From Small Things
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
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 takes us from high-school in small town America, to not just the hamburger stand, but (crucially) the all-night hamburger stand, 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.
2. Bruce achieves all of this in 2 minutes and 42 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 crucial.
6. There’s simply no room for navel-gazing about broken-down cars, losing one’s little girl, or the factory closing down.
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.