Bruce Springsteen Once Revealed the 1 Thing He ‘Chases’ When Writing Songs

Bruce Springsteen is the songwriter behind “Born to Run” and “Hungry Heart,” even sharing some of his songwriting process during an interview with David Letterman. Here’s what we know about the Boss and his “key” to creating music.

Bruce Springsteen shares the ‘key’ to ‘the whole thing’ regarding songwriting

Bruce Springsteen performs during the 15th Annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit at Alice Tully Hall presented by Bob Woodruff Foundation and NY Comedy Festival
Bruce Springsteen performs during the 15th Annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit at Alice Tully Hall presented by Bob Woodruff Foundation and NY Comedy Festival | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SUFH

Fans call him “the Boss” for a reason. Springsteen is the songwriter behind several chart-topping hits, including “Born to Run,” “Hungry Heart,” and “Dancing in the Dark.”

During an interview with Letterman in 2002, Springsteen shared some of his songwriting insight. At one point, the host mentioned the difference between naturally writing a song and contriving a song for the sake of it. 

“You gotta watch out for that,” Springsteen said. “I think you’re sort of trying to contrive spontaneity… You can’t chase it too hard. And you gotta be chasing the right stuff.”

Springsteen added that usually, stuff gets “thrown out” if it doesn’t turn out as well as a song created naturally.

“That’s the key to the whole thing,” the songwriter added, “and it’s got to be the same thing — you’re searching for that thing that’s true, that feels like it has its own living and breathing life. And so, that’s the thing to chase. That’s really what I’m always after, and I sit around and wait until it comes around.”

Why did Bruce Springsteen sell his music rights?

According to the New York Times, in 2021, Sony Music Entertainment bought the Boss’s entire music catalog for an estimated $550 million. That includes some of Springsteen’s biggest hits, like “Born to Run.”

“I am one artist who can truly say that when I signed with Columbia Records in 1972, I came to the right place,” Springsteen said in Sony’s statement. “During the last 50 years, the men and women of Sony Music have treated me with the greatest respect as an artist and as a person.” 

“I’m thrilled that my legacy will continue to be cared for by the company and people I know and trust,” he added. 

Why did Springsteen choose to sell his music catalog? One of the biggest benefits is the guaranteed upfront payment received for the sale. There’s also a large tax incentive, according to Rolling Stone, particularly due to President Joe Biden’s plan to alter the U.S. capital gains tax. 

The Boss will not receive future profits from album sales and streaming platforms. However, he is still legally allowed to perform his original songs live. Other artists who recently sold their music rights include Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Shakira. 

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band announced their 2023 international tour

Springsteen returns to the stage with his 2023 tour, making stops at New Jersey’s Prudential Center. Most concerts already sold out, with fans particularly noting the impact of Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” on the ticket cost.

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