Tuesday 31 January 2012

Wings For Wheels

"Thunder Road" is my favourite song by Springsteen. Well, It's basically my favourite song by anyone.

But before "Thunder Road", came "Wings For Wheels". We only have the live versions. Is it really a great song? I don't know. I don't care! The important thing is the energy! If you want to know where The Boss finds all his energy, it's in this SONG!

You can hear his young excited mind whirring up and whizzing by and firing out into the world through this song. You can hear it in the whole band. There is no way they could have performed songs like this and NOT ended up as one of the greatest bands ever.

"Now the season's over and I feel it getting cold,
I wish I could take you to some sandy beach where we'd never grow old,
Ah but baby you know thats just jive,
But tonight's bustin' open and I'M ALIVE"

That line just kills me, in a GREAT WAY. BUT TONIGHT'S BUSTIN' OPEN AND I'M ALIVE!

This was Springsteen in the 70's. "Thunder Road" went on to be one of the greatest and most loved songs ever written. But this came first. This was "Thunder Road" before it was "Thunder Road." 

Makes you think about all the times you didn't quite nail it and wanted to ditch your work. It's important to remember you don't make your greatest hits right out of the gate, you gotta create a whole life's worth of junk first. 

But here's the thing. The junk ain't junk. "Wings For Wheels" has a magic that is undeniable. The energy and the vision and the idealism and the beauty; it screams through your speakers and makes you want to wake up in the 1970's at a concert, as part of a small group of people who really got to be a part of something.

That's all we want in life, to be a part of something. To matter.

"Wings For Wheels" matters. The scraps of junk you create on the road to your masterpieces, they matter. They're pieces of you. Probably bigger pieces than you realise. And the people who dig these pieces will dig everything you do. It's like the girlfriend who likes all the things about you that everyone else finds insufferable. You reach people by just putting yourself out there; by saying TONIGHT'S BUSTIN' OPEN AND I'M ALIVE!

"And maybe I can't lay the stars at your feet,
But I got this old car and she's pretty tough to beat."

That could be a metaphor for Springsteen's career. He beat everyone. He did it honestly, with integrity, and he outlasted all the other acts. He doesn't top the charts, but he sells out every venue he plays, all around the world. His fans are obsessed. It's a religion. 

And I'm telling you right now; if he played "Wings For Wheels" at a concert, the roof would explode. And if the gig was outdoors we'd all build a roof over it just to prove how powerful the moment was. 

I can feel all of Bruce Springsteen's career in this song. I can feel my own too. That's what the best songs do -- they sound like you, they encourage you, they ARE you. I don't have the creativity or the genius or the magic of Bruce Springsteen; but when you really really delve into a song you love, a song that makes you want to jump up and scream and run and write and dream and see and believe -- you think, even if just for a moment; WHY NOT? Why can't I achieve greatness? 

That is why I Love Bruce Springsteen. 

Care to share?


  1. From one Springsteen fanatic to another, this was beautiful. And, unbeknownst to me, just what I needed right now.

    I've got this version on a bootleg and pull it out every now and then. The fact an earlier, alternate version of this song is STILL this good just speaks to his talent.

    And don't you love that in this version its "Angelina" instead of "Mary"? It makes her a completely different character.

  2. Seeing other Bruce fanatics makes me happy. YES YES YES!

    Glad you enjoyed the post, and yes I love that he says ANGELINA.. do you know the version from '84 when he says Christie? Another EPIC version!

  3. What a great write up. What a great find. This is really great and was on my mind all day yesterday. Really great here. Love the boss.

  4. Thank you so much for this post Kid, I have loved Bruce since Greetings from Astbury Park first came out, and seeing him live two nights in a row at Webley, in 1984 with my best friend, another fanatic, I shall never ever forget. She is gone now, I played "Further on up the Road" at her funeral. Bruce songs always make me think of her now, but in a lovely warm way.

    "Pointblank" is my very favourite Bruce song :)