Mapping the Rise of Bruce Springsteen

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 17 2012 1:45 PM

Mapping Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen performs in Philadelphia earlier this month

Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

The video below was created by The Timoney Group, “a consultancy specializing in geospatial analysis and information visualization.” It chronicles nearly every Springsteen performance in the United States since January 5, 1973. As time passes, red dots appear in the various locations Springsteen performed, and a halo of “heat” around it flares up, reflecting the size of the venue relative to the “overall population within 40km of the concert location. So for instance, a single arena show in New York City will generate less heat than a single arena show in Omaha, NE.”

The idea is to learn just how the popularity of Springsteen spread geographically thanks to these live shows. In his write-up of the findings, Brian Timoney concludes that there were two advantages to starting out in central New Jersey. The first of these: “From strictly a population geography standpoint, in the early 1970s you couldn’t do better than being equidistant between New York City (largest city) and Philadelphia (#4): over 20 million souls within a two-hour drive.”


The second advantage, according to Timoney, is that “the Jersey Shore provided a unique, accessible symbolic resonance to audiences that resonates as a Place.” This latter claim is certainly open to argument; Timoney links to a rather dubious New York Times column by David Brooks with the now notrious opening line: “They say you’ve never really seen a Bruce Springsteen concert until you’ve seen one in Europe.”

Still, even if you don’t agree with all of Timoney’s conclusions, this is a fun way to consider the life of a major touring act. Have a look. (Via Open Culture.)

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?


Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 6:24 PM The GOP Can’t Quit “Willie Horton” Even though they promise to do so, again and again.
Oct. 20 2014 5:39 PM Whole Foods Desperately Wants Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 6:32 PM Taylor Swift’s Pro-Gay “Welcome to New York” Takes Her Further From Nashville Than Ever
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.