A Father, Son, Bruce Springsteen and Independence Day

This is the first story from the book For You, Original Stories and Photograph’s by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans. Originally published in 2007, it was chosen to lead off this “love letter” to Bruce because it accurately and more importantly emotionally sets the tone for the rest of the book. It is posted here in its entirety for you. Enjoy.


It was early 1973. I was on my way out the door, my hand reaching for the radio’s off button, when “Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer…” boomed out of my top-of-the-line Radio Shack Nova 9 speakers.

springsteen_photoWhat? Who is that? My FM station had been feeding me a steady diet of Jackson Browne, Eagles and Elton John. It sure wasn’t any of them. The DJ never did say who it was. And I was going out the door. But that moment marked the beginning of my journey. I can hear those five minutes and two seconds just as clearly today as I did then. I still have those speakers. I wonder sometimes if anything that important will ever come out of them again.

After that brief initial introduction, the following years were spent forming a bond to the man and his music that without knowing him, I wouldn’t have thought possible. When I first heard about this book, I wondered what I could possibly say that anyone would be interested in. I don’t have an amazing story that will make me the envy of Bruce fans worldwide. All I’ve ever had is this guy that lived just up the New Jersey Turnpike from me writing songs about my life. I knew Crazy Janie and Wild Billy. Greasy Lake was right down the street. I chased the factory girls underneath the boardwalk and I slept in that old abandoned beach house getting wasted in the heat.

I’ve spent the last 33 years catching every area show and some not-so-local shows. I didn’t have the luxury of following him around the country catching all the shows. I was busy raising future fans.

During the Born in the U.S.A. tour my son begged me to take him to a show. It was against my better judgment; he had school and couldn’t sit still for three minutes. He was six. But I stuffed cotton in his ears and away we went. Our seats were lower level, but for a six-year-old, they might as well have been on the moon. As the show started he was standing on his seat bobbing back and forth trying to catch a glimpse of whatever he could. It wasn’t long before all the people around us were pointing at this little kid trying to see.

Then something happened. The two people in front of him made a space between them and tapped the people in front of them to do the same. That continued down the rows until he had a clear sightline to the stage. People were actually looking back during the show to make sure he could see. He fell asleep during the first break and I couldn’t get him up again, but that night he too began his journey.

Like most of you out there, it only took one live show and I was hooked for life. On his own, Bruce had built a connection between us. My Chevy was a 70 with a 396, and racing in the street was what we did around here. Bruce would tell stories about his father and their strained relationship: My entire teenage life was spent living the same strain. I’d stay out all night if I had to, just to avoid the never-ending battles and keep my dad from seeing my hair.

I can remember my dad moving this old tube radio around the house trying to tune in an AM station from Delaware. That thing would whistle and static and every once in a while a twangy banjo and a singer who sounded like he was holding his nose would break through the noise. I hated that twang just about as much as he hated my hair.

springsteen_photoNow my mom on the other hand would turn on Bandstand with Dick Clark every afternoon. I guess that was my introduction to rock ‘n’ roll. When we finally got our first record player I can remember begging my mom for the 69 cents to buy the latest 45. I wore the grooves off those things, but not without a visit or more a night from my father yelling to “turn down that goddamned music.”

There was nothing we could agree on and whether we avoided each other or I avoided him, there was a great distance between us for many years. There was a whole world of new things I needed to see and do. I didn’t realize then that he didn’t have any objections to me spreading my wings; he just wanted me back in one piece. As the years went by and he realized I was going to make it okay, the gap between us shrunk. We never once discussed the tension between us. No one said sorry and no one placed blame. I would still do things he didn’t agree with, but he just looked at me and shook his head. Not in disgust, but with an “I-don’t-agree-but-I-trust-you” attitude.

In 1978 Bruce played the Capitol Theater. The entire concert was broadcast live on the local FM station and of course I recorded the whole thing. It was the first time I heard Independence Day. “Papa, now I know the things you wanted that you could not say, I swear I never meant to take those things away.” No words up to that point or this one have ever touched me so deeply. I realized on my own that my father only wanted the best for me. It never once occurred to me that I may have taken something away from him.

That same year my father and I took a long trip together. I took my car and did most of the driving. I had the Capitol concert on eight-track and for the better part of 18 hours that’s what came out of the speakers. He never once complained when I cranked it up and never asked to hear anything else. He just sat there wide-awake watching the mile markers whiz by. I don’t know if I brainwashed him or what, but after I said something to him about a song on the tape he looked at me and said, “He really does make some beautiful music.” I’ll never know if he ever got the point of Independence Day, but from that point on, we were able to share our views on music. I made him a Springsteen tape that he actually listened to.

Many years later I watched my life replayed for me. Remember that six-year-old who fell asleep at the Springsteen concert? I got to watch him grow up as a die-hard Bruce fan and then take it on to another level. It was scary how much of me I could see in him.

His grandmother gave him an acoustic guitar when he was about eight. He got discouraged because his hand was too small to fit around the neck. When he was about 12, I bought a used electric guitar and amp from a friend. It only took a few lessons and next thing we knew there was actually music coming from his room. Of course the next step for any 12-year-old guitar player who knew three notes was to form a band. I wouldn’t have traded the next 10 years for anything in the world. Anyone who ever thought of being in a band eventually ended up in my basement putting their own personal touch on the noise that was knocking the plaster off the walls.


The two constants in the band were my son, who was determined to make real music come out of that guitar, and the drummer, who had been taking lessons since he was old enough to sit in one place. The bass slot was filled by a friend of theirs whose sole qualification was that he had heard music before. And when they asked their future singer if he could sing, he said, “I don’t know, I think I can.” The short version of the story is that over the next ten years the noise became music and the music became magic.

Their local-hero status was unprecedented. They were a kick-ass bar band before they could even drive and I hauled them over half the state to every party, beef and beer bar, and fundraiser there was. My son, who was so shy he couldn’t stand in front of the class and do a book report, was on stage holding a guitar like a warrior leading the band to the battle of Murder Inc.

The band was far beyond good, I knew it, they knew it and everyone who ever heard them knew it. They reached a dead end here. I didn’t even see it coming. They told me they planned to move to south Florida and in less than two months they were packed and on their way. I never thought far enough ahead to realize there was another line from that very same song that I was going to have to come to terms with: “All men must make their way come Independence Day.” I was all in favor of that: Young men making their way out in the real world. Yep, I thought, it was a great idea. Right up till the minute he pulled out of the driveway. He was gone for two years and I missed him terribly. I missed them all.

They ended up doing pretty much the same thing they were doing here on a slightly larger scale. For two years they tore up the Miami/Lauderdale bar scene. The eating, sleeping and playing together eventually took their toll and the band broke up. He’s back in NJ now and even though his Independence Day was different than mine, I guess in some ways it felt the same.

I’ve lived the passion and heartfelt delivery of every word in that song and for some time after my father died I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to those final lines. To my son, just in case you ever thought it, you never took anything away. “I caught your very first tear on my fingertip.” You’ve brought me what’s best about life every day since then.

There are hundreds of little things I could tell about how Bruce has affected my life. He touched part of my father’s life, most of mine and all of my son’s. He helped me become a man, a husband and a father, yet this is someone I only know through his songs and stories. I often wondered what I would say if I did meet him. If I tried to tell him how much he has meant to both me and my family, I would just sound like a babbling idiot. The best I could ever do is just say thank you and he’d never even have a clue as to what that really meant.

©Bob Baker
Minotola, New Jersey

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Winner of Sold Out Bruce Springsteen Book, “For You”

Thanks to you, the Bruce Springsteen book raffle for For You Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans was a great success, we could not have done it without you. Because of your amazing generosity we are able to donate $320 to the Montreal General Hospital. We are pleased to announce that the winner of a brand new signed copy of the book For You is, Frank Van Dorresteijn of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Congratulations!

For You Thanks again, and look for another book raffle in September, 2015.
– Lawrence Kirsch

Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.
IF you have ever considered buying this book, Now is the time.
The book focuses on Darkness on the Edge of Town, Bruce’s iconic 4th album
and 1978 tour. Jam packed with over 100 fan stories and 200 original classic
photos from the 1978 tour, including a full 16 pages dedicated to the 1978 Cleveland Agora
concert, this book is a must have.
With less than 70 copies left, now is the time to order this collectable book.
And to sweeten the offer, we are now offering savings on Shipping anywhere in the world!
Save Now- Order Here: The Light in Darkness

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Win Sold Out Bruce Springsteen Book

In support of the Montreal General Hospital’s Spring 2015 fundraising campaign, Lawrence Kirsch, publisher of “For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans” and “The Light in Darkness,” is holding a raffle with a chance to win a brand new copy of “For You,” which has been sold out since December 2008.

The generosity of donors, volunteers and auxiliaries has made the MUHC what it is today…these precious funds are used for the benefit of current and future patients at the MGH. This time I am donating funds in loving memory of my mother, Mrs. Aileen Kirsch, to benefit the Division of Neurology.
In addition to the Division’s focus on stroke and consultation neurology, the Division has expertise and clinical programs in several specialized areas of neurological disease:

  • movement disorders
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • myasthenia gravis

To help raise funds, I am raffling a brand new signed copy (by the publisher) of For You: Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans.

If you missed your chance to purchase a copy of this limited-edition book, or even if you just want a second copy to keep as a collector’s item, now is your opportunity. First edition copies of “For You” often sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay, when you can find a copy.

Each $10 ticket you purchase gives you one chance to win and a $15 ticket gives you three chances to win one book. The contest is open to everyone and tickets can be bought from April 28 – May 11, 2015. You can enter to win here: theLightinDarkness.com and Foryoubruce.com, where the winner will be announced May 14, 2015.


Participants can enter the contest as many times as they wish and all proceeds go to the Montreal General Hospital. The books, autographed by the publisher, will be shipped to the winner free of charge anywhere in the world, so everyone is encouraged to enter.

You can help the fund raising efforts for the 2015 campaign by participating in the raffle for a copy of For You. All monies collected will be donated to the Montreal General Hospital.

The Montreal General Hospital, founded in 1821, enjoys a distinguished world reputation, as well as an impressive history of community service. The Montreal General Hospital, a pioneer hospital in North America, introduced teaching at the bedside and founded the first medical school in Canada — the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University.

The hospital has remained allied as a teaching hospital for the century and a half of the Faculty’s existence. The Montreal General Hospital is dedicated to patient care through diagnosis, treatment, research and teaching.

“Through the years, I’ve read almost every book written about Springsteen. Some are great and many are not. Over time, I’ve even become cynical when I hear about new books. In the last few years, there have been a plethora of coffee table book releases in the Springsteen world. Each one in itself is a gorgeous work of art that will glisten on your polished coffee table. However, chances are you are still missing the ultimate Bruce Springsteen keepsake: For You. When I heard about this book a year ago, I dismissed it thinking I didn’t really need yet another glorified coffee table book. I was wrong, dead wrong. For You takes the reader on a magical, mystical and poignant journey through forty years of Bruce Springsteen’s life. It’s a time machine to the past where tickets were once $7, the E Street Band was a boy’s only club, Steve Van Zandt looked like a member of Jimmy Buffet’s band and most of the members of the E Street Band could have begun their own television show – ‘Stashin.’ I wasn’t impressed with the book, I was bowled over.

Anthony Kuzminski

“In reading For You, at first it’s hard to believe that one performer could possibly have touched this many people this deeply – lifted them from depression, kept them from suicide, helped them through divorce or the death of a parent, or worse, a child. But story after story reveals just how much Springsteen’s music and his almost superhuman presence on the concert stage have penetrated people’s lives and, in as much as it is possible for music to do so, made them whole.

In fact, there’s a running theme of these reminiscences, one that is sure to warm any Bruce fan’s heart: that you are not crazy. Not crazy for seeing dozens or even hundreds of concerts; not crazy for feeling that Springsteen’s songs and lyrics have actually helped carry you through some of life’s toughest moments; not crazy to think that this man whom you’ve never met has and continues to fill some kind of void in your life.”

Peter Chianca
Excerpt from Blogness on the Edge of Town


Please help share the news of the For You book raffle on Facebook and Twitter.


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Vinci il libro su Bruce Springsteen, ormai esaurito, “For You”

A supporto della campagna di fundraising per 2015 del Montreal General Hospital, Lawrence Kirsch, editore di “For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans” e “The Light in Darkness,” promuove una lotteria di beneficenza con la possibilità di vincere due copie di “For You”, titolo ormai andato esaurito già da dicembre 2008. Ora, per la prima volta, hai doppia possibilità di vincere, dal momento che sono in palio ben due copie nuove di questo libro da collezione estremamente raro (una copia per ogni vincitore).

È la generosità dei donatori, dei volontari e degli ausiliari che ha reso il McGill University Health Centre ciò che è oggi… questi preziosi fondi sono utilizzati a beneficio degli attuali e futuri pazienti del Montreal General Hospital.
Questa volta intendo donare fondi alla memoria di mia madre, Mrs. Aileen Kirsch, in favore del Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, quindicesimo piano.

Per aiutare a raccogliere fondi metto in palio due copie nuove e autografate (dall’editore) di For You: Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans.

Se hai perso l’occasione di comprare una copia di questo libro a tiratura limitata, oppure se ne vuoi una seconda copia da conservare come pezzo da collezione, questo è il momento.
Le copie della prima edizione di “For You” costano spesso centinaia di dollari su eBay, sempre che se ne riesca a trovare una.

Ogni biglietto da $10 offre una possibilità di vincere e un biglietto da $15 offre tre possibilità di vincere una copia.
Partecipa qui: theLightinDarkness.com e Foryoubruce.com, dove i vincitori saranno annunciati il 7 Aprile.

Si può partecipare alla gara un numero illimitato di volte e tutti i ricavi andranno al Montreal General Hospital. I libri, autografati dall’editore, saranno inviati ai vincitori gratuitamente in tutto il mondo, perciò tutti sono invitati a partecipare.

Puoi aiutare gli sforzi per la campagna di raccolta fondi del 2015 partecipando alla lotteria con in palio una copia di For You. Tutto il denaro raccolto sarà donato al Montreal General Hospital.

Il Montreal General Hospital, fondato nel 1821, ha un’autorevole reputazione a livello mondiale ed una straordinaria storia per i suoi servizi alla comunità. Ospedale pioniere in Nordamerica, ha introdotto l’insegnamento in presenza del paziente e fondato la prima scuola di medicina in Canada — la Facoltà di Medicina alla McGill University.

Per tutto il secolo e mezzo di vita della Facoltà, la ha affiancata come ospedale di insegnamento. Il Montreal General Hospital è dedito alla cura dei pazienti attraverso diagnosi, cura, ricerca e insegnamento.

“Nel corso degli anni ho letto quasi tutti i libri scritti su Springsteen. Alcuni sono eccellenti e molti no. Col passare del tempo sono perfino diventato cinico quando sento parlare di nuovi libri. Negli ultimi anni c’è stata una pletora di pubblicazioni illustrate da collezione nel mondo springsteeniano. Ciascuno, di per sé, è una meravigliosa opera d’arte da far brillare sul tavolino del soggiorno. Eppure, è probabile che vi stiate perdendo il non plus ultra su Bruce Springsteen: For You. Quando sentii parlare di questo libro un anno fa, lo archiviai pensando che non avevo veramente bisogno di un altro incensato volume da collezione. Mi sbagliavo, mi sbagliavo di brutto. For You porta il lettore in un viaggio magico, mistico e intenso attraverso quarant’anni della vita di Bruce Springsteen. È una macchina del tempo verso il passato dove i biglietti costavano 7$, la E Street Band era un club di soli maschi e Steve Van Zandt pareva uscito dalla band di Jimmy Buffett […]. Non sono rimasto impressionato da quel libro, sono rimasto sopraffatto.
Anthony Kuzminski

“Leggendo For You, all’inizio è difficile credere che un artista abbia toccato così profondamente così tante persone – sollevate dalla depressione, trattenute dal suicidio, aiutate attraverso un divorzio o la morte di un genitore o, peggio, di un figlio. Ma storia dopo storia rivela quanto la musica di Springsteen e la sua presenza quasi sovrumana sul palco abbiano penetrato la vita delle persone e, per quanto sia possibile alla musica fare ciò, le abbiano completate.
In effetti c’è un tema ricorrente in queste reminiscenze, uno che sicuramente scalderà il cuore ad ogni fan di Bruce: che non sei pazzo. Non sei pazzo se hai visto decine o persino centinaia di concerti; non sei pazzo se senti che le canzoni e i testi di Springsteen ti hanno veramente aiutato ad attraversare alcuni dei momenti più duri della vita; non sei pazzo se pensi che quest’uomo, che non hai mai incontrato, ha riempito e continua a riempire una specie di vuoto nella tua vita.”
Peter Chianca
Estratto da Blogness on the Edge of Town

Per favore, aiutaci a condividere la notizia della lotteria per For You su Facebook e Twitter.

PARTECIPA QUI: Vinci il libro su Bruce Springsteen

The Light in Darkness
For You Bruce

Translated by Marta Giani – martagiani.mg@gmail.com

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Rare, Never Seen Before Photos of Bruce Springsteen’s 1974 Central Park Gig Discovered!


Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974Ray Amati, professional photographer for the NBA for the last 20 years, has been holding onto a secret for the last forty plus years. It turns out he was the only photographer who shot Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band during their infamous concert in Central Park, opening for Anne Murray in 1974, (read show background review below) Ray recounts the experience, like it was just, well, forty years ago…

Springsteen_Central_New_York_1974 (374x600)“Memories of this night are somewhat hazy after 41 years but I arrived at the Wollman Rink in Central Park in NYC to photograph Anne Murray. I was told that Bruce & the band were a last minute replacement to open for Ms. Murray.

Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974The only songs I recall were Jungleland & Born to Run. It was a short set and I only shot about 25 frames. It was standard for the opening acts not to get full lighting and this was no exception. It was mostly red and blue light and (this) accounts for some of the harshly lit shots.


I’ve included a shot of Anne Murray just to show that these shots were from this show.”
Ray has generously allowed the Darkness News blog to display some of these never-seen-before photos from this historic show for the first time ever.

Born in New York City in what is now Soho, Ray lived on the
upper-east-side for a few years then moved to Guttenberg, NJ.
He now lives in Ft. Myers, Florida where he works as a visiting NBA
photographer where he can be seen shooting Miami Heat games.

Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974

Triple Bill: Headliner Anne Murray; Opening Act Brewer & Shipley; Middle Slot – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.

This was an evening show held outdoors in the Wollman Ice Rink Theatre within Central Park, taking place while Springsteen is in town recording at 914 Studios in Blauvelt. The concert had originally been booked with Boz Scaggs as headliner, Anne Murray billed second and Brewer & Shipley as the opening act. When headliner Scaggs pulled out of the gig in June, promoter Ron Delsener replaced him with Springsteen in the headlining slot.
However, Shep Gordon and Johnny Podell (Murray’s managers) objected to Springsteen receiving headlining status, citing Murray’s superior commercial success. As a consequence the schedule was changed the week before the show, with Murray receiving the top billing. Advertisements exist from both before and after the change of headlining status (see images).

Springsteen_Central_Park (393x600)Mike Appel reluctantly agreed with the change on the condition that Springsteen would be allowed to perform for at least 80 minutes. As it turned out approximately 80% of the 5,000-strong crowd came specifically to see Springsteen, and half way through Bruce’s performance Murray’s managers realized they’d made a serious mistake, even trying in vain to get Mike Appel to yank Bruce offstage prematurely. Needless to say Bruce played his full show and Anne Murray was placed in the nightmarish position of having to follow him! A review in the Village Voice states that a quarter of the crowd left after Springsteen’s set, and only a quarter of those remaining were left by the time Murray had finished hers.

Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974

A Brucebase reader who attended the show states “It is absolutely true that most of the crowd booed when the announcer informed us that Anne Murray would be out in fifteen minutes, while we were still screaming for another encore. Most of us left. In Los Angeles, Marc Brickman (Bruce’s lighting director) was talking to my wife and said that Anne Murray was hysterical backstage, really pissed off that her manager had forced Bruce to play second. The story made it to John Sebastian, who voluntarily took second spot (in a triple-billing) on October 18, in Passaic.” Another fan present also remembers that the vast majority left after Springsteen, leaving only around a quarter of the original audience for Murray.

–Courtesy of: BruceBase Wiki Bruce Springsteen set lists, articles, multimedia, and much more.

Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974

Bruce Springsteen in Central Park Opening for Anne Murray, August 3 1974

I had never seen Springsteen before, but my old lady Antonia and I had his first two albums, the most recent of which, The Wild, the Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle, had come out the previous Fall. I was writing occasional record reviews for Crawdaddy! magazine, and the editor, Peter Knobler, had seen him perform a number of times, and raved about his live shows. The general word was that nothing this good had come along in a while. We were at Max’s Kansas City where Loudon Wainwright was playing, and it was announced that Springsteen would be there in a couple weeks. About a dozen people scattered about gave us as mighty a whoop and holler as I’d heard coming from a group of that particular size. They had a tone of giddy enthusiasm about them, which gave a nice sheen to their sound. Why the hell we didn’t go to the show a few weeks later is something I’ve often kicked my ass about.

Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974In 1974, I was feeling about as shitty as I’d managed to feel over the years, and I was as depressed as I ever was because of the lost hopes and dreams I’d had for the counterculture back in the early ‘60s. For example, along with many others, I thought if only Kennedy and Khrushchev would take LSD together, we would have world peace, no question. Only I thought: peyote instead of LSD. It was more natural and would certainly provide superior visual hallucinations. I really believed that about world peace. At least, I thought, it was going to get a lot better and stay that way. I figured things would be amazing by 1972, because 9 and 8 were magic numbers, and 9 X 8= 72.

Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974Besides that, I’d had hopes about my band, the Holy Modal Rounders, finally gaining at least a small measure of success. But I wanted to do a wider variety of music than the other guys, and nobody was interested. They left for Portland in ’72, and I got a job doing customer relations for Elektro-Harmonix. They made a number of sound-altering devices, like fuzz-tones (nowadays they say distortion instead of fuzz-tone), treble and bass boosters, sustain pedals, and other new products. The job meant answering letters, writing occasional ad copy (“Howling high highs!”), and sometimes working on assembly when there was a jump in orders. But music was not delivering the thrill it had in the sixties.
As of about 1970, though, I suddenly realized there was so much interesting music coming out, I couldn’t keep track of it or afford to buy. Still, the counterculture had crashed in flames, and music no longer carried me to the glorious peaks it used to. I doubted music would ever get me that high again. But then we saw Springsteen & the E Street Band.
I don’t remember anything specific about the Central Park performance. I recognized all, or most of the songs from his two albums, because, by that time, I had at least a hundred listens between them. “For You” and “Growing Up” were big favorites, and he played them both. But my depression was gone, for the first time in months. Most of the crowd left before opener Anne Murray went on.

Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974I’ve had a lot of discussions about Springsteen with Ether Frolic band member Jane Gilday, who lived in south Jersey back then and saw them many times in the pre-E Street days when the band had names like Steel Mill or Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom. Jane said Dr. Zoom was a trio, “It was fab, kinda perfect rootsy thump rock minus later rock’s overindulged guitar-hero shit. To this day,” she said, “I think Bruce was better when he was the only guitarist in the band. He’s better than Van Zandt or Nils Lofgren. Ye olde less-is-more, too many guitarists spoil the stew. I saw the original E Street band twice—the line-up on the first two albums, with Sancious on keys and Lopez on drums. This was way better,” according to Jane, “than his post Born to Run homogenized, more generic, ‘classic rock’ E Street band. They used to be more like the Band, or the Band with Dylan: Crazy careening carnivalesque loosey-goosey anything-might-happen kinda music-making.”

Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974When I saw them in the park, Lopez had left. Sancious left in August, just ten days after the Central Park gig. But I sure wish I had seen them earlier. I don’t remember much about the show itself, but I do remember that, as far as I was concerned, it changed everything. And I remember that I’ve seen the band thirteen times since then. This might be off-topic, but I want to add two more anecdotes about my early Springsteen impressions.

My depression returned in 1975 and again was blown away when we saw the Bottom Line gig promoting the Born to Run album. That was the first time I heard “Thunder Road,” a real quiet version, mainly keyboard and vocal. So that’s two recoveries I owe Bruce.

Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band at Central Park 1974The second anecdote explains a little about why I am so impressed with Bruce Springsteen. After the Born to Run album, for the first time, the band had nonstop gig offers, and they were playing their longest stretch ever. And for the first time, they were beginning to experience burnout. To raise flagging spirits, Springsteen proposed that the band and support crew form a baseball team and challenge the DJs in every tour city to a game. Get things fun again.
It worked; the band was having fun again, and has there ever been a more canny tour promo gimmick—but-too-damn-brilliant-to-be-a-gimmick—in the history of rock n roll?

-Peter Stampfel, is a first reader at
DAW books, lives in New York with his wife and is still working full time at 76.


Bruce Springsteen‬ Limited Edition Book, The Light in Darkness.
IF you have ever considered buying this book, Now is the time.
Jam-packed with over 100 fan stories and 200 original classic
photos from the 1978 tour, this book is a must have.
The Springsteen book The Light in Darkness is sold out.

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