Bruce Springsteen has been the face of the music industry for decades now. But it was not easily achieved as it took him years of performance to get to the level he is at now. And when got what he deserved, he didn’t shy away from his inspirations. Keeping aside his hard work, and determination, he once revealed he owns everything to Elvis Presley.
Growing up, Presley was everything to Bruch Springsteen. Elvis was his first musical hero and then, later on, he became a superstar of his own. He revealed, Elvis’ 1956 song ‘Hound Dog’ was the one that made him who he is today. He said the following statement when he appeared on BBC Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs.
“When I heard it, it just shot straight through to my brain. I realized, suddenly, that there was more to life than what I’d been living. I was then in pursuit of something, and there’d been a vision laid out before me. You were dealing with the pure thrust, the pure energy of the music itself. I was so very young, but it still hit me like a thunderbolt.”
The same fire was within Bruce even in his adult life. That’s when he and his bandmate Steve Van Zandt were finally able to see Elvis’s performance at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. But he realized how it was a disappointment. He recalled, “It was not a good night.”
Bruce also disclosed, to battle his disappointment, he went home and wrote a song titled ‘Fire’ but Presley passed away before the song could reach him. He, later on, passed away that song to Robert Gordon. Still, he kept his appreciation alive and when he was a mainstream success, he didn’t shy away from revealing his influence.
Diving deep into the time when he almost met Elvis…
“I remember we got out of the cab, and we stood there in front of those gates with the big guitar players on ’em. And when we looked up the driveway, in the second story of the house, you could see a light on, and I figured that Elvis has gotta be up readin’ or somethin’. And I told Steve, I said, ‘Steve, man, I gotta go check it out.’ And I jumped up over the wall, and I started runnin’ up the driveway, which, when I look back on it now, was kind of a stupid thing to do because I hate it when people do it at my house.”
“Anyway, at the time, I was filled with the enthusiasm of youth and ran up the driveway. I got to the front door, and I was just about to knock, and guards came out of the woods and asked me what I wanted. I said, ‘Is Elvis home?’ Then they said, ‘No, no, Elvis isn’t home. He’s in Lake Tahoe.'”
“So, I started to tell ’em that I was a guitar player and that I had my own band, and that we played in town that night, and that I made some records. And I even told ’em I had my picture on the cover of Time and Newsweek.”
“I had to pull out all the stops to try to make an impression, you know. I don’t think he believed me, though, ’cause he just kinda stood there noddin’, and then he took me by the arm and put me back out on the street with Steve.”
Despite all this, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley never crossed paths in person. Presley passed away in 1977, and Springsteen was obviously devasted. Springsteen said, “I remember later, when a friend of mine called to tell me that he’d died, it was so hard to understand how somebody whose music came in and took away so many people’s loneliness and gave so many people a reason and a sense of the possibilities of living could have, in the end, died so tragically.” It was on a live show.
To this day, Bruce loves The King and shows his gratitude. Listening to ‘Hound Dog’ was a major point in his life and we can only imagine what would have happened if he hadn’t listened to that song.