No wonder Springsteen’s subsequent two albums exuded multi-cultural influences. His energetic concerts were accompanied by stage shows which harked back to soul style show bands of the 60’s.
Springsteen was less literary than Dylan, but there was poetry in his rhythmically driven evocations of the pleasure, wildness, poverty, and desperation experienced in American factory towns. Springsteen’s "Born to Run" album, recorded with an ethnically diverse back up group eventually known as the E Street band, proved that “song writers didn’t have to go it alone" and that a lyricist “could still be highly personal with five other musicians backing [him].”
Consider representative Springsteen imagery. A man with a strong sense of family and place faces the loss of dignity and family unity when a factory which used to provide a path for local boys to become men closes down. A kid in a dusty small town realizes that his world is closing in, and comes to a Rubicon he might fail to cross unless he is able to come to terms with his stifling community, his wary girlfriend, and his defeated elders. It’s Elvis and James Dean material, but in Springsteen rebellion isn’t entirely individual, or limited to the anxieties of youth. Springsteen’s narrators know that they are peons in a greater social, economic picture, which has stacked the odds against them. It’s a class-conscious longing for a better community.