1. Follow That Dream – Elvis Presley.
“Elvis is my religion. But for him I’d be selling encyclopedias right now”.
It is hard to determine when Bruce first saw Elvis. Bruce recalls it was a Ed Sullivan show but over the years it has become misty which show exactly. Most critics pin point it at the January 6th 1957 show. Al though this may very well be true, it was also one of Elvis’ least inspired shot from the hips up shows. If the Springsteens were regular watchers of the Ed Sullivan show it could very well have been the electrifying first show when Elvis came out with his full sexual powers. With his slicked back hair, his eye shadow and propulsive pelvis, Elvis was the right man at the right time. Popular consent pin points the birth of R&R at the rise of Elvis. The King was the one who’d bust it wide open. Critics may feel there was R&R before him, but nobody had the cultural impact Elvis had. The young Springsteen was awestruck at nine years old. He later recalled “When I was nine, I couldn’t imagine not wanting to be Elvis”. Bruce also made a vow for himself “When I first heard Elvis, I knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody” he said later, “I was going to be my own boss”. Prophetic words indeed.
How much the image of Elvis overlapped with his own would become apparent when Springsteen reworked Elvis’ “Follow That Dream” in the early eighties. With that song Springsteen suddenly makes it apparent how much of his own values are inspired by Elvis’ promise. “Follow That Dream” by Elvis is a 1 minute 39 “Promised Land” prototype. A vow that somehow seemed more solemn to Bruce, reflected in the slowed pace and preaching deliverance of Springsteen’s version. On the ’81 live version Bruce performs that song to sparse accompaniment, his voice starts out with a whisper but slowly climaxes before it climbs back to muted prayer. Springsteen first performed his version of Chuck Berry's “Johnny Bye Bye” in 1981, re-designed as a tribute to Elvis. One of the most gripping performances was delivered at a tribute concert for
"Follow That Dream" - Bruce Springsteen
"Johnny Bye Bye" - Chuck Berry
"Johnny Bye Bye" - Bruce Springsteen