Performer: Bruce Springsteen
Songwriter: Bruce Springsteen
Original Release: Tunnel of Love
Definitive Version: Summernight, 1995
To say I wasn’t a Bruce Springsteen fan when I was younger would be like saying I wasn’t a fan of Barry Manilow. I mean, obviously, there was a different level of respect, but I couldn’t snap off the radio fast enough when a Springsteen song came on—particularly during the Born in the USA days.
That changed with I’m on Fire, and it really changed with this song. It was like these songs were the bridge between Bruce Springsteen, icon, and Bruce Springsteen, musician. Then again, maybe I wasn’t really ready for the Boss.
After my political awakening in 1986-87 and Jim introduced me to Nebraska at the News-Dispatch, it clicked in that there was something serious going on here. I became a fan, although I can’t say I’m a huge fan. (And I still can’t listen to Dancing in the Dark.)
Anyway, I had just added a copy of this song—the live Summernight version—from Scott for, umm, archiving purposes when I moved back to Columbus from Cleveland in March 2004, so it was on heavy rotation those first few months.
During that time, I really bonded with Casey. We always had gotten along, but now we were around each other all the time—he was a sophomore in high school—and it was fun, even though, in truth, we did almost nothing together.
The routine was after he’d get home from school and I’d get home from the library, we’d be together in the office. I’d be at my desk, with my computer plugged in to the dialup Internet, and he’d be at the other computer on the high-speed. I’d be doing whatever research I was doing or writing up an entry for BaseballTruth, and he’d be playing Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
He got the game for his birthday soon after I moved back, and he played the online version ALL … THE … TIME. It got to be funny, hearing him announce the proceedings and urging on the cartoon battlers while calling out his unseen online teammates. He always played the same characters, and my favorite was the Pandaren brewmaster, who had some funny lines in the game.
Casey’s music tastes trend to old-time rock—his first-grade teacher once asked Laura whether he had any older brothers due to his musical tastes—and he’d play a mix of classic rock on his iTunes when he had homework. Sometimes I’d play my music, and when this song would come on, he’d make fun of it because of Bruce’s overemoting female backup singer. (I guess it’s Patti, but I haven’t looked at his lineup from the time it was recorded.)
When Casey was done playing, and it was time to watch TV to wind down before bed before school the next day, he’d just shut everything off and announce, “I’m out,” to me but really to no one in particular.
Casey lives in Chicago now, and we don’t see each other as much as you might think. That’s OK, I suppose, but hanging out with him in the office definitely was an upside of moving back home.