Glory Days!Posted: October 10, 2012
I spent a recent long weekend in one of my favorite places in the world besides Chicago: The Jersey shore, especially Asbury Park and West Long Branch. Of course, we had a few great meals at restaurants on the shore and heard bands at The Stone Pony (a bar that deserves to be an historic landmark). The main reason I was there was to attend the third Glory Days: A Bruce Springsteen Symposium at Monmouth University organized by the University of Southern Indiana with Monmouth and Penn State Altoona. (Previous symposia were held in 2005 and 2009.)
The symposium agenda was three full days of plenary sessions and dozens of breakout sessions on every conceivable aspect of Springsteen’s life and music. You can find news coverage here http://www.backstreets.com/news.html (scroll down to “Glory Days Were Here Again”) and in USA Today http://tiny.cc/tahmlw. The reporter, Mary Beth Marklein, attended the symposium.
In a session on Springsteen, Work & Class, June Sawyers and I made a presentation titled “The Frontman as CEO: Bruce Springsteen as a Business Leader.” We discussed how Bruce (no MBA, no college degree, no real business experience) has learned the skills and best practices that make a great leader and embodies many leadership attributes. If anyone is interested in a copy of our PowerPoint presentation, please contact me at nancybishop1335-at-gmaildotcom.
A frustration of this conference is always that there are far too many interesting sessions occurring simultaneously. My favorites among those I attended were a data and content analysis of tweets using the #springsteen hashtag and some of the sessions focusing on Springsteen and storytelling, Springsteen and community, Springsteen and the American roots tradition, and Springsteen and politics/activism. There were 100+ papers presented in all.
But among the highlights of the larger plenary sessions were Mike Appel, Springsteen’s former manager, recalling that 1970s experience; Peter James Carlin, reading from his new biography titled Bruce; and Peter Knobler, editor of Crawdaddy. relating working with Springsteen “Before He Was the Boss.” That was where we learned the identity of the real “Rosalita.” (Crawdaddy was the first US magazine of rock and roll criticism and over the years has become part of Paste — see pastemagazine.com.)
Besides music at the Stone Pony at night, we were treated to an informal “Songwriters by the Sea” afternoon session featuring some fine acoustic music by Joe D’Urso, Joe Rapollo, Joe Grushecky, Willie Nile and James Maddock, who performed their own music as well as some of Springsteen’s.
Altogether a fun and absorbing several days spent with 165 of my fellow Springsteen fanatics, scholars and artists.
A sidelight on rock and roll’s past: Here’s a little history of Crawdaddy by Paul Williams, one of its founders.