Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska: The Album That Shaped My Fandom

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When I was young, around thirteen, I guess, my musical tastes shifted to the top-40. Having grown up on The Beatles, The Monkees, and KISS up to this point I now gave mainstream radio a listen. At this point, there were a lot of now-iconic artists (Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, Supertramp ) that were on the charts. Also included among these was Bruce Springsteen who had released The River (1980) which contained the hit, “Hungry Heart” which I liked a lot.

In the years following I discovered other music within the Punk, New Wave, and Post-Punk genres, and so, by the time Bruce Springsteen released Born in the USA (1984), I thought I was way too cool for his music. This attitude stayed with me for many years.

However, in 1997 I watched the film, Copland, and my interest in Bruce Springsteen was rekindled. Now, the tracks which soundtracked the film were from The River but I somehow connected the film with Nebraska. So, that was the first album I bought, and it is still my favorite.

Eight of the tracks written during the Nebraska sessions ended up on Born in the USA including the title track. The songs on Nebraska were released in their “demo” form without the E Street Band, although all of the songs were recorded in electric form with the full band, and exist in a vault as the Electric Nebraska Sessions.

Songs from the album have been covered by such artists as Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, The National, and Steve Earle. The song “Highway Patrolman” was the inspiration for the Sean Penn film The Indian Runner.

Personally, my favorite track is “Highway Patrolman,” and in my opinion, the album is flawless, being highlighted by such other classics as “Mansion on the Hill,” “Atlantic City,” “Johnny 99,” and “State Trooper.” It is a darker somber record with stories of blue-collar people and the struggles they face.

Since discovering this record I have gone on to love such albums as Born to Run (1975), Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978), Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. ( 1973), and his latest masterpiece, Letter to You (2020).

Please check out my video on Nebraska, by Bruce Springsteen:

Dig this article? Check out the full archives of Surface Noise, by John Siden, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/surface-noise-archives/

About Post Author

John Siden

John Siden grew up surrounded by music from a young age. John’s father played guitar and performed in bars prior to John being born, and his mother also loved music. There was always music playing around the house or while driving in the car, mostly Country and Western on all forms, including vinyl, 8-track, and cassette. John’s first personal interest in music was piqued when he saw an ad for the Monkees TV show, featuring reruns, which as an eight-year-old, he had no idea these episodes were from the ’60s. This was John’s first musical obsession. Soon after, he was introduced to KISS and became a big fan. After the murder of John Lennon, the Beatles obsession began as John had not really heard much of their music up until then. It led to an education on the Beatles and the 60’s music as a whole. This occupied a lot of John’s teenage years. Following that, John got interested in all music especially Metal in the 80’s and Alternative/College type stuff later. Collecting records soon became his main hobby. In the ’90s when CDs took over, John still held onto his record collection, but just added a lot of CDs to the music collection, occasionally taking a special trip to record stores like Zulu records in Vancouver, which were hard to find at the time, and getting something special. John picked up the vinyl collecting bug again around 2013 when vinyl was making a comeback and a lot of bands were offering bundle deals on pre-orders where you would be able to get vinyl, CD, and a download code. Gradually more stores started opening up, and the addiction returned; vinyl collecting became a full-time hobby again for John. John’s interest in writing has been around for as long as Internet access has been a thing; he had a blog on Tumblr called My Diminishing Returns -John Writes about music, where he expressed his thoughts on music. Since 2019, John has had a YouTube channel called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfhoLKqpF5p3FGLZgURyaww&quot; target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Surface Noise</a> where he discusses music mostly focused on vinyl. John works in the security industry and also is an avid reader and lover of film. He also plays guitar and sometimes accordion.
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