Bruce and Tom

I had a deep (at least I think it’s deep), but random thought (which is very typical for us bipolar types). It is this:

Bruce Springsteen sings about people.

Tom Petty sings to people.

Both great artists (rest your soul, Tom), but two very different approaches to their craft. I was lucky enough to see both live. I have seen Bruce with the E Street Band twice and Bruce acoustic on The Ghost Of Tom Joad Tour. 

I saw Tom with The Heartbreakers in 1981 (1981!? Forty years ago!?). I have never left a Bruce Springsteen concert feeling like I didn’t get money’s worth. In 1981, on that night, Tom was perfect. Bruce will bring the house down. Tom brought the lights up.

He glowed like the Rock & Roll god he was, crawling across the stage and peering over the monitors during ‘Break Down’. All the angst and hope of teenage love, rippling through the crowd, relayed to us through Tom and The Heartbreakers. 

Tom sang to us;

And it’s a long day livin’ in Reseda

There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard

And I’m a bad boy, ’cause I don’t even miss her

I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart

And I’m free, free fallin’

Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

Bruce sang about us:

In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream

At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines

Sprung from cages out on Highway 9

Chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and steppin’ out over the line

Oh, baby, this town rips the bones from your back

It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap

And so it is. Both are saying something. Or maybe the same thing in different ways. In my head, I hear a thousand jangly guitars, songs that move me in different ways. 

Whether I am 17 or 57, these are vital voices in the soundtrack of my life. But when I listen to Tom, I am always seventeen, the agony of hyper-hormones taking its toll. I was growing in fits and starts and Tom was saying what I was feeling was okay. Maybe even normal.

Bruce and Tom. Two guys that sang to me. One I listen to, one I feel. Bruce and Tom. Always there at inflection points in my continuity. Bruce and Tom. Always pointing to a destination just ahead and along for the roller coaster ride that is life.

Thank you both.

PS: I miss Tom.

Published by Just j

Author, photographer, music nerd and just this guy, you know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: