I first found The Boss in high school (I was high, I was at school). My friends were listening to Journey, I was listening to Born to Run and Zevon’s Excitable Boy (near masterpiece). Then I bought The River at Fred Meyer’s, and saw Bruce on tour. He slayed, as usual. When I got to college my quad was called “Bruce Country.” I tracked down the older albums at Djangos (now gone)–these were Springsteen in Dylan mode, albeit quite a bit more operatic. You could smell the surf and the cotton candy in all those Jersey boardwalk tunes. When Bruce sang “Spanish Johnny drove in from the Underworld last night, with bruised arms and broken rhythm and a beat up old Buick, but dressed just like dynamite,” it never, never, failed to take me some place better in my head, far away from the rain and the grey and the strange loneliness of narrow dorm floor hallways. Springsteen is an artist. I was reminded yet again of that fact while watching, over the weekend, the documentary The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town. It’s a brilliant picture of creative process–absorbing and inspiring. And one thing Bruce said early on in the show really struck me. “More than being famous, more than being rich, more than being happy, I wanted to be great.” That’s it. That’s what it takes. I wonder how many rock stars would say the same thing today? I don’t know. Maybe not enough.