I remember my sister gave me her vinyl copy of Born in the USA back in the early part of my sophomore year in high school. She had liked the record at first, but then got tired of it in pretty short order. Well, I played the hell out of that record–so much so that I ended up buying a cassette, and wearing that out, too. There was this one song, in particular that struck a chord in me–No Surrender. It was all about being young, and about what music can do in a person’s life.
And it was about dreams–I had plenty of those. It was awesome. I remember walking around school after my dad died with that song playing, just looking around at people while I listened, and it gave me a little hope. It painted a picture I could relate to–especially after what a blessing my friends had been to me after my dad’s heart attack. It was a poignant depiction of how friendship can save a life, and in my case plant a seed that would one day germinate into faith.
It was not Springsteen himself that did it, and not really even the song, though it was and is great. My friends saved my life that year, and I learned about love from then in a way I never did from my own brother. Not that we sat around hugging each other and talking about our feelings. That would’ve made us chicks, or at the least giant pussies.
It was about comfortable silences, and basketball, and centerfolds, and blowing the hell out of alien spaceships. I think now that the friendship between young men is probably the truest and most primal form of love there is.
For Christmas the next year, my sister gave me a live boxed set of songs from 1975-1985, and the following video is the filmed version of that song. If you’d to take a look into my head (and heart) during a pretty tough period, this is a good place to start…