“All who are hungry, let them rock. All who are needy, let them roll. All the bruisers, cruisers, and back-street boozers, may they all seek refuge in the House of the Boss.”
Welcome, fellow seekers in the Church of Springsteen. Today we commemorate the holiest day in the 365-long rockfest we call a year: The Fourth of July. We cannot help but feel His presence on this most Springsteen of days, in the carnival games, fireworks, and the sunlight glinting off the hoods of our ’57 T-Birds. Every star-spangled banner strung up is a strum on the wood-finished Fender Esquire of the nation. Every car horn in backed-up beach traffic is a shriek of the sax from the late Saint Clarence. And on this sweet summer day, every street is E Street. Hear me when I say there is nothing more American than Bruce Springsteen, and nothing more Springsteen than America.
Because whether or not it was known to the old fogies signing that sheet in Philly way back when, this country was founded for Springsteen. Every board laid down on a seaside boardwalk, every flag flying ironically over an abandoned fire station, every American teenaged dream-girl born with a “y” at the end of her name, they were all brought into this mixed up world to give Springsteen something to sing about. Because without America’s endless struggle towards freedom, along with the combined colors red, white, and blue, his holy Bossnes just wouldn’t have a shtick. He channels everything America is, even its most devastating tragedy, into just really really good tunes. Without Vietnam there would be no “Born In the U.S.A.,” no “The Rising” without 9/11, no “Streets of Philadelphia” withouts the AIDS epidemic. And doesn’t that at least make those tragedies worthwhile? No, not at all. But maybe kind of. Those are really good songs.
Jesus was born under a star in the desert, Springsteen was born under fifty in the USA. He is a light in the Darkness on the Edge of Town. He is the Spirit in the Night. When each of us do the E Street Shuffle from our mortal coils, may we meet him in a great big Meadowlands arena in the sky. And should you be lead astray by false prophets, like that rat bastard Mellencamp, see you in hell. There is only one American way, and that is the way of the Boss.
If you’ll turn your prayer books to page 131, we continue now with “Glory Days.”
ONE TWO THREE, HUH!