By Robyn Collins
Bruce Springsteen discusses creating the “music without the music” in his new autobiography, Born to Run. Reading from the book, the Boss discusses how he used rock music to express how he felt about growing up in an emotionally charged political climate.
Related: Bruce Springsteen’s Songs, Ranked
In a promotional clip for the book, Springsteen says he was looking to adopt the rock and roll language of Chuck Berry, the Beach Boys, Hank Williams and “every lost highwayman going back to the invention of the wheel.”
“I wanted to use the classic rock and roll images, the road, the car, the girl—what else is there?” he said. “To make these images matter I’d have to shape them into something fresh, something that transcended nostalgia, sentiment and familiarity.”
The iconic rocker added that the era in which he developed as a songwriter was defined by the loss of perceived American innocence through the Vietnam War, political assassinations, economic injustice and racism.
“These were issues that had previously been relegated to the margins of American life,” Springsteen said. “Dread, the sense that things might not work out, that the moral high ground had been swept out from underneath us, that the dream of ourselves had somehow been tainted and the future would forever be uninsured was in the air. This was the new lay of the land, and if I was going to put my characters out on that highway, I was going to have to put all these things in the car with them.”
Springsteen’s memoir Born to Run comes out September 27. A companion album, Chapter and Verse, features five unreleased tracks.