Oh Bruce Springsteen
fans – a great bunch of people. No need to talk about things like the weather when you realise you’re in the company of another Bruce fan.
So a few weeks back I was sitting in a room full of fans as part of Classic Album Sundays
, a series of events celebrating the greats of the music world. One of those Bruce Springsteen fans was Damon Gough, more often known as the musician Badly Drawn Boy
. This witty Bolton lad is a massive, MASSIVE fanboy of Bruce, so as part of Classic Album Sundays we spent the evening having a little listen to some of the tracks on the new remastered box set of albums
, while Damon tried to narrow down his favourites.
Honesty is the best policy, especially after a few drinks (yes I realise we both look hammered in this picture, we potentially were).
I’ve added in links to each song, because it seems like a good opportunity to…listen to Bruce. Anyway, here’s what Badly Drawn Boy had to say:
It was Christmas 1984, around the time of the Born In The USA success. I was flicking through the channels on the TV and I saw some 70s footage on a documentary. I heard the opening bars of Thunder Road. And that was it.
Bruce made me feel empowered. I was inspired by his path. I should have been out sniffing glue with my mates, but instead I was in the house discovering Bruce Springsteen.
With every album I couldn’t believe he was writing that many quality song songs. It was the best years of my life. Every night I’d listen to him telling me stories. For three years I went to sleep listening to Bruce Springsteen, lying in my bed in the shit hole of Bolton. He made me feel like the world was a bigger a place, a big romantic place. Bruce, he was always chasing the girls. Always making life better than it is.
His music, it’s like escapism.
Greetings from Asbury Park
In the early albums this is one of the best songs I’ve heard. Even I fancy Bruce. He’s so beautiful. His voice, it’s just amazing. Talking about Bruce, listening to Bruce. It’s like therapy.
The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle
Incident on 57th Street
That intro. There’s something magical about this song. The middle eight is one of the most sublime breakdowns ever written… Johnny was sitting on the fire escape, watching the kids playing down the street.
I taught myself to play piano listening to Springsteen. The beginning of Incident was the first bit I learned.
Born To Run
Born To Run
Bruce, he’s a victim of his own brilliance. I had the chance to meet him a few years back. He’s dead normal, has time for everyone. He’s as nice as me.
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Streets of Fire
The Darkness bootlegs are some of the best you can get, Prove It ’78 with the 10 minute intros. And that guitar solo in Streets of Fire is one of the best guitar solos ever recorded. Racing in the Street is another favourite of mine from the album.
The River for me means the river of life. Getting from A to B and surviving and doing well in the world. It’s eclectic, but a fascinating album and full of different ideas.
If I’m honest I think people give the album too much reference. The purists love it. It’s important because of where it sits, but it’s the album people like to like as it shows Bruce in a raw state. Used Cars is the best song on it by a long way, it’s melodic. The rest of it’s shit, and bores me to be honest. Ask people how many times they’ve listened to Nebraska and I bet they’ve fallen asleep half way through each time. It’s bleak, it can be beautiful. But it’s most important because of what followed it, Born in the USA. For me, Tunnel of Love shits all over Nebraska.
Born in the USA
I’m On Fire
Dancing in the Dark – it’s one of the best pop songs ever written. A three chord song about searching for something. Can’t start a fire without a spark – that’ what he’s looking for. I’m on Fire has to be up there in the top ten Springsteen songs though. It’s a song that’s really classic. Just so sublime. A wonderful song.
I just love his romance, his lyrics, his poetry. He’s funny too – he has a sense of humour and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s passionate and he’s got a voice. I had a career in music and I owe it all to Bruce. He gave me everything, and the chance to step out.
Amen to that.
I just thought I’d add a link to Badly Drawn Boy’s version of Thunder Road. He describes it as the “song that changed my life” and when someone compliments his version, his face lights up. It clearly means a huge amount to him. Here it is.
But back to Tunnel of Love shitting all over Nebraska. Do I agree? I do actually. And it’s definitely the the kind of language I’d use too.