Monday, June 13, 2011

"When the change was made uptown/And the big man joined the band/From the coastline to the city/All the little pretties raise their hands."

The Song: "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Words & music by Bruce Springsteen. Track 2 of Born to Run, 1975.
When/how acquired: Gift LP, c. 1980.
Listen/watch here.

Turned on the news this morning and could not understand what everyone was talking about, because the only news that matters this morning is that Clarence Clemons had a stroke. The Big Man is 69, amazingly enough -- the same age as my father -- and this song is 36 years old, but come on: we're not ready to say goodbye.

It's impossible to explain or overstate this album's place in my life. I have a signed copy of the album cover on my bedroom wall, a long-ago gift from my high school boyfriend, who won it from a radio station. The music is hardwired into my DNA. Virginia Beach wasn't the Jersey Shore, but it was close enough, and these songs gave my friends and me stories we could tell about ourselves, or at least aspire to.

By coincidence, this morning's Wall Street Journal reports on a scientific study that seems to prove what most of us already knew: the music we love as teenagers strikes something deep in our brains, and stays there. I was 12 or 13 when I first heard this song -- at a dance recital, of all places -- and I'll be able to sing along to it when I'm 90, I hope.

Here's hoping that Clarence will play it when he's 90, too.

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