Bruce Springsteen is a great songwriter – but that rarely makes for great memoirs

Alex James

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After 18 albums, the star is publishing his autobiography. Precedent suggests he’ll be hard pressed to make his book match the quality of his music

In the brief foreword to his autobiography, Bruce Springsteen writes that his aim is to “shed a little light on how and, more important, why” he forged his improbable career as the last great rock superstar. In truth, we already have the evidence in the 18 albums he has released over 43 years. Do we need to know more? Music is a transcendental experience, and to explain its origins in cold print can rob the songs of their magic.

Related: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – review

I was summoned to the balcony after a show at the Capitol theatre in Passaic, New Jersey, and was introduced to an unassuming young man in a bandana who looked like he might have arrived directly from fixing his motorcycle. He laughed like steam escaping from a radiator. Bruce Springsteen and I circled each other with polite, shy questions, neither wanting to quite let on how much we cared about the other’s records.

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