Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm the President, but he's The Boss

The following is from an online article by the Newark Star-Ledger reporter Jay Lustig entitled "President Obama calls Springsteen rock 'n' roll laureate". The incorporation of popular music and it's documentation and utility for subject areas like social studies, history, geography, remain largely untapped in our public schools. Nonetheless, capturing the essence of the American experience has been an elusive ideal among the best of each generation. Perhaps, no person has embodied that character more for a generation of boomers and post-boomers that the music of Bruce Springsteen. Sunday night- he received official recognition for that contribution and was hailed as a "laureate" (someone honored for great achievements; figuratively someone crowned with a laurel wreath) by President Obama. -Dr. Petrosino

President Barack Obama called Bruce Springsteen "the rock 'n' roll laureate of a generation" and, borrowing a line from the Boss' own "Born In the U.S.A.," a "cool rockin' daddy" on Sunday, when Springsteen and four other living legends -- Robert De Niro, Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck and Grace Bumbry -- received Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Jon Stewart and "Born on the Fourth of July" author Ron Kovic also spoke about Springsteen, and the following artists paid musical tribute:

John Mellencamp ("Born in the U.S.A.") Ben Harper ("My Father's House") Jennifer Nettles ("Glory Days") Ben Harper and Jennifer Nettles ("I'm On Fire") Melissa Etheridge ("Born to Run") Eddie Vedder ("My City of Ruins") Sting ("The Rising")

Here is what President Obama said about Springsteen:

Finally, we honor the quiet kid from Jersey ... who grew up to become the rock 'n' roll laureate of a generation. For in the life of our country only a handful of people have tapped the full power of music to tell the real American story -- with honesty; from the heart; and one of those people is Bruce Springsteen.

He has said: "I've always believed that people listen to your music not to find out about you, but to find out about themselves." And for more than three decades, in his songs -- of dreams and despair, of struggle and hope -- hardworking folks have seen themselves.

They've seen their great state of New Jersey. And they've seen their America -- in songs that become anthems. Restless kids who were "Born to Run." The struggles of workers in "My Hometown." The sacrifices of vets who were "Born in the U.S.A." Love and loss in "Streets of Philadelphia." A resilient nation in "The Rising." And, this year, a country "Working on a Dream."

It's no wonder that his tours are not so much concerts, but communions. There's a place for everybody -- the sense that no matter who you are or what you do, everyone deserves their shot at the American Dream; everybody deserves a little bit of dignity; everybody deserves to be heard.

I've seen it myself. Bruce was a great fan -- a great friend over the last year, and when I watched him on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he rocked the National Mall before my inauguration, I thought it captured as well as anything the spirit of what America should be about. On a day like that, and today, I remember: I'm the President, but he's The Boss.

And Bruce continues to inspire, along with his "house-rocking, earth-shaking" E Street Band. At 60 years old, he's still filling stadiums, still whipping fans into a frenzy, still surfing the crowd, still jumping off pianos, and still reaching new fans, and still being nominated for Grammys. It's been a long road from that stage at Stone Pony in Asbury Park to this stage today, but this much we know -- after more than 30 years and 120 million albums sold, Bruce Springsteen is still one "cool rockin' daddy."

Picture: Alex Brandon/AP

President Barack Obama greets Bruce Springsteen in the East Room of the White House, Dec. 6

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