Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bruce Springsteen "The Wish"

PJ is taking some time off for the birth of his second child. Friend of mvyradio Susan McDonald and singer-songwriter and former Fresh Produce Artist, Phil Ayoub, both major Springsteen Fans, fill in.

Five Great Bruce Springsteen Songs About Fathers And Sons.

In a very broad interpretation of “great Springsteen songs about fathers and sons,” today’s entry focuses on “The Wish,” a pure, irresistibly cute love song to his mom, from the Tracks box set.

In “The Wish”, Bruce pays tribute to the sacrifices his mother made for him while he was growing up, but especially the one that fulfilled a little boy’s wish: “a brand new Japanese guitar” for Christmas. The details in the song create poignant little vignettes (scroll down to the first youtube link and have a listen…): little Bruce and his mom in the cold, looking in the music store window at the guitar; and a family scene in the living room: “Well, it was me in my Beatles boots, you in pink curlers and matador pants, pullin’ me up on the couch to do the twist for my uncles and aunts.” You get the feeling that she not only bought him his first guitar, but nurtured his creativity and confidence by encouraging him to perform for his uncles and aunts as a child.

This comes as a clear and sharp contrast to the feelings of his father, who Bruce has painted in a much less supportive role. Although it’s a light song, it gets a bit haunting when he talks about his dad: “If Pa’s eyes were windows into a world so deadly and true, you couldn’t stop me from looking, but you kept me from crawling through.” It hints at his mother, the proud provider and protector; his father, a darker presence in the house. She was perhaps an example to him of how the world didn’t have to be the dark, scary, hurtful place he saw his father live in.

Consciously or not, she protected his idealism and encouraged and maybe even enabled him to chase his dream. These lines are a brushstroke that brings the whole family dynamic into sharper relief.

And, as they “all sat around laughing at the things that guitar brought us”, they count the blessings that came from that guitar; that wish and that sacrifice.

Punctuated by the twangy sound of his telecaster, Bruce offers his mother his best gift in return—-a song.

On the rare occasions he performs this song live, Springsteen dedicates it to his mom (of course!) and also sometimes mentions how dangerous it is to a rock star’s public image to write and sing songs about their mother (unless you’re a rapper, as Bruce uses 2Pac as an example!)

Here’s a cool performance of “The Wish” from the Christic Benefit show, November 17, 1990:

and here’s a sweet and awesome video of Bruce dancing with his mom, October 20, 2009 in Philadelphia…the things that guitar brought us, indeed:


  1. Hi everybody,,,i've bought a guitar from .Really it's a very helpful site.So,don't miss it.Thank you.

  2. Fresh from seeing Bruce on Broadway, I searched for an online link to The Wish, my favorite song from the show, both for the heartfelt story he told leading into it and for the heartfelt song itself. So I came across this old but great post. A very belated thanks for your comments and for both The Wish and Dancing videos. I'm sending the video link on to my (adult) stepson, also a Bruce fan, for him to in turn share with his mom.