Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” has been discussed many, many times and by writers much more talented than myself.
Suffice it to say, it’s an anthem for the ages, the best known and most loved song by one of the greatest songwriters and showmen of the rock era. But I want to fill up some space. So I’ll tell you about the first time (of two) that I met Bruce.
I worked for Tower Records from 1993-1996. Two of its four New York City locations (three if you count the temporary location one of the stores moved to for the majority of my tenure). Celebrities would come to the store all the time. During my employment there, I had interactions with Tony Bennett, Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger, David Cole, Rosie O’ Donnell, Peter Jennings, Meshell Ndegeocello, Paul Simon, Patti Davis, Henry Rollins, Heavy D, Keith Shocklee, Q-Tip, Seal, Elton John, Macaulay Culkin and tons more. However, when someone announced that Bruce Springsteen was shopping upstairs in the VHS and Laserdisc section there was an audible rumble in the store and a mass stampede up the escalator.
Soon enough, The Boss was surrounded by drooling Tower employees wanting to say hello. Although he was in a bit of a commercial lull at this point (his previous two studio albums were bombs, and The Ghost Of Tom Joad, which wasn’t out yet, bombed commercially as well,) he was still BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. Perhaps unsurprisingly considering how he paints himself as an “Everyman” type, Bruce was incredibly amiable and…regular. He graciously chatted and/or shook hands with everyone who came up to him, then we left him alone and he shopped for his laser discs (which are now probably in a storage bin or a landfill somewhere in New Jersey) in relative peace.
I’ll save my second encounter with The Boss (which took place more than fifteen years later) for the “G” section.