Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Sometimes I forget just how old I am.

No--I take that back. Sometimes I'm amazed at how old I am.

Because I don't really feel that old

Or act it.

For the most part.

But every once in a while, something happens that awakens the realization that I am past the median age for American males.

Actuarially speaking, I've had more yesterdays than I have tomorrows.

I am, for the most, part absolutely fine with that. It's just that every once in a while a milestone comes along and slaps me upside the head with a big, meaty thwak.

Born To Run is 30. It's being re-released with special babyboomer packaging.


Born To Run is supposed to be played too loud in my mom's car. Or on crappy little Emerson Stereo System in my bedroom. Or in my friend Gordon's parents rec room. We are supposed to sing the lyrics off key while driving while studying while shooting pool, and only later realize the irony of singing these workingman anthems one of the wealthiest communities in three counties.


It doesn't seem possible. But of course it is. It was really the beginning of my musical life. I thought about the times I listened to it, who I was with, and the various styles of music I have listened to in the intervening years.

For example, in the mid-eighties, I really got into Standards. I started reading about, and buying, all sorts of music I had previously scorned for no damn reason other than I thought it wasn't cool.

One of my favorite albums was Sinatra at the Sands, with Quincy Jones conducting the Count Basie Orchestra. Sinatra at the top of his game. Recorded in 1966. Enjoyed in 1983.

Then the math hit me. Less than 20 years separated the recording and the listening.

Born to Run is 30.

Shit. I'm old.

Just for funsies, I checked to see what was the big selling album thirty years before Born to Run came out:

Der Bingle at his best.

I don't really know where this post is going, but I guess it's just a question in the end. One that I can't answer, because Bruce is just as vibrant and fresh to me today as he was in Gordon's rec room.

Is the difference between Crosby and Springsteen, or even Sinatra and Sprinsteen, greater than the difference between Springsteen and, I don't know...Kanye West?

It doesn't seem that way to me.

But then again, I'm old.



Blogger Colleen said...

it can't be 30. i'm only 32 and i remember that song coming out when i was in high school. bruce springsteen is not a 70s artist. i don't understand...i'm confused!

8:43 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I once asked my grandmother how old she really felt. She said, and I quote, "Oh, I 'spect 'bout 13. Maybe 14." She turned 87 last weekend. I think that's about the best picture of aging I can imagine.

p.s. I hear Terry Gross is airing an interview with Bruce on the day of the CD's re-release.

12:46 PM  
Blogger ScribbleSquirrel said...

I refuse to think of my age. I am in total denial. Your bravery is breath-taking. Tomorrow, I may stop colouring my hair and rather show the few grey ones to the world...

Love your blog!

12:50 PM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Colleen--perhaps you were a child prodigy. High school at two? Yeah, I could see it.

Our NPR station runs Fresh Aire 'live'--at the same time WHYY puts it up for syndication. Many stations play it on a delayed basis--which means I've already heard it. Pretty good interview. Terry Gross is one of the best in the business.

Scribble--glad to have you here. Stop by anytime. There's cold cuts in the fridge, and peanuts on the counter.


11:06 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

wow...then maybe he just got popular then. huh. springsteens been around for 30 years. wow.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Colleen--you may be thinking about "Born in the USA." That one came out in the '80's.

I remember hearing throngs of izod-clad protoyuppies drunkenly screaming the chorus of trhe song as they celebrated the presidency of the worst president the United States had--up to that point--and not even knowing that the song was laden with irony.

But that would be a post for a different blog.


12:47 PM  
Blogger Rowena said...

I understand how you feel. I can't believe that my favourite Smiths records were released 20 YEARS AGO! Where does the time go?

7:17 AM  

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