Bruce Springsteen recalls the challenge of incorporating the political and social climate of the Sixties and Seventies into his music in a fascinating excerpt from his upcoming autobiography, Born to Run.
“To make these images matter, I’d have to shape them into something fresh, something that transcended nostalgia, sentiment and familiarity,” Springsteen reads in a new promotional clip for the book. He goes on to discuss growing up in an era defined by the upheaval of American innocence through the Vietnam War, political assassinations, blatant economic injustice and institutionalized racism.
“These were issues that had previously been relegated to the margins of American life,” Springsteen continues. “Dread, the sense that things might not work out, that the moral high ground had been swept out from underneath us, that the dream of ourselves had somehow been tainted and the future would forever be uninsured was in the air. This was the new lay of the land, and if I was going to put my characters out on that highway, I was going to have to put all these things in the car with them.”
In the clip, Springsteen also reads another, shorter section about being a young songwriter and wanting to adopt the rock and roll language of Chuck Berry, the Beach Boys, Hank Williams and “every lost highwayman going back to the invention of the wheel.” He also discusses the differences between writing prose and songwriting, and the challenge of finding a different kind of music while writing his autobiography.
Springsteen will publish Born to Run September 27th. The musician will make a handful of “special appearances” to promote the book and release a companion album, Chapter and Verse, that will feature five unreleased tracks.