The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive. But you probably knew that already. More importantly, today is Bruce Springsteen’s 66th birthday. Here are 12 totally Boss facts as the ever-relevant rock icon marks yet another milestone.
He Inspired Ryan Adams to Cover Taylor Swift’s 1989
Indie rocker Adams says his song-for-song remake of Swift’s monster fifth album, released to much Internet acclaim this week, was meant to sound like Nebraska, Springsteen’s bleak, 1982 acoustic record. Adams describes his next album of original work as Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge of Town meets The Smiths’ Meat is Murder. (Sounds like somebody's got a case of the sads.)
He Discovered Future Friends Star Courtney Cox in the “Dancing in the Dark” Video
That's Cox and her pixie cut coming in around the 3:20 mark...
The song “Born To Run” Took Six Long Months to Record
Bruce’s most epic and laboriously produced hit single features a boatload of instruments (including a glockenspiel) in a Wall Of Sound roar that was obsessed over and tinkered with for six months. But thankfully, ill-conceived drag racing noises and symphony orchestra sounds were removed from the final mix, according to the documentary Wings For Wheels: The Making of Born To Run.
He's Picky About Which Politicians Use His Music
Bruce laughed off Ronald Reagan when he used a 1984 speech to namecheck “Born in the U.S.A.”—as it’s a fairly stinging indictment of the military industrial complex and the plight of returning veterans. Springsteen superfan and GOP presidential contender Chris Christie has been similarly blown off. Of course, Springsteen has supported fellow political progressives: he played benefit concerts for both President Obama and 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry. The Boss also allowed lots of his songs to be used in the HBO mini-series Show Me A Hero, the true story of Nick Wasicsko, the blue-collar Democratic mayor of Yonkers, N.Y. who fought to build affordable housing in the 1980s.
He Was The First Rock Star To Be On The Cover of Both Time and Newsweek
Yeah, we know people aren’t reading magazines like they used to, but back then this was a major fucking deal. A few months after Born To Run was released to rapturous reviews, Springsteen's bearded mug was splashed on both news mags the week of October 27, 1975.
The Rising Was The First Major Rock Album About 9/11
Springsteen's 2003 record served as something of a soundtrack to American resilience in the wake of the terror attacks.
He's Still Really, Really Popular
With the exception of 1995's The Ghost of Tom Joad, all of Bruce's albums since 1975's Born to Run have made the Top 5 of the U.S. Album Chart. Bruuuuuce!
He Tried to Break into Graceland To See Elvis Presley
After a show in Memphis in 1976, a 26-year-old (and we're guessing very drunk) Springsteen climbed over the wall to Graceland, ran to the front door and asked to see Elvis. Security guards told The Boss that The King was out of town (which was true) and escorted him off the property.
He's Tight With Old School Punk Rockers
After seeing The Ramones play The Fast Lane in Asbury Park, NJ in 1979, Springsteen reportedly considered giving the punk legends “Hungry Heart” to record. While we were denied that sped-up version, Springsteen has palled around with proto-punks Suicide, swapped accolades with Joe Strummer, and sang on "Misery Loves Company" by Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness.
He Has An Asteroid Named After Him
It's true! You can read about it here.
He Had A Major Influence on The Sopranos
Everyone knows that Jersey-born show creator David Chase tapped E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt to play Tony’s pompadoured consigliere, Silvio Dante, even though he had no prior acting experience. But remember that hotheaded Christopher Moltisanti also quoted “Born to Run” in the “Long Term Parking” episode.
He Wrote Songs That Became Huge Hits For Other Artists
Springsteen originally wrote “Because The Night” for Darkness on the Edge of Town, but was convinced by engineer and future Beats Electronics mogul Jimmy Iovine to give the song to Patti Smith, who made it her biggest hit. Springsteen released "Blinded By The Light" in 1973, but that song became a giant hit for Manfredd Mann’s Earth Band, which took it to No. 1 in 1977.
Photos by AP