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See Bruce Springsteen Return to New Jersey Bedroom Where ‘Nebraska’ Was Born

Bruce Springsteen returned to the Colts Neck, New Jersey bedroom where he recorded much of his “masterpiece” Nebraska for a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning that commemorated his 1982 classic.

“If I had to pick one album out and say ‘This is going to represent you 50 years from now,’ I’d pick Nebraska,” Springsteen told Jim Axelrod.

“I just hit some sort of personal wall that I didn’t even know was there. It was my first real major depression where I realized ‘Oh, I gotta do something about it.’”

The depression came in the aftermath of Springsteen’s professional high, as his chart-topping The River boasted what became his biggest hit at the time, “Hungry Heart.” Two years later, Springsteen retreated to the rented lake house for inspiration, where — while channel-surfing one night — he stumbled on Terence Malick’s Badlands, a fictionalized retelling of the story of Nebraska-born spree killer Charles Starkweather. (Springsteen’s 1978 single “Badlands,” however, had nothing to do with the film.)

“I actually called the reporter who reported on that story in Nebraska, and amazingly enough she was still at the newspaper, and she was a lovely woman, and we talked for a half hour or so,” Springsteen told Axelrod. “It just sort of focused me on the feeling of what I wanted to write about.”

Armed with an acoustic guitar and a four-track recorder, Springsteen laid down much of Nebraska in the very same bedroom Springsteen revisited over 41 years later. Noting the bedroom’s acoustics, Springsteen joked, “The orange shag carpet makes it really dead.”

The interview with Springsteen, who is currently touring Europe with the E Street Band, was tied to author Warren Zanes’ new book Deliver Me from Nowhere: The Making of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska; during the interview, Zanes and Springsteen go rummaging through the dozens of notebooks the singer filled with lyrics. 


“Here’s Bruce Springsteen making a record from a kind of bottom of his own life,” Zanes added of the album. “Nebraska was muddy, it was imperfect, it wasn’t finished. All the things that you shouldn’t put out, he put out.”

“It was a happy accident,” Springsteen reflected on what Rolling Stone later placed at Number 150 on our 500 Greatest Albums list. “I had planned to just write some good songs, take it to the band, go in the studio and record it. But every time I tried to improve on the tape that I made in that little room, it was the old story of ‘If this gets any better, it’s gonna get worse.’”  

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