The Singer Bruce Springsteen Tried To Emulate

Everything artists experience in life contributes to the quality of their music somehow. All of them have influences who shape their sound and how their works are presented. While some artists are inspired by their own experiences and the environment around them, others are shaped by the notable works left by their predecessors. Finding inspiration is one of the critical elements, but the musicians also need to absorb it to make something of their own in the final place.

Seeing what other creative musicians do is undoubtedly a driving force for many artists. They can focus on a particular aspect of any work inspiring them and then bring what they have learned into their sound. In this way, they can establish a new original realm entirely theirs. Copying the styles and techniques of other artists can be a starting point for some musicians to develop their styles step by step. The iconic rocker Bruce Springsteen also had someone he emulated to discover his artistry, and we’re here to break down the details.

How Did Roy Orbison Influence Bruce Springsteen?

Bruce Springsteen’s life-long dream became a reality when he inducted Roy Orbison, one of his heroes, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Inducting him was already a special moment for Springsteen, but he also had the chance to perform with him that night. During his induction speech for Orbison, the rocker touched upon his massive influence in his life and expressed his admiration for him by praising the creative genius behind his songs and his extraordinary voice.

Here are the words Springsteen used for Orbison during the induction speech:

“Some rock & roll reinforces friendship and community. But for me, Roy’s ballads were always best when you were alone and in the dark. Roy scrapped the idea that you needed verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus to have a hit. His arrangements were complex and operatic, they had rhythm and movement, and they addressed the underside of pop romance. They were scary. His voice was unearthly.”

Springsteen has kept paying tribute to Roy Orbison in different ways in the following years. For instance, in the song ‘Thunder Road,’ which was the opening track of his breakthrough album, ‘Born to Run,’ he name-checked his hero in the lines ‘Roy Orbison singing for the lonely.

The singer joined an interview with Rolling Stone in 2014 to discuss his album, ‘High Hopes.’ He revealed during the conversation that in the song, ‘Dream Baby Dream’ from the album, he tried to emulate Roy Orbison. He thought about how his hero would approach this song, which was a great motivation to shape the piece for him. He took everything he could from Orbison’s method of composing music and then blended it with his work and ideas.

Bruce Springsteen speaking on how Roy Orbison impacted his song:

“That was always a song of theirs I deeply loved. When I went to do the ‘Devils and Dust’ tour, I decided to do it myself, just on my own. I thought to myself, ‘How would Roy Orbison sing this song?‘ What made Roy’s music great is that it was so mainstream, but it had a very strange underbelly to it that David Lynch tapped into for his films. There’s a place under there where they connected. I thought, ‘How would he approach this song?’ So I kinda took it from there and kinda connected it to my own work and my ideas and things I’ve written about.”

You can listen to ‘Dream Baby Dream’ and watch Springsteen’s induction speech below.