cover image Born to Run

Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen. Simon & Schuster, $32.50 (528p) ISBN 978-1-5011-4151-5

In his long-awaited memoir, Springsteen takes readers on an entertaining, high-octane journey from the streets of New Jersey to all over the world. A natural storyteller, Springsteen commands our attention, regaling us with his tales of growing up poor with a misanthropic father and a mother who had endless faith in people. The Boss delights us with humorous stories of his first guitar—which he couldn't get his seven-year-old fingers around—and his inspiration to become a musician after seeing Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show: "I WANTED... I NEEDED... TO ROCK! NOW!" Once he's hooked, he can't give up this insatiable hunger to rock like Chuck Berry, or the Rolling Stones, or the Beatles; soon he's playing in his first band, the Castiles, and eventually with another band, Steel Mill, opening up for Grand Funk Railroad, Ike & Tina Turner, and Iron Butterfly. Springsteen weaves a captivating story, introducing us to the essential people in his life: Patti Scialfa, Clarence Clemons, Steven Van Zandt, and producer/managers Mike Appel and Jon Landau, among many others. He offers absorbing accounts of the making of each album, and he considers Born to Run as the dividing line between musical styles, as well as the mark of the beginning of his success; he also admits that his bands were never democracies and that he makes the decisions. Most insightful, he reveals his ongoing battles with depression—"shortly after my sixtieth I slipped into a depression like I hadn't experienced"—and his eventual ability to live with this condition. Springsteen writes with the same powerful lyrical quality of his music. (Sept. 27)