I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that don't know where it's flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going
Everybody's got a hungry heart
I think the first Springsteen song I was ever really aware of was Hungry Heart from The River. It stood out at the time when the big trends in UK pop music were the remnants of the New Wave, the Ska revival and the New Romantic scene. Hungry Heart was almost like a lost garage track from the '60s with its big chorus and keyboard motif, not to mention the full-throated roar of the singer. I thought this guy might be worth checking out in the future.
An older friend leant me a stack of old vinyl LPs ( Hawkwind, Eno, King Crimson, mostly hippy stuff ) amongst which was Greetings From Asbury Park NJ. But this Bruce Springsteen seemed like a totally different artist: the vocals seemed to be at the wrong speed, the songs were overly wordy and the band sounded half-hearted. Ho hum. So I moved on to the works of Adam Ant and forgot about Bruce.
A few years later Springsteen's popularity hit its mega-platinum sales peak with the Born In The USA album. I quite liked the songs but was turned off by the all-American, headband-wearing image. As a cocky, wannabe teen punk I had developed an irrational anti-American bias, regardless of the fact that most of my favourite films, authors and comics were American. ( Kids, eh?..... I got over it. )
Another few years later and I heard Jungleland from Born To Run on Radio One, late one night. It sent shivers down my spine: the drama, the doomed romanticism, the awesome sax solo. I tried my luck with a second-hand vinyl copy of BTR and was hooked. I went out and got all the Bruce albums I could get my hands on, even Greetings... which didn't turn out to be that bad after all. It took me about 12 years to become a card-carrying Bruce fanatic and, unlike some more instant but superficial musical obsessions, this is one that's here to stay.
Soundtrack: The River ( album ) by guess who?