When I was young I had this cassette, my first downright musicassette, not just Bruce’s. First song was Johnny ByeBye, then Bobby Jean; it was an old tape, and you know how it was (if you were there when you paid for great music), you loved your tapes, and if they broke you tried to wind in the tape, to adjust it. And generally you succeeded, even if sometimes the tape got a little ruined in some places. And mine was like this, there was a little lameness in Bobby Jean, precisely when Bruce was talking of the rain and the fear, their was this delicate shrivel up of the words and the music, just for a second. But for me, it was like when you’re a baby and you’ve got your old teddy bear, all ruined and the threadbear fur and even without a paw, you LOVE it. So that was my song, my Bobby Jean, a little wrinkled, but mine, through the years and all the listening.
At that time, for me Bobby Jean was a love song, still is, actually. I did not have the texts, so I had figured in my mind all this movie of a love story with a beautiful girl. I did not understand all the words but I had this feeling that it was a story of two people who would never really leave each other. And I was not so mistaken, considering.
Yes, it’s a song for Stevie who was quitting the E Street Band.
But when you listen to it, alone in your car, with someone special, with a friend, with your love, in the dark of your bedroom or in front of a stage, it’s always the same and different song. If you’re in love, if you’ve been dumped, if a love has just ended or if a new one is just growing, with a brother or with a stranger you have just met under that stage, with someone who has been there for you your entire life: Bobby Jean has always something to tell you.
It speaks to you of a kind of love that never dies.