Bruce Springsteen is still relevant all these years later
With Bruce Springsteen’s new album, Letter to You, getting generally positive reviews (“passionate, brilliant, and unashamedly old-fashioned” says The Telegraph), it’s remarkable that he’s still relevant 45 years (!) since he appeared on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazines during the same week at the end of October in 1975. (Kids, ask your parents. Magazines used to be a thing, a pretty big thing!)
Time heralded “Rock’s New Sensation,” while Newsweek trumpeted the “Making of a Rock Star.” Those headlines indicate the different points of view each publication took; Time’s was a flattering profile that said, “everybody is going to know where he's coming from and just where he's heading.” The article in Newsweek was more cynical, however, highlighting the marketing prowess of Columbia Records in promoting Bruce, quoting a Cleveland disc jockey who said, “Columbia is going overboard on Springsteen.” they also quote the president of a rival record company, “he's not the new messiah and I question whether he will establish an international mania.” That quote hasn’t aged well, has it?
The fact that Bruce appeared on the cover of the country’s two biggest weekly magazines simultaneously wasn’t a coincidence, however. according to Ultimate Classic Rock, when Time found out that Newsweek was preparing a story on Bruce, they rushed to get theirs done so as not to get scooped by their main rival.
After two less-than-successful albums, Bruce had released his breakthrough, Born to Run which was still climbing the charts when the articles were published, going on to sell in excess of 6 million copies. Since then, Bruce has sold an estimated 150 million records, won an Academy Award, a Tony, and 20 Grammys. So, I guess Columbia Records didn’t go overboard, after all.