Bruce Springsteen found his dream audience at a Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign rally in Ohio.
“You gave me something that I’ve never been able to give myself. And that was the diversity that was in the audience,” says Springsteen in the new “Renegades: Born in the USA,” co-authored with Obama and released Tuesday, Oct. 26, from Penguin Random House. “I was playing to white faces and Black faces, old people and young people. And that’s the audience that I always dreamed of for my band.
“A lot of folks who didn’t know me from the man on the moon, probably hearing me for the first time.”
The text of “Renegades” is a curated transcript of the podcast of the same name, which aired on Spotify over eight segments in February and March.
“Renegades” is ambitious. It’s a printed journey where Obama and Springsteen delve into race, fatherhood, marriage and the future of America — all potentially contentious subjects these days.
It’s about finding common ground.
“I have dedicated part of my life to having a voice in the conversation about bringing us closer to our country’s stated ideals through the vehicle of my music and my work,” says Springsteen in “Renegades.” “We’ve consistently fallen too short for too many years, for too many of our citizens, and that inequality, social and economic, is a stain on our social contract. It’s up to each and every citizen and our government to strive to bring us closer to our stated ideals.”
Heady stuff, but not overly cumbersome on these pages. There are 350 pics, some quite intimate, of Springsteen and Obama and their families, along with song lyrics, timelines, speech notes, historical photos and more to lighten the load.
It’s extraordinary on several levels. Consider how far the presidency has come over to rock ‘n’ roll: Where once Elvis Presley was granted only a few moments in the White House with then President Richard Nixon in 1970, Obama regularly opened the White House doors to rockers and rap stars.
Springsteen performed what would become “Springsteen on Broadway” for Obama and his staff in 2017. Springsteen and Obama recorded “Renegades” at Springsteen’s home studio in Colts Neck in late July 2020.
Not bad for a kid with a guitar and a dream from Freehold, New Jersey.
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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; [email protected].
Source: Asbury Park