Life Lessons I learned from Bruce Springsteen
Today, Bruce Springsteen fans around the country were psyched and then not-so-psyched when we discovered news of a new album and an upcoming tour were a total April Fools’ hoax. Very funny, Internet.
While every fan patiently hopes Bruce will make a return to the stage for yet another tour, there has been no sign of a new album in the works. But for those looking for deep nostalgia, a live recording from a show in Philadelphia in 1975 during the Born To Run Tour was recently released in February, and earlier this week, Bruce unleashed a 4-hour long 1980 concert album for all to download!
Since the release of Greetings From Asbury Park in 1973, Bruce has become a timeless, international icon of rock music. To this day he still performs every show with the same love and passion as he always did. (Seeing him live should be a necessity on anyone’s concert bucket list.)
What’s more, he’s just as wise as they come. So to make up for our disappointment over the false Bruce news, I’ve put together a list of life lessons from the man himself. Here’s just a sample of what “the boss” has taught me:
“You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart”
With lyrics that express the importance of living in the moment and going for what you want regardless of your fear of risks, it is no surprise that Dancing in the Dark is one of Springsteen’s greatest hits. You should strive to find your spark the way Bruce did… And it has clearly paid off for him so what are you so afraid of? It’s time to set the world on fire.
Never forget where you came from
Even though Bruce may have said, “It’s a town full of losers and I’m pulling out of here to win,” there is no denying the fact that he is proud of his New Jersey roots. Nearly every album has at least one song named after streets of Asbury Park or a place special to Bruce in Jersey such as Atlantic City, plus a subtle reference to Jersey within the E Street Band’s name.* Bruce also has made frequent appearances throughout his career at the Stone Pony, where he performed early in his career.
*Bruce Bonus fact: Davey Sancious was the only member of the band to ever actually live on E Street
Find a cause and stand for it
Whether you agree with Bruce’s political views or not, it is easy to see how passionate he is about having his voice heard. He is often labeled as the voice of the working class as his lyrics explore the lives of Americans struggling through hard economic times. He is a huge advocate for voting and uses his music to spread his ideas and beliefs.
“Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night”
Play Thunder Road for a crowd nearly anywhere and prepare yourself for the ultimate emotional sing-along (or maybe I am just always surrounded by Bruce fans). When you take a closer look at the lyrics that match that purely magical melody, it is impossible to not feel a burst of hopefulness as Bruce assures you that there is no need to worry… There will always be magic even on the darkest nights. Also, only Bruce could make the phrase, “you ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright” somehow sound romantic and even flattering. If that is not magic, I don’t know what is.
Value family over fortune and fame
His 23 year-long marriage to Patti Scialfa and the sturdy upbringing of their three children show how Bruce has always put his family first and resisted the stereotypical lifestyle of a rockstar. Witnessing him bring his mother up on stage during “Dancing in the Dark” while in Philadelphia on the Wrecking Ball tour was a true “I just got chills” moment. Bruce is the boss of many things, but especially family.
“Them downtown boys they sure talk gritty”
It’s Hard To Be a Saint In The City is chock full o’ similes and metaphors I will probably never understand in my life time, but since a young age I have always believed that Bruce was a strong advocate for avoiding ‘stranger danger’ with this line. This was an important PSA for five-year-old me growing up and I have not experienced any ‘stranger danger’ this far in my life, so I’d like to thank Bruce for that.
Forehead bands are cool
Then again, anything Bruce wears automatically becomes cool. One of these days I will enter my Bruce-inspired headband phases. One of these days.
Few things compare to the strength of a genuine friendship
All I hope for in this life is to find any friendship even remotely close to the 40-year-old bromance shared between Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons (a.k.a. Scooter and the Big Man). The Born to Run album cover embodies how much they both valued having the other to lean on. During live performances, caught up in the moment, the two best friends would often share a kiss. In June of 2011, every E Street fan’s world was shaken by the Big Man’s passing, but the magic was far from gone. In the tours after the loss of Clarence, the undying love for him could still be felt during the moment of silence in the performance of 10th Avenue Freeze Out where the soulful sax would have been. That spirit in the night will continue to live through Bruce’s love for him.
No matter what, always remember: “One day we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.”
Whether it’s a bad day at work, a serious break up, or your papa knows that Bruce doesn’t have any money, he reminds us that sometimes its important to not take life too seriously. Ya never know when the record company will give you a big advance.