“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
“Richly rewarding…Bruce Springsteen proves that he has taken on life fully engaged both in living and examining it, and in doing so, he’s delivered a story as profoundly inspiring as his best music…It’s alternately brutally honest, philosophically deep, stabbingly funny, and, perhaps most important, refreshingly humble.” —Los Angeles Times
In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.
Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages 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 and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.
Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.
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
|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.
Rock ’n’ Roll Survival Kit
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 . . .
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