Born to Run: the third album by the American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released on August 25, 1975.
I discovered the first album I would fall in love with on the shelves of my dad’s “library,” an 80s version of a man-cave complete with a heavy wooden desk, comfy brown striped couch, peach colored walls and state-of-the-art stereo equipment. We were allowed in there with permission only.
Except when no one was home.
When my mom went back to school and then work, my younger sister would go to the neighbor’s house and I’d find myself home alone in the afternoons. By then I was 13 and deep in the throes of my I-want-to-be-alone phase so it was perfect. I’d open the door to the library, feeling very sneaky, and thumb through my dad’s books and then the albums.
I rocked out to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, the Eagles’ The Long Run and anything by the Beatles, but when I discovered Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s Born to Run my life changed. I loved the black and white album cover and the way Bruce is leaning against Clarence and the ripped tank top underneath the badass leather jacket. Then there’s that Italian horn amulet necklace.
Every song on that album seared my heart. I memorized every dip and breath and note in all eight of them. I’d lose myself in the music and the story, singing along, tracing the lyrics with my finger. I couldn’t get enough.
I was a middle-class, junior high school Jewish girl living in the New York suburbs. I collected Mrs. Grossman’s stickers from smelly to fuzzy. I wrote fan mail to Rick Springfield. I wore baseball shirts sporting iron-on rainbows and plum colored Pumas. What did I know about blue-collar life or wild love or late-night rendezvous gone wrong?
Not much, not yet. But boy did I want to. I yearned to die in an everlasting kiss, to find redemption beneath a dirty hood, take a stab at romance. I wanted to sneak out to the Exxon sign. I wanted to tie faith between my teeth. I wanted to be The One. I felt as though Bruce was telling the story of my life, what it could be, busting at the seams, thick with emotion and grit, motorcycles revving, screen doors slamming. As much as I fell in love with the music, I fell in love with the album’s epic story of love in all its glory and recklessness, beauty and danger, holiness and simplicity, faith and desperation.
The first time I saw Bruce in concert was a year a half ago. I was 43 and he was 63. I don’t know why I waited so long. His shows are legendary. He never disappoints. What kept me back? I stood up and sang, yelled really, the entire three hours with my husband right in there next to me. It was the best concert I’ve ever been to – I know it – and a personal ninth track in the rock-n-roll love story that Born to Run keeps alive in me.
I’m participating in the 2014 A to Z Challenge during the month of April using the very broad theme of LOVE to carry me through the alphabet. Check out writing by other bloggers taking on the #atozchallenge at @AprilA2Z.