These days, E Street is the coolest, most crowded thoroughfare in rock: Hipster acts from the Killers to Ben Kweller are snapping up glockenspiels and words that rhyme with "highway" as they rush to give themselves Bruce-inspired makeovers. "I took these great Springsteen songs for granted," says Brandon Flowers, frontman for the Killers. "I didn't realize how amazing his albums were — it blows my mind how good he was when he was so young." Meanwhile, Arcade Fire have been covering "State Trooper," and the Hold Steady use so much tinkly, theatrical piano on their new album that they're in danger of being mistaken for a Springsteen cover band. Why is Bossiness so hip? With constant touring, TV specials and multiple album releases, Springsteen has been as visible as ever recently. Plus, ever seen Bruce circa 1975 — beard, shredded undershirt, worn jeans, crazy hat? Screw Jersey — that dude belongs in Williamsburg.
This story is from the October 19, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone.