Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Living Proof” (1992)

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Many years ago, I decided that I wouldn’t have any children. Actually, that’s not quite right. As a young adult, I had no interest in fatherhood, but assumed that that would change over time. I was wrong about that. By the time I hit my 30s, “no interest” had expanded to “negative interest.” This lead to many conversations in which I was forced to defend (as if it needs defense) the fact that I just don’t like babies all that much. Heck, I hold so many positions that are at odds with society in general that this was just another disagreement to be cataloged.

Looking back at “Living Proof,” it’s easy to see hints of the gospel-tinged passion that would become common on many songs (and concerts) in the post-reunion era. Written about the birth of his son, this song delivers the Springsteen version of that supposed universal truth — that having a child can transform you. Or as Bruce says, “Those little babies…they’re good. They make you rise above yourself.”

Maybe I would have risen above myself had things gone differently. I’ll never know. But I’m glad that Bruce found his way, as the family that he and Patti have built play no small part in the music he has made in their presence.

Up next: Book Of Dreams

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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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