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September 23rd, 2009
05:27 PM ET

"The Boss" is 60

Bruce Springsteen turns 60-years-old today.

Bruce Springsteen turns 60-years-old today.

Dave Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

Happy Birthday to Bruce Springsteen, 60-years-young today.

I bought two tickets when Springsteen came to Atlanta back in April.

Having rocked at one of his shows here several months earlier, I gave these tickets to my teenagers, so that my daughter and son could experience “The Boss” and the E Street Band in concert.

I’ve had that pleasure several times, dating back to September 20, 1975 in Darby Gym at Grinnell College.

That was less than a month after release of the album “Born to Run” and five weeks before Springsteen simultaneously landed on the covers of TIME and Newsweek, back when that was a big deal.

So what was he doing in a small town in Iowa when rock-and-roll stardom beckoned?

Well, more than a year earlier a few of the kids from back East had persuaded the college to book the New Jersey-based Springsteen for what said to be a small, four-digit paycheck.

I sat on the floor about 10 feet from Clarence Clemons for four amazing hours as what appeared to be most of Grinnell’s 1,200 students packed the gymnasium.

I remember walking into economics class the next morning and walking out soon thereafter, unable to hear what the professor was saying.

But my favorite Springsteen moment took place not in a concert hall, but more than 30 years ago in the apartment of a friend.

Greg Kot and I were a couple of guys from Chicago’s suburbs who started work at a newspaper in Davenport, Iowa, on the same night in June 1978. Kot knew then that he wanted to write about rock-and-roll for the Chicago Tribune. He’s done that now for two decades, along with authoring a couple of books and co-hosting a syndicated radio show.

Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town” had released a couple of weeks before we arrived at the Quad-City Times and Kot insisted I come over after our night shift to hear the album.

I straddled a turned-around chair as he placed the record on the turntable, cranked up the volume and watched my face as I sat stunned by the power of the music and mesmerized by the lyrics.

Thirty-plus years later, “Darkness” is still my favorite Springsteen album.

The satellite radio station featuring Springsteen’s music is pre-programmed in my car.

Springsteen is on the cover of AARP’s magazine and I’m old enough to find it in my mailbox.

Where has the time gone?

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Howard Way

    Darkness blew me away too. I'm 65 and a vet of the '60s scene in SF (I was a doorman at the Matrix, a SF nightclub where the Airplane got their start and where many of the great SF bands played, and I saw many of the late 60's shows at the Fillmore, Avalon, etc..), but Bruce's Darkness Tour show–which I saw at the Capitol Center in Landover, MD–was the greatest rock concert I've ever witnessed. Darkness is about the seething cauldron of sex, hope, desire, longing, ambition–the dream–that is involved in coming of age in a culture where anything goes and everyhing is possible. 30 years down the road the dream is a little frayed and the darkness is not just on the edge of town.

    September 24, 2009 at 3:06 am |
  2. Enough

    He's an entertainer and needs to keep his political views to himself. No matter which side of the fence you're on, an entertainer should realize we don't care about their opinion and they will end up pissing off 1/2 their fans when they push their opinion on us.

    September 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  3. Tammy, Houma, LA

    No idea where time goes, but I was an '80's teen enthralled with the "Born in the USA" album (when it was an actual album). I'm feeling some kind of old right now 🙂 Happy birthday to one of the musical legends who helped define my youth!!!

    September 23, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  4. JD

    I'm on a crusade to end age discrimination

    September 23, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  5. alexlyrics

    I wonder who really cares?
    hahaha no just joking, I am glad to see this patriot getting old gracefully .

    September 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    I'm asking the same question as you are – where did the time go – I think it went into all those things we thought we had to do but didn't really want to and then we were too tired to do what we wanted. Sound familiar? At least the Boss is still the Boss and we can load his albums on our iPods and turn off the outside world and just go where the Boss and his music takes us.. Good listening.....

    September 23, 2009 at 6:34 pm |