Listening to a Christmas present from Kevin: the 30th anniversary edition of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's 'Born to Run'. Ah, I remember so very well when I first heard this album. It was 1975. I was in sixth grade. My brother, Greg, was home on winter break from his (I think) first year away at U of Chicago.
The CD is kinda cute; it looks like the original album:
Ooh, wait, breaking here to announce that one of my favorite Springsteen/E Street songs is starting: 'Backstreets'. Love the piano on this one. I learned this song a long, long time ago: I had to drop some of the keys bc my hands weren't big enough. And, just FYI, I totally suck at the piano. I liked playing, but I'm not a natural, so it was real work with paltry results. I pretty much stick to listening now. Every once in a very great while I play - or try to play, I should say - when no one's around.
Annnnyway, Greg brought this album home with him. I listened to it and never looked back. It was love at first note. I fell head over heels and back around again with this album. And with Springsteen. I was 11 years old and just starting to hit the rebellious years. Much of what Springsteen wrote and sang about resonated with me: yer basic parent-child angst exacerbated by age differences (my parents are about 20 years older than parents of others in my age cohort); cultural differences (Irish mom, Polish dad); religious issues (both parents Catholic); occupational factors (although both had training in certain fields before coming to the U.S., they could not find similar work here; they both ended up working at labor intensive jobs); external influences (mom raised in Ireland, went to England for work, lived there during WWII; dad raised in Poland, captured a few days after the invasion of Poland, spent the duration of the war in a German prison camp; both grew up in relatively poor farm communities; both came here in the late 1950's; hmm, I could go on about these factors).
So, if you know a whit about Springsteen, you know he hits all these bases - and then some - quite heavily during this period. Gosh, as I think back on it now, there's an awful lotta stuff to process around that age. Developing independence of personality, belief, opinion, goals, values, desires, etc. It brings to mind a chunk of ice breaking off of a glacier; a cleaving away.
A dear friend, Michelle, and I used to semi-joke about moving to NJ as soon as we were old enough bc, well, that's where Bruce came from. And that was good enough for us at the time! Well, here I am in NJ, although I swear Bruce Springsteen had nothing to do with it. Michelle lived across the street and down a few houses from me. We went through these years together, though with very different styles.
Michelle and I were pretty much opposites. Where she had style, I had...none (that certainly hasn't changed) . Where she had presence, I was, uh, there. Where she was outspoken, I was shy. Where she was cool, I was nerdy-sporty. I remember many loud days at her house as she and her mother and/or father went at it about something.
For me, home could get loud as I went at it with my parents about something or other. These outbursts were infrequent, though intense. Michelle once said that I broke my parents in a way my brothers (I have five older bros) hadn't. My brothers might yell and get angry and storm out; I often thought their real arguments hid behind other arguments. I might yell, too, but, however I spoke, I said just what I was thinking. My father once went off about me not going to church (I was older and was supposed to be getting myself there). Whereas one of my brothers in a similar position might have said something like 'I'm going' or 'Don't tell me what to do' and walked out and gone somewhere else, I went with, 'Oh, why go to church anyway? You don't even know if God exists. And even if God exists, this church stuff is just made up.' In retrospect, I think maybe my brothers had the right idea! Avoid arguing and just walk away. This particular response was one of my least successful tacks ever; it did not go over well at all. My dad went off, and I mean, off.
Another, less explosive argument occurred during my senior year in high school. I had already decided to go to Boston U. and declared philosophy as a major. My father talked to me a long time about majoring in something practical, specifically: mathematics.
Now, y'all know I suck at math. I knew it even back then; math was not my strong point; it was barely a point at all. But no matter: what could I do with a philosophy degree (a fair question, I concede)? With a math degree, I could get a good, steady job and probably always find work.
Well, y'all also know how that argument turned out.
I've listened to this CD many times since then, but I guess the re-issue with the DVDs and stuff got me thinking about when I first heard it and what else was going on back then. Ayup, good stuff, good stuff.