POLL RESULTS: Your favorite 'Stage of Springsteen'
Happy Birthday, Bruce! To celebrate Bruce Springsteen’s impending 70th tomorrow, we asked Blogness on the Edge of Town readers to pick their favorite from our list of the “Seven Stages of Springsteen” -- the seven personas that, via his tonsorial and fashion choices or his general vibe, represent the Bruce we knew during particular key stages of his career.
We may have missed a few -- “Reunion/Rising Bruce” and “Broadway Bruce” were two listed under “other” by some readers in our poll -- but all in all, with 562 responses, fans had some strong opinions about their favorite stages. Here’s how it counted down, from bottom to top:
7. Soul Patch Springsteen (30 votes)
Era: The ’90s. Look: Fu manchu mustache, possibly a goatee, definitely a soul patch, occasionally a ponytail. A ponytail! What he seems to be saying: “Shut the f*** up.”
It probably stands to reason that this one would be the least popular, because let’s face it … It was not a good look for anybody. If you lived through the ’90s you know what I mean. And admonishing the audience during the GOTJ tour wasn’t a particularly good look either; by Devils and Dust Bruce had learned to ask people to shut up much more diplomatically.
6. Bolo Tie Bruce (43 votes)
Era: Late ’80s: Look: Natty black suit, dress shirt, and a bolo tie, natch. What he seems to be saying: “Contrary to popular belief, I don’t buy ALL my clothes in Jersey.”
In retrospect, Bruce was probably just trolling us with the bolo tie to get us to think he was following up Born in the USA with a country album. Personally I remember being very afraid. That said, he would have fit right in on an episode of “Maverick,” and it turned out the music of the Tunnel of Love era was just a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, and a little bit introspective and sad. Kind of like that tie.
5. Buff-in-the-USA Bruce (73 votes)
Era: 1984-1986. Look: Muscles, bandanna, sleeveless puffy shirt, more muscles. What he seems to be saying: “A rock star can’t live by cheeseburgers alone.”
It’s easy to chuckle at the bandanna, but he managed to pull it off, and besides that, the man was built. And his brawn was certainly appropriate to the music of that era, which had its own kind of muscle.
4. High Plains Springsteen (74 votes)
Era: Right now. Look: Stetson cowboy hat, two jackets, maybe three jackets -- the man is all cowboy hats and jackets. What he seems to be saying: “I’m glad my boots are on.”
More so than back in ’87, the now-more-weathered Springsteen fits his current Western attitude like a saddle on a stallion, in much the same way his aging troubadour persona fits the ramshackle cast of “Western Stars.”
3. Vested Interest Bruce (91 votes)
Era: 2009-2010s. Look: Vests. So many vests. What he seems to be saying: “I like vests now.”
What can I say? The man can rock a vest. And clearly he made a big sartorial impression during this era, seeing it came in third place -- and the music was pretty good too.
2. Scraggly Springsteen (92 votes)
Era: 1973-1975. Look: Long hair; “beard”; maybe a wool hat. What he seems to be saying: “I just woke up but I’m still going to rock this place.”
Probably not a surprise to see this one so high up -- after all, it’s the iconic look preserved on the cover of Born to Run, and was a good representation of his loosey-goosey street-urchin early years and the music that went with them.
And the favorite of the Seven Stages of Springsteen:
1. Shorter Hair, Longer Face Bruce (159 votes)
Era: Late ‘70s, early ‘80s. Look: V-neck undershirt, looks sad or confused, or possibly both; hasn’t seen a comb in months. Also the occasional blazer, for some reason. What he seems to be saying: “There’s a darkness on the edge of town, and I’m it.”
Everything “Darkness” seems to carry with it just a little bit more cache in Bruce World, and this particular Stage of Springsteen was no exception -- an easy first place, fans are clearly enamored of uncombed stubbly Bruce, who even with the occasional sport jacket (or paisley top) thrown in seemed vaguely feral, like someone about to transform into a werewolf. (A teenage werewolf, natch.) And there’s no doubt that the music was made to match.
Come back tomorrow, Sept. 23, for more Brucemas celebrations -- and use our handy guide to get ready if you haven't yet!