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YMMV / Bruce Springsteen

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  • Big Name Fan: Being one of the most prominent singer-songwriters in America, Bruce not surprisingly has quite a few. Special mention goes to fellow New Jerseyans Jon Stewart (who spoke in Bruce's honor when Bruce was being honored at the 2009 Kennedy Center Awards) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has attended more than 129 Spingsteen concerts and fanboys about Springsteen frequently. It's been said that Governor Christie had a huge fanboy reaction when Springsteen—in the wake of shared relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy—told Christie "Okay, we are officially friends." (This is kind of interesting, since Springsteen is well noted as being very liberal and a solid supporter of the Democrats—and gets super annoyed when Republicans use his music—while Christie is a Republican and as conservative as you can get and get elected in New Jersey. But then—it's clear both love their home state, so it really shouldn't be surprising.)
    • Bruce himself is apparently this for the Harry Potter novels, and even wrote a ballad about Harry, and tried to get it into the movies, being unsuccessful only because of Harry Potter novelist/creator J. K. Rowling's contractual stipulation that no commercial songs of any type be used in the Harry Potter film series.
    • He's also a big fan of Christopher Titus and his TV show, Titus, which according to Titus in his special Voice In My Head, he thought was a cut above most sitcoms and called it art. This apparently sent Titus's inner retard into fits of laughter and calling John Cougar Mellencamp a much better artist.
  • Covered Up:
    • Springsteen didn't write "Jersey Girl", Tom Waits did on his album Heartattack and Vine.
    • "Blinded By The Light", which became the signature song of Manfred Mann's Earth Band, is actually a cover of the "first" Springsteen song, as it opens his debut album.
    • An odd case with "Because the Night". He wrote it, then gave it to Patti Smith, who rewrote some of the verses and released it as a hit single on her album Easter. He later released his version (which means his is technically the cover), and they are credited as cowriters. (To make things even more confusing, Springsteen and Smith often sing each other's version of the lyrics, or a blend of the two, for fun. This is what happens when two great singer-songwriters are good friends.)
    • "The Ghost of Tom Joad" was probably better known in the rather different Rage Against the Machine version for a long time... and then things went full circle on High Hopes, where Morello joined Springsteen for a new version that sounds somewhere between the two and got significant airplay.
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    • "Pink Cadillac" is not a Natalie Cole-written song, though she did pretty much make it her own.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Springsteen incorporates imagery and metaphors related to amusement parks, fairgrounds and carnivals (he called one album Tunnel of Love). Appropriate as it was the Jersey Shore where Bruce developed a following in The '60s.
    • Cars also turn up frequently, as the Cool Car entry on the main page points out.
    • As does travel. Glory Days, for instance, begins with a mention of a truck-stop bar, and Jungleland begins with a "magic rat" crossing the Jersey state line. Within "travel", crossing county or state lines is common, presumably because this represents moving from one thing to the next.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: "Working on a Dream".
    • "The Wish", an autobiographical song about his mom buying him a guitar for Christmas: "Well, tonight I'm takin' requests here in the kitchen, this one's for you, ma, let me come right out and say it, it's overdue, but baby, if you're looking for a sad song, well, I ain't gonna play it!"
    • As noted on The Daily Show page, Jon Stewart dedicating the Moment of Zen to Clarence Clemons after the Big Man's passing.
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    • Also Bruce's own tribute to the Big Man in the liner notes of Wrecking Ball.
    • The story about his father while introducing "The River" on the Live 1975-85 set.
      I remember coming home after I had been gone for three days, walking in the kitchen and my mother and father were sitting there and my dad said "where you been?" I said "I went to take my physical" He said "What happened?" I said "They didn't take me" And he said "That's good".
    • "Terry's Song."
    • "The Rising."
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: His section is here.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The Big Man, Clarence Clemons. Always introduced last, to the loudest applause. You could usually hear, on live recordings, a swell in the crowd noise when he got a solo. Also The Stoic and usually The Voiceless, although he could and sometimes did sing.
    • Steve Van Zandt could claim this now, but for very unmusical reasons.
    • Clemons sometimes toured on his own with a band called "The Big Man's Temple of Soul". And his shows were every bit as intense as Bruce's.
    • Album variant: Magic, which had only two singles (neither of them hits) and was (allegedly) denied radio airplay by major radio stations, still managed to become his fastest-selling album of the decade thanks to its fan-favorite tracks like "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" and "Long Walk Home."
  • Epic Riff:
    • "Born to Run"
    • "Thunder Road" (Harmonica)
    • "Backstreets" (Piano)
    • Jungleland (Piano/Violin)
    • "Born in the U.S.A." (Synthesizer/Piano)
    • The new version of "Land of Hope and Dreams" highlights a killer banjo / acoustic guitar riff.
    • "Last to Die" (guitar; violin/keyboard live)
    • "Radio Nowhere" (guitar)
    • "Dancing in the Dark" (synthesizer/guitar)
    • "Hungry Heart" (piano)
    • "Badlands" (organ)
  • First Big Hit Wins: Born to Run is easily his most popular song, and it is also one of his earliest.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: 1973's "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)," often simply called "Sandy," gained a distinctly dark undertone when Hurricane Sandy completely trashed Asbury Park in 2012 (although that happened closer to Halloween than the 4th). Sensitive to this, Bruce pointedly did not play that song at the post-Hurricane Sandy benefit concert that December.
  • Ho Yay: Played for laughs with guitarist Steve Van Zandt.
    • Seeing as "Bobby Jean" is about Steve leaving the band in the eighties, not just for laughs...
    • He used to close "Thunder Road" by sliding across the stage, ending up on his knees in front of Clarence Clemons, who would proceed to kiss him passionately.
    • Clemons had a girlfriend who dumped him because she thought he was cheating on her with Bruce.
    • The song "My Lover Man", which has Bruce singing about a man leaving his woman for him.
    • The song Backstreets has it... possibly.
      "Terry you swore we'd live forever/taking it on them backstreets together"
  • I Am Not Shazam: The protagonist of "Johnny 99" is named Ralph, not Johnny. The title refers to his 99-year prison sentence for trying to rob a nightclub, which the song is about.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: There's a contingent of hardcore fans who dismiss Born in the USA because it was too commercially successful.
  • Memetic Badass: Clarence. The story of how he joined the band: They were playing in a small club on a rather stormy night, he showed up and accidentally tore the door off its hinges and told Bruce "I want to play with your band."
    • According to legend, Bruce's response was, "...uh, you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT, man..."
  • Memetic Molester: "I'm On Fire".
  • Misaimed Fandom: How many times has "Born in the USA" been trotted out on July 4th or otherwise associated with some form of patriotism?
    • "Born in the USA" got used in Republican campaigns during the 80s. Needless to say (given his political views), The Boss was not impressed...
    • "Born to Run" is considered one of New Jersey state's songs despite it being about, in Springsteen's own words, "about leaving Jersey.".
      • Notably, at the time, working-class Freehold, which he also somewhat bittersweetly skewers in My Hometown, and In Freehold.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The last few lines of "Magic": On the road the sun is sinkin' low / Bodies hanging in the trees / This is what what will be / This is what will be...
    • From "Hey Blue Eyes," The line "in this house there's just the dust of bones, the basement's filled with lye." Very disturbing imagery.
    • "State Trooper" is a pretty sinister song. Appropriate, given that it was inspired by Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop".
  • Retroactive Recognition: Conan O'Brien's drummer used to be in a rock band?
  • Values Resonance: "American Skin (41 Shots)" sounds like something that could have been released in the mid 2010s in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the various controversial police shootings that made the news around that time. In actuality, it was released in 2001, in response to a single controversial shooting.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Springsteen being an outspoken liberal, coupled with several of his songs chronicling the struggle of working-class people in America, makes this trope kind of unavoidable.


Example of: