My 36 Years with Springsteen: From Sing Sing to the Super Bowl

By Mitchell, Greg | Editor & Publisher, February 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

My 36 Years with Springsteen: From Sing Sing to the Super Bowl


Mitchell, Greg, Editor & Publisher


The New York Times and its Web site were filled with stories about Bruce Springsteen this weekend, from the sports section to Arts & Leisure. But when I met him back in 1972, I could not have imagined that the scrawny kid in the hooded sweatshirt from New Jersey, whose first "record" (as we used to call them) had not yet come out, would one day play the Super Bowl -- let alone be star attraction at the Inaugural of any president, after helping get that first African-American elected.

And to think that I met him in... Sing Sing Prison.

As you must have heard by now, Springsteen is doing the 12-minute gig at halftime of the Super Bowl today. This follows his high-profile concerts for Obama last fall, and his spot on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for the pre-Inaugural concert. This political activity is not exactly a shock by now, especially since he also sang for Kerry in 2004.

But it continues an amazing evolution I have watched closely since 1972, when I first met "Brucie" -- at Sing Sing -- and helped write and publish the first magazine article about him. But for the first few years I knew him I swear I never heard a "political" sentiment escape his lips. Now he has become a new kind of political "Boss."

Bruce did me a solid last year, writing a brief preface for my book on Iraq and the media, "So Wrong for So Long," but his "solid" for Obama -- runnin' on the Barack streets? -- meant much more, obviously.

My new book, "Why Obama Won," covers his contributions to the 2008 campaign.

Now, to Sing Sing, in a nutshell: For most of the 1970s, I worked as the #2 editor at the legendary rock/political magazine Crawdaddy. One day in early December 1972, I got a call from a fast-talking chap named Mike Appel, inviting me to a promo gig for his client, someone named Bruce Springsteen (I presumed it was "Springstein"). …

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