Thursday, August 2, 2012

Springsteen: 62 and rockin'

Sixty-two. To many Americans, this is the start of retirement; the earliest age for receiving Social Security benefits.

To Bruce Springsteen, 62 is the start of another worldwide tour to support yet another new album, "Wrecking Ball."

Springsteen exhibit at the National Constitution Center
As a born and bred Jersey girl -- especially one from Monmouth County -- I can hardly be anything other than a Springsteen fan. I saw him in the early days, when a few bucks and a handful of newspapers for recycling got me into a college show. I've seen him in more recent years, when I sat in nosebleed stadium seats and could barely hear him over the singing of those around me.

I cried when Clarence Clemmons died last year. While I had only seen him onstage, my father tells the story of playing handball with Clarence one night at Tradewinds Beach Club in Sea Bright, not knowing who he was until later.

All these memories came back in a flash while reading "We Are Alive: Bruce Springsteen at sixty-two," by David Remnick in the July 30 issue of The New Yorker.

This is a great read, both for longtime fans and for those who have always wondered what the fuss is all about. Much more depth and meaning is revealed than I ever knew about the man, the band, and the music.

I've been singing along to Springsteen songs since the early 1970s. There have been changes over the years -- in musical styles, messages in songs, members of the band -- but the foundation remains solid. As Bruce says in the article, "I try to put on the kind of show that the kid in the front row is going to come to and never forget."

I was that kid once. And I will never forget.

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