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How Ronald Reagan Ignited Bruce Springsteen's Politics

In the new book, "Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll" Marc Dolan details Springsteen's political awakening.

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None of it, though, made any difference, at least not in terms of the presidential race. On Sunday, November 4, two days before the election, Bruce and the band finished up a seven-night stand in Los Angeles, pulling out a rarely performed “Shut Out the Light” as a dedication for audience member Ron Kovic. Four days later, they were right back where they had been almost exactly four years earlier: onstage at Arizona State University in Tempe, looking ahead to four years of Ronald Reagan in the White House, this time elected by a wider margin than any nominee since Franklin Delano Roosevelt nearly half a century before. This time, Bruce didn’t say anything from the stage about the election.

Reprinted from Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Marc Dolan. Copyright © 2012 by Marc Dolan. With the permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Marc Dolan is an associate professor of English and Film Studies at John Jay Colllege, CUNY, and the author of "Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll"


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