Bruce Springsteen Jon Landau - Essay

Jon Landau

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Last Thursday, at the Harvard Square theatre, I saw my rock'n'roll past flash before my eyes. And I saw something else: I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time.

When his two-hour set ended I could only think, can anyone really be this good; can anyone say this much to me, can rock'n'roll still speak with this kind of power and glory? And then I felt the sores on my thighs where I had been pounding my hands in time for the entire concert and knew that the answer was yes.

Springsteen does it all. He is a rock'n'roll punk, a Latin street poet, a ballet dancer, an actor, a joker, bar band leader, hot-shit rhythm guitar player, extraordinary singer, and a truly great rock'n'roll composer. He leads a band like he has been doing it forever. I racked my brains but simply can't think of a white artist who does so many things so superbly. There is no one I would rather watch on a stage today….

Every gesture, every syllable adds something to his ultimate goal—to liberate our spirit while he liberates his by baring his soul through his music. Many try, few succeed, none more than he today. (p. 22)

Jon Landau, "Growing Young with Rock and Roll," in The Real Paper (© copyright 1974 by The Real Paper, Inc., MA.), May 22, 1974, pp. 20, 22.