Thursday, September 24, 2009

Born to Run

My parents and I went to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at an outdoor venue just as Born to Run was reaching the airways. Sadly, I don't remember much of the experience but it's understandable I guess, having only been 6 at the time. The only thing that I came away with from that experience (besides a really cool balloon that actually had a valve at the bottom to fill it up) was a lasting appreciation for Springsteen. Of course, the fact that my parents were Springsteen fans and played his albums at home might also have had something to do with it.

Anyhow, it's with that background of fandom that I recently read "The Birth of Born to Run" by Louis Masur on Slate. It's a fascinating look at the songwriting process. As a writer, I'm used to crafting multiple drafts of documents, throwing away pieces, moving others. However, I'd never really given much thought to the songwriting process. I love the idea that there are alternative versions of the song -- rough drafts, if you will -- out there to listen to, to compare with the final brilliant song, and that small club crowds in New York and New Jersey heard them as he worked out the kinks. That sounds like a lot more fun than writing a novel.

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