Traveling down to the Jersey Shore is always a trip back in time for me….a throwback to my childhood, adolescence & young adulthood summers where chasing beach balls and fireflies, collecting sea shells and sea glass, driving a Dodge Dart, riding my Schwinn down to the beach or into town to the Variety store, lounging on the beach, boogie boarding the waves, running and walking on the boardwalk, and going on rides in Asbury Park were my favorite pastimes. It’s hard to believe that so many years have gone by since those days, but one thing has remained a constant companion: Bruce Springsteen.
The E Street Band was formed & named a stone’s throw away from my grandmother’s home in Spring Lake, NJ – on 10th Avenue & E Street in Belmar. Throughout high school and college, I had a wide variety of musical tastes, but Springsteen (and the E Street Band) has not only always been my favorite musician, but his music is the music that makes me feel most at home, taking me right back to my childhood and my most authentic self every time. It has reinforced the roots that anchor me and nurtured my branches. It has given me the tenacity and courage to get up again after falling and to reach for the stars. It has given me wings to fly and keep flying – through the storms and the sunshine – literally and figuratively.
As my musical tastes have evolved and my more literary and spiritual sides have developed and matured with time, the music and words of Springsteen’s music have not only comforted me through difficult times, but also fueled my spirit to persist and find my own purpose.
I could list so many other ways that Springsteen has influenced and impacted my life – and the lives of so many others. On this day though, I salute a man whose ongoing commitment to his chosen craft and to excellence, his dedication to his family of origin, his own family – his wife and his children, his closest friends, his hometown roots, those in need, and to his fans, as well as whose transformative storytelling and exuberant performances are unparalleled.
My heroes though have common ground in something even bigger: an American, and Godly ideal to a work ethic & a purpose driven life that not only stands the test of time & transcends it, but never surrenders to it. Of all the many, many shows I have been privileged to experience, the recent River tour shows and of course “Springsteen on Broadway” were the most revealing of this man’s promise to himself: to use the time he has been given on this earth with wisdom, gratitude and unyielding fervor. His words at the end of the River album set were the most poignant & transformative of all to me: “The subtext to ‘The River’ was time,” Bruce Springsteen said as the E Street Band played a slow, shimmering vamp. “Time slipping away. And once you enter that adult world, the clock starts ticking and you’ve got a limited amount of time: to do your work, to raise your family, to try and do something good.”
Bruce Springsteen, you have done all of that in spades, changing the world – and my world – exponentially, while also showing time a thing or two by not only making our time so much better & more joyful, but also seemingly making time stand still. Here’s to your 70 years of rocking and rolling & to many more. Happy Birthday Bruce. Never retreat & never surrender!