For much of my youth I was forbidden to listen to rock music by my stepmom. I was finally allowed to listen to the radio when I was 10 or 11, and that’s when I heard Bruce Springsteen. I immediately connected to his songs because he was singing about getting out, getting away, which is exactly what I wanted to do. I lived in a lot of different places when I was a kid, I went to 22 different schools growing up. I was always really small for my age, but I had a BIG mouth. That combination got me beaten up quite a bit in school. On top of that, when I was at home I was abused by various stepparents. So when I heard “Born to Run” that day on the radio it really spoke to me. As I discovered more of his music I recognized that he wasn’t just singing about getting away, but also about possibility, the possibility that you can be better than your origins.
To me the song “Badlands” is the perfect example of what he does. It’s all about the struggle of working hard but not necessarily getting anything out of it. I mean we all want to do work that rewards us. Then the song explodes into this anthemic chorus that says, hey, I’m gonna do something really special with my life. That has always stuck with me ever since I heard it as a kid. Bruce Springsteen opened my eyes to a whole other kind of music that I didn’t know existed, and for the first time, I found poetry in rock music.
Bill Foster is an award winning photographer best known for concert and music festival imagery.
Connect with Bill – Facebook @knoxbillphoto