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Bruce Springsteen, In His Own Words: The American Dream

Springsteen speaks about the American Dream for the 30th Anniversary Issue of 'Rolling Stone'

May 28, 1998
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty Images

It's been an enormous triumph for me to have a job that I like, that gave me a sense of expression, a sense of place, a sense of being a part of things. And that's what I want for my kids and what I want for everybody's kids. Without those things, life becomes a lot more abstract, a lot more difficult, and a lot more dangerous and unsatisfying – less hopeful.

Album Review: Bruce Springsteen, 'Wrecking Ball'

People deserve the right to work, and when you rob someone of that right, you're robbing them of an enormous part of their life. The entrepreneurial vision has taken our country a long way, but it's done so on the backs of a lot of working people who've gotten stiffed in the end. So at some point – and we may be reaching that point – that vision may have run its course. When the manufacturing jobs disappear, is the new economy going to produce enough jobs for the people who need work out there? I don't know. And I think it's the responsibility not just of the government, but all of us, to make sure no one is left out.

So I think there's got to be some rebalancing of the fundamental forces that move American society and the American economy. I wouldn't presume to know what the answer is. There are many complicated issues, but, hey, there are many people of good will. There are some ports in the storm. But there aren't  enough right now. —As told to Anthony DeCurtis

This story is from the May 28, 1998 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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