soul to all of his fans. (I, of course, count myself as one of those fortunate sons.)
This book has a lot of stories that aren’t in the Peter Ames Carlin biography: funny stories, sad stories, intriguing stories, all compelling. The reader gets to follow Springsteen’s life as he matures from self-absorption to family devotion, increasingly open about his own limitations, responsibilities, and bouts with depression. He has only kind words about the many people who’ve lived and worked with him, even those he’s had major conflicts with. I expected to learn about lyrics, sounds, and deeper meaning, and I did. I also felt throughout the book that I was learning about an actual living person, and few autobiographies have felt as rich.
This autobiography provides an interesting study into what makes Bruce the tremendous songwriter and storyteller he has become. He shares his triumphs and tribulations and bares his soul and shortcomings - very courageous! A must read for any longtime fan of the Boss!
I just finished Bruce Springsteen's autobiography, "Born to Run" as a CD over the course my 3+ hour commute three days per week. First, I love Bruce, the E Street Band and the music they produced over the decades. Second, his growing-up story-- the early days, mirrors my own story. My 50's life in Morristown wasn't very different from his life in 50's Freehold. Irish-Italian, black and white working class neighborhoods with high drama feeding off low self esteem in every four-family hallway. The struggles with his father and supportive mother leading into his early band experiences, his introductions to characters some of whom would be either lifelong friends or enemies, sometimes both, keeps the memoir compelling. Where it bogs down is in the minutiae of the music business, its heroes and villains, bullshitters, publishers, agents, club owners, lawsuits, and money. It gets back on the rails-- sort of, in the last third of the narrative. We get to know the band members past and present, we get insights into his family life. His relationship with Steve Van Zandt, Clarance Clemons, and Patti Scialfa, and his eventual peace with his father were brave revelations as was the entire memoir. The CD was narrated in its entirety by the author, so be prepared (if you have seen one of his shows, you know what I'm talking about