From the Archives – Mentor Log (October 30, 1975)

Read an extraordinarily prescient review from a 1975 Mentor student who nails it on Bruce Springsteen’s future



Bruce Springsteen had a breakthrough year in 1975. Read this From the Archives review from that year!

Mr. Steve Couch and Steven Dohm

Please enjoy this archived article from the old Mentor High School Log, one of the earlier incarnations of the Mentor High School student newspaper. Special thanks to Mr. Sanelli for finding these in an old bureau taken from the old Mentor High School Library during its renovation into the Hub. Also thanks to Mrs. Ford and the GenYes team for scanning and sharing the original article.

On Wednesday, April 5, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be at Rocket Mortgage Field House (I will be there! My first time seeing “The Boss”!) Since this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and American icon will be in town, I thought it might be fun to take a look back to this review from The Mentor Log when Bruce had just released his epic third album, “Born to Run,” a mere two months before. This article also ran the same month that Springsteen managed to land on the cover of Newsweek and Time – in the same week! Well, he landed in The Mentor Log as well. Read what this student reviewer thought of his breakthrough album, and tomorrow our current Cardinal Nation music critic will come back to “Born to Run” and put it in perspective. Rock on! Mr. Couch, Cardinal Nation Advisor

October 30, 1975

Rock Column

Springsteen ushers in new realism


The Sixties ended in great confusion.

Rock lost several of its most talented practitioners to drugs, (Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, maybe more) the Beatles broke up, the the Stones broke down, and commercialism set in, dividing things up in terms of AM and FM.

Many proclaimed the Seventies were beginning when promoting new personalities, but until recently, they were wrong. Grand Funk, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Elton John will figure in when writing the history of the decade, but in the end the person who will personify the Seventies will probably be that wonder from Asbury Park, New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen.

People will no doubt accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon, but how many of them heard Springsteen’s debut, GREETING FROM ASBURY PARK, NEW JERSEY, when it came out? One late spring Saturday in 1973 I put my boss through the “torture” of listening to GREETINGS. His reaction was “you’ve got all your taste in your mouth.”

Well, teenie-boppers and oldster (25-year-olds) alike are buying Springsteen’s newest, BORN TO RUN, by the truckload. What we are experiencing seems to almost parallel the coming of the Beatles or the discovery of Dylan in the Sixties.

The big question is why? Groups like Aerosmith and Kiss are raunchy, great groups for people that want to rock ‘n’ roll all night and party every day, but leave something to be desired for people with deeper intellectual interests. Yes and Pink Floyd have gone over almost everyone’s heads, and the average Joe on the streets can’t begin to fathom what’s going on in the topographic ocean, or even knows what topography is. Elton John and David Bowie have become the great romanticists of the era, what with space trips, exotic sexual fantasies and love ballads.

Springsteen is a realist hailed by many as the “new Dylan.” People now either love him or hate him. His enemies may spring from the ranks of the “old Dylan” fans who see Springsteen as a threat to their idol’s existence. Dylan himself may be scared: recently he’s increased his recording activity, and has even gone back to Greenwich Village to “get back to his roots” and meet the people. Some just don’t like Springsteen for the same reason they don’t like Dylan: he can’t really sing.

Springsteen seems to have come up with something for everyone. Springsteen rocks for the “boogie freaks”, Springsteen knows how to write songs with a hook for more commercial audiences, and Springsteen is a field day for those who appreciate a good lyric.

He can make the country boy feel the pressures of city life.

BORN TO RUN is selling with reason. The title cut alone is worth the price of the album. Another exercise in macho, Bruce and Wendy plan to escape the death trap of the city and never go back. The antagonists join the “broken heroes” in a search for heaven on earth: “Someday girl, I don’t know when–we’re gonna get to that place Where we really want to go – And we’ll walk in the sun…” The tempo changes underlying feelings of anxiety and inner rest, and the solo bass figure transmits a feeling of freedom and speed.

The rest of the album is as realistic as “Born to Run,’ echoing the street corners or the free life of the road (“Thunder Road”), or the turmoil of the inner city (*Jungleland”).

One can sense the tenseness in Springsteen’s vocal; we’re a bunch of animals, out fighting for ourselves, and he’s going to let us know it. No more hiding the truth.

Advisor’s Note: How does our current music critic’s assessment compare with this vintage review? Check it out here!