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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Boss and Me: Springsteen, 37 Years Ago

Almost exactly 37 years ago my first writing about Bruce Springsteen appeared. I had first read about him in a one-liner in, I believe, Billboard. He had played a brief, overlooked, set at Max's Kansas City in August 1972 not long after signing as a solo act, at Columbia, thanks to the great John Hammond. First record had not yet come out. I think the mention in Billboard spelled his name Springstein, and when I wrote a little item for Crawdaddy, where I was senior editor, in November I spelled it that way too.

About a month later, my friend and editor Peter Knobler and I were the only two journos to accept a press junket invite to tag along with Bruce and his band when they made their debut -- playing for the cons at Sing Sing prison, up in Don Draper's hometown of Ossining. The date was December 7, 1972 -- my birthday as it happened. Peter and I were so knocked out we then caught Bruce in a club that weekend (with about a dozen other attendees) and decided to feature him in Crawdaddy, it what became a landmark 10,000-word piece, the first magazine article on the boy.

And the rest, as they say, is history. We became friends and, in 2008, he wrote a brief preface for my book on Iraq and the media. Here's a clip from that Max's gig (sometimes wrongly attributed to the Gaslight). Growing Up, then and now.


Dave B said...

I first saw Springsteen at the Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park (Wollman Rink), '73 I think. He was known only to a core group of fans, mostly from NJ. He was put on the bill when Boz Scaggs (not well known then, either) dropped out. Opening act was Brewer & Shipley, then a rip-roaring set from Springsteen, and then the headliner... Anne ("Snowbird") Murray.

Greg Mitchell said...

Yeah, I was there too, still have picture of me with Bruce backstage that night, but my memory is that it was '74 not '73.