6 cool things we learn in Springsteen's 'Born to Run'

Matt Damsker
Special for USA TODAY
Bruce Springsteen, right, performs with the late saxophonist Clarence Clemons, left, in  Germany in 2009.

Bruce Springsteen’s flair for vivid detail and nostalgia for his New Jersey roots are on display in his new autobiography, Born to Run. He recalls six key moments:

1. On discovering The Beatles: “I first laid ears on them while driving with my mom up South Street, the radio burning brighter before my eyes as it strained to contain the sound, the harmonies of ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.’"


2. On his first electric guitar: “The price was sixty-nine dollars and it came complete with a small amplifier … a sunburst, one-pickup Kent guitar, made in Japan.”

Springsteen proves he's the Boss with intimate memoir


3. On meeting “The Big Man,” Clarence Clemons, in Asbury Park: “I looked at the back of the room and saw a big black figure standing in the shadows. There he was. King Curtis, Junior Walker and all my rock ‘n’ roll fantasies rolled into one. He approached the stage and asked if he could sit in.”

4. On first hearing his music on the radio: “I was standing on a street corner before a college gig in Connecticut as a car pulled up to a light and I heard ‘Spirit in the Night’ blasting from the radio, your number one rock ‘n’ roll dream come true!”

Bruce Springsteen performs in 1999 in his home state of New Jersey.

5. On buying his first brand new car: “I’d never spent ten thousand dollars on myself… Still, I bit the bullet, rode down to the dealer and drove away in a 1982 Chevy Z28 Camaro. I felt as conspicuous as if I were driving a solid-gold Rolls-Royce.”


6. On stealing a song title from a script sent to him by Paul Schrader: “I strummed a few chords on my sunburst Gibson J200, paged through my notebook, stopped and murmured a verse of a song I had under way about returning Vietnam vets. I glanced over at the unread script’s cover page and sang out its title; I was ‘born in the USA.’"