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Thread: Bruce Springsteen & Prog?

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    Bruce Springsteen & Prog?

    I am currently reading Bruce Springsteen’s new autobiography “Born To Run”. I am not too far into it, but twice now he has mentioned playing progressive rock early in his career. Once when working as a solo act in coffee houses early in his career and again in his pre e-street band Steel Mill which he describes as “southern rock mixed with prog”. Never heard The Boss and prog mentioned in the same sentence before, so found it interesting.

  2. #2
    Jefferson James
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    I've always considered Bruce's epics to be completely progressive in scope, so I would not be surprised if he was into '70s prog in real time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    “southern rock mixed with prog”. Never heard The Boss and prog mentioned in the same sentence before, so found it interesting.
    http://youtu.be/OzKBu66ceOc

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    Member Oreb's Avatar
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    According to one-time E Street drummer Vini Lopez, Bruce spent much of his time in the early days listening to King Crimson. (Sorry, I can't remember where I read that - think it's possibly in the sleeve notes for the Tracks collection.)

    Does it matter that this waste of time is what makes a life for you?

  5. #5
    Of course on his first few albums Springsteen had David Sancious in his band, who went on to play with Jon Anderson and Peter Gabriel (who also had Roy Bittan play on his second album).

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    Member zravkapt's Avatar
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    I've been meaning to investigate Steel Mill but haven't got around to it yet.

    The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off

  7. #7
    I really like Springsteen's versions of "Starless and Bible Black" and that Van der Graaf Generator medley he used to close out shows with.
    "And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision."

    Occasional musical musings on https://darkelffile.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    wrong Steel Mill...this is the one with Springsteen (listen voice)

  9. #9
    I've got one Steel Mill show on the hard drive, but it's terrible sound quality. The one time I listened to it, I recall it was more "psych" the "prog".

    As far as people who would be unlikely to be into "prog", I read an article on Brian Setzer back in the 80's, around the time he was getting his solo career off the ground, where he mentioned he was into King Crimson. I guess there was a very brief period where that was almost the direction he went in, before he realized what he really wanted to do was play like Eddie Cochran.

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    John Boegehold
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    I always thought Bruce's Jungleland would fit quite nicely on an album done by a group with prog cred. Not sure why something like "Telegraph Road" by Dire Straits is always brought up in discussions of proggish songs done by non prog groups but Jungleland never is. Born To Run (one of the greatest songs ever) is sheer cinematic genius, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Of course on his first few albums Springsteen had David Sancious in his band, who went on to play with Jon Anderson and Peter Gabriel (who also had Roy Bittan play on his second album).
    Just got to the point in the book where Springsteen saw a 16 year old Sancious playing in a club and later asked him to join his post Steel Mill band, The Bruce Springsteen band.

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    Member Oreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brainforest View Post
    I always thought Bruce's Jungleland would fit quite nicely on an album done by a group with prog cred.
    As would the whole second side of "Wild, Innocent", much of the stunning 1978 live shows, the reworking of live versions of "The River".

    Bruce has never been a prog artist but he's incorporated aspects of it into his material in a way that IMO is way more impressive than some neo-style pastiche.

    Does it matter that this waste of time is what makes a life for you?

  13. #13
    It has been mentioned before; in Peter Ames Carlin's book "Bruce" (from 2012), Springsteen mentions listening (and being influenced by) The Allman Bros. Bruce describes one of his 'pre-fame bands', Steel Mill, as "almost Southern rock. PROG Rock, southern rock, there was an amalgam of things. But the interesting thing about those songs is that the arrangements were quite complex".

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    Only connection with prog which I see is that that in 1977 the Manfred Mann's Earth Band were released a cover of Bruce's amazing song Blinded by the Light from his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. (1973)
    Btw, I'm a big fan of him.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Brainforest View Post
    I always thought Bruce's Jungleland would fit quite nicely on an album done by a group with prog cred. Not sure why something like "Telegraph Road" by Dire Straits is always brought up in discussions of proggish songs done by non prog groups but Jungleland never is. Born To Run (one of the greatest songs ever) is sheer cinematic genius, IMO.
    I think Telegraph Road and the Springsteen songs mentioned aren't so much prog (whatever *that* is!) as more in the line of long-form epic ballad that probably started (or at least became popular) with Like A Rolling Stone.

    I'm surprised no-one's thought to make a musical out of Springsteen numbers. A young turk making his way in the world (Jungleland, Born To Run) going to war and returning (Born In The USA) and the decline and fading away (The River, Racing In The Street), turning to crime (Meeting Across The River) and escaping from it all (Hungry Heart).

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    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Bruce had a flair early on for big epics, not necessarily prog but certainly big cinematic pieces. That kind of went away when Jon Landau entered the picture. Bruce didn't return to that style until the Working on a Dream album thirty years later and even then, there was only one epic piece.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Of course on his first few albums Springsteen had David Sancious in his band, who went on to play with Jon Anderson and Peter Gabriel (who also had Roy Bittan play on his second album).
    And Sancious' early solo albums are as prog/fusion as it gets. If anybody played King Crimson for Bruce it was probably him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Progmatic View Post
    wrong Steel Mill...this is the one with Springsteen (listen voice)
    Never heard of this before. Thanks for posting. I'm surprised no one tried putting this out when Bruce was at the peak of his fame. It's definitely "baby steps" but there's some interesting sorta "proto-prog" material on there.

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    uh ? c'mon...

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Halmyre View Post

    I'm surprised no-one's thought to make a musical out of Springsteen numbers. A young turk making his way in the world (Jungleland, Born To Run) going to war and returning (Born In The USA) and the decline and fading away (The River, Racing In The Street), turning to crime (Meeting Across The River) and escaping from it all (Hungry Heart).
    Please don't give anyone any bad ideas!

  21. #21
    Some nice epics, no question (esp Incident, and Kitty). But nothing particularly prog-sounding, IMO.

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    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    I got into Springsteen this year. I bought BTR a few months ago. First thought that came to mind when I heard Jungleland, why hasn't anyone started a thread about it here? ....lol.

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    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Probably because it's like starting a thread about the Stones. You'll get more bitching and pantie-twisting from trolls complaining about three chord rock than you'd get musical discussion.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

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    Interesting for two reasons:
    - When Genesis was inducted into the RRHOF, as Phish was starting to play "Watcher of the Skies", the camera panned to Bruce and we was asking someone what song was this?
    - When Vini Lopez left The E Street Band, Bruce famously advertised 'no Ginger Baker types) for a drummer. Now I know that Ginger is not prog, but he probably could have been if we wanted to.

  25. #25
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    Probably because it's like starting a thread about the Stones. You'll get more bitching and pantie-twisting from trolls complaining about three chord rock than you'd get musical discussion.
    Yeah. Burp.

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