Asbury Park Magic: How Bruce Springsteen, and Music, can Transcend Generations

By: Gabriel Riccitelli

The shades were drawn and the bedroom was dark. With just the bedside light on, my brother and I begged my dad to sing us one last song before bedtime. As we lay there, tucked in and eyes closed, I remember my dad softly singing “…come take my hand we're riding out tonight to chase the promised land.”

Then Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen was just over 25 years old; however, it was our nightly lullaby. Bruce seemed to be the soundtrack of my parent’s life, who also grew up and raised their family in the Garden State.

Now, at 22 and recently starting my career in the music industry, I often wonder what it is about music that can transcend generations. Is it the lyrics or message? Is it a memorable melody? Or is it the larger than life artist? Although I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” answer, I am hoping my personal experience with music can represent parallels in yours.

From a young age, music was always present in my life. My father, an industry executive, would constantly play music throughout the house. There’d always be background music playing from various genres and decades. One of my fondest memories is one that still lives on today. That is listening to The Bruce Brunch on 105.7 every Sunday morning. Grinning from ear to ear and using his spatula as a microphone, my dad hovers over the stove cooking us breakfast and singing the lyrics to every single song.

Although I have music memories from just about every age, what is it about Springsteen that constantly floods my memory? What is it about Springsteen’s music that transcends generations?

Springsteen tends to present life as it is. He presents a life of hard work, grit, and even complication; however, he always leaves a bit of hope and optimism at the end. Not only does Springsteen’s music present life as it is, but he reminds us that we are all part of a story – our own story.

From the loud and fetching opening of Born To Run, to the spine-tingling interlude of Jungleland, or the brassy saxophone in Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out Springsteen presents a perfect culmination of lyrics and melody to tell a story.

Springsteen created a community of listeners ready to rock-out to his more than relatable music. He created a community of listeners that can insert themselves into his music and feel that a particular song is about them and is part of their story.

I have been lucky enough to see Bruce twice in my life, one of the times being fairly recent. I can wholeheartedly say that it was an experience like no other. I was transported to church and Bruce was the preacher. Each song contributed to a larger epic, preaching life as it is.

From the melody, to the lyrics, and to the artist many characteristics make music transcend generations. Although there is no formula to create such music, two characteristics that seem to be oftentimes present is that of life and story-telling.

As I sit here listening to The Boss, I encourage you all to think about the music in your life and does it transcend generations?