How does Bruce Springsteen’s music differ from that of John Mellencamp’s?

Written by on June 24, 2020

Both artists’ work highlights the plight of the “common man”, but the different places they come from — Springsteen from Freehold, New Jersey, Mellencamp from Seymour, Indiana — color their music.

Mellencamp’s music evokes visions of farmers and small-town, Midwestern country folk. Springsteen is more about the blue-collar, East Coast working class. Mellencamp’s music also tends to have more of a down-home twang than Springsteen’s.

Politically, they’re quite closely aligned, and both make strong statements in their music. Ironically, both have also been revered by people on the opposite end of the political spectrum from themselves, and had their songs — most notably Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” and Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses”, although there are others — misinterpreted as patriotic, when both are actually fairly scathing critiques of life in the U.S. for common folks. So they do have quite a bit in common. (Musically speaking, I’m a bigger Coug fan than Boss fan, myself, though I respect the hell out of Bruce and do like some of his stuff.)

They’re also friends. Last December they performed together (age is also taking its toll on both of their voices; Springsteen is 70, Mellencamp 68) at a benefit concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City:

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