Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
It’s quite unusual to find a rock star autobiography like this. It’s not full of drinking, women or drugs - it’s the really personal story of why Bruce Springsteen has come to be one of the most well-known musicians of the 21st century. He started writing it to document the exhilarating experience he’d had playing the half time show at the Super Bowl in 2009 – and just never stopped.
Seven years later, his fans are pleased he didn’t. He talks about his childhood and growing up in a religious household, the difficult relationship he had with his dad and the darkness that occasionally overcame him, even as a child. He found inspiration for his music in these experiences, and from his early gigs in hometown bars to his legendary last performance with Clarence Clemmons (his saxophonist) – it’s clear that his experiences of depression have fuelled him to achieve great things.
He’s been a very private person in the past, and although anyone who’s ever seen him in concert can agree that his energy and charisma on stage is infectious, very little has been known of his private life. I’ve now got a greater respect for ‘The Boss’ (a nickname he never liked) and the song ‘Born to Run’ has taken on a new meaning for me.
My only criticism is that some people might take-away from this book that depression can be overcome with hard work and perseverance. I know, from my own experiences that this isn’t true – but knowing that he’s put his experiences out there for people to read, in the hope of reducing the stigma around depression and other mental illness, means he’s now one of my favourite people - not just one of my favourite musicians.