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Springsteen offers us relevance

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Date published: 7/26/2002


HERE COMES Springsteen again, this time with a tour and a new album.

No matter what the mode, The Boss, especially with the E Street Band, is a shot of adrenalin for my soul.

For those of us who were born in the early to mid-1950s and have followed the path of rock 'n' roll since listening to the invasion of The Beatles on a tinny transistor radio--in the dark, with an earplug--the music has been a lifelong friend.

Of course it's not unique to our generation that we associate certain tunes with memorable times, both good and bad, happy and sad. But no genre of popular music has had the staying power of rock 'n' roll, such that my kids and I may well enjoy the same music--Britney, the boy bands and rap aside.

So what is it about Bruce Springsteen that sets him apart from all other rock 'n' roll acts on the planet? There are other bands and artists who have been around for more than 30 years. There are others whose body of work leaves you in awe of their talent.

What Springsteen brings is a relevance to our time that few artists, if any, can match. It's in his music, his lyrics and his work ethic.

I admit that I was a relative latecomer to Springsteen, catching on with his Born to Run album in 1975, about the same time he made the cover of Time magazine. I had to go back, which is still the case today with new music discoveries, and check out the early stuff. That's the place where most Bruce Springsteen fans trace their appreciation of his talent.

Whether he's singing of a couple of teenagers' first time, of a worker's long day at the factory, or lamenting the lot of the Vietnam veteran who wasn't exactly welcomed home, Springsteen touches our minds, beliefs and emotions.

Some people may think that "Born in the U.S.A." is a patriotic anthem. It is, in a way, but not the way they think:

Got in a little hometown jam

So they put a rifle in my hand

Sent me off to a foreign land

To go and kill the yellow man

Born in the U.S.A.

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