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  • Writer's picturePhilip Bryer

From Small Things

Updated: May 29, 2022

Whether you want to hear it or not, I’m going to tell you why I think 'From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)' is Bruce Springsteen’s finest hour.

1. Much of his work is cinematic, but this widescreen masterpiece takes us from high school in small town America to not just the hamburger stand but, crucially, the all-night hamburger stand, and all the way down to death in sunny Florida. So it’s an aspirational film, a road movie, two love stories, madness, a murder, a prison flick, and a family drama. It’s probably even more than that, but as I don't see many films I'll leave it there.

2. Bruce achieves all this in two minutes and forty-two seconds.

3. In common with all the best records it’s under three minutes long (see point 2, above).

4. “Well, she shot him dead on a sunny Florida road.”

5. Counting in the band, “Ah, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four…” The "Ah" is vital.

6. There’s simply no room for navel-gazing about broken-down cars, losing one’s little girl, the factory closing down, or what a pain in the arse it is to live in Gary, Indiana.

7. The guitar solo has the good manners not to outstay its welcome.

8. The laugh at the end.

9. It’s a live studio outtake by the world’s greatest bar band.

10. The neat from small things pay-off.

All that, and what did Bruce do with it? He gave it away.

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