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Born to Run

Narrated by: Bruce Springsteen
Length: 18 hrs and 12 mins
5 out of 5 stars (441 ratings)

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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, December 2016 - Having grown up in New Jersey, it's not too much of a stretch to say that Bruce Springsteen was something of a spiritual force. His voice is synonymous with a powerful sense of place, and it bears a rugged, scrappy idealism that can make you feel patriotic and subversive at the same time. That's what makes this autobiography, written and performed by The Boss himself, nothing less than magical. It's not simply a story of his path to success or a philosophy of greatness but a marathon concert tell-all wherein he confronts demons of mental illness, poverty, and familial strife. It is nostalgic for a simpler time but urgent in its display of discipline and individuality. Ultimately, Bruce delivers with this audiobook what he has done for nearly five decades with his music: a celebration of the commonplace and the struggles of American life with candor, imagination, and purpose. —Michael, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

 Winner of the 2018 Audie Award for Autobiography/Memoir

"Writing about yourself is a funny business.... But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise: to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I've tried to do this." (Bruce Springsteen, from the audio of Born to Run

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl's halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That's how this extraordinary autobiography began. 

Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to this audio the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs. He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as "The Big Bang": seeing Elvis Presley's debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar-band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work and shows us why the song "Born to Run" reveals more than we previously realized. 

Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star's memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll. Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs ("Thunder Road", "Badlands", "Darkness on the Edge of Town", "The River", "Born in the U.S.A.", "The Rising", and "The Ghost of Tom Joad", to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen's autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences. 

Author bio: Bruce Springsteen has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of 20 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors. He lives in New Jersey with his family. 

©2016 Bruce Springsteen (P)2016 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

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  • Lori
  • Australia
  • 20-03-2017

Not just for fans

I listened to this as a lover of rock music, not really a fan purely because the music is before my time. However I do appreciate good music and a good artist. Anyway, this book is well written, and very well narrated. He tells you his whole life story from start to present, and an interesting story it is. I highly recommend this book to anyone - Fan or not, it is a great story.

PS - because of this book I have bought 3 albums :)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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loved it

I loved this. and having Bruce springsteen himself read you his words made it so much more than just a great read. he is very open and honest. not holding back his most vulnerable moments. 17 hours long. wasn't long enough. thank you bruce.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • Smiths Gully, Australia
  • 28-12-2016

Swept Away

I cannot imagine anyone else narrating this story of Bruce.
His distinctive gravel tone lending an authenticity to a classic rags to riches and everything in between story that feels more like, at times, you are sitting with him crossing vast open landscapes in a battered Cadillac on a back country road..
I've a ticket to see him play in Australia in a few weeks, at hanging rock.
Having listened to this wonderful biography these past days the experience will resonate even more deeply. Thanks Bruce. You've taken me somewhere I've never been and I'm a little bit changed for it.
Honesty, authenticity and sharing our humanity, the good, the bad and the ugly, does that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great listen

I would recommend this audio book to any Springsteen fan. So great to hear the story spoken by Bruce Springsteen himself

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Compelling

A born storyteller in song, spoken & written word. His voice is sublime. Loved it!

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Awesome book!

Loved it, was not necessarily even a fan but now i definitely am. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of hard work Springsteen has put in. You deserves all the success you have.

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The Boss Warts And All

Hearing Bruce narrate his life is almost poetic- like he's reading you the lyrics to songs he hasn't quite got the tunes for. From his childhood memories, to his early days as an angry young man, to the current day where he is seen as an icon of American culture, Bruce tells us the good, the bad and the ugly.
There's not a lot of detailed musical thought here- deep song analysis- but so much of the context around the writing of his biggest (and not-so biggest) numbers.
He talks candidly about the E-Street band and his beloved wife, Patti. He also freely talks about his own failings as a person with much candor and honesty.
This is a stunning document of an amazing life.

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Awesome read

Not only was this book such a great insight to Bruce’s life but having him read it made it so much better. I could relate to so much of his life experiences. I have even more love for the boss after reading this. A must read

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the book is enriching

felt privileged to learn intimate details about how human psyches can be shaped, how songs are birthed, and how spirit is nurtured.

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Amazing book

The first hour or so about his childhood drags somewhat. I felt it better at 1.25x but once he grabs his guitar at 16 there is more passion and feelings in his voice and it is a pleasure.

I hope you enjoy the book as much as me.

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  • Tim
  • 21-12-2016

The Boss demonstrates his strong work ethic and dedication to excellence as he tells his story.

I appreciated hearing Bruce tell his story on Audible. He shared deep personal details about his life and the creative process he used to entertain his fans throughout his career. I am a bigger fan now having heard him tell his story. I will listen to his music with fresh insights about the story being told and about Bruce and his band. Reading this book made me want to be a better father. I appreciated Bruce telling us about the positive impact mental healthcare and medicines had in the journey of his family. As a medicinal chemist that pours his heart into his craft to design best in class molecule with a purpose this made me smile. Bruce is the kind of friend I would enjoy sitting around with talking and having a beer. I hope he comes back to Indiana soon. We have a beautiful venue in Carmel called the Palladium and I know there are many that would enjoy an intimate evening with this Mega Rock Star!

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Peg
  • 29-12-2016

Copper Beech Trees

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book to anyone. My own family has suffered through generations of serious mental illness and the self medicating addictions that often result. The course of Bruce's life exposed the contrasts of both his God given talent and his genetically inherited affliction. Fortunately for him, he was able to pour his experiences into his work and create something that was timely for many reasons. He was wise to develop relationships that were constructive to his limitations. His choices for bandmates and Patti helped to create the trust and brought him the self confidence to push him through his rough spots. Revealing such a challenging mental illness is a difficult thing. Choosing to seek professional help, and being vulnerable enough to share that with his fans, I hope will teach others to do the same. Love on top of all of this can keep the beech tree soul alive.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Born to Run?

His descriptions of growing up in an Irish/Catholic family surrounded by the church and its influences. The fact that he had a good mother in his life was especially fortunate for him. Too many have 2 parents that are unavailable and they slip away unguided and unable to survive on their own.

Have you listened to any of Bruce Springsteen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not yet. I certainly plan on doing so. I am also very glad that he did this audiobook himself. It takes on a different life when done by the author that a narrator could never grasp. I appreciate that effort very much.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Of course, when his father came to see him before the birth of his first child. That was an incredible gift he gave to Bruce. So incredible that he could find it within himself to give that to Bruce. So many are not capable to give that to themselves much less to those they love.
The second moment that I laughed until I snorted was the fishing trip he went on with his father. His description of his fathers outfit was so hilarious I could picture my own dad in the same thing. Thank you for that.

Any additional comments?

I know it took Bruce 7 years to write this book. Every single day was worth it. It is not easy to expose yourself down to bedrock as he did. Brian Wilson said that music saved him and it is clear that music and the love of people close to him is saving Bruce. Every day is a gift. I hope he enjoys each one.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Ellen O'Brien
  • 12-12-2016

Me Springsteen's book moved me beyond words...

I hung on every single word of this well told story, and finished up with tears streaming down my cheeks.
I foolishly never delved into Bruce's songs, (never mind took the time to decipher the complex lyrics), even as he was of my time. Sure I boogied to Born to Run & Tunnel of Love, but I feel like I missed the whole party. Until now, that is.
I'm so thankful that a man like this one exists in the world. Someone willing to go deep, do the hard work required in the development of an authentic self, and in this case, share his experience, and the resulting treasure, with the world. A determined soul, driven to make sense of his imperfect past, then face with courage the painful work of sorting it out for the betterment of his tribe. I want to send this book to every young male I know, in the hopes that it might inform their concept of what it is to be masculine - to be a man.
And FYI Mr Springsteen, your 'long and noisy prayer', has, indeed, rocked my very soul.
Forever grateful for your beautifully told story. You are a national treasure!

47 of 52 people found this review helpful

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  • Ralph's mother
  • 29-12-2016

Excellent writing and reading

Even if you are not a huge Springsteen fan, this book is so rich and filled with musical history as well as his own development as a professional that it should be read. The writing is as powerful as his music and the challenges he overcame to reach his level of professionalism is impressive. Read this book. Learn about music history and Springsteen's odyssey as a musician.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela J
  • 28-12-2016

Such a relief that this was so good!

I have to begin by saying I'm a long time Springsteen fan - - I mean since Born to Run first came out - - and I was worried that the person I've listened to for so long would turn out to be a prima dona rock star. What a relief to find that this Jersey boy is still the blue collar poet, over-thinking, heart on his sleeve, gravel voiced, smart man that he is in the very best of his music. I was much more interested in what inspired his music and I wasn't disappointed. This is a great story of a regular guy who worked harder than most to achieve stardom. Good for the Jersey boy.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Bruce McClenahan
  • 22-12-2016

Soul baring

A soul baring autobiography; probing ambition, music, the demons in your head and love conquering all. A beautiful poetic read that is hard to put down.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mats
  • 21-12-2016

Absolutely amazing

What a guy, what a story he has to tell – and how he tells it! With humble admiration for earlier and contemporary legends, Bruce gives you his life story with surprising self-disclosure. Being a long time fan of his music I was certain to listen to his book. Especially since it narrated by himself. Having heard it I can absolutely recommend it to anyone irrespective of musical preferences. This is a story of total devotion, hard work and sacrifices in order to fulfill a dream taking shape in a young boy. I lift my hat and salute him, previous and current members of the E Street Band, there music, The Boss himself and this amazing audio book. No back to the beginning for one more go: One-two-three-four!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Rooney
  • 10-12-2016

A Reflective Celebration..

One of the most satisfying audiobooks I've listened to. You will feel like you're having this intimate, long, endearing, happy, sad and inspired campfire story with Bruce; he pulls no punches along the journey and delivers with heart pounding passion..

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Jill
  • 11-12-2016

Bruuuuuce!

So beautifully written! I've been serenaded through the stories he has chosen to share. I've always felt that Springsteen has worn his heart on his sleeve, and I've known him through his music. Now I've been updated. Heart still on his sleeve, he continues to touch my soul.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • 80s Kid
  • 11-12-2016

Soulful, honest

A soulful, honest account of a flawed human being with an incredible gift and an even bigger heart. Well worth the 18 hours. Do yourself a favor and listen to the albums as you make your way through this journey with the one and only, our national treasure, the Boss, the working man's poet, Bruce Springsteen.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Philip
  • 10-06-2017

A real 'Brucie Bonus'

Don't usually rate rock star biogs, mostly ghosted and self-serving. And I fall into the 'like some of his stuff but not a fanatical fan' category. Heard his interview with Simon Mayo and thought I'd give it a try.This is a marvellous book. He's an honest and powerful writer and narrator, beautiful prose, often poetic and lyrical. I now want to listen to all of his music, beyond the 'Greatest Hits'. Highly recommended, even if you've never ventured beyond 'Born to Run' (the song!).

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 07-02-2017

Wonderful book by superb performer

Narrated by Bruce Springsteen and covering his childhood to 2015, this story is totally engaging.

The book is full of interesting insights and anecdotes - about the music industry and the difficulties of breaking in and getting a fair deal; the challenges of selecting the right people and keeping a band together; the absolute commitment, self-confidence and persistence required to achieve anything substantial. He talks about early pop-rock inspirations - amongst them Elvis, The Beatles, and Dylan.

Springsteen relates lots of personal details concerning his parents and family their working class origins, and the tensions with his father. He describes his initial fear of serious relationships and more so of settling down, until he found the right partner with whom to start a family. He details his struggle to control his tendency to depression, and the value of therapy and medication where indicated. He talks about melding a band into a single unit while also requiring leadership (his) - and of the clashes with some of the performers, managers, and industry representatives with whom he worked.

He shares insights into why the E Street Band has been such a success and details the world-class talents in the Band and the key players with whom he still performs - Steven van Zandt (guitar), Nils Lofgren (guitar), Max Weinberg (Drums), Clarence Clemons (deceased) and more latterly Jake Clemons (sax) and more. It's fascinating to learn about the origin of key albums songs, and even on the choice of album cover images.His songs of working class people and the struggles they face, the post-9/11 period and his efforts to recognise and promote diversity, all receive attention.

Downsides aren't many - it is a little on the long side (19 hrs on audio) and there is some repetition (perhaps by design)... but overall my recommendation is overwhelmingly positive.

I hope he adds a post-script to bring the book up to date in the Trump and post-truth era and the popular protests and opposition that have emerged. The role of singer songwriters, a key theme in this story, is once again driven home.

This book is full of humanity, humour and wisdom and provided the ideal backdrop to re-listening to his music... Having since seen The Boss (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) perform live in Sydney - all I can say is ... Wow!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jackie
  • 14-12-2016

Unexpectedly engaging...honest and enlightening

Where does Born to Run rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

among the best of musician memoirs

Any additional comments?

...a long ago aspiring songwriter, i wondered why i never 'connected'...but in revealing the many sides of his personality....from the dysfunction and insecurities to his honest belief that he knew he was special and the stoic confidence that came with it, he opened my eyes to the true dynamics of the really few great success stories of the amazing music makers of the 1950's, 60's. 70's and 80's and understanding that unmatched era in time was built by people who found they were gifted with the ability to take the feelings they gained from an early age and fight as hard as necessary to output what they held so strongly inside.

Bruce was able to explain that undeniable connection to focused music self-confidence and never stop pushing forward until the hard work paid off, slowly but surely. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story being told by Bruce and found myself a little surprised by the eagerness i felt to continue listening...since my interests were always musicians who came before him. It will inspire me to also go back and listen to more of his music.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • michael Stickle
  • 23-08-2018

Absolutely incredible to hear Bruce tell his story

Even if you have read it,you MUST listen to Bruce telling it. An incredible journey.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • JudiH
  • 17-12-2016

Fantastic heartfelt and eloquently told

Not a natural fan of Bruce Springsteen I was recommended this by Amazon so I listened to the free extract - from that moment I was hooked. I purchased the audio book and continued to listen to this fascinating story of Springsteen's life, family, loves, mishaps and incredible journey through the rock n roll years up to the present day. I loved it.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • @blackowlie
  • 23-08-2018

I listened to this alongside all the albums.

Springsteen blazes bright through over 50 years of his own creation. When you listen to Bruce you understand that the songs are only a small part of the story and his genius. I loved this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Mitchell
  • 14-06-2018

A wonderful listen! As passionately crafted as his songs.

You don’t need to be an ardent fan to be amused and entertained by this warm, honest and heartfelt account of what it takes to reach and maintain superstardom.
An all round brilliant listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • 12-06-2018

5*

5* Very in depth, brutally honest and insightful. He isn't just a rock star. The music was always the goal, fame and fortune was just a lucky outcome.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen Richards
  • 25-04-2018

A story of infallible honestly

Since my teens l have always been a fan of Bruce Springsteen, bought everything ever recorded, traveled to shows all over Europe and beyond. I always knew he had a troubled soul but this book took me by surprise with its honesty , humour love of his family and band and his fragility as a performer which he always wears some brilliant disguise.
This book is a rock rollercoaster, with tales of the heart , not of excess.
Well written and superbly narrated.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JCT
  • 16-01-2018

fantastic insight into Bruce Springsteen's life

A great book that provides the material to relate Bruce Springsteen's music to his life especially during the early stages of his career. The book is well read by the Boss himself in which he tells his story, his successes and failures. it is a heartfelt and honest account of his feelings and his relationships with his family, friends and himself. Great work and thank you for opening your heart and mind to your fans.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful