Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Local Hero” (1992)

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Bruce’s account of happening onto his portrait at a five & dime makes me think of what it must be like to attain that (or any!) level of celebrity. I mean, on Saturday morning we wandered down to the farmer’s market in the center of town, coming away with some carrots, garlic, cabbage, and handmade soap. Then it was back to the car a few other errands. Fifteen simple minutes spent attending to life’s necessities.

So what happens when celebrity complicates things? Bruce wasn’t addressing that issue in “Local Hero,” though he does reference that changes he’d been through — and the associated fan reactions — with the lines First they made me the king then they made me pope/Then they brought the rope. To be Bruce Springsteen in the post-Born In The USA was to be a person under a withering microscope. In that time period there was a crumbling marriage, a fired band, a new band, and then signs of hope.

It’s hard enough for a “regular” person to go through these things, but in the relentless sight of the public eye? No, thanks.

The issues of those “lost years” aside, Bruce has seemed to cope with his celebrity quite well, though not completely unscathed. His ability to maintain creative focus above life’s intrusions has always been an inspiration.

And say what you will about the “other” band, this live version of “Local Hero” from the MTV show just kills it.

Up next: If I Should Fall Behind

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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