Chief Curator Jim Henke talks to Bruce Springsteen
This is the fifth clip in a series of eight interview audio clips with Springsteen that we will post over the next several weeks.
In this portion of my interview, Bruce Springsteen talks about his most famous guitar, his Fender Esquire. Bruce purchased the guitar – which is a hybrid of a Fender Esquire neck and a Fender Telecaster body — shortly after he signed with Columbia Records in 1972. The became iconic after it was featured on the cover of Born to Run and, in recent years, fans would applaud when Springsteen put it on and played it in concert. The guitar was most recently played at the Super Bowl earlier this year. Much to the surprise of virtually everyone in his camp and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bruce himself thought the guitar should be included in our exhibit. One morning when I came into work, I got an e-mail from Toby Scott, Bruce’s recording engineer and the person in the Springsteen organization who was working to help me create the exhibit. “You’re not going to believe this, and we can’t believe it,” Toby wrote, “but Bruce wants you to have the Esquire.” To say the least, I was delighted. The guitar is so valuable that, when Bruce was on the road, the guitar rode with him and not with the other instruments. Special arrangements had to be made to get the guitar to Cleveland. Kevin Buell, Springsteen’s longtime guitar tech, personally flew the guitar to Cleveland and said that I had to be at the Hall of Fame when he arrived so that he could personally turn it over to me. “I’m not handing this guitar to someone I don’t know,” Kevin said. We are very grateful that Bruce wanted to include the guitar in the exhibit, and it is displayed on the sixth floor of the Hall of Fame, smack in the center of a wall covered with several of Bruce’s guitars.