What The Boss Means to Me


Maya Sherne, Staff Writer

The screen door slams
Mary’s dress sways
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays

Every night growing up, my dad would come into my room before bed and sing me Thunder Road.  He’d sing until I fell asleep.  Until I was so enthralled in the melody that I would stop my persistence of staying up with my sisters or my tantrums in refusal of my bedtime.  One moment off guard, and I would fall into the song’s hypnosis.  Since the first time I slept, I have been a fan of Bruce Springsteen.

Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that’s me and I want you only
Don’t turn me home again
I just can’t face myself alone again

My insomnia was solely remedied by Springsteen’s lyrical imagery.  Mary was next to me.  I heard the radio playing and envisioned her dancing across the porch and I too did not want to be alone.  My dad’s voice protected me from nightmares, offering comfort and familiarity.  Something his work and business trips often took from me; but the nights when he sang to me before bed, were free of nightmares, and full of music.

Don’t run back inside
Darling you know just what Im here for
So you’re scared and you’re thinking
That maybe we aint that young anymore

Earlier this year, my daddy and I got in an argument.  I don’t know what it was over, most likely something silly and not even worth remembering.  I do, however, remember how us two stubborn, headstrong people came to forgive one another.

Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night
You aint a beauty, but hey you’re alright
Oh and that’s alright with me

Like every other time its on, my dad watched Bruce Springsteen’s Storyteller’s special on VH1.  I had locked myself in my room, until I heard it.  The same words I had heard every night growing up.

You can hide `neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets

I rose from my covers, sprinted down the hall, and jumped onto my parent’s bed.  I stared, wide-eyed, jaw dropped.  After fifteen times seeing this special, Bruce still amazed me.  I got from Bruce something I have been unable to get from any other artist.

Well now I’m no hero
That’s understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood

“What is it? It was my big invitation. The music was important.  Something is opening up to you.  Something is opening up,” Springsteen said.  “What I hoped it would be when I wrote the song is what I got out of Rock and Roll music.  Which was a sense of larger life, a greater experience, a sense of personal exploration of your possibilities. The idea that it was all aligned somewhere inside of you and it was just there on the edge of town.  It’s basically an invitation.”

With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow
Back your hair

Thunder Road remains the best bedtime story I have ever had.  Bruce sent me a message, an invitation to let go of my troubles, and to feel the music.  To forgive my dad, but more importantly to forgive the world.  Thunder Road is all about looking forward.  It was as if he spoke to me, singing “Maya, don’t bother losing yourself in your sadness or confusion, live life like a ride, and always imagine yourself at the top.”  This sense of hope and maturity is not seen in modern day music, making Bruce not only an oldie, but unique.

Well the nights busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels

Of all the wonderful, extraordinary, generous, and thoughtful things my Daddy has ever done for me, I believe introducing me to the music of Bruce Springsteen is that which I’m most grateful for.  His songs, poetry, and life stories will forever endure.  And I know that if I carry his positive message with me, I will always carry a piece of my Dad as well.

Climb in back
Heaven’s waiting on down the tracks
Oh-oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh-oh thunder road, oh thunder road oh thunder road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it’s late we can make it if we run
Oh thunder road, sit tight take hold
Thunder road

Last Tuesday, my family went to the Bruce Springsteen concert in San Jose.  This being my third concert, I was extremely excited, but expected nothing more than the consistently phenomenal “Boss-like” performance.  I didn’t know it was possible for anyone surpass the best.  But Bruce managed.  And considering who the best is, it was very impressive, Mr. Springsteen beat himself.

Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And my car’s out back
If you’re ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The doors open but the ride it aint free
And I know you’re lonely
For words that I aint spoken
But tonight we’ll be free
All the promises will be broken

The show was phenomenal.  He played all the classics, and all of my favorites from his new album Wrecking Ball.  The best part however, was sitting next to my Dad through the whole show.  There is something truly remarkable about Bruce’s music that connects me and my father.  I forgot about everything, in a daze of how my family’s icon was so humble, so proud, and so human.  His grace seemed dishonest, but I knew it was sincere.  The show couldn’t have gotten better.  Until it did.

There were ghosts in the eyes
Of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road
In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets

The last song on Bruce’s set list was Thunder Road.  After the first two notes and we knew it, my dad and I looked at each other, amazed.  What a perfect end to the night.  Tears filled my eyes as I screamed and danced along with Springsteen.

They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they’re gone

When I’m sad and lonely I still listen to Bruce.  His music, more than all other musicians combined, can relate to me.  His lyrics speak to me and his melodies remind me of home, of my family, and of my childhood innocence- the naivety and uninhibitedness that I endlessly crave.  But one thing from my childhood will always remain, at the end of the song, when I am half asleep, this is my solo.  I would sing

On the wind, so Mary climb in
It’s a town full of losers
And I’m pulling out of here to win.

Bruce Springsteen forged a relationship between myself and my father.  My dad is my best friend, my partner in crime, and the funniest man I’ve ever met.  He gets on my nerves, we get in fights; but at midnight, a Storyteller’s special on the Boss with an acoustic version of Thunder Road can end any argument with a beautiful melody, lots of smiles, and tears of happiness.