Your last chance for 'For You': The second edition of the Springsteen fan celebration is going fast
I’m not sure why I was so excited to hear that publisher Lawrence Kirsch was issuing a new edition of the long-out-of-print collection of Springsteen fan stories, “For You.” After all, I was was one of the lucky ones who grabbed a copy of the first edition back in 2007, and it’s held a special spot on my Springsteen shelf ever since.
(What, like you don’t have a Springsteen shelf?)
But even though I can take down my copy for a quick perusal any time, I think why I was so pleased to hear about the new edition (like the first, in all its full-color, hard-cover glory) was the fact that other fans who missed out the first time around would have an opportunity to get their hands on what is, at the end of the day, one of the few really essential Springsteen books for the true devotee.
Not that there aren’t plenty of great ones out there -- “Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums” comes to mind (probably because it was written by yours truly). And I just recently extolled the virtues of “Bruce Springsteen: Rock and Roll Future” by Barry Schneier and “Bruce Springsteen: The Stories Behind the Songs” by Brian Hiatt, two fine recent examples of books that add admirably to your Springsteen scholarship.
But “For You” is different, and the reason is right there in the subtitle: “Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen's Legendary Fans.” These aren’t the musings of critics, scholars or industry insiders: These are the people who’ve spent decades using Bruce’s music as the soundtrack to their lives. And, in more than a few cases among the 200 fan-submitted stories, they make a convincing case that their lives were even saved by that music and what it meant to them at pivotal times.
It’s all in the book -- as I wrote in my 2007 review:
Some of them have a striking emotional rawness that might have been lacking had they been written by actual “writers.” These are souls laid bare, and some of the more personal accounts are almost painful to read, but their effect in the end is similar to that of a good Springsteen song — they make you feel the hopes and dreams of regular people on a level deeper than just what the words say.
As a word guy, I think I fixated on the stories the first time I read “For You.” Looking through the newly printed edition, though, I found myself drawn more than ever to the 400+ wonderful photographs: Much of it is no doubt the dynamic subject matter, but it’s still amazing that these fans (and, also, some professional photographers) were able to capture images that so well express the feel of seeing Springsteen live in concert -- or in some cases just around and about.
The combination of the stories -- one after another about what it's meant to experience Springsteen’s music, and in some cases meet Bruce firsthand -- and the photos make for a stunning package. And with fewer than 500 copies left in the current run, don’t make the mistake that so many people did back in ‘07 -- get your copy now!
In the meantime, take a look at my initial review from 2007; I still stand by every word.