5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I've pretty much read everything written about Springsteen over the last ...,
This review is from: E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Kindle Edition)
I was bought this as a present by my son desperate to find something his Dad would be interested in. I've pretty much read everything written about Springsteen over the last 30 years but dutifully took it on holiday to show my lad I was pleased with his gift.
Initially I was surprised about how this book gripped me. Heylin had done his research and offered some new insights into the Boss. I couldn't put it down as I enjoyed his review of all the cuts that were binned I had enjoyed on bootlegs and B sides wondering where they came from. Now I know. Also some gaps were filled in about Mike Appel and Springsteen's psyche which led to splits and tortuous recording sessions.
However, his writing began to wear me down and I ended up not finishing the book. The constant coverage of every track written and discarded becomes a strain after a while. But worst of all is Heylin's constant assertions of what were good tracks and good albums and what were not. In his world there is no such thing as subjective opinion. He is correct, end of story. At first I would rue the gems he described that Bruce threw away until I started to remember listening to some of them on bootlegs and the like. Some of these 'diamonds' Heylin rates so highly were pretty indifferent in my book. So I began to read with a little less acceptance of the 'word of Heylin'.
And then this book started to become ridiculous. In his view Springsteen peaked with his first two albums. Born to Run and everything since has been a let down! The 3 box live set excluded his best work!
I remember reading reviews of albums such as Nebraska that were in awe of his desire to write what was on his mind and not follow commercial motives. I remember reading revues of Tunnel of Love where he was applauded for his transition from cars & girls songs to issues that reflected his growing maturity. In both his skills as a song writer and integrity were applauded. I own most of the bootlegs and still rate very highly the box set for it's flow and constant quality. No positive reviews are featured in Heylin's book. He has dug around for anything negative he can find as he tries to re write history in the image he has described for Bruce.
The man Heylin describes is a flop, a sell out and a mediocre band leader. How then did he achieve the success he has and continues to enjoy? I have seen Bruce and the E Streeters three times in the last 18 months perform some of their best ever concerts. Not the wash outs Heylin describes. Eventually I lost all respect for the author's descriptions and assertions as the inevitable thought entered my mind, "... maybe Bruce has been a success because Heylin is wrong and in his own tortuous flawed way, Springsteen got it right'. That's when I stopped reading. I recommend strongly you don't start - just don't tell my son.