The Ties That Bind…Thanks Dad For Being A Bruce Springsteen Fan

As a (relatively) young Bruce Springsteen fan, one thing I am always asked is how did someone my age get into his music. Depending on who’s asking, the long answer is a gushing spiel about how every concert is different, the range of material, his live performance energy, his ability to relate to every turn in life with a thoughtfully penned lyric, and equally brilliant melody. 
But the short answer is “because of my dad”. While some ill-informed, or clearly less intelligent people might dismiss Springsteen’s music as “sad dad rock”, my dad (am I about to do this – he is going to be SO smug), has always been pretty cool.
Whether it’s genetics or through our time spent together, my dad has managed to pass on many “qualities” to me. An unhealthy appetite for pies. OCD tidyness. A penchant for snacking. A paunch (sorry dad, but it’s true). Ability to fall of bikes. Premature greying. Fear of technology. Tea slurping (we both deny this one). The list goes on. But perhaps the most noteworthy point in all of this: I don’t do shit music. Thanks to my dad I’m much more likely to be listening to The Clash, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop or Jonathan Richman than anything in the charts today. In fact, I struggle to name any artists in the charts. Miley who?
Our Springsteen journey began on our car drives to near Newcastle where my dad is from. When we’d finished off our pork pie, sausage roll and scotch egg picnic just 15 minutes into the six hour trip (well I am my father’s daughter), we had a lot of time left for Bruce. Last year we were back on the road again. More than two decades after that picnic we were were driving to our first Springsteen concert together in Coventry. We ate some chicken balti pies. And then the band played Born To Run from start to finish, the album my dad used to play me all those years ago, when we were both much slimmer, and wore better clothes.

Yes, I look like a boy

All around me I see other dads share their love of Springsteen with their children and it makes me a little teary. In Cape Town I was stood next to a dad taking his teenage daughter to her first Springsteen concert. A father son combo the next night – Craig and his son Brandon – the enthusiastic dad willing his son to love the music. And he did. Maybe it’s because I’m sensitive to it, but I spot the parent/children duos all over and feel compelled to head on over, stick my head between them, and bore the teen with tales of how I listen to Springsteen because of my dad too. And then I start using the words “Springsteen journey” too much.

But it’s not just these youths that are at it.

Fans of all ages are mesmerised by Springsteen’s music, and his biceps.

Johnny’s parents know better than to mess with his bedtime routine

And when they are old enough, they ditch the You Tube footage for the real deal.

Millie at her first concert in Sydney, 2014

In Ireland, three year old Fionn sings the Darkness album to his little friends while they negotiate lego. His parents? Raging Springsteen fans of course. The fans get younger – babies with a collection of Bruce baby grows, being rocked to sleep to Devils and Dust. Toddlers across the world are plonked in their pram in front of the TV. Who needs the Disney channel when a Live in New York City DVD is more engaging and intellectually stimulating. 

Sound familiar? I hope so. Because if you have children you have a parental duty to pass on your Springsteen addiction to your children. Start them early. Think they should be independent and make their own life choices? Not on this one. If they’re resisting it, don’t fret. Send them my way, I’ll have a word.

So if you are the daughter or son, with crazy Springsteen following parents, but you just don’t “get it”, please embrace how brilliant your parents are (and don’t get me started on the Bruce bit). Humour them. Respect their passion and their Springsteen spirit. Go with them to that concert. Pretend you love that version of that song too, when really, they all sound the same.

I know how happy it will make them.

This slightly sentimental post was prompted by the below clip of a dad giving young daughter tickets to see “Brucey”. I’m not the overly emotional type, but when I saw this I cried, partly from the shock and sheer joy I see in that little girl’s face, and partly, strangely, for me. Although the deeper elements of love, struggle, heartbreak, despair, hope and optimism of Springsteen’s writing might be lost on this little girl at the moment, the happiness it brings her is clear to see. We all know how she feels.
This little girl is me. And she’s just starting her own Springsteen journey. 

Have you introduced your children to the joys of Bruce Springsteen’s music? Share their “Springsteen journey” below… 




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This post was written by Hannah BurgersAndBruce

  • enzio 64

    When my daughter was 40 days old, I lived 300 miles from home because of
    my job. One day her mother came in with our child and we had a very
    hard night trying to get her asleep while she was suffering one of those
    terrible child’s bellyache. We sung every kind of lullaby, pop songs,
    italian folksongs, granpa’s military traditionals, nothing really seemed
    to work. For hours we walked around the house trying so hard to make
    her feel better (and to get us some time to sleep). Last chance: “I come
    from down in the valley where mister when you’re young…”. My wife
    told me “come on, she will never fall asleep with the Boss…”. She just
    took 30 seconds… Since then i sang that tune so many times, The River
    became her favourite lullaby. And when last year in San Siro (Milan,
    not the first B&ESB gig I’ve been to with my daughter, who is now
    21) Bruce started the melody with the harmonica, she whispered in my ear
    “this is my song”. It was just like the Boss took our hands to join
    them together. It’s not always easy to be a father, especially in a
    split family (I parted from her mother about 10 years ago) but
    sometimes you get to think it was worth with.

  • MargaridaBruce

    My uncle started his journey with Bruce in 1988, he was only a student and was my mum (his sister) who bought him all Vinyl, hoodies, tickets… So my mom beacame a fan too! When she married years later she made my dad love Bruce too and after that me and my sis grew up with Bruce’s music as a soundtrack of our lifes!! So I wanna thank you su much my unlce to love Bruce the way he does and to make all family do!!!
    Last weekend my little cousin ( my Bruce fan uncle son) came to my house to spend the weekend with me and before sleeping I sang him Pony Boy and he smiled at me and fell asleep….
    My uncle transmitted that passion to me and now I’m transmitting to the next family generation….
    As you said, Bruce is out “Tie that bind”