Steve Matoren is a life-long Tramp and the writer/producer of the upcoming in-depth documentary film, “Is There Anybody Alive Out There?! The Magic of Bruce Springsteen” and the soon to be published book, “The TAO of BRUCE.” You can contact him via Email at email@example.com or Twitter @imaliveoutthere for more.
While Bruce Springsteen continues on his magical, heart stomping, booty shaking, European Wrecking Ball tour, back here in the USA, we’re celebrating our nation’s independence. And it got me thinking about the connection between America and Bruce. Not only will The Boss will be forever credited as “rock and roll future,” but also the rock and roll voice of this country. Even more than that, his prolific words transcend borders, generations and religions. If there’s anyone else in the world who speaks in a common language to a secular humanity more so than Bruce Springsteen, please let me know.
During Springsteen’s magnificent 40-year recording career, he’s covered a range of relevant topics we can all relate to. For many of us, he’s consistently been our infinite light, hope and joy throughout much of our lives. On this July 4th holiday, and in honor of the US Army’s 11 principles of leadership, here are the 11 principles from The Greatest Boss born in the USA.
“It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.”
Darkness on the Edge of Town – 1978
Perhaps no one embodies living such a joyous and passionate life as Bruce. What’s interesting about this song lyric is that it came during a time of great struggles and identity for the man who penned it. What it points to is Bruce’s never ending reminder to himself, and to his audience, that you have to live your life as best you can, right now!
“Love me tonight, and I promise I’ll love you forever.”
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle – 1973
Life is incomplete without love. It’s that simple. The greatest gift you can offer someone is your love. Bruce reminds us My Love Will Not Let You Down and of course, Two Hearts are better than one.
“I’d drive all night just to buy her some shoes,
and to taste her tender charms.”
Drive All Night}
The River – 1980
What do men want? We want women. Bruce writes and sings about girls exactly how men think about them. There’s nothing we won’t do to capture your admiration or to be with you….or Sandy, Mary, Mary Lou, Wendy, Rosie, Cynthia, Janey, Theresa, Frankie, Candy, Kitty, Linda and a Red Headed Woman. For only a girl can cause “that thunder in your heart.”
“All the redemption I can offer girl,
Is beneath this dirty hood.”
Born to Run – 1975
In other words: No car. No romance. A car can take you anywhere in life. Not only is a car a symbol of independence and freedom; it’s the actual thing to get you there.
“More than rich,
More than famous,
More than happy
I wanted to be great.”
The Promise Film,
The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town – 2010
A man’s entire self-esteem is affected by his work. But a job is only that. Too many of us let our work determine our worth. It’s not great to work. More importantly, work to be important in someone’s life. Work to be great.
“God have mercy on the man,
Who doubts what he’s sure of.”
Tunnel of Love – 1987
Being a man isn’t complicated. And it’s not about bravado. Determine what you want and go after it. No retreat. No Surrender. Walk tall and be Tougher Than the Rest. And if you have to get down on your knees and beg your woman for forgiveness, do it!
“Faith will be rewarded.”
Land of Hope and Dreams
Wrecking Ball – 2012
No matter how tough times get or how much you’re struggling, keep hope alive. Somehow, someway, you got to find a Reason to Believe.
“Tomorrow, there’ll be sunshine
And all this darkness past…
Meet me in the land of hope and dreams.”
Land of Hope and Dreams
Live in New York City – 2001
When Melissa Etheridge spoke on her MTV Unplugged special in 1995 about Bruce’s influence on her life, prior to him appearing on stage with her to perform “Thunder Road,” she said, “If anyone can make you dream, it’s Bruce Springsteen.” Ironically, in grade school, kids picked on Bruce for always daydreaming. Before he was revered as “The Boss” he was ridiculed as “The Dreamer.” Good thing he didn’t listen to them. Everyone has the right to dream of something, be it a better life and future, or whatever matters at the time. And the most important thing about dreams is they should never stop.
“We stood side by side each one fightin’ for the other”
Greatest Hits – 1995
Regardless of your political leanings, the reality is we’re all in this together. Nobody wins, unless everybody wins. We may come into this world, and leave it, alone; but in between, we’re blood brothers. No one makes it on their own. One world. One community. Bruce has searched for meaningful connections his entire life. His self proclaimed “life long conversation with his audience” is not a One Way Street. It’s the common ties that bind us that really matter the most.
“We learned more from a three minute record
than we ever learned in school”
Born in the USA – 1984
Music can be our salvation. It feeds our soul and illuminates our world. It moves us and it shakes us. It wakes us and it drives us. It’s the soundtrack to our lives.
“As long as we’re here and you’re here, they’re here.”
My City of Ruins interlude,
Wrecking Ball Tour – 2012
Death is inevitable, but one’s spirit and memory remains in our hearts and minds. As long as we continue to recall and sound their names, their souls live forever.