continuation . . .
On up to the sixth floor, there is a huge screen playing concert footage which doesn’t seem to be from any particular show that I recognize. There is a round bench area in the center of the room facing the exhibits along the walls throughout, making it a nice way to sit back to enjoy the music. On one entire wall are scads of handwritten lyric sheets, mostly in or from spiral bound notebooks. In some cases ("The River" and "Darkness on the Edge of Town" albums) the entire notebooks are on display, opened to one of the many familiar songs. Other displays are photocopies or full poster sized displays of the scribbled lyrics. Perhaps as fascinating as the words themselves are the stories that go along with the notebooks as Springsteen was often inspired to write more than what might reasonably fit on an album (or CD).
Case in point is the heart pounding "Murder Incorporated" which was released in 1995 for the first time on his "Greatest Hits" collection. WOW – a song not previously released going straight to "greatest hits" status. That is impressive. The song was written however in 1982 as part of his "Born in the USA" work, but was subsequently held for later. Springsteen’s lyrics notebook for the album documents the origin of the song even if it wasn’t released for over 10 years.
In that same room, on the adjacent wall are displays of the iconic blue jeans, white tee shirt and red baseball cap worn on the cover of "Born in the USA." Also on the wall is blue and white plaid shirt he wore on the cover of "The River." Of course, he had cooler threads too including the uber- cool black leather jacket worn on the "Born to Run" cover. As I walked around the assortment of wardrobe items on display, I couldn’t help but to realize what a small man he is. While he has bulked up through obvious work in the gym sometime between the "Born to Run" and "Born in the USA" releases, he really has a slight frame. As I looked at that leather jacket, I thought it looked like about a size six.
No rock and roll museum exhibit would be complete without the instruments used to create the wonderful music enjoyed by millions from around the world. There are several guitars on display, including the 1968 Gibson Les Paul that he traded in 1973 because it was too heavy. The exhibit also includes a couple of his harmonicas, as well as a guitar from Miami Steve/Little Steven Van Zandt, an early saxophone from The Big Man himself (Clarence Clemons) and an accordion from the late Danny Federici.
All and all, the "Asbury Park to the Promise Land; the Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen" special exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum was well worth the price of admission ($22 for adults less a $2 discount offered by their local CVB to our US Youth Soccer group). If there is a negative, it is the fact that you cannot take photos inside the museum. In fact, when the wristband person noticed I had a small camera around my wrist, she made me take it to the coat check for the duration of my visit. HUGE BUMMER!
The entire facility is accessible via escalators and elevators. There is a café serving food & beverages on the third floor; and a gift shop on the main level where you buy your admission tickets. I look forward to wearing my Bruce Springsteen Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum tee-shirt to his Milwaukee show in just two weeks!
Hours are 10:00am to 5:30pm with extended hours on Wednesdays. They are open seven days a week, year round and are only closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Come in the summer and enjoy a picnic lunch there by the shores of Lake Erie.
Note there is limited street parking adjacent to the museum; so you may need to park in the parking deck that is caddy-corner from the entrance.
UPDATE 1/27/10: This special exhibit was scheduled to run through April 2010. It was announced this week, however, that it will remain through the end of the year.