Friday, July 11, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Bruce Springsteen coming to the Constititution Center

The National Constitution Center's exhibit "From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen" opens this weekend.

Bruce Springsteen coming to the Constititution Center

National Constitution Center readies Bruce Springsteen exhibit Video: National Constitution Center readies Bruce Springsteen exhibit

That's Bruce Springsteen's Epiphone Wilshire electric guitar going up in the display case at the National Constitution Center, next to his first electric - a Kent - bought for him by his mother (for $60) when he was 16 (later memorialized in his song "The Wish"). It's for exhibit (from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland) opening this weekend, "From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen."

Why the Constitution Center? That's what Inquirer music critic Dan DeLuca asked NCC chief executive officer David Eisner for his story in today's newspaper. Part of his answer: "I think there are people who see us promoting an American rock-and-roll star and think, 'What the heck does this have to do with the Constitution Center?' It's on the edge where a lot of people will say, 'This is about freedom of speech, the American Dream, the artist as a protester,' and others will say, 'What does rock-and-roll have to do with the Constitution?' The fact that we're on that cusp and able to engage in that debate, that's actually really constructive for us. Because it puts us in a position where we can talk about the extent of the contemporary values of the Constitution, and how it really is relevant in a broader scope of life than people might think."

The grinning face of "Tillie" above, from a $5 booklet of ride tickets from Palace Amusements, was also painted on the side of the Asbury Park landmark. The Palace was frequently used by Bruce Springsteen as a lyrical reference point - "4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)," "Tunnel of Love," and "Born to Run" - and appeared in background of Springsteen publicity photos and a CD single cover.

Springsteen's first band, The Castiles, formed when he was in high school. That's Bruce in the middle with the white pants and shades. To see more photos and memorabilia, click here, or on the photos. Below is a video from behind the scenes of the exhibit set up.

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at tgralish@phillynews.com.

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected