Mapping the Rise of Bruce Springsteen

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

Mapping Springsteen

151174448
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.”

Advertisement

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.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 19 2014 11:36 AM Breaking Up Countries Is Still Hard to Do
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 19 2014 11:37 AM Why Urban Outfitters and Other Brands Troll Their Customers
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 19 2014 11:32 AM Why Do Pirates Talk Like That?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 11:40 AM Apple Invented the Perfect Way to Handle Your Giant New Phone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM The Curious Incident of the Supernova in the Nighttime
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.