Tradition and Originality in the Songs of Bruce Springsteen

Prudence Jones


Bruce Springsteen works within musical traditions in a way that acknowledges their influence and at the same time creates something new. This paper focuses on Springsteen’s relationship to the American folk tradition and the ways in which he creates a dialogue with that tradition in order to offer his own distinct perspective. By looking at Springsteen’s lyrics and their intertexts, we can appreciate how he engages the tradition and transforms it. Ultimately, his audience makes meaning from his songs by understanding them as part of a tradition, recognizing the earlier works that inform Springsteen’s lyrics, and considering both the effect the tradition has on Springsteen’s work and the effect Springsteen's work has on their understanding of that tradition.

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Published by McGill Library.

ISSN: 2368-4712, © McGill University Library