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The Impact of Bruce Springsteen on Music History

In the Garden State, The Boss is a man who needs no introduction. In fact, Bruce Springsteen has been a household name for decades. While countless Americans sing along to his catchy tunes daily, we sometimes overlook the huge impact he’s made in music. But one Rutgers University professor, has not.

In this episode of One-on-One with Steve Adubato, we learn just how deep Springsteen’s influence can be felt; thanks to Louis P. Masur, PhD., a distinguished professor of American Studies and history at Rutgers University. During their chat, the two discuss Masur’s Rutgers course on Springsteen and his American Dream. Masur also speaks about the overall impact of Springsteen on music history.


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How Bruce Springsteen Impacts Music History

During the course, students learn that Springsteen was born in Long Branch, Monmouth County in 1949. While growing up in Freehold he learned to play guitar, and began playing at local venues during his teen years. People recognized his talent right away, in particular, for his songwriting abilities, but his career breakthrough came in 1975.

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Throughout his career, Springsteen has recorded several multi-platinum records; this includes the 1984 album Born in the U.S.A., which sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Though none can question his global popularity, his impact on music history cannot be overstated either. Masur, who has seen The Boss perform live roughly 200 times, maintains this position.

“He may be the greatest live performer in the history of rock and roll; and no two nights are the same—no two sets are the same,” says Masur. “He understands that the performance is an art form in and of itself. And people who attend those shows go back night after night on the same stand, because you feel change. You feel transformed. He delivers the original promise of rock and roll: freedom, liberation.”

Short Stories About Long Walks Home

Rutgers University Press recently published Long Walk Home: Reflections on Bruce Springsteen. This collection of essays features one by Masur entitled “Springsteen’s American Dream.”

“Springsteen has said,” Masur explains, “that the body of his work has been devoted to judging the distance between American reality and the American Dream.”

Masur explains that this has changed, however, and his course dissects these changes and Springsteen as a whole. He states that he and his students study Springsteen as a historical figure; just as they would a novelist, philosopher, playwright, and so on.

Want to learn more about the impact Bruce Springsteen has had on this history of music? Check out this edition of One-on-One with Steve Adubato.


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