Penn State

Susan Hamburger - manuscripts cataloging librarian, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Songs

Author: Bruce Springsteen

Book Description:

In 1968 my late husband Joe and I were married in Asbury Park, N.J. We met playing music at Monmouth College (now University) and began playing together in the small clubs on the Jersey shore. Friends of mine opened the Off Broad Street Coffeehouse in Red Bank in 1969 and we played there often. One night we heard another singer-songwriter perform at the Off Broad Street and he blew us away with his musicianship and songwriting ability. From that night on, we went to see him play—solo and in bands—whenever we could. Forty years later the world reveres him as Bruce Springsteen.

Joe was the wordsmith and I paid more attention to the music. With Bruce, too often the music overpowered his words—both on recordings and live—at least for me. Not until he published Songs was I able to sit down and just read the lyrics. Whether writing about the frustrations of small town life, the injustices heaped on Vietnam veterans, love and doubt, or the choice between family and job, Bruce offers a glimpse into others' lives.

I don't always agree that "we learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school" but Bruce's words inspire me to write about what is important to me whether it's on an archival topic, history, or even Bruce himself at Glory Days: A Bruce Springsteen Symposium. "The night's busted open, these two lanes will take us anywhere." Here's where I landed; thanks Bruce.


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