November 20, 2005

the dogs on main street howl

... cause they understand that there is finally a positive connection between bruce springsteen and dogs: sirius satellite radio has launched a channel called "e street radio", which is "America's only 24/7 radio station devoted to the music and archives of Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street BAnd." forget those silly dog channels, this is the real thing.

sirius's logo makes sense to anybody who knows a little about astronomy or who has read this post (note the dog's star-shaped eye).

for those of us who don't subscribe to satellite radio, well, we can do what we always have done, make sure that there's a copy of the "world's best driving album" in the car and then celebrate "the thrill of singing with the Boss", as captured beautifully by helene cooper in a recent "appreciation" on the new york times editorial page (nov. 18):

Born to Run

On a steaming August afternoon in Washington, D.C., a few years ago, two friends and I busted out of class - oops, work - early, and headed for Maryland's Eastern Shore for blue crabs and cold beer. We were baking as we sat in traffic on the black leather seats of my convertible. Finally, we got to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and paid the toll, and Neil slipped a disc into my CD player. The first familiar piano chords sounded: "The screen door slams./Mary's dress waves."

If you stick to 61 miles per hour, it takes exactly 4 minutes 49 seconds to drive over the Bay Bridge, the same time it takes Bruce Springsteen to get through "Thunder Road," the opening song on the world's best driving album, "Born To Run." Bruce re-released "Born to Run" this week, 30 years after it first came out. Over the years, I've driven thousands of miles to Bruce, but none so sweet as on that day we went over the Bay Bridge to "Thunder Road."

Halfway across the bridge, the temperature dropped 10 degrees, to 88, and that's when Bruce got his guitar and learned how to make it talk. It was the perfect pause in the middle of an anthem, a chance to look out at the sailboats dotting the bay, at all the other Washington escapees cruising in search of tomorrow. "My car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk/from your front porch to my front seat./The door's open but the ride it ain't free."

Shailagh and I had our arms up in the air - maybe celebrating just the thrill of singing with the Boss as we barreled across the last part of the bridge. Bruce said, "I'm pulling out of here to win," and we played imaginary pianos with him on that last trill that leads into Clarence Clemons's saxophone. We were on the Eastern Shore proper and in a completely different place, psychologically, than when we drove past that tollbooth.

I got the 30th-anniversary box set on Tuesday, the day it came out, and spent the next three hours watching the two included DVD's on a laptop at work (research, of course). But my favorite part - listening to my beloved "Born to Run" CD all over again - I couldn't do in the office. "Everybody on 'Born to Run' is out, or trying to get out," Bruce says on the DVD. "That's the underpinning." No kidding. So I slid my new CD into my portable player and headed out, walking through downtown Manhattan. But I was also in my car once more, cruising over the Bay Bridge.

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