My first book in 2017 was not typical of my reading, but certainly was a treat. As a Christmas gift I was given Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run, with accompanying record (yes record, a lovely bit of vinyl) ‘Chapter and Verse’.
I’m not a die-hard Springsteen fan. I enjoy his music, have a few cds and his (and the E-Street Band) Live 1975-1985 Box set on vinyl is a treasured possesion. Its an 80’s purchase after all. But, I’ve never seen him live, I don’t know all of his songs and I’m not able to singalong confidently to the best of his music. I’m just a casual fan that enjoys his music.
I don’t read too many biographies, but I enjoyed this one. I imagine die hard fans probably didn’t find too much new material in it. For me each chapter was new ground. He didn’t go deep into too much. A cursory knowlege of his music (even if only the live version of The River in the afore mention box set) would tell the listener he had some father issues.
There are some revelations about his mental health, some insights into his unusal upbringing and the formation of the E-street Band and for me the most interesting of all, the background to the music, to the albums and the songs. But this is no exposé. There isn’t loads of dirt thrown around, no grudges settled. He discusses some disagreements, but even those he had major legal cases with, he talks about how great they are, how much he likes and respects them. Either he’s genuinely a really nice guy, or just doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers unneccesarily.
My impression of Springsteen is one of a driven character, sure of his talent, and of the limits of that talent. He comes across as a generous control freak. He seems to be a caring father who wants the best for not just his family, but all of those around him.
The book is a nice easy read. The chapters are short allowing the reader to dip in and out quick and often if preferred. If you are a big time fan, it probably just completes much of the picture you already had, but if you are like me, this is a great addition to the music. I loved the Chapter and Verse album, especially the old pre E-Street music. It made be listen to the different albums again. Sometimes with book in hand.