I spent this past weekend back in Jersey, where I grew up for the last 22 years, oblivious to the fact that Born to Run would be turning 40 this week. First, a night getting drunk in Asbury Park, followed by a party with college friends where the playlist inevitably trended towards Springsteen — an oddly fitting celebration, and evidence that it’s impossible to grow up in the Garden State and not feel his impact everywhere. Chris Christie — Republican presidential hopeful, a very bad governor, and seemingly not much better of a person — also grew up in Jersey, and has similarly passionate feelings for the artist that came to represent so much of what makes our state great. So he wrote a short essay about it — read below.
In the summer of 1975, I was 12 years old, pitching on my little league all-star team and living the life of a soon to be teenage boy in the suburbs of New Jersey.
Bursting into my summer vacation came a bearded New Jersey twenty something with a big, burly sax player on the cover of an album entitled “Born to Run”. It took my breath away.
The music was exciting, dramatic and exhilarating. As a kid from Jersey it spoke to me. Bruce wrote of the places and the people I knew. He wrote about our hopes and frustrations. He gave voice to the suburban kids like me who were filled with dreams and doubts. He was one of us.
Later that fall he appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek in the same week. Not only was he one of us. He was a star. We all filled with pride.
The welcoming opening of “Thunder Road” (my favorite Bruce song ever), the pounding rhythms of “Night”, the desire in “She’s the One”, and the operatic power of “Jungleland” all surrounded the title song in near perfection.
Decades later as Bruce started to perform entire albums in the order the songs were laid out on the original album, I stood in the Count Basie Theater in New Jersey and experienced once again the genius of not only the songs individually but their relationship to each other in the album. It took my breath away again.
It is my desert island disc. It is the most powerful rock album of my lifetime. – Chris
If only Bruce felt the same way about Christie.
We also published our own essay earlier today about Born To Run’s anniversary. Read that here.