I finally started reading Peter Guralnick's "Last Train To Memphis," but after only 50 or so pages, I left the house and met a friend for drinks. He had a copy of "Trouble Boys," the story of The Replacements, which he just finished and let me borrow. I put the Elvis book on hold, thinking I'd plow through "Trouble Boys" right away and get back to savoring Guralnick's purported masterpiece. About 75 pages into that so far unbelievable story, "Born To Run," Bruce Springsteen's memoir arrived in the mail, and that was that.
I didn't come here to review the book, at least not yet. I'm only 200 pages in. Yet those intitial 200 pages hit me like a whirlwind. With so many emotions fighting for attention, the two that seem to battle hardest for first place just happen to be recurring themes of my life and these pages:
Music and how it affects us
The almost impossible task of giving your all, unconditionally
(The latter, admittedly, not so prevalent as the former, at least on these pages.)
I've seen many use social media as a sort of an internet shrink, a virtual couch, so to speak. You get those people who only post cute pics of kittens, those who share photos of every food group, raw and cooked, that made it into their mouths, those born to rant about our POTUS and the upcoming election, those who share music and nothing but and those who like to spoil things, like sports scores and movie endings. But there are a few who feel very comfortable sharing some very personal information, such as illness and loss. I've never been able to expose too much, though I have been accused of wearing my heart on both sleeves.
A long time reader posted a comment a few months ago, which I refused to publish. I felt it was too personal, something that might have been better off in a private e-mail. He basically sized me up from my Songs Of The Day. He wasn't so wrong, but I thought he had some huge balls for even making that assessment, having no real knowledge of me or my life, aside from what I shared here.
But I digress.
It has been 50 years now, and The Beatles still play a major part in my life. I never tire of their music and I am still fascinated by any news, film or music that comes my way. There is no other artist that can stir things up the way the Fab Four can...except Bruce Springsteen. The strange thing is, while I have been a fan since hearing WNEW-FM simulcast an entire show from the Capitol Theatre in 1978, it has only been since 2009's live debut of "The River" in its entirety at Madison Square Garden, that Springsteen's songs have taken a completely new hold on me. Chalk it up to everything going right on that 2009 night. But since then, Bruce's words started speaking to me like never before and what I have so far taken out of the first 200 pages of "Born To Run" is that, you cannot be afraid to put yourself out there and you cannot be ashamed of your passion. It won't always work and it might not speak to everyone, but those who you do affect, will never forget.
Each chapter of the book...hell..each paragraph, is written like a song and each page feels like another piece of the setlist. Big rock and roll stories that help your commitment to the proceedings, and then once he's gained your trust, the slow painful stories of loss have both your attention and your empathy. This book might not be a revelation for all, but just the first half alone, has affected me, much in the way the actual songs affect me.
I imagine we all have our Bruce's. For some it might be Dylan. Or, Van Morrison. It could simply be memories attached to a Ramones concert or a loud blast of The Who from the third row. Music speaks to us all. And right now, the words and music of Bruce Springsteen are speaking to me in volumes.
I won't apologize for that, or for wearing my heart on both sleeves, or for using these pages occasionally for self-therapy. I've made some friends here. I am confident you will accept this.