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Sharing the Music -- An Invitation

Updated on July 27, 2020


A life without art is almost unimaginable. Creative writing, music, painting, performing, sculpture and film, are essential to our lives. We need the arts -- the miracles of humanity -- like the air we breathe. The best singer musicians tell our stories. They are a kind of an inspirational lifeline...a bonding with our dreams, our possibilities, the innermost parts of who we are.

"Sharing the Music" isn't a challenge, but an invitation to share one of your favorite singer musicians with us, either as a comment below or in a Hub article. Please feel free to include personal experiences, anecdotes or emotional connections as to why the artist's body of work is special to you.

My contribution follows...



I grew up in America's great Northeast, in the Mountain Highlands region of New Jersey. Although I loved the mountains, Atlantic City was a favorite haunt during the summer. The last time my friends and I visited the boardwalk was in July of '75 -- not long before the local flavor of that historic shoreline was devoured by casino giants and the monstrous facades of an illusory world.

We were so young -- puppies, really -- wearing our jeans like a second skin, moving lithe with the nimble, boardwalk soul of youth. Music was plentiful at the right places, and we often danced to the gritty power and romance of The Wild, The Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle. Even in those early days, Bruce Springsteen was The Boss. I didn't realize it then, but the summer of '75 was to be my last visit to Atlantic City. Nor could I have known that I was to meet my Jersey idol a year later.

Fate can be delicious at times. Being in the right place at the right event with the friend of a friend of Springsteen led to a surreal moment of meeting the man, himself, backstage at one of his concerts in Red Bank, New Jersey. The charismatic energy surrounding him was palpable. When he took your hand in greeting, and looked at you -- straight on, straight in -- you knew. There was something about the hazel-brown eyes of this brilliant, primal-rock poet that were as revealing to you as you were to him. It wasn't just the aliveness in him that was impressive. It was the glint of light in his gaze that cut to the heart of the stories he was eager to tell. Such is the promise of a gifted artist.

The moments following our meeting are a blur. I don't recall leaving the concert hall, but I remember smiling with a realization that gave a lightness of foot and spirit, not unlike boardwalk dancing at the Jersey shore: Bruce Springsteen was here to stay.


Bruce Springsteen with Steven Van Zandt and Patti Scialfa of the E-Street Band
Bruce Springsteen with Steven Van Zandt and Patti Scialfa of the E-Street Band


The decades that followed were a fulfillment of the promise as his unique voice took on the stories of everyman and the conscience of America. In some ways, his songs represent the soundtracks of our lives to reflect turning points in our culture of the human condition -- from our anger over social and economic injustices, to our hope through love, community, hard work and integrity. His pulse-pounding concerts are legendary. Whether we hear him live or recorded, the connection is there...intimate, rousing, sometimes brooding, soulful, introspective, inspirational.

The awards he has received, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and The Kennedy Center Honors, are far too numerous to list in this article. During a speech Springsteen gave at the SXSW Festival several years ago, he said: "We live in a post-authentic world. And today, authenticity is a house of mirrors. At the end of the day, it's the power and purpose of your music that matters." Perhaps this is why the poetic novellas in his music -- the conversations he has with us -- are so important to him. With each song he composes, he seems to know where we live. Maybe it's that Jersey girl somewhere inside of me...but I still get it. Every time.


Springsteen currently lives in Colts Neck, NJ, close to his Jersey roots. He grew up in Freehold.


Atlantic City

(The above video is the official music video for Springsteen's live NY performance of Atlantic City. Both this video and the one that immediately follows, the Oscar-winning Streets of Philadelphia, were included this article as a tribute to Mr. Springsteen, and in no way is intended as an infringement of copyrights.)

The Streets of Philadelphia


The Lyric Poetry to the Streets of Philadelphia...


"I was bruised and battered, I couldn't tell what I felt,

I was unrecognizable to myself.

Saw my reflection in a window and didn't know my own face.

Oh brother are you gonna leave me wasting' away

On the streets of Philadelphia.

I walked the avenue, 'til my legs felt like stone,

I heard voices of friends, vanished and gone.

At night I could hear the blood in my veins,

It was just as black and whispering as the rain

On the streets of Philadelphia.

Ain't no angel gonna greet me --

It's just you and I my friend.

And my clothes don't fit me no more,

I walked a thousand miles

Just to slip this skin.

Night has fallen, I'm lying' awake,

I can feel myself fading away,

So receive me brother with your faithless kiss

Or will we leave each other alone like this

On the streets of Philadelphia..."




© Written and Copyrighted by Genna Eastman, 2019. All rights reserved.

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    • profile image

      Genna East 

      11 months ago

      Hi Rajan...

      Thank you for the visit and comment. He won the Oscar for Philadelphia, along with four Grammy's. There's no one else quite like him. :-)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      11 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      I had not heard of Bruce Springsteen until reading this hub. So thank you for this information about the famous singer-songwriter-musician. The lyrics of the Song Street of Philadelphia are beautiful.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      18 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Peggy. How nice to have met Hamlisch! When I think of him, I think of Chorus Line and The Way We Were. Such a talented composer. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with Mr. Ferrari.

      By the way, that is not my poem, but the lyrics from The Streets of Philadelphia, which is the music in the video directly above Springsteen's poetic lyrics.

      Enjoy your week. :-)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      We met Marvin Hamlisch in person one time and heard him perform live twice. Currently we know an opera singer who sings internationally. His name is probably not widely known by others outside of the opera-loving community. His name is Angelo Ferrari.

      It was fun learning of your getting to meet Bruce Springsteen, and I enjoyed your poem.

    • profile image

      Genna East 

      21 months ago

      Hello Lawrence...

      Thanks so much for the visit and thoughtful comments. Queen is legendary, as is Bohemian Rhapsody. Didn't they just complete a film not too long ago with the same title and about Freddie Mercury? U2 is another splendid choice -- Joshua Tree is one of their best. And I love Bono. :-)

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      21 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Genna

      I've never had the honour of meeting people famous (as far as I know) but the two Musical careers I followed were Queen and U2.

      Both bands aren't just good at the Music, they're also incredible storytellers in their own right.

      Bohemian Rhapsody is the story of a boy who's committed a terrible crime and now must face the punishment. The terror of punishment is right there in the song, and no plea for clemency can sway the judge.

      Also, the structure of the song is incredible as it starts as a 'ballad' or single voice, goes through the opera stage and ends as a full-on Rock ballad. The song is on the record 'A Night at the Opera'

      When it was first recorded no radio station would play the song as at six minutes it was thought too long for radio, then a local pirate station got hold of a copy and it's not been off the airwaves since.

      U2 Have also had some great hits, but my favourite of theirs was "Joshua Tree' and the song 'Still haven't found what I'm looking for'.

      Great hub

      Lawrence

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      22 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Mark...

      Streets of Philadelphia is a favorite of mine, too; it won just about every award on the planet. And of course, Atlantic City. Chicken Man was the infamous Testa of Philly. The casinos and gambling industry that devoured huge swaths of the shoreline are legendary. I haven't been to AC or the Steel Pier, seen the arcades, the diving horse, etc., in many years. A lot of big names played there -- including the Jackson Five. How cool that you saw them! Thanks so much for the visit and comment.

    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 

      22 months ago from Palm Springs, California

      Great song by Springsteen and a great movie. I also loved his song, Atlantic City. I’m dating myself, but I saw Herman’s Hermits on the Steel Pier. I think I saw the Jackson Five there too but my memory is a bit cloudy on that one. Great post, Genna.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Shauna...I'm so sorry I'm late. My apologies.

      I am grateful for that very nice comment, and from a fellow "home girl" as well! You made my day. It must have been so exciting to meet Davy Jones...that was truly an experience to remember. :-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      23 months ago from Central Florida

      Genna, this is truly some beautiful writing.

      You're fortunate to have met Bruce Springsteen. He really is one of the great storytellers. He writes from the heart and shares his messages by way of the universal language: music.

      I was once a Jersey girl, too. I went to high school in Turnersville, near Blackwood, with easy access to Atlantic City and Ocean City. Before that I lived in Philly for a while; from 3rd thru 8th grade.

      I've written a couple of articles about musicians I admire, but have had no personal experience with them.

      I did, however, rub elbows with Davy Jones of The Monkees when I was going to Catholic school in Philly. There was a TV studio down the street from us that aired The Jerry Blavat Show. One of our neighbors was the MC and got a few of us in free to see the Monkees. I actually touched Davy Jones' arm! As a 5th grader, I was beside myself. I walked the entire way home crying and declaring I'd never wash that hand again.

      I'll never forget that day.

    • profile image

      Genna East 

      23 months ago

      Thank you, Jim. I enjoyed writing it. Nice to see you.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      23 months ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed reading your article about this gifted rock legend. Thank you for it.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Mike. Lol. And James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) was another home-boy from Westwood, New Jersey. So was Frank Sinatra, although I think he came from Hoboken. (Oh well, there's one in every crowd.) The Sopranos' Steven Van Zandt (Silvio) is also a member of Springsteen's E-Street Band. Thank you for the laughter...it made my day. Hugs.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna - I am a little off base here. At one time, New Jersey was looking for a new slogan. This may have been a decade ago. After long thought, I came up with, "Come on by, we're family" but the state did not select it. This is a 'The Sopranos' joke.

      Have a good day.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello Paula...

      Hey home girl! :-) NJ is such a misunderstood state. People automatically associate it with Newark, which always makes me cringe. It wasn't nicknamed the Garden State without reason. I left in my 20's; spent a couple of years in LA, then moved to New England (Massachusetts), where my mother's family have their roots.

      Although I love it here, I think of back-home often. Jersey is a diverse state, but I've heard more than once that, like our New York cousins, we "tell it like it is."

      It's not easy picking a favorite as there are so many to choose from. Rob Orbison is an excellent choice. And you said it perfectly: "His sound reminds me of wonderful times, close friends, getting into trouble, and lots of laughter, tears & growing pangs.and oh yes, sock-hops!"

      Thanks so much for the visit, and for that wonderful comment.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Suzie 

      23 months ago from Carson City

      Genna.....Let me say first of all, you're an amazing writer. This article read like a song, speaking of "music." my dear lady.

      Oh yes, "The Boss." Who didn't/doesn't love him? Did you luck out or what?! That has to be something you'll never ever forget!

      New Jersey? Let me mention I lived in N.J, once upon a time. Browns Mills, just outside of Fort Dix, (as you may know.) I feel a twinge...some of the most precious, beloved memories of my life. But that's for another time. I spent a lot of time visiting my sister when she lived in Long Branch. I really could have loved N.J. forever but that's not how it worked out.

      I'll never figure out why it's so difficult for me to choose a "favorite" anything....color, food, style....song? I just find it so hard when I like so many different kinds of everything! OK, little voice inside is whispering, "Roy Orbison"......and when I hear that name, I immediately want to hear him sing, "Crying." Yeah, there was something so unique about him and his voice, for sure.His sound reminds me of wonderful times, close friends, getting into trouble, and lots of laughter, tears & growing pangs.and oh yes, sock-hops!

      Gosh Genna, that was a literal lifetime ago...........

      I love this and thank you Genna. Peace, Paula

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello Nithya --

      It was brief -- but memorable. I so agree -- can't imagine a life without music and the arts. I appreciate your visit and comment. :-)

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Tim...

      I agree -- Springsteen has been a prolific song writer -- I think it's over three hundred.

      We Are the World (USA for Africa) had such an amazing collection of soul, rock, country and folk artist icons -- everyone from Harry Belafonte to Bob Dylan. I got chills watching it the first time. Magnificent. I think Bruce's solo with Stevie Wonder was terrific. Jackson and Richie outdid themselves with this song.

      Enjoyed your visit -- thank you!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      23 months ago from Dubai

      Life without music is almost unimaginable, I totally agree. It must have been an amazing experience to meet Bruce Springsteen, thank you for sharing.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      23 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Genna, "Everybody got a hungry heart," as Bruce would sing. That's one of my favorites by the Boss. He is such a great song writer, too. It's interesting: the legends cross genres and touch all people with their tunes. Two of the best performances on that song: We are the World, has to be the Boss and Ray Charles. The second reading of your work is just as fun as the first. Respectfully, Tim

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Ruby!

      All excellent choices, my friend. I've long thought that Ray Charles was the finest soul artists that ever lived. Love that song Bette sings. It always makes me a little misty-eyed after she performed it at Yankee Stadium shortly following 9-11. And "The Rose" is one of my favorites. That is a wonderful idea for Mike's Carriage Driver series, Ruby. All of them, together. :-) Well, maybe not all of them, but several would be cool. I'm happy you enjoyed sharing the music...I enjoyed writing it as it also brought a stroll down memory lane. Hugs. :-)

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Peggy. Actually, (if I read your comment correctly),that isn't my poem...it's the lyric poetry to Springsteen's The Streets of Philadelphia in the video above; it won him the Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy.

      Thanks so much for visiting, for your comment, and for contributing. I also LOVE Cat Stevens (who could not be moved by Wild World; Moon Shadow; Morning Has Broken?) Simon & Garfunkel, and Lightfoot. There are so many wonderful artists to choose from. Enjoy this beautiful Sunday. :-)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      23 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This was a special treat. I have so many who sing to my heart. Of course, Elvis has always rocked my soul, and sadly, I never met him. Ray Charles holds me close when he sings, George Jones makes me cry and I love him. ( Flourish you know a true soul singer.) Bette M, ( Lady M holds a special place in my heart when she sings Wind Beneath My Wings. I think of my sister Bea who was the wind beneath my wings. I also love Keith Urban and so many more, too many to mention. I can't imagine a world without music, especially Michael Jackson. I like to envision all the greats who have taken the last carriage drive and they are all singing, rocking and rolling and having a blast. Can you tell that I loved this? Hugs my friend.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      23 months ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Well, this one certainly puts the brain to work thinking about stuff. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story of meeting The Boss and what it meant to you. Also for your beautiful, heartfelt poem.

      During different eras of my life I had a variety of favorite singers. Hard to narrow it down to just one.

      As a small child, I met and admired Pat Boone who was the song leader at our church. We went to one of his daughter's birthday party back in the day. Something I'll never forget.

      During the 60s it was a combination of folk music from Peter, Paul and Mary which I tried to imitate as I learned to play the guitar. Later it was The Carpenters; Karen, whose angelic voice could inspire such emotion, even tears while listening; The Bee Gees, The Who, Queen, Anne Murray, Simon and Garfunkel.

      When I broke off on my own, my first female roommate introduced me to her favorite singer/songwriter, Cat Stevens. Later I would meet and spend a tumultuous few years with someone who performed Cat Stephens' songs at local night clubs with a voice that was nearly identical to the original. Among his tunes were some Harry Chapin, Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine and others. Those melodies will always hold a special place in my heart.

      Then, later, when I worked at a rockin' place filled with hair styling divas, the blaring music from overhead speakers filled the daily grind.

      Music certainly measures out the stages of our lives.

      Anyway, I've blathered on long enough. Thanks for the memories.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Linda...

      Thank you. I was just lucky in that I attended the concert with a friend of his friend who was also with us. And we absolutely need the arts -- we would be as automatons without the magic of creativity. The arts are part of what makes us human. :-)

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Ioannis...

      The River is also a favorite of mine; a brilliant compilation of everyman stories that has to be taken on its whole, if that makes any sense. Born to Run is another favorite, and The Rising. Thanks so much for the read and the comment. I look forward to reading your article about your favorite singer-musicians. Loved the quote from The River. Enjoy your Sunday. :-)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a lovely article. It's easy to see how much Bruce Springsteen's music means to you! I can tell how important the meeting with him was, too. As you say, we need the arts.

    • Sean Dragon profile image

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      23 months ago from Greece, Almyros

      Thank you, my dear Genna, for this beautiful article! I have grown up with the songs of the Boss, here in Greece, and he is one of my favorites! I think I have played the Nebraska and the River LPs a thousand times! The poetry of the everyday people and great rock music! If I have to choose some more, I would say Pink Floyd, Rory Gallagher and another Bruce, Bruce Dickinson. I have in mind to write an article about music, so you will see my thoughts too.

      "... Is a dream a lie if it don't come true

      Or is it something worse

      That sends me down to the river

      Though I know the river is dry

      That sends me down to the river tonight, yeah

      Down to the river

      My baby and I..."

      Love changes all!

      Sean

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Happy Saturday, Bill...

      You're right -- there are so many to choose from. Fogelberg (Leader Of The Band; The Innocent Age) has always been a favorite. I wasn't familiar with Jackson Brown aside from Running On Empty; Doctor My Eyes until a close friend of mine who was a writer introduced me to one of his albums. Wow! Thanks for the visit and contribution...enjoy your weekend. :-)

      Hi Tim...

      Ahhhh...not too many people know that Kool & The Gang and Jon Bon Jovi are Jersey icons. :-) And, OMG, how lucky you were to have attended a Ray Charles concert -- one of the greatest soul artists that ever lived. Thanks so much for the visit and thoughtful comment.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Pamela...

      One of the reasons I wanted to include the video of "The Streets of Philadelphia" (one of my favorites), is that when he looks into the camera, you can catch a hint of that glint of light. (Vivo will probably snatch it back as it is the official video.) I was just lucky in that for a few minutes, I was at the right place at the right time. He is one of the great musical poets of our day.

      Loretta Lynne, Charlie Pride and George Jones are all icons of country music, and wonderful artists. How lucky you were to see and hear them, live. :-)

      Thank you for the visit and comment.

    • Genna East profile imageAUTHOR

      Genna East 

      23 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello John...

      Paul Kelly reminds me a little of Springsteen. I like the stories he tells ("To Your Door" is one of my favorites). Part of my intro to Australian music was with Men at Work and "Down Under". I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the year Australia took the America's Cup from us back in '83 in Newport, Rhode Island. If we had to lose it, we were happy it went to Australia. "Down Under" was playing everywhere -- the Newport shore came alive that night; we had a wonderful time!

      Mornin', Mike...

      Good to see you, my friend. Ahhh...Bread and "Make it With You" is a classic and still beautiful after so many years. The girl you mentioned....your secret is safe with us. ;-) Happy weekend! Thank you for that lovely comment.

      Hi Flourish...

      Thanks so much for the visit. and the thoughtful comment. George Jones had such a soothing voice -- his country music is timeless and quite beautiful ("He Stopped Loving Her Today")and tells poignant stories.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Too many to choose from,Genna! Back in the 70's it was Dan Fogelberg and Jackson Browne...today Jason Mraz....I love the musical poets, ones who write poetry to music, those who can create memorable lines which stay with you a lifetime.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      23 months ago from U.S.A.

      Dear Genna,

      Your work sparked many memories for me. The Boss is definitely one of my favorite talents of all time. I love his songs and touching melodies. My tastes in music range from blue grass, country, jazz, blues, rock 'n roll, etc. My favorite two groups also come from New Jersey: Cool & the Gang (great skating music), and Bon Jovi (get up and do something with your life rock.) But I want to share one of my most memorable experiences: attending a Ray Charles concert in Greenville, N.C. Although he played for only an hour, the way he had the crowd dancing and shouting was like nothing I've ever experienced. A year later, attending another concert, I got to shake the hand of a person he inspired: Ronnie Millsap. Wonderful reflective and inspiring piece, Genna. The pen blesses your every word. Respectfully, Tim

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      23 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Geena, that was an amazing experience for you as Bruce Springsteen is a great artist with his lyrics and his voice. I never got to see him live as you did. I love reading those lyrics that were so relevant in that day.

      I love the arts also, everything you mentioned. I never had a personal experience with the star, but I went to some concerts when I was younger and my husband loved country music. I saw Loretta Lynn, and the show was so good. I also saw Charlie Pride and George Jones, and they were excellent. Las Vegas and am trying to remember exactly who we saw. I don't have any great lyrics for you, but I really loved this article. I have to think more about my other experiences.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      23 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Genna, this was a wonderful. Bruce Springsteen is a true rock/poet and icon. You say to share one of our favourite singer/songwriters, well I would like to share a couple. My favourite Australian artist would be Paul Kelly. He has a distinctively Australian sound and his songs always resonate with me. Apart from writing for himself, he has written songs for many other artists and performed duets with many, and is a great supporter of Aboriginal Australian artists.

      Another artist who inspired me growing up was Harry Chaplin, unfortunately taken too soon.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      23 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna - You write so well. Such a silky flow to your words. I was there walking down the boardwalk, free and easy.

      I have only ever had 'a song' once. That was around the same time as your remembrance. The group, Bread, the song 'Make it with you' - the girl, well that is another story.

      Wonderful to see a story.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      23 months ago from USA

      Wow, Genna, this was quite a memorable experience you had! Loved reading it! One of my favorite artists was George Jones because his voice perfectly captured the hurt, memories and love you can share with someone across time.

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