Bruce Springsteen and his band are helping people answer the question, what can a song do? The question came up in “A Conversation with Bruce Springsteen,” earlier this year at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

Robert Santelli moderated a conversation that Springsteen had with members of the audience.

A young man asked the question: Has anyone every been changed by a song? “I don’t know, has anybody ever had their mind changed by a song?” said Springsteen, initially hesitant. He seemed to think out his answer as he spoke. “I met one kid who said it did, but only one. So, I tend to believe music is important to activism in the sense that it stirs passion. It stirs interest. It stirs curiosity, it moves you to question your own beliefs. It strikes straight to your emotions and it stirs you up inside. After you’ve heard it, I think it marinates inside of you, and ends up coming out in your own energy.”

“I mean, there’s a more basic way that if you listen to ‘If I Had A Hammer’ or ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone’ (both by Pete Seeger), these are things that are directly aimed at very socially conscious people and politically conscious people and are important in the same way hymns are important in church. It makes us strong — stronger in our beliefs. And in a certain moment, the right song can start a fire.”  Listen to the late Pete Seeger’s thoughts on music’s impact on Passages.



Springsteen seemed to gain momentum as he spoke.

“I wrote ‘41 Shots’ and it successfully pissed people off for a while. I ran into people who didn’t like me very much, I realized. And some people who really liked what I did a lot,” Springsteen said.

“American Skin (41 Shots)’ was written about the 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea, by four New York City plain-clothes police officers.

“So, (music) can stir the pot. It can bring ideas to the fore, and it can create dialogue and create conversation and create argument out of which hopefully comes some sort of small resolution of events,” Springsteen said. “It also documents things, it’s historical in nature. If you go back to the great folk music of the ‘60s, Woody Guthrie’s music, not only is it beautiful but it’s a document of events and the way people fought and felt and experienced things at that time. It’s very important to the way that we think and experience things. If you listen to great music from the ‘30s, Woody’s music, and you can apply it today to many, many injustices — injustice is injustice.

“Those things resonate down through the years and they keep people alive. They keep the singers’ voices alive, they keep people like Joe Hill alive, they keep Martin Luther King alive, Malcolm X alive. Songs do have the capacity to translate and to communicate, and to sustain and serve. So I have a deep belief in pop music as a political force, that’s the best way I can answer that question.”


The audience broke out into applause.


New music from Bruce Springsteen and Pittsburgh’s Joe Grushecky


That’s What Makes Us Great

They come from everywhere
A longing to be free
They come to join us here
From sea to shining sea
And they all have a dream
As people always will
To be safe and warm
In that shining city on the hill
Some wanna slam the door
Instead of opening the gate
Aw, let’s turn this thing around
Before it gets too late
It’s up to me and you
Love can conquer hate
I know this to be true
That’s what makes us great
Don’t tell me a lie
And sell it as a fact
I’ve been down that road before
And I ain’t goin’ back
And don’t you brag to me
That you never read a book
I never put my faith
In a con man and his crooks
I won’t follow down that path
And tempt the hands of fate
Aw, let’s turn this thing around
Before it gets too late
It’s up to me and you
Love can conquer hate
I know this to be true
That’s what makes us great
In the quiet of the night
I lie here wide awake
And I ask myself
Is there a difference I can make?
It’s up to me and you
Love can conquer hate
I know this to be true
That’s what makes us great


Brand new Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers song with Bruce Springsteen . A Trump Protest song written by Joe Grushecky. Get your copy today!!