I knew this very good-natured and boisterous guy named Andy in college. He was, an I’m being mild, an enormous Bruce Springsteen fan. All Bruce, all the time.
Once, when we were recording a video presentation, Andy REFUSED to let go of the boom microphone because he had to sing “Badlands.” Twice. In full. With gusto. Very loud. Excruciatingly off-key. EXCRUCIATINGLY off-key.
One Sunday morning, he banged on my door demanding, in his perpetually happy and friendly way, we go “get some grub.” In order to be my alarm clock for the occasion, he sang “Thunder Road.” Twice. In full. With gusto. Very loud. Excruciatingly off-key. EXCRUCIATINGLY off-key.
And, it WAS alarming.
The first half of “Thunder Road” requires a little delicacy and the last thing you could describe Andy’s version was “delicate.”
For, a few years, I don’t think Andy actually had conversations:
Me: Hey, Andy. What’s going on?
Andy: Sings the entire lyrics of “Born to Run.” Twice. In full. With…..
Andy died September 11th, 2001. He was in one of the World Trade Centers. Fifteen minutes after calling his wife to assure her he was okay, the building collapsed.
The world was a better place with him in it. I think about him this time of year. And, the joy Springsteen’s music brought him.
Despite the sadness I feel about the friends I lost that day, I can’t help but smile a little thinking about those hideously tuneless versions of Bruce’s songs.
And, the huge grin on Andy’s face when he sang them.