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“I have to give Ricky credit for turning me on to this. Through the singer-songwriter avenue, I’d bought this record – but I hated it. ‘What is this nonsense? This absolute, preposterous, overblown, Meatloaf-style, semi-operatic drivel?’ It was like a bad Broadway show. I put it away and said, ‘OK, I heard about him, I tried it, but I don’t get it.’”
“In my mind, Bruce Springsteen was like this Bon Jovi stadium-rock thing, very triumphant and pompous, the fist-in-the-air thing – ‘We’re Americans, fuck yeah!’ It just seemed like rabble-rousing stuff, Born In The USA and all that. I talked to Ricky about it, and he said, ‘You should listen again. I don’t think you quite got in tune with this.’
“I did go back and listen, and then it clicked – like a switch going off. I’m now one of the biggest Bruce Springsteen fans around. I adore the man. I see every concert I can and buy everything, read everything. I took my brother-in-law to a show – and he’d had the same feelings as I had – and it was a real bonding experience. Seeing Bruce live is one of those things you have to experience. He’s like a preacher – the way he works the crowd is like an evangelist.
“The more I listen to this album, the more meaning it has. It’s cinematic. I know that word gets thrown around a lot, but a song like Thunder Road is a movie in five minutes. You feel the lovers racing through the rain to be together before Clarence’s saxophone plays them off into the sunset. Bruce’s confidence to be personal and yet bombastic, to take all the rock ‘n’ roll staples and throw them at the audience, and to be able to write damning verdicts of the working struggle, with darkness and heartache… it’s remarkable.
“I read an interview with Nick Hornby in which he said, ‘Sometimes the reason why somebody is successful is because they’re so good,’ and that you don’t always have to pander to your audience. Bruce is a perfect example of that. You plough your furrow, and through sheer talent and showmanship, you become a legend. Bruce is a legend, and rightly so.”