In 1984, Bruce Springsteen recorded a pair of tales about the plight of the returning Vietnam veteran: the smash single “Born in the U.S.A.” and its non-LP B-side, “Shut out the Light.”
Now, he pays homage to the book that inspired him.
Rolling Stone reports that Springsteen has written and recorded a foreword for the new print and audio versions of Ron Kovic’s classic autobiography Born on the Fourth of July. The new edition will be released, naturally, on July 4 — which also happens to be Kovic’s 70th birthday.
The book tells the tale of Kovic, a Long Island native who enlisted in the Marines at 18 as a gung-ho patriot and, after being wounded and paralyzed in Vietnam in 1968, came home and became a fervent antiwar protester. It was first published in 1976 and turned into an Oscar-winning 1989 film starring Tom Cruise.
In the foreword, Springsteen tells how he discovered the book in 1978 – two years after its original publication. By coincidence, he met Kovic at a Los Angeles motel poolside shortly after reading the book, and they became friends. Kovic brought Springsteen to a nearby veterans’ center, and the experience moved him to hold a Vietnam veterans’ benefit concert in Los Angeles three years later.
Springsteen would later dedicate songs to Kovic in concert.
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