Lyric of the Week: BRUCE!
One hazy teenage summer as my world began to change
A song oozed through the radio so new and different and strange
So unlike the current trends, my hair stood on end
At the sound of that guitar and that sax
I stood still and succumbed to the piano and drums
And I knew there was no turning back
He was the boss, the doctor, the angel of soul
King of the Jersey Shore, crown prince of rock’n’roll
The music he made reached deep inside and took hold
Oh the love that it gave me!
Through whirlwind years of love and pain after I first discovered him
Through earthquake battles shaking the walls after being told to sink or swim
Through the storm and the stress and the fear and the threats
Always on the edge of a hurricane squall
Through innocence and wildness and ecstasy and crisis
Whether laying low or walking tall
He’d be speaking straight to me whenever I’d hear him sing
He was right there with me telling me he’d been through the same thing
He gave me strength and courage through whatever fate would bring
Oh the faith that can save me!
Not just a rock’n’roll singer, he was my big brother
He was my male role model above any other
He showed me how to express the things that I’d feel
And he showed me what it meant to be true and be real.
Then people made faces whenever I’d mention his name
I couldn’t understand why, it was such a damn shame
Ten years of backlash
Disrespected and bashed
Especially in his own backyard
Headbangers and hangers-on and that ersatz refrain
All the hype and hoopla, so cartoonish and lame His love life displayed
More than the music he made
Where the hell was the hero with his guitar?
Three fugazy albums and an image gone sour
Gave me reason to doubt his undeniable power
Taking the world’s weight
Stumping for issues and candidates
The way he’d never dream of selling me a car
His myths and legends have become unhip and passé
His rock’n’roll promises have all faded away
I used to believe, I still wanted to believe
But he’s making it so damn hard!
Well I still tear up the highways whenever I’m back down here
Into the bars and the backstreets of these towns here
I follow all the bands that emulate his sound here
Still looking for him ‘cause I know he’s around here
And when I finally meet him after I waited so long
I’ll say Thanks for the music, the great lyrics and songs
You showed me how to hold on to a dream that’s so strong
Someday it may raise me!
©2007, 2022 The Hesh Inc.
No story of my experiences at the Jersey Shore is complete without the story of my experience with Bruce Springsteen's music. I began writing the lyrics in 1989, in the aftermath of the Human Rights Now! tour, when the images of the man and his not-yet-wife were splashed throughout the tabloids. It began as a rant about that nonsense, and it expressed my disappointment at that combined with what I perceived as his music losing its edge; later on I included mentions of his political involvement.
The music, believe it or not, was not initially inspired by anything Bruce wrote, but rather by Melissa Etheridge's "No Souvenirs," which was on the radio at around the same time I scrawled my initial rant in my notebook. The idea for the chorus I initially filched from Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes," rolling through Dire Straits' "Why Worry" before returning to the verse.
It took a number of years, several moves, a divorce, a remarriage, and about a dozen rewrites until I arrived at the version I finally recorded and released on my album Soul In Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby.
A lot has happened in the world, in Bruce's life and career, and in my life since I wrote, recorded, and released the song, to warrant yet another rewrite, or rather a remake. But when I think of how long and how much agony it took me to arrive at the officially released version, I think I'll leave it as is.
Here it is on Soul In Exile Redux, released January 28, 2022.