Bruce Springsteen is one of a kind, and over the years, he’s given his adoring fanbase many reasons to love him. Affectionately known as ‘The Boss’, this moniker gives him an adequate account of respect that he deserves for decades at the top.
Despite the fact he’s one of the most prominent names in music, what makes Springsteen stand out from his A-list peers is that he’s just like you and me. He’s a normal man, from humble origins, and it is his sharp perception that has allowed Springsteen to rise and become America’s modern blue-collared champion. He’s always had one eye on cultural and social issues, which has infused his work with the relevance that has allowed him to stay at the top of his game for four decades.
It’s no coincidence that in 2016, when awarding Springsteen the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Barack Obama quipped: “I am the President; he is the Boss”. This immense praise from the then President captured Springsteen’s status perfectly, showing that his influence even stretches all the way to the halls of power.
Regardless of what chapter of his career you delve into, Springsteen’s music is always extracted directly from the heart, from the raw energy of 1973’s Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., or 2020’s nostalgia trip, Letter To You. His work grapples with real subjects, and through blending this with anthemic musicianship, he created a potent cocktail that has made millions, from all walks of life subscribe to his creed.
Whilst his status is unmatched, this hasn’t stopped Springsteen from being parodied, which is unsurprising for a figure of his stature. There are many hilarious takes on Springsteen, but the best came by way of everyone’s favourite pop punks, Blink-182.
Blink-182’s cheeky parody came via the band’s second album, 1997’s Dude Ranch, which features classic tracks such as ‘Dammit’ and ‘Josie’. The record is credited as being the moment where Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge started to realise their creative vision, fusing the influence of bands such as Descendents, NOFX, and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin with something more contemporary. In addition to this, it’s also fondly remembered for its cover design, a collage by Lou Beach, which features the band’s name branded on the bull’s rear.
However, the most intriguing thing about the album is the parody of Bruce Springsteen. The gatefold packaging features a painting that states ‘Greeting from the Blink-182 Dude Ranch’, which was specifically intended to be a pastiche of “cheesy postcards” and as a spoof of Springsteen’s iconic 1973 debut Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
They’re not two names you’d normally mention in the same breath, but when Blink-182 were at their zenith no one was safe, be it the Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, or even the eminent Bruce Springsteen.