Born to Run

Born to Run

by Bruce Springsteen

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“Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.” —Bruce Springsteen, from the pages of Born to Run

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501141539
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 09/27/2016
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 53,428
File size: 12 MB
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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

Foreword xi

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

Epilogue 506

Acknowledgments 509

Photo Credits 611

Customer Reviews

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Born To Run 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
GreggChadwick More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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, .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He writes songs way better than he does a book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
CJ-Florida More than 1 year ago
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.
bookladygran More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 10 months ago
thebookishlibra More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
shipped quickly and in excellent shape
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mwalimu_McSherry More than 1 year ago
Josephwkeyes More than 1 year ago
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
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