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Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts, the Story Paperback – October 27, 2003

19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415969284 ISBN-10: 041596928X Edition: Reprint

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Editorial Reviews


Few books have expressed what rock 'n' roll is all about as well.
–Seattle Times

Marsh captures the excitement of Springsteen's live performances, but what comes through strongest is his portrait of Springsteen's integrity in an often corrupting rock world.
–Cleveland Plain Dealer

About the Author

Dave Marsh is one of rock's best-known critics. He was a founding editor of Cream, and worked for Rolling Stone as associate editor from 1975-1990. Marsh is the author of numerous books, including Elvis, Before I Get Old: The Story of the Who, Fortunate Son, The Heart of Rock and Roll,and The New Book of Rock Lists. His articles have been syndicated in over 200 newspapers, and appear regularly in major journals from Playboy to TV Guide. Dave Marsh lives in Norwalk, CT and New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 726 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Reprint edition (October 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041596928X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415969284
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #594,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By M J Heilbron Jr. VINE VOICE on November 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
The author of two previous Springsteen bios ("Born To Run" and "Glory Days"), Mr. Marsh has fused the two into a very satisfying history of what may very well be the only rock artist to age with grace and relevance in the public eye, yet maintain his unbreakable bond with his fans.
The first tome covered Bruce's career up to "The River", the second his explosion into the public awareness caused by "Born In The USA".
Now, with some judicious paring and streamlining, Marsh has crafted an account of an impossibly passionate and driven man, who knew as a teenager what he wanted to do, and proceeded against all odds to do exactly that.
The book is inspirational much in the same way Springsteen's music is inspirational. Bruce can somehow evoke universal feelings, or make broad statements, by using precise lyrics with cinematic musical accompaniment. The Springsteen saga from small town New Jersey to international fame (and not insignificantly, back to New Jersey) is not exactly "rags to riches" or "the little engine that could", but it's sure close.
Springsteen the man (as opposed to the musician) is depicted not as a saint, perhaps, but certainly virtuous and often quietly heroic. Allowing for a modicum of journalistic variability, the accounts surrounding his initial entry into the "music business", the career-stalling lawsuit of the mid-seventies, and the relatively "brave" idea to release a demo tape of haunting tunes essentially "as is", all create an image of an artist "sticking to his guns".
Springsteen feels authentic, fresh...real. His efforts towards the needy, the Veterans, the homeless, the hungry were not promotional gimmicks, but clearly based on the belief that "nobody wins unless everybody wins", an idea found throughout the book.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two Hearts combines two previously released books 'Born to Run' and 'Glory Days', adds a few new introductions and one more closing chapter covering the last 16 years (all in about 28 pages). If the title said 1972-1986, then this truly would be a 'Definitive' biography. But it's cover is extremely misleading and I would caution ANYONE interested in anything from Tunnel of Love forward to look elsewhere. Marsh truly cheats the reader by ignoring or glossing over such subjects as 1)the breakup of Bruce's first marriage, even though it basically is the subject of 'Tunnel of Love'. 2) His infidelities and the impact that it had on his fan base 3) breaking up with the E Street Band 4) The less than satisfactory shows in 1992/1993 and 5) the dual release of Human Touch/Lucky Town. These subjects deserve to have been addressed, especially by someone who has the access that Marsh has had and to truly round out the story.
Marsh's book often goes way overboard in its praise of Bruce's music, while rarely if ever addressing some of the common complaints many have had with the repetitive nature and theme's found therein. It would have made a much better book if some balance had been brought to the subject.
Its still a worthwhile read, but it only tells half the story. Perhaps someday we can get the rest.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By L. Feld on May 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
First off, the positives. 1) Dave Marsh is an excellent writer who clearly loves his subject -- Bruce Springsteen -- and is great at bringing the concerts to life; 2) Springsteen himself is a fascinating figure, almost too good to be true (except that he's not!); 3) Many of Bruce's songs are brilliant, and Marsh does an excellent job exploring the themes -- life, death, movement, stasis, hope, despair, love, loneliness/alienation, faith, emptiness -- that run like a river through them all; 4) Despite obviously loving Springsteen and his music, Marsh rarely if ever sinks into the hero worship and "hagiography" he has been incorrectly accused of.
Now, the negatives. The book claims to be "The Definitive Biography, 1972-2003," yet it barely covers anything after 1986. Hey, that's 18 years ago; has so little happened in Bruce's life and music since then? In addition, I found the book to be a little repetitive at times, particularly in the introductory sections. But the most important criticism I've got is that, with the exception of "The Rising," the book largely ignores Springsteen's post-"Born in the USA" career: "Tunnel of Love," "Lucky Town," "Human Touch," "The Ghost of Tom Joad." These are all basically glossed over in a rushed, short, final couple of chapters. As much as I hate to say it, this makes me suspect that the publication of "Two Hearts," and its release just in time for the Christmas shopping season 2003, was in large part an excuse (by Dave Marsh?) to make a few bucks and to cash in on the post-"Rising" surge of interest in Springsteen.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jim Mitchell on June 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
As has been noted (but understandably wasn't noticed by someone who gave it to me for Christmas), this book is basically a reprint of Marsh's classic Springsteen biographies "Born to Run" and "Glory Days". For detailing the early and mid-phases of Bruce's career, you'll find no finer works. Marsh is an excellent, very readable writer who clearly loves music and his books' subject. Marsh clearly helped document and establish some of Springsteen's deserved reputation as a genuinely decent human being and arguably one of the greatest figures in rock and roll. But Bruce's career didn't end in 1986, which is where the vast marjority of this book stops. To me, "Tunnel of Love" is Springsteen's most interesting album and tour, but only a few pages are devoted to it. I'm not interested in the details of Bruce's failed first marriage, but it clearly played a major role in the artistic formation of what I consider to be his best album. I understand why Marsh doesn't write a third volume- he's too personally tied to Springsteen, being married to Barbara Carr of Bruce's management organization. There's a very touching story about how Springsteen performed at the funeral of Ms. Carr's daughter- clearly, Bruce means more to Marsh and his family than simply the subject of a rock and roll biography. However, I'd still love to read his thoughts on Springsteen's life and career since the heyday of "Born in the USA", highly subjective though they may be. There are some brief introductions and updates that bring us up to the release of The Rising, but nothing is written in any great detail. So to suggest that this is a comprehensive biography of Springsteen up until 2003 is simply inaccurate.Read more ›
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