Few artists can be called ‘The Boss’ and not be lambasted as egotistical boobs. But, Bruce Springsteen rightfully earned his spot at the head of the executive table through a combination of cracking songs, gifted showmanship and earnest performances. It’s seen Springsteen be rightly revered as one of the finest rockers of his generation, charting a career that can count nearly five decades under its belt.
The singer-songwriter made his name by championing the very beating heart of Americana and laying it out for all to see. His songs have always hung on one pertinent facet — honesty. And, as such, it’s a trait he has taken into all of his work outside of music, too, especially when on the promotion trail. It means he’s never been afraid to share his love for the artists that inspired him.
Whether it was his all-time favourite Bob Dylan, whose album HJighway 61 Revisited shook him to his very soul or, indeed, his adoration of The King, Elvis Presley. Springsteen even broke into Graceland one fateful night to try and play a song for Presley. Naturally, it did not end well. But as well as those two icons, Springsteen has a soft spot for one of rock ‘n’ roll’s true pioneers, The Rolling Stones.
The breadth of his love for Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman came to the fore when he appeared on the acclaimed BBC 4 Radio show Desert Island Discs. During the conversation, where stars are asked to pick out eight songs they simply couldn’t live without, Springsteen noted his love for bands like The Beatles and The Four Tops as well as Marvin Gaye and James Brown, who sat nicely among the aforementioned idols. It’s clear that the sixties truly shaped Springsteen.
The Boss continues to pick out some of the sixties finest artists as his third choice of an essential song is The Rolling Stones’ ‘It’s All Over Now’. It’s a warm moment in the interview as Springsteen remembers a tribute to the band’s founding member, “I would use my mother’s hair clips to pin my hair down, then I would sleep on it exactly right, because I had Italian curly hair so I would pin it down until it was as straight as Brian Jones’.”
He’s still a Stones fan to this day, but ‘It’s All Over Now’ had a more poignant role in Springsteen’s life, saying it “held a special place for me because when I got thrown out of my first band, I went home that night and I was pissed off, so I said ‘All right I’m going to be a lead guitar player’. And for some reason, that solo felt like something I might be able to manage. I put the record on, and I sat there all night until I was able to scrape up some relatively decent version of Keith’s solo. It was a very important record for me as it was the first solo I ever learned.”
Though Springsteen isn’t particularly known for his command of the guitar. it would be remiss not to note this song as a flash of inspiration for the young songwriter. Not only did it provide him with a practice sheet to help perfect his guitar playing but it proved that rock ‘n’ roll was in his blood.
Listen to Bruce Springsteen’s favourite Rolling Stones song, ‘It’s All Over Now’ below.