Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts: The Definitive Biography, 1972-2003

Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts: The Definitive Biography, 1972-2003

Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts: The Definitive Biography, 1972-2003

Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts: The Definitive Biography, 1972-2003


Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts is the definitive biography of one of the most important songwriters and performers of the last three decades. Critic Dave Marsh has traced Springsteen's career from its beginning, and has earned the singer's respect through his careful documentation and critical description of his work. This biography brings together for the first time Marsh's two previous biographies, Born To Run (which covered Springsteen's early career through the mid-1970s) and Glory Days (which took him through the mid-1980s). Both were widely praised for their insightful and near definitive coverage of Springsteen's life and music. For this book, Marsh has written a new chapter covering major developments in Springsteen's career to 2003, particularly focusing on his album The Rising and its impact on American culture.


In all the efforts of life, however complicated they may be, if we can
isolate the strands in the circumstance, we shall see that each strand in
and of itself is consistent The plaiting of the strands creates patterns
that may transcend the logic of any particular strand. Always there is
the order; always there is the logic. We are not altogether bound by it
because we are living, thinking, deciding, creatures. In this concept
there is abiding hope for man.

—Howard Thurman, Wade in the Water, Children

It used to drive me nuts (ok, nuttier) that people swatted me over the head with the term “hagiographer” because of Born to Run and Glory Days. It doesn’t anymore, because I figured out that if you find the most coherent and dramatic rock ’n’ roll story of your generation and tell it well enough for people to still be interested after a quarter of a century, you’ve done the job. If, as a part of the story, you claim that the person you’re writing about is not a fraudulent, exploitative scoundrel but in fact honorable, immensely gifted, and inspired, and if, fifteen years later, there is nothing to contradict those claims, then somebody has a problem but it ain’t the writer.

These two books brought many gifts into my life, including some of my most cherished friendships. Yet in my mind, the two volumes never quite meshed. As pieces of writing they are quite a bit different—as they ought to be, given that they were separated by six years. Some of Born to Run strikes me now as overheated—more the introduction, which is about me, than the rest, which is about Bruce. Maybe that’s why, when I wrote Glory Days, I couldn’t for the life of me see how to begin it without retracing a lot of Bruce’s history. I apologize for the repetition.

Both books tell one story, though. Bruce Springsteen has created a career—and, for the most part, a life—with startling continuity. For him the question has never been whether to burn out or fade away but how to keep on keepin’ on. That’s part of what made him such a perfect biographical subject.

His story also provides a platform for discussing all kinds of ideas, about music and the music business, but also about such issues such as popular art in general, celebrity, and social class. (To make a probably vain attempt to clarify something that seems to confuse many readers: My politics are radical, by which I mean, outside the Democratic/Republican oscillation. Bruce’s seem to be on the left edge of liberal.) . . .

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