Leslie's Bookcase

celebrating and recommending unforgettable books

Born to Run – Part I

I’m reading the new Bruce Springsteen memoir Born to Run slowly, savoring it.

A third of the way through, I’m to the point where he has released his first album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

A tidbit of what he says about his Asbury Park album:

…the lyrics and spirit of Greetings come from an unself-consicous place. Your early songs emerge from a moment when you’re writing with no sure prospect of ever being heard. Up until then, it’s been just you and your music. This only happens once.

I listened to the album again and heard it differently than before – an awesome experience with this new insight.

So far I’ve learned about his childhood, his relationship with his parents and grandparents, his inspirations,  and the source of some of his songs, for example “The River” is a tribute to his sister and brother-in-law.

I’ve learned how hard he truly worked for his first opportunities. Natural talent – yes he had that – but he worked his a$$ off to get better. He was so focused and he didn’t even have a drink of alcohol until after he recorded his first album (the funny story of his drinking Tequila for the first time is what I just read about!).

This is a beautifully written book, and of course it is about him, but there is so much history inserted like the draft for Vietnam and the landing on the moon that contextualize his story.

I learned that – in more than one example – he is lucky to be alive. He never learned to drive until he was actually on an Interstate headed to California. He literally crawled over someone who could not drive any longer (without stopping the vehicle) and proceeded to drive – for the first time ever – on the Interstate!

I realized I had way too many pages marked and needed to get a post down. These are just a few tidbits I wanted to mention before moving on.  Thus far, It is one of the best memoirs I have read, ranking up there with Roger Ebert’s.

Stay tuned for more about Born to Run!


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  1. Love the idea of reading and then listening to the albums as you go. As a Jersey girl, I cannot help but love Bruce 🙂

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