Bruce Springsteen's Impact on Music History

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Louis P. Masur, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of American Studies & History at Rutgers University, to discuss his Rutgers course on Bruce Springsteen and his American Dream, as well as the overall impact of "The Boss" on music history.

10/24/19 #2254






"Hi, welcome to One on One. I'm Steve Adubato. Coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio. It's our pleasure to introduce Louis Masur, Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University, who is interested in history, but he's fascinated by Bruce Springsteen. Yes I am. It's great to be here. Break it down. By the way, this book is called Long Walk Home. Go ahead. Well, my interest in Springsteen started personal, and then became professional. I was 18 years old when I first saw Springsteen perform. Where? I actually saw him open for Chicago at Madison Square Garden. No! This is one of those shows that Springsteen himself disavows. He said it was one of the worst experiences of his life. [laughter] But I was on a date, and my date wanted to see Chicago. A very popular band at the time. And this guy comes out with his band. Blows me away. And what I like to say is while my relationship with that girl didn't survive, my relationship with Springsteen has lasted more than 40 years. How many times did you see him? It has to be something like 200. So I told you 20, and you were not impressed. [laughter] Are you serious? That's it? Yeah. Exactly. A rookie? A rookie. I... listen, there are people... I went to... my wife and I saw Billy Joel recently at the Garden. Mm hmm. You know, he's got that gig there. And the fans are loyal. But I've never, ever seen anything... neither have you, and you know a lot better, than the loyalty to Springsteen. What is it based on? Well, part of it is he may be the greatest live performer in the history of rock and roll. And no two nights are the same. No two sets are the same. He understands that the performance is an art form in and of itself. And people who attend those shows go back night after night on the same stand, because you feel change. You feel transformed. He delivers the original promise of rock and roll. Right? Freedom. Liberation. You know. He would, at times, go out on stage and say, "Anybody alive out there?" And no matter what else is going on in your life, there's something about that feeling at a live show that people go back time and time again. Okay. So let's go through this. Yeah, sure. Obviously, Springsteen works hard at taking care of himself. He's 70... he just turned, as we're doing this program... Exactly. ...70 years of age. Exactly. Has he slowed down at all? I don't think so. You know. Really? I don't think so. I mean, sure. Some of the shows, you know, he..."