NYC Serenade: My Springsteen Obsession

“If the Beatles were about love and the Stones about sex, then Bruce is about hope. And hope springs eternal…as in Springsteen.” –Elliott Murphy, singer-songwriter.

In a few days, my wife and I will be making a pilgrimage to NYC to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway.

While we are a hyperlocal blog, I ask for your indulgence because I want to spend a few moments on E Street, where I have lived off and on since 1975, when I was 11 and “Born to Run” was released.

The album is a classic. And I was instantly hooked on all things Bruce.

My Springsteen fixation has lasted 43 years and it is safe to say that it will be with me—happily—for the rest of my days.

My close friends know how much I love music—a wide range of it—at least in my mind.

Classic rock, 70s music, 80s music, pop, 60s music, disco, New Wave, Sinatra—even Neil Diamond—to the consternation of my wife and my ultra-cool friend Pame’ Williams.

(Just as an aside, there is nothing wrong with Neil Diamond. No one else can sing about chairs (“I am, I said”) and E.T. (“Turn on Your Heartlight”) like Neil and make it sound good—to my ears anyway.

But I digress.

My big five are the Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles and Bruce; especially The Beatles and Bruce.

Sadly, while I have unbridled passion for music, I have absolutely zero talent. I can’t even play air guitar, but still I cannot imagine a life without music.

From an early age, I’ve found inspiration, solace, joy, motivation and a hundred other useful emotions from listening to great artists from the Allman Brothers to Warren Zevon.

But Springsteen is a touchstone. He’s the well, the mountain top, the apex— for me anyway.

His songs are cinematic, his writing is poetry mixed with journalism and his live performances are indescribable.

I can’t wait to experience his genius in a small venue.

So now the local part…Consider this:

-I built a talk I gave to Creative Mornings at the Arts Garage around the magic of his songwriting. The topic: genius. You can see it here.


-E Street Band drummer “Mighty Max” Weinberg lives in Delray, played a benefit at the Arts Garage, loves Caffe Luna Rosa, has read our downtown master plan and has become a friend. They say never meet your heroes because you’ll be disappointed, but the truth is Max is just a great guy.

-Inspired by Bruce’s first album “Greetings from Asbury Park”, I based the design of the cover of my book “Adventures in Local Politics” on the album’s iconic poster card.

-Local event producer Bern Ryan might be an even bigger fan than I am—hard to imagine—but he’s seen Bruce and the E Street Band all over the world, in Asbury Park and on Broadway. Bern has warned me that three songs into “Springsteen on Broadway” that we will be in tears. (I cry when I read a Hallmark card so Bern’s probably correct).

Anyway, I don’t expect that everybody will get my happy obsession.

But let’s just say that music that touched my soul at age 11 resonates even more as I grow older.

Hope does spring eternal—and Springsteen’s music provides me with a reservoir of hope.




  1. Jeff,

    Great bar directly across the street from the theater playing Bruce songs and good for a pre-show cocktail! Enjoy!

  2. Hey Jeff- Loved your post my Bro’ – as you can imagine – I totally get it! Enjoy the show!

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Is this the Ben that is a Stony Brook legend? If it is, thanks. If it isn’t thanks as well. ????

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