This sweeping biography of Bruce Springsteen features in-depth interviews with family, band members, childhood friends, ex-girlfriends, and a poignant retrospective from the Boss himself. It’s Bruce as his many fans haven’t before seen him - the man behind the myth, describing his life and work in intimate, vivid detail.
For close to four decades, Bruce Springsteen has reflected the heart and soul of America in a career that encompasses twenty Grammy Awards, more than 120 million albums sold, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. Yet despite the honesty of his songwriting, Springsteen has remained adamantly elusive and reserved.
In a groundbreaking biography that draws on unprecedented access to Springsteen and those closest to him, acclaimed music critic Peter Ames Carlin presents the most revealing account yet of New Jersey’s favorite son. With contributions from band members past and present, including the last interview given by legendary saxophonist Clarence Clemons, Bruce encompasses the breadth of Springsteen’s astonishing career and explores the inner workings of an American icon right up through his most recent sold-out tour and number-one album, Wrecking Ball.
A must for fans, Bruce is a meticulously researched biography of one of the most complex and fascinating artists in American music.
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For the most part, this is what I was hoping for
- Patrick King
Fantastic. But casual fans beware.
I completely ‘inhaled’ this listen in just a few days. Of course, I am a huge Bruce nut and therefore am probably a bit biased when it comes to how interesting I find this subject matter. For the average listener or those with no previous Springsteen knowledge, I’m afraid the material will come off less cohesively and less interesting. This book was written for the fan who knows Springsteen's entire catalog by heart.
The book recounts a pretty comprehensive history of Springsteen, from his childhood years through to 2012 and the release of Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” album. Certain Springsteen eras are given more treatment than others, particularly the pre-Columbia decade and the Born in the USA years. Other periods are written about more briefly but still include many fascinating factoids and insights into Springsteen’s songwriting process, personal life, and professional accomplishments. It was fascinating for me to hear about the personal frame of mind and professional context that Springsteen was in when he wrote many of his songs—the hits as well as the rarities. The author’s unprecedented access to Springsteen, the E Street Band, and Bruce’s hometown friends, acquaintances, and relatives goes a long way in peeling back the layers of Springsteen to create a biography of a real person with real emotional problems, dreams, and goals--not just the rock superstar known worldwide as a songwriting genius.
Cannavale does a great job narrating. As the author himself testifies at the end of the listen, Cannavale—a New Jersey native and friend of Springsteen—researched thoroughly every character to come up with an appropriate narrating voice. He especially shines on members of the E Street Band, Steve van Zandt, Clarence Clemons, and the Boss himself.
Obviously, fellow Bruce nuts like myself will find this listen fantastic. At this length however, casual fans might be turned off by the commitment required and might consider searching out less daunting works, such as Dave Marsh’s pair of past Springsteen bios.