Forty-two years ago this Sunday I got a phone call at my office at the legendary Crawdaddy, where I served as #2 editor for nearly the entire decade, that would change my life, for several years, anyway. It was from a fast-talking dude named Mike Appel, inviting me to catch his top (and only) act in a press event/concert upstate, in Don Draper's home town, the following day, December 7, 1972, in infamous...Sing Sing Prison. The act was a total unknown whose debut album had not yet been released, by the name of Bruce Springsteen. Forty years later, the kid's latest album was just named by our then-competitor, Rolling Stone, as one of its top two albums of the year.
Anyway, with editor Peter Knobler, as two weeks of hanging out with Bruce and the band, and attending half a dozen real gigs (as one of the few audience members), I helped create the very first magazine piece about Brucie--and 8,000 words, at that-- for Crawdaddy, where I worked for most of the 1970s. Many other pieces--and dozens of attending club dates--would follow and Bruce would become a good friend for a number of years. A gold record for Born to Run still hangs on my wall.
Here's a brief summary and (below) a little video about the day I met Bruce in December 1972--in Sing Sing, on my birthday--which also includes excerpts from his very early live performances, including the acoustic "Growin' Up" that helped get him his Columbia contract via John Hammond.