The Ties That Bind: Bruce Springsteen's 25 Biggest Heroes

The artists, activists and friends that have shaped Springsteen's world

John Steinbeck

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Reading the work of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist helped broaden Springsteen's songwriting perspective. In landmark achievements like 1939's The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck focused on the hardscrabble lives of the underclass and their struggles to achieve dignity. Springsteen's stark 1995 folk album The Ghost of Tom Joad is an explicit nod to the protagonist of The Grapes of Wrath and the title-track includes lyrics taken directly from the book. The raging "Adam Raised a Cain," from 1978's Darkness on the Edge of Town is also loosely based on the plot of Steinbeck's 1952 novel East of Eden

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