Bruce on the Beeb

BBC4 let us spend a night with my New Jersey homeboy, Bruce Springsteen.

Selections from The Seeger Sessions, recorded with a BBC audience at St Luke’s in London, gave us middle-aged Bruce as protest singer, rocking up some folky standards. This may indeed be what the world needs now, but with its whitebread, bespectacled audience, it had a kind of NPR/Garrison Keillor feel (think Andy Kershaw without the hard-rockin’ Peel influence, and worse jokes?). But during the next hour, recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon with the E Street Band in ‘75, when Springsteen started singing “Thunder Road”, it sent chills up my spine.

Me, I remember summers listening to “Born To Run” in the late 70s and early 80s, not quite understanding the operatic desperation of Bruce’s characters, but adolescent enough to pretend to it, and just old enough to feel — and young enough to believe in — the salvation of rock ‘n’ roll.