This may be the best non-fiction audiobook of all time. Fantastic narrator, interspirsed with snippets from Bruce, Clarence and others, tells a great story of Springsteen's rise from HS gyms to massive outdoor arenas. The author Peter Carlin clearly had significant contact with all the characters, and does his best to make you want to listen to every track on Nebraska, let alone all the tracks on all albums. One thing you need to do before you listen to this: save enough money to buy all Bruce albums you don't have because they will all beckon your ear when you listen to the book. Bravo!
Yes, the narrator put so much more emphasis and his character vocals helped give the story more life~
No, but I am aiming too soon!
It was a very emotional journey more spiritually and mentally. To hear what Bruce and the band went through for more than 30 years. WOW!
This was remarkable in several ways. It is truly expansive in the extraordinary scope of the topic given the length of Springsteen's career and how prolific he is. It provides a very intimate portrait of what being around one of the most instrumental figures in modern music is. The time frame is also interested running from his birth to practically yesterday and I enjoyed listening to the progression of his sound from before I was born to events I witnessed personally or saw on TV. Additionally, although it is clear the author is a fan and likes his subject it avoid excess of adulation and hyperbole seen in some bios and likewise avoids the antagonism toward the subject some biographers get after spending years with their target and learning their flaws. Bruce is shown flaws and all and it appears quite honest. Carlin's access was quite extensive and I love the personally narrated afterword as he explains how he slowly got Bruce to agree to interview and contribute to the book.
There is some material missing. Details about his current marriage to Patti Scialfa is quite limited, affording more of a sketch or an afterthought than the more fleshed out understanding that a marriage of 18 years to such an intense and introspective man deserves. That being said, keeping such details at a respectful minimum may be exactly what it takes to achieve Springsteen's level of fame while maintaining a healthy 18 year marriage.
The narration, for me, was a true highlight. I'll admit, at first I found Bobb Cannivale's NY/NJ Italian accent a bit off-putting and distracting, I got over that in about 5 minutes and he more than redeemed himself the first time he including a Bruce phrase in the dialogue. The voices when he used quotations added a depth to the book and really made you feel part of the band. The Bruce voice is pitch perfect and really adds a humorous element in several portions to the story. While I have no idea what some of the other character's speaking voices, such as Jon Landau, etc really sound like, I bet they probably came out pretty close. No matter what, this is one instance where the audible book would far outstrip the print edition.
To Sum Up: this is likely to be my favorite read this year (and I gobble through 30+ credits a year). I am a Springsteen fan, but beyond that bias, the careful, meticulous analysis of an extraordinarily long and prolific career laying down well beyond 400 polished and completed songs could not have been told in a more riveting narrative.
Peter Carlin gives us a rare and nuanced glimpse into the inner workings of one of the most prolific musical icons of our age. Bruce Springsteen is much more than his music. Sometimes he's a flaming asshole, imperious, willful and demanding. At other times, he demonstrates a tenderness, deep understanding and forgiveness of his fellow humans' flaws. Bobby Cannavale captures Bruce and members of the E Street Band with the inflection that only a native of New Jersey can. Though a bit rambling at times, all in all Bruce is a story well worth a listen.
At least 1/3 of this book should have been wiped out by a good editor. It would have been so much better. As it was, it required liberal use of fast forward.