Born to Run

  • by Bruce Springsteen
  • Narrated by Bruce Springsteen
  • 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Writing about yourself is a funny business.... But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise: to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I've tried to do this." (Bruce Springsteen, from the audio of Born to Run)
In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl's halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That's how this extraordinary autobiography began.
Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to this audio the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs. He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as "The Big Bang": seeing Elvis Presley's debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar-band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work and shows us why the song "Born to Run" reveals more than we previously realized.
Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star's memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll. Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs ("Thunder Road", "Badlands", "Darkness on the Edge of Town", "The River", "Born in the U.S.A.", "The Rising", and "The Ghost of Tom Joad", to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen's autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.
Author bio: Bruce Springsteen has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of 20 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors. He lives in New Jersey with his family.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, December 2016 - Having grown up in New Jersey, it's not too much of a stretch to say that Bruce Springsteen was something of a spiritual force. His voice is synonymous with a powerful sense of place, and it bears a rugged, scrappy idealism that can make you feel patriotic and subversive at the same time. That's what makes this autobiography, written and performed by The Boss himself, nothing less than magical. It's not simply a story of his path to success or a philosophy of greatness but a marathon concert tell-all wherein he confronts demons of mental illness, poverty, and familial strife. It is nostalgic for a simpler time but urgent in its display of discipline and individuality. Ultimately, Bruce delivers with this audiobook what he has done for nearly five decades with his music: a celebration of the commonplace and the struggles of American life with candor, imagination, and purpose. —Michael, Audible Editor

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wonderful book by superb performer

Narrated by Bruce Springsteen and covering his childhood to 2015, this story is totally engaging.

The book is full of interesting insights and anecdotes - about the music industry and the difficulties of breaking in and getting a fair deal; the challenges of selecting the right people and keeping a band together; the absolute commitment, self-confidence and persistence required to achieve anything substantial. He talks about early pop-rock inspirations - amongst them Elvis, The Beatles, and Dylan.

Springsteen relates lots of personal details concerning his parents and family their working class origins, and the tensions with his father. He describes his initial fear of serious relationships and more so of settling down, until he found the right partner with whom to start a family. He details his struggle to control his tendency to depression, and the value of therapy and medication where indicated. He talks about melding a band into a single unit while also requiring leadership (his) - and of the clashes with some of the performers, managers, and industry representatives with whom he worked.

He shares insights into why the E Street Band has been such a success and details the world-class talents in the Band and the key players with whom he still performs - Steven van Zandt (guitar), Nils Lofgren (guitar), Max Weinberg (Drums), Clarence Clemons (deceased) and more latterly Jake Clemons (sax) and more. It's fascinating to learn about the origin of key albums songs, and even on the choice of album cover images.His songs of working class people and the struggles they face, the post-9/11 period and his efforts to recognise and promote diversity, all receive attention.

Downsides aren't many - it is a little on the long side (19 hrs on audio) and there is some repetition (perhaps by design)... but overall my recommendation is overwhelmingly positive.

I hope he adds a post-script to bring the book up to date in the Trump and post-truth era and the popular protests and opposition that have emerged. The role of singer songwriters, a key theme in this story, is once again driven home.

This book is full of humanity, humour and wisdom and provided the ideal backdrop to re-listening to his music... Having since seen The Boss (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) perform live in Sydney - all I can say is ... Wow!!
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- Anthony

Unexpectedly engaging...honest and enlightening

Where does Born to Run rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

among the best of musician memoirs


Any additional comments?

...a long ago aspiring songwriter, i wondered why i never 'connected'...but in revealing the many sides of his personality....from the dysfunction and insecurities to his honest belief that he knew he was special and the stoic confidence that came with it, he opened my eyes to the true dynamics of the really few great success stories of the amazing music makers of the 1950's, 60's. 70's and 80's and understanding that unmatched era in time was built by people who found they were gifted with the ability to take the feelings they gained from an early age and fight as hard as necessary to output what they held so strongly inside.

Bruce was able to explain that undeniable connection to focused music self-confidence and never stop pushing forward until the hard work paid off, slowly but surely. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story being told by Bruce and found myself a little surprised by the eagerness i felt to continue listening...since my interests were always musicians who came before him. It will inspire me to also go back and listen to more of his music.

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- Jackie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-12-2016
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio