It’s hard to talk to anyone from New Jersey without bringing up Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen. I’ve been to New Jersey three times in my life and all three times I’ve asked the same question without hesitation, “You ever see Bruce around here?” Lots of people from N.J. have a Bruce story, whether they actually did run into him or if they just have an emotional connection to one of his albums. In this case, presidential candidate Chris Christie has an emotional connection to Springsteen’s iconic album Born To Run.
The governor of New Jersey tweeted out a short essay expressing his love of the album, even going as far as to call it his “desert island disc.”
In the summer of 1975, I was 12 years old, pitching on my little league all-star team and living the life of a soon to be teenage boy in the suburbs of New Jersey.
Bursting into my summer vacation came a bearded New Jersey twenty something with a big, burly sax player on the cover of an album entitled “Born to Run”. It took my breath away.
The music was exciting, dramatic and exhilarating. As a kid from Jersey it spoke to me. Bruce wrote of the places and the people I knew. He wrote about our hopes and frustrations. He gave voice to the suburban kids like me who were filled with dreams and doubts. He was one of us.
Later that fall he appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek in the same week. Not only was he one of us. He was a star. We all filled with pride.
The welcoming opening of “Thunder Road” (my favorite Bruce song ever), the pounding rhythms of “Night”, the desire in “She’s the One”, and the operatic power of “Jungleland” all surrounded the title song in near perfection.
Decades later as Bruce started to perform entire albums in the order the songs were laid out on the original album, I stood in the Count Basie Theater in New Jersey and experienced once again the genius of not only the songs individually but their relationship to each other in the album. It took my breath away again.
It is my desert island disc. It is the most powerful rock album of my lifetime. – Chris
Of course a kid growing up in N.J. around the album’s release is going to have a close connection to the album, there’s no questioning that. My only question for the presidential candidate is: how can you call this the most powerful rock album of your lifetime and then choose another N.J. rocker’s song as your campaign music?