Bruce Springsteen was born on Sept. 23, 1949. Which means The Boss is one year away from turning 70. I don’t know about you, but suddenly I feel very old. Not quite as old as him, admittedly — but old enough that I wrote this Springsteen trivia quiz more than a decade ago. Reading it now, it seems pretty simple — but you won’t know unless you try it, will you?
• • •
Blue-collar poet. Voice of a generation. American icon. Former strip club enthusiast.
Think one of those things is not like the others? Then you don’t know jack about Bruce. Take it from the man himself.
“I used to like to go to strip clubs,” admits Springsteen on the 2005 VH1 Storytellers DVD. “Back before they were fancy. Back in the prehistoric days before the lap dancing.”
Of course, when you’re the hero of the common man, that’s easier said than done.
“One time,” continues Bruce, “as I reached the parking lot, a man and a woman spied me and said ‘Bruce, you aren’t supposed to be here.’ I could see where they were going with the whole thing, so I said, ‘I’m not. I am simply an errant figment of one of Bruce’s many selves. I drift in the ether over the highways and byways of the Garden State, often touching down in image-incongruous but fun places. Bruce does not even know I’m missing. He is at home right now, doing good deeds.’ That usually stupefies and satisfies them. Hey, I gotta get through the world somehow.”
That tells you something else about the singer-songwriter: He’s got a pretty wicked sense of humour.
While you wait for Springsteen to do a few good deeds, here’s a little quiz to put your Springsteen IQ to the test. No Googling!
1 | Who was the drummer on Springsteen’s first two albums?
a) Jimmy (Bad Dog) Gomez
b) Vini (Mad Dog) Lopez
c) Jimmy (Mad Man) Sanchez
d) Max (Mad Max) Weinberg
2 | In 1975, Springsteen was on the covers of what two magazines simultaneously?
a) Tiger Beat and Seventeen
b) Rolling Stone and Creem
c) Time and Newsweek
d) Playboy and Playgirl
3 | Match these lyrics to their songs:
1) “Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night / You ain’t a beauty but hey, you’re all right.”
2) “I know your mama she don’t liˇke me ’cause I play in a rock ’n’ roll band / And I know your daddy he don’t dig me, but he never did understand.”
3) “Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact / But maybe everything that dies one day comes back.”
4) “I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car.”
5) “It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.”
b) Growin’ Up
d) Thunder Road
e) Atlantic City
4 | In the Dancing in the Dark video, Springsteen dances with what future TV star?
a) Courteney Cox
b) Jennifer Aniston
c) Patricia Arquette
d) Jerry Seinfeld
5 | Who wrote, “I saw rock and roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”
a) Clive Davis
b) John Hammond
c) Jon Landau
6 | Complete the Springsteen lyric: “Summer’s here and the time is right for … ”
a) Dancin’ in the street.
b) Racin’ in the street.
c) Walkin’ in the street.
d) Rippin’ off Martha and the Vandellas.
7 | Before he formed the E Street Band, a teenage Bruce played guitar in:
a) The Castiles
b) Steel Mill
c) Dr. Zoom andt the Sonic Boom
d) All of the above
8 | In their early days, Springsteen and the E Street Band once served as the backing band for:
a) Jerry Lee Lewis
b) Chubby Checker
c) Chuck Berry
d) Tiny Tim
9 | How many of Springsteen’s singles have hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100?
10 | Springsteen was once caught trespassing on the grounds of:
a) The White House
c) Lion Country Safari
d) A strip club
1 | b. Lopez also inspired the line, “Madman drummers, bummers and Indians in the summer” in Blinded by the Light.
2 | c. Bruce was the first entertainment figure to achieve the feat.
3 | 1-d; 2-a; 3-e; 4-b; 5-c
4 | a. Cox played a fan who was pulled out of the crowd by Bruce in the 1984 video, which was filmed in St. Paul, Minn., by director Brian DePalma
5 | c. Bruce’s future manager Jon Landau wrote that in 1974. He got that right.
6 | b. Racing in the Street appears on Darkness on the Edge of Town.
7 | d. Springsteen was a busy boy.
8 | c. Bruce discusses playing behind the great Chuck Berry one night in the documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll!
9 | d. Amazingly, none of Bruce’s own singles topped the Billboard Hot 100. Dancing in the Dark came closest, stalling at No. 2.
10 | b. In 1976, Bruce climbed the wall at Graceland and was about to knock on the door when he was intercepted by security and escorted off the premises.