Bowling With No Panties

Everybody's a critic. I am actually right.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

If You Love Something, Let It Go...I'm Letting Go of YOU Vintage Bruce Springsteen

When I was 12 years old I had the world's biggest pubesecent crush on Matt Dillon. I switched allegiance from Shaun Cassidy to Matt after seeing "My Bodyguard" where Matt was the nasty bully. He was so hot, though, and BAD. He might have been my first "bad boy" crush -- compared to Shaun Cassidy, who made me fall in love with him while staring moodily into the ocean after his character's girlfriend died on the Hardy Boys while his version of "If" was playing, one lone tear slowly coursing down his chiseled and clean shaven face.

Like most good "tween" girls of the 70's I was a big fan of TIGER BEAT magazine, and I would beg my mother for every issue that had Matt Dillon in it. One such issue actually had an interview, and Matt was posed the question, "What song would be your wedding song?" and he answered "Born To Run" by Bruce Springsteen.

I had never heard of Bruce Springsteen as I hadn't really found FM radio yet. I was raised in a strict Lutheran home by two serious Squares. My parents were in college in the 60's, but a religious one, and there was no anti-war protesting from them, nor pot smoking, tuning in or turning on. My parents record collection was full of Broadway cast recordings, Kenny Rogers, Simon & Garfunkel, Perry Como, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt after she stopped rockin', classical music, and some Doo-Wop. That and AM radio was what I was pretty much exposed to...Billy Joel, Captain & Tenille -- the Donny & Marie Show. That's how I didn't know who Bruce Springsteen was in the year of our Lord 1980.

I took my babysitting money and went down to Record Broker, the local record store and went looking for the song that would be played at my wedding to Matt Dillon. I brought the album home and played it on my record player -- I didn't have a stereo!

My mind was officially blown. There was a quality in Bruce Springsteen's voice that spoke to me deep inside. There was a part of me that was always yearning for something that I couldn't name. Bruce's words washed over me and fired my imagination. I wasn't a beauty, but eh, I was all right -- there was hope for me that someone would come get me out of my small town and pull me out of there to win. I could see the Rat's dreams gun him down. I understood why Bruce hated Terry and the guy who took her away. I wanted to be the subject of "She's The One". I wanted to let Bruce in to be my friend, so he could guard my dreams and visions.

I played "Born To Run" ad nauseum. I then went out and purchased "Greetings From Asbury Park" and "Darkness On The Edge of Town." "Prove It All Night" is still one of my favorite songs of all time, as is "Spirits In The Night" and "Hard To Be A Saint In The City". Bruce was more than a rock star, he was a poet with a yearning soul and a keen observant eye, seeing deep into the world around him. He was kind of on the edges, he wasn't Mr. Slick. He was skinny with a chicken chest and a scraggly beard and messy hair. Bruce really knew about unrequited love. Bruce knew about feeling held back by a humble birth and had the soul of a rebel. When they said sit down, he threw up.

I loved him more than I ever loved Shaun Cassidy, Donny Osmond OR Matt Dillon COMBINED. Bruce Springsteen is the only "celebrity" I had ever written a "fan" letter to. I never mailed it because I was sure he would think I was a huge dork. I wanted him to know how much he meant to me. I wanted to be him, but a girl. I wanted to run away with him and strap my legs 'cross his engines.

In a larger way, Bruce Springsteen was my "gateway drug" to rock and roll from the musical wasteland of easy listening and show tunes I was raised in. Bruce made me listen to lyrics and divide songs into two categories..."fun" (like The Safety Dance)and REAL (like Into The Mystic by Van Morrison). Bruce's lyrics - plainspoken but also powerful -- inspired me to try to write my feelings and observations down, too. I don't want to say he's the SOLE reason I became a poet, but he's one of my bigger influences. My poetry is pretty straightforward, too.

That Bruce Springsteen has been gone a long time.

I don't want to get into politics because I am a freak of nature. I am a gay-friendly pro-choice Republican. Rush Limbaugh calls people like me "Gutless Wonders", lacking conviction to committ to one party or the other, but that isn't right for me. I dislike extremities. The world is a gray area and there's absolutely nothing wrong with me not wanting to buy the entire belief system of either party. The Democrats do not speak for me. I am neither someone so poor I need government assistance or so rich that I can feel magnaminous by granting my pity and money to those beneath me.

Bruce has gone back and dug up the working class pro-Union protest songs of Woody Guthrie-influenced Pete Seeger. However, Bruce has been a multi-millionaire for 30 years. I believe he means what he says, though. I don't think Bruce would ever fake his feelings in order to write a hit record. I loved "The Rising", the song he released after 9/11, I still can't listen to it without getting a little choked up.

But personally, I sort of stopped loving Bruce in high school. Yes, I had that insanely huge live album set, but by then Bruce had gotten all buffed out and wore tight jeans and shaved and married a model. "Born In The USA" left me cold. It's a brilliant song about a veteran and my high school class voted it "Class Song" without ever really listening to it. Because it is FUCKING DEPRESSING. "Woo hoo, we're like, born in the USA too!" I hated most of my high school classmates.

I also hated this "new" Bruce. The Bruce that danced with Courteney Cox was a dick. That Bruce was a frat boy, but smarter. That Bruce wasn't the Bruce that I fell in love with.

I have still carried my passionate love for young Bruce Springsteen quietly inside me all this time. I thought he really GOT women - "She could laugh and cry in a single sound."

Bruce Au Courant is disenchanted with our government and vociferously supported John Kerry but pretty much would have backed anyone who ran against the current administration -- which is FINE, he is entitled to his opinions and beliefs.

I just miss the Bruce that wanted to go on up to Greasy Lake and make love with Crazy Janey in the dirt. I miss the Bruce that knew that Rosalita's Daddy didn't like him but it didn't keep him away. I miss the Bruce that went down to the River and pulled his Mary close just to feel each breath she'd take.

He's gone. He's angry and political and wants to make a big change in the world. He doesn't have time to meet me in the fields behind the Dynamo.

BACKSTREETS by Bruce Springsteen

One soft infested summer
Me and Terry became friends
Trying in vain to breathe
The fire we born in
Catching rides to the outskirts
Tying faith between our teeth
Sleeping in that old abandoned beach house
Getting wasted in the heat
And hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
With a love so hard and filled with defeat
Running for our lives at night on them backstreets

Slow dancing in the dark
On the beach at Stockton’s Wing
Where desperate lovers park
We sat with the last of the Duke Street Kings
Huddled in our cars
Waiting for the bells that ring
In the deep heart of the night
We let lose of everything
To go running on the backstreets
Running on the backstreets
Terry you swore we’d live forever
Taking it on them backstreets together

Endless juke joints and Valentino drag
Where famous dancers scraped the tears
Up off the street dressed down in rags
Running into the darkness
Some hurt bad some really dying
At night sometimes it seemed
You could hear the whole damn city crying
Blame it on the lies that killed us
Blame it on the truth that ran us down
You can blame it all on me Terry
It don’t matter to me now
When the breakdown hit at midnight
There was nothing left to say
But I hated him
And I hated you when you went away

Laying here in the dark
You’re like an angel on my chest
Just another tramp of hearts
Crying tears of faithlessness
Remember all the movies, Terry
We’d go see
Trying to learn to walk like the heroes
We thought we had to be
Well after all this time
To find we’re just like all the rest
Stranded in the park
And forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
Where we swore forever friends
On the backstreets until the end
Hiding on the backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets...


  • At 8:02 PM, Blogger julie said…

    I love Bruce. I have since 4th grade. I even named my cat after him. But Activist Bruce is kinda a turn-off to me. I miss Badlands Bruce.

  • At 10:34 AM, Blogger Maulleigh said…

    Hey little girl is your daddy home, did he go away and leave you all alone uh huh?

    Yes Bruce! Yes!! Let me unlock the screen door and let you in!!

    He has one of the best bodies I've ever seen; lean yet slightly muscular.

    Sexiest lyrics of ALL TIME!!

  • At 11:31 AM, Blogger Spill The Beans said…

    I can totally forgive the fact that you only post once every two months when you post stuff this brilliant.

    You should totally be published somewhere.

    And I'm the same kind of Republican, so you aren't alone.

  • At 8:04 AM, Blogger Slinky Redfoot said…

    have you seen him now? He's aged pretty well I think.

  • At 11:14 AM, Blogger Jim McKee said…

    After the whole Dixie Chiclets fiasco, in which I grew to hate performing artists I had once loved (as well as lusted after), I had to come to an intelligent way to deal with artists whose politics were a dead turn-off to me, such as Springsteen. That way is: Total denial. I slice all the bullshit away with a mental scalpel. Bruce, I don't give a flying rat's ass about your political views; you're no smarter than I am, you just have a bigger bully pulpit, so shut up and sing "Born to Run" already. I do the same with actors. Most of these clowns haven't had to work for a living in forever, which makes them out of touch with "real life", so their views on issues are approximately equal to that of an isolated weirdo (oops, did I say
    "Tom Cruise" out loud?).



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