Springsteen Shares Early Guitar Memories With Obama in Podcast Clip

Bruce Springsteen recalls the odd jobs he worked to pay for his first guitar and other musical memories in a new snippet from the next episode of his Spotify podcast series with Barack Obama, Renegades: Born in the USA.

In the snippet, Springsteen tells Obama he knew he wanted to be a musician at age 15, but to purchase his first guitar, he first needed to save up $18. To do so, he painted houses, tarred roofs, mowed lawns, and eventually had the money to purchase the instrument at the Western Auto Store in Freehold, New Jersey.

When it came to actually learning how to play, Springsteen says he turned to his cousin Frankie, who’d also just picked up the guitar: “He taught me a few chords and sent me home with a folk music book that had all the chords in it,” Springsteen says. “So, for about a month or so I was strumming my way through folk music classics. You know, ‘Greensleeves,’ and ‘If I Had a Hammer.’ And shortly after that, somebody taught me to play ‘Honky Tonk.’”

Springsteen then plays a bit of “Honky Tonk,” as well as some of the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout,” with Obama providing a bit of percussion accompaniment with his hands.

This snippet is taken from the third episode of Renegades, which will premiere Monday, March 1st. The episode will also feature a segment in which Obama recalls the story behind his famous “Amazing Grace” speech, where he gave an impromptu performance of the hymn while delivering the eulogy at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, following the 2015 shooting there.