I’m with Tom Petty, a rather more self-contained rock star, who drily remarks “that hair band stuff was just the absolute lowest point I’d ever seen rock get to.Kurt Cobain came and mowed them down like wheat before the sickle and you saw what was left of those hair guys trying to get into plaid shirts and look a little less sprayed up because they were done for.And we’re not just talking about obscure cult bands.

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He revels in stars and stripes iconography but focuses on the nation’s failings.

As leading US music critic David Fricke notes, even Born In The USA is “not patriotic, it’s about a broken system.” With a new album, High Hopes, out this next week, Springsteen has spent over four decades as a rock and roll thorn in the side of the American dream and yet he is the fifth biggest selling US “rock” artist of all time (after Elvis Presley, the Eagles, Billy Joel and Aerosmith).

Hendrix and Doors frontman Jim Morrison were brilliant outsiders, laid low too soon by hedonistic indulgence.

Had they lived, they would surely have been appalled by what followed in their wake.

Recently, my family and I, on our way back home from California, had the wonderful opportunity to stop and chat with Forrest.

We were happy to ‘pull up a chair’ in the way previously quoted from the San Lazaro book’s preface.

A charismatic live performer without compare, backed by the phenomenal E Street Band, Springsteen would certainly top my list of the greatest American rock stars.

For me, his creative longevity outweighs the claims of Jimi Hendrix, perhaps the most supernaturally gifted rocker all time, and The Doors, who attempted to use rock’s power like a spiritual battering ram to (as their Aldous Huxley influenced name suggests) break through the doors of perception.

Compared to much of what has come before, perhaps we should be glad the so called golden age is over.

“We have decided to say what we wish in a conversational tone as we look at the objects from San Lazaro and consider the mysteries and secrets that surround them.

Right after that, rock slips from the music of the day into the background. Young people identify with that music and rightfully so.” Yet if you want to find thrilling American rock, it’s not difficult.