July 11, 2017

Born in the USA

The Boss 

Today, I'm trying to think of something different to write about. I have been writing about baseball lately. I'm listening to Bruce Springsteen, The Boss, on my Amazon Alexa. In the '80s, I wore out a cassette version of Springsteen's seminal classic, BORN IN THE USA. The LP came out in one of my favorite years, 1984. The album contained basically became a "greatest hits" collection itself. Seven singles from the album charted, and the B-side to the final single, "My Hometown," contains my favorite Christmas song, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Live)." Springsteen was rolling in '84-'85, nearly a decade after his "breakthrough" platter, BORN TO RUN.

Springsteen still records and tours today. Allegedly, he puts on an incredible stage show that lasts several hours. When USA came out, I was 12 years old. I didn't realize the social commentary The Boss was making; I didn't understand that until a good decade or so later. I liked singing along to the songs — and couldn't believe that so many good tunes were on one cassette. Granted, my favorites at the time were John Mellencamp, Billy Joel, Bob Seger, and Jimmy Buffett. If that doesn't prove that the music you listen to when you're young greatly influences your later listening habits, I don't know what is … I own many of Springsteen's recordings, but nothing is nearly as good as the "comeback" from 1984.

My favorite song on the LP is "Darlington County." I've always liked the music and the lyrics and feel it tells an interesting story. The song was not one of the aforementioned seven singles, either. Most of The Boss's best work tells stories. One of the best stories I heard about him is at the Fox Theater in Detroit during his Ghost of Tom Joad tour in the mid-'90s, the crowd was cheering and he told them to "hush." He was on a unique (at the time) folk tour to support the LP and wanted the crowd to listen to the music and lyrics. I always thought that was cool.

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