Forty years ago a skinny kid from Jersey hopped on stage in Widener’s MacMorland Center wearing a straw fedora and electrified the crowd with songs like “Blinded by the Light” and “Rosalita.” A month later music critic Jon Landau wrote of the young artist, “I saw the future of rock and roll, and his name is Bruce Springsteen.”
The April 5, 1974, concert was the first of three that Springsteen played at Widener in less than a 12-month period in 1974 and 1975 before his Born to Run album launched him to rock and roll superstardom.
Joe Quinn from The Dome interviewed Springsteen and he said he “hoped that someday he would make it big enough to pay his band decently and not worry about making ends meet.”
Dan Hanson ’97, Widener’s director of public relations, wrote a story about Springsteen’s concerts at Widener for the spring 2013 issue of Widener Magazine that won a silver CUPPIE award in the best article category from CUPRAP: The Association of Communicators in Education. Hanson’s article revealed a long-standing mystery about bootleg video footage from one of the 1975 concerts.
Editor Sam Starnes won a gold CUPPIE award in the creative headlines category for the article’s headline “The Boss and the Booleg: Widener Concert Video the ‘Holy Grail’ for Springsteen Fans” and the magazine cover that combined images of Springsteen with President Eisenhower under the headline “Ike and the Boss” won a bronze CUPPIE award.