Rock Report: Bruce Springsteen Debuts New Song at Ohio Political Rally
Bruce Springsteen unveiled a new tune during a get-out-the-vote rally Thursday in Parma, Ohio, a working-class suburb of Cleveland.
Springsteen didn’t announce the tongue-in-cheek ditty’s title. He joked about it being a rejected theme song for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, whose “Forward” slogan was the basis for a playful call-and-response number:
“I kissed your sister then I kissed your mama (Forward!) / Usually this time of day I’m in my pajamas (Forward!) / Let’s vote for the man who got Osama (Forward!) / Forward and away we go!”
Several thousand fans packed the field house on Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus for the free event, organized by the Obama campaign. POTUS himself did not attend, although there was hardly a star-power deficit. Unfortunately, opening act Bill Clinton didn’t bring his sax, dashing any hope of a “Born to Run” summit jam with the Boss.
Springsteen took the stage shortly before 1 p.m., accompanying himself on harmonica and acoustic guitar for a stripped-down “No Surrender.”
In a similar vein, he channeled Woody Guthrie for folk-inflected renditions of “The Promised Land,” “Youngstown” and the politically charged “We Take Care of Our Own.” Springsteen also had the crowd singing along with a cover of Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”
Between songs, Springsteen stated his case for keeping President Obama in the White House for another term, echoing the sentiments of a message posted Wednesday on Springsteen’s website.
“The future is rarely a tide rushing in,” Springsteen said. “It’s often a slow march, inch by inch, day after long day. I believe we are in the midst of those long days right now. I’m here because I believe President Obama feels those days in his bones for all 100-percent of us. And I believe he’s got the strength, the commitment and the vision to live these days with us and to carry the standard forward toward a country where . . . nobody crowds you and nobody goes it alone.”
A poignant “Thunder Road” capped his 35-minute set.
The performance marked the first direct involvement in the 2012 presidential race by Springsteen, who campaigned for Obama four years ago and for John Kerry in 2004. Earlier this year, Springsteen expressed reservations about hitting the stump again.
Nonetheless, from the battleground state of Ohio, he was off to another Obama rally Thursday afternoon at Iowa State University.
Watch Bruce Springsteen Perform a New Song in Ohio