Bruce Springsteen is doubling down on his criticism of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) over the “bridgegate” affair. At least, that’s what it looks like to us at the moment.
For Governor Christie, that has got to sting. He’s been a huge Springsteen fan for decades, having attended more than 130 concerts. After years of trying, he finally got Mr. Springsteen to talk to him after that whole superstorm Sandy mess. Now this. The bromance is over.
First, the backstory: This week The Boss appeared on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” in a parody song that poked fun at Christie. The segment began with Mr. Fallon, dressed Bruce-like in jeans and sleeveless shirt, playing the familiar opening notes of “Born to Run,” with new words.
“In the day we sweated out on the streets/stuck in traffic on the GWB,” Fallon sang. “They shut down the tollbooths of glory ’cuz we didn’t endorse Christie.”
Eventually, Springsteen himself strolled onstage, to Fallon’s mock surprise. They were dressed exactly alike.
Springsteen began in a conciliatory manner, singing, “C’mon and let me in/I wanna be your friend/there’ll be no partisan divisions.”
But it went downhill for Christie from there, as Springsteen sang about the highway jammed with peeved-off drivers and so forth.
First, a correction: In our original story about this Wednesday, we noted that while the audience seemed mostly to love the song, there were a scattering of “boos” at the end. As many, many readers wrote in to tell us, those were actually fans yelling “Brruuuccce,” as happens often at Springsteen concerts.
No, we don’t get out enough. Thanks to all of you for pointing that out, in so many words.
Second, Springsteen seemed to be enjoying himself immensely, and he hasn’t since backed off. If anything, he’s amped up. Look at Springsteen’s official website on Thursday, and the headline “LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON” hits you right in the face, along with the clip of the “Jersey Traffic Jam” song.
Underneath are more videos from the show, of Bruce and the E Street Band performing clips from their just-released album, “High Hopes.”
His official Twitter feed has mentioned the song and linked to it as well.
Are you shocked, shocked that a musician might use an attention-grabbing controversy to sell some of his own songs? Particularly somebody who sings a lot about the problems of unfettered capitalism?
Look, a working stiff has to take his publicity as he finds it in today’s tough music market. Rolling Stone may have given the album 4-1/2 stars, but Pandora and Spotify have made it a jungleland out there, even for acts that can sell out stadium shows.
There’s been no official reaction yet from the Christie camp on the Springsteen thing. They’ve got other things on their minds. The New Jersey General Assembly and the state Senate both announced the formation of committees to investigate the circumstances of the Fort Lee traffic jam. Christie has hired outside counsel to assist his administration in bridgegate investigations.
In the past, though, Christie has sounded resigned to the fact that he and his musical idol have widely divergent political views. And he’s defended Springsteen from charges that he’s a hypocrite because he sings about tough times and union jobs while staying at the Four Seasons.
“I think he’s the personification of the American dream: the kid from Freehold whose father had nothing but a bunch of very difficult and seemingly unsatisfying jobs, and a mother who was a working-class office worker, and now he’s one of the wealthiest people in music. He should enjoy it,” Christie told Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic in a fascinating 2012 piece on the fraught relationship between the two famous Jersey boys.