Springsteen's initial 'Born to Run' lyrics on display at Duke

Posted by David Menconi on May 1, 2014 

Bruce Springsteen’s original handwritten “Born to Run” song lyrics from 1975.

COURTESY OF FLOYD BRADLEY

Last week, Bruce Springsteen played Raleigh’s PNC Arena the day after the last day of classes at Duke University -- a bit of timing that caused rampant speculation that The Boss might also do an unannounced performance at Duke’s “Last Day of Class” party. That didn’t happen, but the PNC show was like a graduation party for his daughter Jessica, a Duke student. She’ll be matriculating from Duke next week, and it’s fitting that a major totem of her father’s career will be on display during graduation weekend: Springsteen’s first-draft handwritten lyrics to his signature 1975 hit, “Born to Run.”

This document was auctioned off through Sotheby’s last year and the buyer was Floyd Bradley, who (like Springsteen) also has a daughter graduating from Duke this year. So the “Born to Run” lyrics will be on display in Duke’s Perkins Library throughout graduation weekend, in front of the circulation desk May 8-9 (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) and May 10-11 (1-5 p.m.). After that, the lyrics will move up to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library on Perkins’ third floor and be on display until June 27 during regular library hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1-5 p.m. Saturday; closed Sundays and May 24). Admission is free and the public is welcome; but it’s in a library, so behave.

In another Boss-related note, the day after the Raleigh show, Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa visited the Durham instrument store Sound Pure to try out some gear -- and someone who was there had the good sense to film it.

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