I just finished watching Bruce Springsteen perform at the Super Bowl halftime show  (and I’m not a big Springsteen fan, but that was a pretty great halftime show).  Anyway, it got me thinking: Bruce Springsteen has sold millions and millions of records, and he has a ton of cred as an Important Artist and all, but I can’t think of any major bands that follow in his footsteps.  It seems very weird for someone so big both commercially and artistically to not have a slew of imitators.

Am I wrong?  Is it more common than I think for an artist of his stature to stand so alone?  Or am I missing a big group of Young Springsteens?


9 Responses to “Springsteen”

  1. Quark says:

    According to Wally Pleasant, “Bruce Springsteen was the next Bob Dylan”.

  2. Darius K. says:

    Nirvana is oft-cited as a more modern version of that phenomenon. All the bands that supposedly followed in the wake of Nirvana’s alt-revolution were really Pearl Jam or Soundgarden imitators.

    I mean, seriously, can you name a popular or once-popular band that is a clear imitator of Nirvana’s? I’ve been trying for years. Failed so far.

  3. Matthew Amster-Burton says:

    dfan, this does not a movement make, but the Killers album _Sam’s Town_ was widely considered to be a total Springsteen homage. I also find the second Arcade Fire album to have a lot of The Boss in it. Like I said, these are a couple of scattered examples, and the other albums by the same artists aren’t very Springsteeny. But they came to mind right away, so there are probably more.

    Darius K, you wouldn’t call Bush a Nirvana imitator?

  4. Adam Cadre says:

    This is kind of obvious, but Live Through This pretty clearly owes more than a little something to Nirvana.

    If you asked me to name the band most similar to Nirvana I’d have to pick Local H. They even did a Halloween show as Nirvana and made a very convincing cover band.

    I think the songs that most commonly got tarred with the “Nirvana rip-off” brush in the mid-90s were “Little Things” like Bush and “Santa Monica” by Everclear, though I think the link in the latter case is pretty tenuous. I also recall someone grousing that “Gotta Get Away” by the Offspring borrowed too much from “About a Girl.”

    “Unglued” by Stone Temple Pilots sounds like a Nirvana homage.

    There’s a musician in Australia named Lisa Maxwell whose song “Bad Day” has a chorus that could hardly be closer to “Heart-Shaped Box” without requiring a donation to Frances Bean’s college fund: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fGjeulYftA

  5. dfan says:

    Matthew, I’ll check those out. I’ve heard “When You Were Young”, of course, and I can see the comparison.

    When Liza and I were discussing the topic during halftime, she said that she bet that the best place to find Springsteen’s contemporary descendants is in country-rock. I hadn’t considered that, and I don’t know much about the genre, but it seems reasonable, especially so since Springsteen himself took a lot from country.

    allmusic.com’s page on him lists a bunch of “similar artists”, but they’re all old too: Tom Petty, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, etc. That sort of Americana-roots-rock seems to be in decline, at least on the rock side of things.

    When I was running through Springsteen songs in my head I have to admit that one of them was “Walk of Life”, which of course is by Dire Straits. But that was a long time ago.

  6. Darius K. says:

    I really wouldn’t call Bush a musical rip-off (or even descendant) of Nirvana, though of all the post-Nirvana alt bands, Bush’s lead singer definitely *sounds* the most like Cobain.

  7. lurd says:

    From the country-rock area check out Scott Miller.

  8. Misty Granade says:

    I’ve never been a Springsteen fan. The Americana-roots-rock artists you list above, I’ve never gotten into them either. I think it must be because I grew up listening to county, so got plenty of that flavor of music before I was 12.

  9. Derek Slater says:

    Nirvana = Meat Puppets + Pixies. Everybody’s got influencers and influencees. 🙂

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