I’ve heard it many times over my 31 years as a New Jersey music and arts journalist: “You spend too much time writing about Bruce Springsteen!” And I understand why some people feel that way.
But I feel he is worth the time and attention, for several reasons.
First, he is — unquestionably, in my mind — the greatest rock artist the state has produced, and he has made music that has touched the lives of countless people, in New Jersey and beyond. He is still able to fill stadiums for multiple nights, at least in New Jersey. And he is such a dynamic and unpredictable concert performer that you can’t just cover one show of a multi-night stand — you might miss something incredible.
It’s also a matter of economics, though. The number of page views I can attract on NJArts.net determines the amount of money I can charge advertisers, and the amount of money I can charge advertisers determines if I can pay my bills. In the nearly two years of NJArts.net (which launched on Sept. 15, 2014), writing posts about Springsteen has been, by far, the most dependable way to generate big page view numbers. Below is a list of the most popular 30 posts in the site’s history. More than half are about Springsteen, or at least have something to do with him.
Two of the stories in the Top 10 are, in fact, reviews of two of his three incredible shows this month at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford this month (his first Jersey stadium shows in the lifetime of NJArts.net). I reviewed the third one for NorthJersey.com, where, I assume, it’s doing very well, too.
It’s not just me, of course. If you spend a lot of time on Jersey news sites such as NJ.com and APP.com, you’ll have noticed a lot of posts about Springsteen. They’re doing it for the same reasons I am. He justifies the attention with his artistic merit. And he also generates the kind of hits they need to survive.
It may not seem like it, but writing about Springsteen is actually just a small part of what I do. I can and do often go several months without posting anything substantial on him. But the Springsteen posts are often the ones that get shared the most on Facebook and Twitter, so you’re most likely to seem them.
Anyway, here are NJArts.net‘s 30 most popular posts of the past two years. Please click on the title if you’re interested in seeing the post in its entirety. You’ll find some surprising stuff here, and some not-so-surprising stuff. And, yes, a lot of Springsteen.
1. PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel announces Megaticket lineup
2. ‘Slip Away,’ David Bowie’s Uncle Floyd tribute
3. Springsteen covered by women: The best of the best
4. Southside Johnny to sing Bruce Springsteen songs at Stone Pony
5. WNTI-FM is sold; DJs say goodbye online
6. Springsteen at MetLife Stadium, Night 2: Celebratory concert sets records
7. Bruce Springsteen at MetLife Stadium: Strings, fireworks, ‘Santa Claus’ and more
8. Springsteen’s decision to present full-album ‘River’ shows may disappoint some fans
9. Southside Johnny: Upcoming Pony shows ‘a lot of work’ but ‘worth it’
10. Maxwell’s to return with new booking strategy
11. Springsteen reunites with Seeger Sessions Band members at NYC benefit
12. My favorite 20 Springsteen surprises, over the years (with videos)
13. Jersey violinist Joe Deninzon spends a night with Bruce Springsteen
14. Springsteen covered by women: The best of the best, part 2
15. Bruce Springsteen pays tribute to Glenn Frey in Chicago (with setlist and video)
16. Joe Walsh to perform homecoming show at Montclair High School
17. Lineup announced for McDonald’s Gospelfest 2016
18. Springsteen autobiography said to be written with ‘disarming candor’
19. When Springsteen rocked Montclair State: Memories and photos from May 4, 1974
20. Thrilling Dylan concert clips screened at Asbury Park Music in Film Festival
21. 50th anniversary for Velvet Underground’s landmark launch at Summit High School
22. Prudential Center creates alert list for sold-out Springsteen show
23. Light of Day announces 2016 schedule
24. Asbury Jukes to the rescue! Southside Johnny and co. to replace Gregg Allman at PNC Bank Arts Center
25. ‘Songs for girls’: How NJ music guru Kal Rudman influenced Springsteen’s ‘The River’
26. Review: Southside Johnny’s soulful Stone Pony show (with setlist)
27. Before they were The Band, Levon and The Hawks performed with Bob Dylan in Newark
28. Mint Condition pays tribute to Prince at NJPAC concert (with video)
29. Boss for a night: Southside Johnny sings Springsteen classics at Stone Pony
30. Springsteen thanks fans with free download
Jay, keep doing what you’re doing for your readers and yourself. It’s all fine! (And if you plan to publish a list of Bruce fans who have never been to a Bruce concert — count me in! Though he jumped onstage and performed with a band I was with in the 70’s, and we’d be at the same gym and PT place, the Dunphy’s, Red Bank, I’ve never been to a concert. It’s on my bucket list!)