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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very uncomfortable read, 26 Aug. 2006
By 
Chris Of The OT (South West of England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen (Paperback)
I have not yet read Dave Marsh's biographies of Bruce Springsteen (`Glory Days' or `Two Hearts...') because I wanted to avoid the party-line. Now that I've read Elliot's `Down Thunder Road', I will read Marsh's offerings... at some point.

Marc Elliot writes a good narrative, on the whole. But at times it is powerfully (occasionally, even savagely and grotesquely) biased. Unfortunately the narrative is punctuated about half-and-half with verbatim transcripts making the book often resemble a stage or TV script. I imagine this is done to persuade readers of the authenticity of Elliot's account but it makes for a very disjointed work.

This book constitutes a long, very raw attempt by Mike Appel to clear his name after he became known as "the guy who screwed Springsteen". Elliot notes that `... the tragic players in any prolonged conflict are neither heroes nor villains, only victims. Such I believe was the fate of Springsteen, Appel and Landau'. (Although I can't find much that's tragic about Jon Landau's part in this story!)

Appel's gut-wrenching cry for absolution is so great that over 100 pages (more than a quarter of the book) are taken up with photocopies & prints of all the legal documents, contracts, financial statements, letters, etc. that pertain to the Springsteen/Appel association - about five years' worth. And this illustrates what makes this book such an uncomfortable read: we would have accepted Appel's acquittal plea inside fifty pages - four-hundred is just overkill. I ended up feeling that this episode was not just tragic, but almost pathetically sad for both Mike Appel and Bruce Springsteen.

There are bright spots (like when Bruce gave Mike Appel's son his leather jacket from the `Born in the USA' tour - *that* jacket!) and it offers an interesting insight into the naïve, back-stabbing world of the 1950s & 60s recording industry. But ultimately this is a disjointed, very uncomfortable read. Bruce Springsteen: The "Rolling Stone" Files (from contemporary `Rolling Stone' magazine interviews & articles) was a much better read.
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Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen
Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen by Mike Appel (Paperback - 6 July 1992)
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