Minimation: David Bowie Sees Bruce Springsteen Perform in ’73

By Brian Ives 

On Minimation, we comb through the archives of legendary New York radio station WNEW-FM and animate interviews with legendary rock artists. This installment is taken from a 1986 interview with David Bowie, where he recalled seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert for the first time in 1973. This Minimation was created for by Elliot Lobell.

It was something of a bonus. David Bowie, spending a night out at the New York club Max’s Kansas City, went to see a singer named Biff Rose. Also on the bill that night was a man named Bruce Springsteen.

Springsteen started his set out doing a few solo acoustic songs. Bowie’s first impression? “I thought he was a Bob Dylan copyist.” After that, he was joined by his band, which at that time, probably included Garry Tallent on bass, Clarence Clemons on saxophone, Danny Federici on keyboards, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez on drums and David Sancious on keyboards.

Related: Minimation: Bruce Springsteen on Meeting E Street’s Garry Tallent

“I think it was probably the best rock band I’d ever seen in my life,” Bowie said. “I thought, ‘He might go somewhere.'” He went and bought Springsteen’s debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Related: Happy 40th: Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey’

While he liked the album, Bowie noted that “Then it all sort of vanished for a few years. I thought, ‘It’s amazing how these guys sort of come and go!'”

But the Greetings album certainly made an impression on Bowie: he covered two of the songs from that album, “Growin’ Up” and “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City.”


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