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Musicians who have struggled with mental health issues: Bruce Springsteen

Written by on February 14, 2019

Bruce Springsteen’s catalogue of music, dating back to 1975 has made him one of America’s most successful musicians. His longevity testament to his popularity. His most famous album, 1984’s Born In The USA, along with it’s title track brought him attention from many people who didn’t read into his lyrics and misunderstood what Springsteen stood for.

The song was a bitter commentary on the treatment of veterans from the Vietnam war, some of whom were Springsteen’s friends. The lyrics in the verses were entirely unambiguous when listened to, but the anthemic music and the title of the song made it hard for many, from the then president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, to the common person, to get the lyrics – except those in the chorus, which could be read many ways. The song made a huge political impact, as he was advocating for the rights of the common working-class man.

Springsteen, as socially aware as he is, is an activist for LGBT rights and has spoken out many times as a strong supporter of gay marriage. In 2009, he posted the following statement on his website: “I’ve long believed in and have always spoken out for the rights of same sex couples and fully agree that “The marriage-equality issue should be recognised for what it truly is—a civil rights issue that must be approved to assure that every citizen is treated equally under the law. (1) In 2012, he lent his support to an ad campaign for gay marriage called  In April 2016, Springsteen cancelled a show in Greensboro, North Carolina days before it was to take place to protest the state’s newly passed bathroom law, which dictates which toilets transgender people are permitted to use and prevents LGBT citizens from suing over human rights violations in the workplace. Springsteen released an official statement on his website. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) celebrated Springsteen’s statement and he has received much praise and gratitude from the LGBT community.

All of this great work within communities and his working man of the people lyrical contact hid the fact that Springsteen suffered from depression.

Opening up for the first time about his battle with depression in his autobiography Born to Run, he said that he’d been “crushed” by depressive thoughts. “You don’t know the illness’s parameters,” the singer told Vanity Fair ahead of the book’s release. “One of the points I’m making in the book is that, whoever you’ve been and wherever you’ve been, it never leaves you. I always picture it as a car. All your selves are in it. And a new self can get in, but the old selves can’t ever get out. The important thing is, who’s got their hands on the wheel at any given moment?” (2)

(1) “Rocker Bruce Springsteen endorses N.J. gay marriage bill”The Star-LedgerArchived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2009.

(2) https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2016/09/bruce-springsteen-cover-story


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