Sunday, 3 March 2013

Sick of sitting 'round here trying to read this book...

Nine days to go and so far I've read half of the Bruce Springsteen biographies on the research list.

First up was Peter Ames Carlin's Bruce, released at the end of last year.

In hindsight I probably shouldn't have started with this book - because it is so damn good that the one I'm now reading pales in comparison.

Carlin's book spans Springsteen's life with a comprehensive look at his childhood, early days as a young musician and the processes behind every album up to 2012's Wrecking Ball.

The highlights include the years of Springsteen's Steel Mill band, as well as the reaction to first hearing the final mix of Born To Run and how he was less than impressed with what would become a masterpiece and this fan's all time favourite album.

What makes the book impossible to put down is the scope of interviews with Springsteen, E Street band members and people who have shaped his life and career. 

Not all of them always agree on how a particular event transpired but the stories they tell and Carlin's access to the man himself offer an incredible insight into the world of The Boss.

Amongst its great details and anecdotes are how Springsteen originally became known as The Boss.

Well, it sheds light on it anyway. With brilliant tales of a game of Monopoly that the musician and his friends developed into their own version of trades, deals and backhanders.

It also starts off by explaining clearly that on the off chance that you ever do meet The Boss, you really shouldn't call him The Boss.

Not that you would ever get that opportunity, but the book offers invaluable insights to those inspired by the man and the music.

Next up is Clinton Heylin's E Street Shuffle - The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. So far I'm 100 pages in and have been given deeper details of the early days of the band. 

The structure is not as smooth as Carlin's biography and unfortunately, Heylin also started referencing Big Man - Clarence Clemons' auto-biography with Don Reo, that blends fact and fiction from the road.

I say unfortunately because in his first reference Heylin calls the book a "dull autobiography".

Something which put me off the writer for two reasons.
1 - It's my favourite book of all time.
2 - After 100 pages it was ten times more exciting than E Street Shuffle.

In fact, if anyone else is thinking of reading about the history of the greatest live band in the world, but can only choose one book, I would recommend Big Man every time.

Title track: Dancing In The Dark