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E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Hardcover – 1 Nov 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780335792
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780335797
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Heylin traces Springsteen's development from the bars of the Jersey Shore to the stadiums of the world in compelling fashion. (Catholic Herald)

An impressive feat of rock scholarship. (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

The essential book for any fan of the Boss.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The bad news is that many people will probably not like this book. But we need a Springsteen book like this. We need Heylin to do for Bruce what he has done for Bob so many times.

Up until the last few months all Bruce books seemed to offer only glowing portraits of Bruce and all his work. Dave Marsh set the tone with his 2 biographies, which were so devoid of any critical content that they could have been released by the Bruce organization. Most other Bruce books have followed the same path.

Unfortunately for Clinton Heylin his E Street Shuffle is being released at the same time as a new book - Bruce by Peter Carlin. Heylin is a dogged pursuer of the truth, with extensive interviews and obsessive devotion to minutiae. This is somewhat trumped by Carlin, who apparently had access to Bruce's family and the man himself for his pretty solid biography. This steals a little of Heylin's thunder, but E Street Shuffle is still a very thorough and honest analysis.

Some may find it too thorough and honest. Heylin is very opinionated and he doesn't care about prevailing opinions. I like this. Here are 3 sacred cows Heylin takes the time to slaughter:

1. Mike Appel is a villain. ------ I myself have never bought into the fact that Appel was the horrible record company executive taking advantage of the naive young genius. Heylin persuasively shows how the falling out was a mutual thing, that Bruce was just as much to blame. Bruce would never have reached his early level of success were it not for Appel' energy, enthusiam and huge sacrifices. The most important thing I took from reading the account of their fallout was, that once the lawyers got involved, their was no way it could end well.

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Whilst a degree of criticism is welcomed, and there are books that share that point of view, the most telling thing for me in this book is that the author is clearly of the opinion that Bruce peaked with the Wild , The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, and that anything that was written, played, discarded or recorded post that album was naturally a let-down. Now, I don't mind which album a fan prefers, and sees as the artist(s) zenith. But to spend an entire book decrying Springsteen's output in the 40 year period since, in the process deifying Appel, Lopez (an erratic drummer at best) and Davey Sancious whilst simultaneously crucifying their replacements, smacks of overkill. The unwritten message in here is that Bruce sold out sometime in 1974, and should have done what Dylan did. What Bob did, in the main-with the exception of an enjoyable diversion with the Wilburys - was produce a succession of indulgent, redundant, unchallenging and relatively (by his own standards) unsuccessful albums. But hang that, so long as he was true to what he wanted, even if most fans lost interest at Desire.

Heylin's book is eminently readable; he knows the material; his writing style is accessible, though I coulda (!) done with a few less colloquialisms, and puns; as others have noted, he had access to a select few of the pre-74 cast, so kudos for that, and he has spent a lot of time (& money - those bootlegs cost a lot of dosh, even at record fairs in the 80's!) researching the lost cuts and alternative versions. I enjoy the style and salute the dedication, which is why I gave it 3 stars. I just dislike the personal jibes and the 'everything I don't like is rubbish' approach. Oh, and the author or publisher may like to take note that Edwin COLLINS was only 10 when Edwin STARR wrote 'War' in 1969.
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Format: 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.
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