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Glory Days

Friends of the Boss share their most intimate insights.

Senator John Kerry

2004 Presidential Candidate

Springsteen supported Kerry's campaign with 2004's Vote for Change tour.

"For the first time in his career, Bruce shed his public political neutrality and put his good name on the line campaigning with me in 2004. We stood together in front of crowds that stretched as far as the eye can see in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida, and his guitar pumped out our anthem, 'No Surrender,' with heart and grit and belief. But what you might not know is that in the aftermath of that bruising race, when I was pretty bruised myself, long after the crowds had gone away, Bruce was one of the first to visit me, and he brought that guitar I'd listened to on the campaign trail. That's the real deal—being there when it's hard and when the sun isn't shining. And you know that guitar he gave me remains my proudest possession of the whole campaign. In good times and bad, he had my back, and that's all the honor in your life you can ever hope for."

Darren Aronofsky

Director ofThe Wrestler

Mickey Rourke asked Springsteen to write the theme song for his 2008 comeback film, The Wrestler, which led to a meeting with Aronofsky.

"Mickey and Bruce met about 20 years ago—over beers at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park—but they hadn't been in touch for a long time. Mickey's had quite a hard trip since then. [In a letter] to Bruce, his brutal honesty resounded with the Boss.

"Next thing I know, we were in the front row at a Springsteen concert at Giants Stadium, surrounded by 80,000 people rocking out. After the show, Mickey introduced us and said, 'I'll leave you two guys alone. I know you have some business to talk.' I kinda lost my tongue, overwhelmed by stage fright. Pretty quick, Bruce pulled out an acoustic guitar and sang the tune. I remember thinking, 'I'm getting serenaded by the Boss in the Giants locker room—and he's singing an amazing song.' He had only read the script, but he completely captured the spirit. When Mickey first got a copy of the song, he listened to it about 80 times in a row. He loved it.

"The Boss did [the theme] for nothing because he wanted to help Mickey. He knew we couldn't afford him. But he felt Mickey was trying to redeem himself, so he made it work for us."

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