Bruce Springsteen Hated His Biggest Album, Calling It “Garbage”

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The greats are always trying to outdo themselves. That’s what makes them great.

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen (photo via Billboard)

The great Bruce Springsteen spent years working on his hugely successful Born To Run, spending months on the title track alone. He said he was trying to make the “greatest rock ‘n’ roll record ever made.”

But when he first made the album, it was far from being great, according to the man himself. And we almost didn’t hear that album because Springsteen almost didn’t release it.

In an interview with Slate, he recalled his initial reaction to the songs.

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen (photo via Variety)

“After it was finished? I hated it!” he said. “I couldn’t stand to listen to it. I thought it was the worst piece of garbage I’d ever heard.”

He spent long nights at the studio, struggling to perfect his songs. His engineer, Jimmy Iovine, had to chew gum wrappers just to stay awake.

After a while, Springsteen became tired and unhappy. He decided he didn’t want to release the album.

That’s when producer Jon Landau stepped in and had a talk with the rocker.

“Look, you’re not supposed to like it,” he told Springsteen. “You think Chuck Berry sits around listening to ‘Maybellene’? And when he does hear it, don’t you think he wishes a few things could be [changed]? Now c’mon, it’s time to put the record out.”

Next thing you know, the album hit the shelves in 1975 and Springsteen experienced a jolt into stardom. Because of that record, he was on the covers of Time and Newsweek at the same time.

Rolling Stone praised the album as a career-making moment for him.

“It is a magnificent album that pays off on every bet ever placed on him,” they wrote. “A ’57 Chevy running on melted down Crystals records that shuts down every claim that has been made. And it should crack his future wide open.”

And, boy, did it ever crack open his future. If Born To Run were a baseball bat, then his future was a piñata full of money and success.

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Caleb Murphy is a musician who writes about music. His writing appears in Consequence Of Sound, Pittsburgh City Paper, and some other cool places. He blogs about music at calebjmurphy.com.
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