Bruce Springsteen Has a Gift He Keeps on Giving

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At seventy-four, Bruce Springsteen has been cementing his status as a rock-and-roll legend for almost fifty years: he released his widely heralded, but not initially widely heard, début, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” in 1973. But, true to form, the artist who became known to his fans as the Boss hasn’t rested on his laurels. After weathering a spate of health troubles this past year, which led him to cancel much of his tour, the rock icon plans to hit the road again in the new year, all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe. When Springsteen published his autobiography, “Born to Run,” back in 2016, David Remnick called it “as vivid as his songs, with that same pedal-to-the-floor quality, and just as honest about the struggles in his own life.” In October of that year, Springsteen appeared at the New Yorker Festival for an intimate conversation with the editor. (The event sold out in six seconds.) This entire episode is dedicated to that conversation. Springsteen tells Remnick how, as a young musician gigging around New Jersey, he decided to up his game: “I’m going to have to write some songs that are fireworks. . . . I needed to do something that was more original.” They talked for more than an hour about Springsteen’s tortured relationship with his father, his triumphant audition for the legendary producer John Hammond, and his struggles with depression. As Springsteen explains it, his tremendously exuberant concert performances were a form of catharsis: “I had had enough of myself by that time to want to lose myself. So I went onstage every night to do exactly that.”

This episode originally aired in 2016.

The New Yorker Radio Hour is a co-production of WNYC Studios and The New Yorker.

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