Back in 1984, a musician from New Jersey released an album that would not only change his life, but change mine forever. Bruce (Frederick Joseph) Springsteen’s Born In The USA sold 15 million copies in the U.S. and 30 million worldwide and became one of the best-selling albums of all time, with seven singles hitting the Top 10.
I wasn’t even WALKING when this album came out, but it remains the earliest music I can remember….and certainly the first crush I ever had.Yes, I fell in love with a voice.
You have to appreciate, this was back in Mid-Wales, in the mid to late 1980s. No MTV…our TV was huge and old and didn’t have a remote control. No posters, or magazine reviews, or articles…I was far too young to even ask, let alone read. All I had a voice, and an album cover…lyrics about the gritty realism of the American way of life, and place in society, that took decades for me to properly understand. A soulful, deep, gravelly voice pierced with fire and heart-breaking honest raw emotion.
At the time, I just thought he rocked. Born in the USA in particular would send me wild. I would bounce about and go into true rocker stances whenever it came on. There is Christmas home video footage of myself and my sister just going nuts the second the guitar slams in on that song. The look of pure joy on my face is incredible…. and the love of a child is a strong, wild and pure thing.
It made me want to be American. To go to this far off land of stars and stripes, and live in a small town, and experience this lifestyle. I wanted to work in car wash and take a down bound train. I wanted to see white bright smiles, and tall cowboys, and massive buildings and cars. It made me fall in love with music….loud, bluesy guitars, heavy drums, raw voices. I wanted to go see bands and to go to concerts. Most of all, I wanted to see this t-shirt and jean wearing God, stars and stripes to the core, as different to anything or anyone I’d experienced. I wanted to see The Boss in person.
Last week, on Tuesday 23rd July, Springsteen and the E-Street band took the stage in the Millenium Centre in Cardiff. They played a magnificent 3 and a half hour set, which included a huge selection of their older albums. They brought Eric Burdon of The Animals on stage,(another huge favourite band from my teens) and sang Boom Boom and We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place.
Sadly, no Born in the USA, (there are many tours to come….I’ll see it!) but we got Dancing in the Dark, and Thunder Road, and so many many incredible songs.
The talent of these people made me realize the difference between bands/groups, and proper musicians. The skill, and passion, and energy was mind blowing, something I’ll never forget.
Last week, I achieved a childhood dream, and in doing so, fell in love with music all over again. I hope you all get the chance to do something similar one day.