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Bruce Springsteen has written many songs over the years, but he said that only one touches on his relationship with his paternal grandparents. His grandparents played a major role in his life; he shared a house with them in his earliest years. The song was an emotional ode to childhood days with his grandparents, but it went unreleased. He said that he just didn’t think it was very good. 

Bruce Springsteen wasn’t impressed with a song he wrote about his grandparents

Springsteen spent his earliest years in Freehold, New Jersey, in a house on Randolph Street. He lived in the home with his parents, grandparents, and younger sister. He described the house as tipping increasingly into disrepair.

“Our house was old and soon to be noticeably decrepit,” he wrote in his book Born to Run. “Our kerosene stove in the living room was all we had to heat the whole place.”

Years after his family moved out and the house was torn down, he wrote the song “Randolph Street (Master of Electricity)” about the time he spent there with his grandparents. He did not release it, though. This was the only song he wrote about his paternal grandparents.

A black and white picture of Bruce Springsteen standing with his arms folded.
Bruce Springsteen | Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

“I probably don’t think the song was very good,” he told Rolling Stone. “But it did capture some of the intensity I felt about them. It didn’t enter my mind to write other songs about it, and I work from the inside out. I don’t take a topic and decide to write about it. I write about what grows out of me.”

Still, he said his 1982 album Nebraska drew on his relationship with his grandparents.

“If you were looking for a record that connected to my grandparents, that’s the record,” he said. “It’s just setting the tone of the time in our household.”

He said his relationship with his father and grandparents was ‘anxiety-provoking’

Springsteen’s grandparents were a major part of his youth, but he said his relationship with them was stressful. He explained that parts of his youth made him extremely anxious.

“It was enough to make me a nervous wreck and it wasn’t just what my father was doing, either,” he wrote. “It was the nature of my relationship with my grandparents, which was very intense, perhaps incredibly anxiety-provoking. I didn’t have any release for it. So I just chewed my knuckles until they were rocks, or blinked uncontrollably.”

The musician has become a grandfather

In 2022, Springsteen became a grandfather for the first time. His son, Sam, the youngest of his three children, welcomed a daughter, Lily Harper.

“Grandchild is no longer an infant, it is a baby,” he said on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (per Newsweek). “And the amazing thing is that only takes about four months. They come home, they’re like a little loaf of bread, except they don’t say as much.”

Bruce Springsteen stands on a stage. He lifts one hand in the air and holds a guitar.
Bruce Springsteen | Manny Carabel/Getty Images

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At the time, Springsteen said he wasn’t sure what he wanted his granddaughter to call him, but he knew the nickname he wanted her to avoid.

“She can’t speak yet, so we don’t know what she’ll call us,” he said, adding, “I’m going for anything except, ‘The Boss.’”