Like many other artists from his generation, Bruce Springsteen was inspired by The Beatles. One wonders what the reaction to hearing The Beatles for the first time was like for The Boss. Here’s a look back at exactly what The Boss did when he first heard them. In addition, here’s a look at the foreboding prediction John Lennon made about Springsteen’s career.
Bruce Springsteen’s reaction to The Beatles’ hit ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’
Firstly, some background. In his book Born to Run, Springsteen described what it was like growing up on the Jersey shore, the people, groups and institutions he encountered in his early life. He also provided a glimpse into the artists that impacted him musically during that time.
Springsteen described when he heard The Beatles over the airwaves for the first time. He stated “The Beatles. I first laid ears on them while driving with my mom up South Street, the radio burning brighter before my eyes as it strained to contain the sound, the harmonies of ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.’ Why did it sound so different? Why was it so good? Why was I this excited? My mom dropped me off at home but I ran straight to the bowling alley on Main Street, where I always spent my first after-school hours hunched over the pool table sipping a Coke and eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I slammed myself into the phone booth and called my girlfriend, Jan Seamen. ‘Have you heard The Beatles?’”
The first album by The Beatles that Bruce Springsteen bought
From the phone booth, Springsteen made his way to a “five-and-ten-cent store” and searched for a Beatles .45. The only thing he found was a record called The Beatles with Tony Sheridan and Guests. He said it was the band doing backing vocals to a song called “My Bonnie.” He purchased the record and listened. He then went back to the store everyday until they had the album Meet the Beatles. He said “That was exactly what I wanted to do.” The Boss refers to The Beatles as rock ’n’ roll’s Mount Rushmore. Clearly, he was impacted by the group but did The Beatles end up appreciating any of The Boss’ songs?
What John Lennon had to say about The Boss
Rolling Stone stated that in John’s final interview ever on December 5, 1980, just three days before he was murdered, he commented on The Boss. John said “And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he’s no longer God. … But when he gets down to facing his own success and growing older and having to prove it again and again, they’ll turn on him, and I hope he survives it.” The Beatles clearly made an impression on Springsteen and it seems that The Boss was in the final thoughts of one of The Beatles as well.