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

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

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Flannery O'Connor
David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images11/25

Flannery O'Connor

A brilliant Southern gothic novelist and short story writer, O'Connor died at only 39 years old in 1965 from complications due to lupus. Her bibliography is short, but immensely powerful, populated by outsiders full of dread and Catholic guilt. Springsteen was reading O'Connor heavily at the dawn of the Eighties. The title track to 1980's The River and "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" take their names from O'Connor short stories. Springsteen himself said that her work "reminded me of the unknowability of God and contained a dark spirituality that resonated with my own feelings at the time."  

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