In Rolling Stone's ongoing video series “The First Time,” Bruce Springsteen gives a personal look into some of the most life changing musical experiences. In the clip, “The Boss” talks about the first time he heard the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, and punk — among other things.
Springsteen recalled being 14 and hearing the “Fab Four” come blasting out of his family's car radio — a moment that forever changed his life: “'I Want To Hold Your Hand' came on the radio in, 19. . . I don't know. . . 64. That was going to change my life, because I would successfully pick the guitar up and learn how to play. And after that, it was nothin' but rock n' roll and guitars.”
Although Springsteen was aware of Bob Dylan through covers of his songs by the Byrds, Sonny & Cher, Peter, Paul, & Mary, and the Turtles — he didn't personally hear Dylan until he went electric: “I didn't hear all the early Bob Dylan records. I first heard Bob when he was on Top 40 radio — so, that must've been 1964, '65. And it was 'Like A Rolling Stone,' so that, that changed my life.”
Springsteen recalled back in 1980, the first night he heard the crowd sing the first verse of “Hungry Heart” back to him — a longstanding tradition at every show it's performed at: “It was one of the most awful sounding places I've ever been in. And we did a soundcheck, and it sounded — it didn't even sound bad; it wasn't good enough to sound bad, that's how bad it (laughs) was. And, so, I figured this is gonna be nothin' but a disaster. But that night, we kick into 'Hungry Heart' and the entire audience sang it back, ended up being an incredible show, and from that point on — this is way, pre-Internet — people sang it every single night.”
IN OTHER SPRINGSTEEN NEWS
In his sprawling new chat with Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen spoke honestly about the current state of the union, explaining, “If we want to have the America that we envision, it’s going to need some pretty serious systemic changes moving leftward. . . . The power of the American idea has been abandoned. It’s a terrible shame, and we need somebody who can bring that to life again. I think if we get Joe Biden, it’s gonna go a long way towards helping us regain our status around the world. The country as the shining light of democracy has been trashed by the administration. We abandoned friends, we befriended dictators, we denied climate science.”
When pressed about his thoughts of the recent Republican convention, Springsteen said, “Horrific. Just seeded with constant lies and total distortion of the American idea. It’s heartbreaking and terrible. The first thing is to get the Trump administration out of office and start again.”