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Michael J. Fox, Sean Hayes on Broadway, Bruce Springsteen, Ring for the King

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
April 30, 2023 3:21 pm

Michael J. Fox, Sean Hayes on Broadway, Bruce Springsteen, Ring for the King

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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April 30, 2023 3:21 pm

In our cover story, David Martin interviews former POWs who survived torture during the Vietnam War at a prison dubbed the "Hanoi Hilton." Jim Axelrod talks with Bruce Springsteen about the creation of his landmark 1982 album, "Nebraska"; Jane Pauley also sits down with Michael J. Fox.

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Download the app today! Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. He skyrocketed to fame with a hit TV show. Then Back to the Future would make Michael J. Fox one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. But at age 29, his life took a dramatic turn with a stunning diagnosis, an incurable degenerative disease. After 30 years, Parkinson's has taken its inevitable toll, but Michael J. Fox is still fighting.

He made it look easy, but not anymore. My life is set up so I can pack Parkinson's along with me if I have to. But at some point, Parkinson's going to make the call for you, isn't it? It's banging on the door. Every day you suffer.

But that's the way it is. Who do I see about that? Coming up, Michael J.

Fox looks back. Jim Axelrod sits down with Bruce Springsteen in the very room where he recorded what he considers his most intimate and personal album. This is the room where it happened. One January night, 41 years ago, Bruce Springsteen walked into this bedroom, picked up his guitar, and sang. If I had to pick one album out, and say, this is going to represent you 50 years from now, I'd pick Nebraska.

The surprising story behind Nebraska, later on Sunday morning. Next Saturday brings the coronation of Britain's King Charles III. Seth Doan will show us how some of his royal subjects plan to ring in the new. Preparations for the coronation can be seen and heard. Do you ever get any complaints from the neighbors?

We've only had one, but we didn't take any notice of it. Across the UK, they're recruiting and training thousands of bell ringers. This is you taking part in the coronation. This is how I choose to celebrate, is ringing at the chapel. Ahead this Sunday morning, a transition steeped in tradition.

David Pogue catches up with Sean Hayes, now on Broadway, in a new show about enigmatic comedian, actor, and musician, Oscar Levant. With Steve Hartman and author Sarah DiGregorio, we give nurses their due. Faith Salie has a story that's truly for the birds. And more on this last Sunday of the month, April 30th, 2023.

We'll be back after this. We take to the trees for a little bird listening. Turns out, as Faith Salie will tell us, they make beautiful music. You're listening to the last known recording of a mating song of the Kaua'i O'o, a Hawaiian bird now considered extinct.

A male O'o is calling out for a female mate who will never come. That song inspired this song by composer Alexander Lieberman. If every artist has a muse, Lieberman's have feathers and wings. I think everything starts with my trip to Costa Rica in February 2020. I mean, I'm a city person.

I'm born in Berlin, Germany, and I lived in New York for almost 10 years. And in Costa Rica, I was just exposed to a lot of wildlife. But when the pandemic hit and he was locked down in Berlin, he himself began to feel like a caged bird.

That was until... Suddenly, I heard them with different ears. I was just like, oh my God, these are spine tingling like calls. And so unpredictable and hauntingly beautiful. And I just started transcribing them. So, would you call the bird song that you listen to and transcribe, do you call that music?

That's a very philosophical question. It depends on your definition of music, but I would definitely consider that music. He began to post videos of birds and their musical songs to Instagram. And musicians began to reply with their versions.

Replicating tweets, trills, and crescendos in all manner of instruments. And along the way, he began to hear the world differently. A lot of times, people consider contemporary music, classical music, to be extremely abstract and difficult. But when you look at those transcriptions of some birds on nightingales, for example, are extremely difficult. Full of noise.

And people have no problems with them, right? So, to some extent, it might also change the listening experience of people. Tell me what you hear. So, it gets more complicated, right? To transcribe each bird's song, first he slows it down, spending hours analyzing each sound, micronote by micronote. I have to say, sometimes it makes you a head spin, but nature is so versatile. It makes you feel like you're doing something else. Just recently, I transcribed the song of a ropendola.

It is absolutely crazy. You would never believe it's a bird's song. It's a bird's song. It's a bird's song. It's a bird's song. It's a bird's song. I transcribed the song of a ropendola.

It is absolutely crazy. You would never believe it's a bird's song if you listen to it. And to my own surprise, I noticed that Björk used it in one of her songs. And transcribing the birds has enabled Lieberman's own compositions to take flight. That high A that I repeat is the highest note of the second line that the bird sings. Has listening to birdsong changed the way you perform and compose music?

Definitely. Progressively, gradually, I implemented more and more of those very, very complex gestures in my music. Lieberman's music seems timeless, but its inspiration may not be. Take the Javan Pied Starling. It's believed the wild birds primarily vocalize to communicate with other birds to attract mates or defend territory. This starling song is so prized by collectors that it's been trapped nearly out of existence. And in captivity, the lonely birds have begun to lose their notes.

By transcribing the starling song, Lieberman hopes the world will heed the call of the wild before it's too late. To Broadway now, where David Pogue is catching up with actor Sean Hayes. This is the story of two men who became famous on TV about 50 years apart. Both hilarious actors. Both piano virtuosos. First, Oscar Levant. In the 30s, 40s, and 50s, he was everywhere. He was a movie star. A composer, conductor, and concert pianist. And famous for his brilliant one-liners.

What do you do for exercise? I stumble and then I fall into a coma. Hey friends, lovers, mothers, and other strangers, you're never going to believe what happened to me. The other man is Sean Hayes.

For 11 seasons, he played the hilariously self-absorbed Jack McFarland on Will and Grace, the first sitcom with openly gay main characters. What are you talking about? You're not a performer.

I am now. Me, a piano, and a spotlight. I'm calling it just Jack. You're a comedian, Jack. This week, a new play opened up on Broadway in which Sean Hayes plays Oscar Levant. It's not a pretty face, I grant you, but underneath this flabby exterior, there's an enormous lack of character.

It's called Goodnight, Oscar, an intense and funny play about a tortured man. In case of what? I become irascible. You're always irascible.

You're right, and that can only mean one thing. And what's that? I'm undermedicated. After years of Jack McFarland, this is about as far from Jack McFarland as you get. I love Jack McFarland. I love that experience.

It's one of the greatest of my life. It's hard to break out of the thing that people see you as that you became famous for. But then, you know, if we're not scaring ourselves as actors, what are we doing?

The darkness comes from Levant's drug addictions and mental health struggles. He broke taboos at the time by describing them publicly. It was genuinely shocking in 1958 to see someone in Oscar's condition on television because he wasn't well, and at times he was heavily and often irresponsibly medicated. Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright is the playwright.

But Oscar took the fangs from it away because he was always wonderfully and richly funny about it. We have a bunch of pills here. Honestly, we know we got everything.

I took them. They're nothing. A well-behaved one-liner. The play was Sean Hayes' passion project written just for him. But not everyone considered him a natural to play Levant.

I won't lie. I thought Sean was an extremely odd casting choice. He doesn't have a physical resemblance at all. But we went to this lunch that was set up by the producers, and across the table he morphed into the man. He adopted his posture, his voice, his perpetual scowl. And I went to that lunch thinking he was the wrong actor, and I left that lunch thinking he was the only actor.

We all worked together to just kind of find how I could inhabit him through voice and face and other kind of, you know, tricks, actor tricks that we could do. She wants to read it to you. Well, don't let them leave the dinner table till they finish their martinis, you hear. In the play, Levant gets a four-hour leave from a mental health facility to appear on Jack Parr's Tonight Show. And this is based on a real incident? Yes.

In spirit, it's largely true. So bring us up to date, Oscar. What have you been doing with yourself lately? Well, my behavior's been impeccable.

I've been unconscious for the last six months. Really? In both life and on Broadway, Levant was a friend of George Gershwin and a famous interpreter of his music, but it was a complicated relationship. I play it all the time, the rhapsody mostly, and now I'm the first piano man to immortalize it on a 78.

Besides you, of course. George loved to tease Oscar in what was sometimes a sadistic manner. He also would say to Oscar, what are you going to play for the folks tonight, a medley of your hit? So you've heard it? Yes.

All for Christ's sakes. I mean, what'd you think? Heard about it, rather. In the play, Levant is supposed to conclude his talk show appearance at the piano with a blazing performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Fortunately, Hayes himself is a gifted piano player. I'll try to play a little bit of a Chopin waltz. I'm five years old or so, and so I started taking lessons across the street and I just stuck with it. I thought I was going to be a concert pianist or a film music composer.

Anyway, he's the real Neil, folks! It's the finale of an emotionally draining performance. The play ends in a very kind of sensitive, emotional place. Gosh, even thinking about it now, I get a little emotional because mental illness and addiction run in my family tree.

So I feel for Oscar in an extremely deep way. Is it exhausting? It's absolutely exhausting.

A lot of times after the show, I am depleted so much that I really just have to go home and take care of myself. Goodnight Oscar has a limited run, four months. But for Sean Hayes, any effort to bring back Oscar Levant is worth the attempt. There's nobody like him. There's nobody as funny as him.

He's just been kind of forgotten about. I'm just happy and proud that we have this venue and this vehicle to bring Oscar back to life because I think he deserves it. It happened this past week, the death of the great Harry Belafonte. Belafonte became one of the nation's most popular performers in the 19th century.

These are my people and this is where I belong. A time when racial barriers were more the rule than the exception. But his ascent to global popularity with his personal brand of music made Belafonte a force to be reckoned with. First in the realm of entertainment, later and more importantly, as an advocate for civil rights. Harry Belafonte was one of the few American entertainers who could boast to be an EGOT. Winner of all four American arts awards, an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar for his humanitarian work, along with a Tony Award. He died of congestive heart failure at his home in Manhattan.

Harry Belafonte was 96 years old. Jerry Springer left a decidedly different mark on America. The one-time mayor of Cincinnati in the late 70s, he became the host of the latest American music. He became the host of the long-running, controversial, contentious syndicated television show bearing his name, which ran for 27 tabloid colorful seasons before taking its leave in 2018. TV Guide once proclaimed it the worst show on television. Later, in his Twitter biography, Springer would describe himself as a talk show host and ringmaster of civilization's end. Jerry Springer died in Chicago of pancreatic cancer.

He was 79. All kinds of preparations are underway for next weekend's coronation of King Charles III. Seth Doan looks at one memorable way the people of Britain will ring in the big day. Rehearsals are underway. Pageantry requires perfection.

State coaches are being readied as are uniforms of every stripe, and there will be a fitting soundtrack. Ring for the King is a nationwide quest to have every bell in every church ringing for King Charles III on his coronation day. At Chalfont St. Giles Parish Church outside London, it means having a band of eight, each pulling a rope to ring a single massive bell, a form of ringing that dates back to the 1500s and the reign of Elizabeth I. I started when I was 15. Wow, that's a lot of practice.

Here, bell tower captain John Davidge leads the way. What do you think of this Ring for the King effort? What do I think about it? It's a privilege. Absolutely. It's shining light on something you've been doing for 70 years.

Yeah, I don't think of it that way because I only think about that we've got to do our very best bit. It's only going to happen once. But bell ringing is not as popular as it once was. So the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, yes, there is such a thing, launched Ring for the King last fall to recruit tens of thousands of volunteer bell ringers. Cheryl Spriggs answered the call. I've always loved the sound of church bells. It's a quintessential sound of the English countryside and the towns. And then they put out this appeal and I literally just checked on the internet when the bell practice was and I gave John a ring and he asked me to come along.

Give him a ring? Yeah, of course, yeah. Spriggs started learning what's called change ringing, in which multiple bells are rung in specific sequences. I thought they just played tunes but you're playing mathematical permutations. This is why it's no small task to train thousands of new bell ringers. As a pupil, John is really good at explaining what you should be doing. He's very clear with his instructions.

Yes, Seth does know all about that. Down like that and relax. Relax. But relax, you're stiff. Relax.

Do I seem too tense? Ready? Yeah.

Let's just say not everyone is a natural. The future king has demonstrated a royal ease with ringing in the past, but he has history. And the bells added their appeal to the general rejoicing. Bells sounded for him when he was born in 1948, as they have to mark weddings, funerals and other important events, including Britain's last coronation. I absolutely love being a part of this British tradition.

At St Leonard's Church in London, we met American Hannah Richmond, who started bell ringing when she studied abroad in Scotland. Is there a religious component in this for you? For me, no. And I think that that's one of the best parts of it. You can be Muslim, Jewish, Christian, agnostic, atheist, and come ring. Richmond says she finds the whole thing surprisingly meditative, considering her instrument is a thousand pound piece of bronze swinging overhead. Ringing is a combination of looking at everybody around you, knowing the pattern and also hearing, listening to the bells when they go and knowing the tunes. There's more to it than you'd think. Yes, there's a lot going on in the minds of bell ringers. This coming Saturday, she'll also have the new king on her mind, proud to play a small role in history.

It was a really great opportunity last summer to be able to ring for the Platinum Jubilee, and I also rang in honour of the Queen when she passed, and so now being able to ring for the next coronation, I guess I'm just fitting in as many historical events in one visa as I possibly can. Scammers are best known for living the high life, globetrotting on private jets, dining at five-star restaurants, and driving six-figure sports cars. That is, until their house of cards collapses and they're forced to trade it all in for handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. Scamfluencers is a podcast from Wondery, hosted by Sarah Hagee and Sachi Kol, that tells the unbelievable true stories behind some of the world's most infamous scams, swindlers, and con artists. Scamfluencers has covered jaw-dropping scandals, from Ponzi schemes to a fake Saudi prince to a sexual predator masquerading as a wholesome yoga guru. These scammers cost their victims hundreds of millions of dollars and immeasurable emotional anguish.

So how does our culture allow them to thrive? Each story on Scamfluencers will take you along the twists and turns, the impact on victims, and what's left when the facade falls away. Follow Scamfluencers wherever you get your podcasts.

You can listen ad-free on the Amazon Music or Wondery app. On a cold night in 2010, a boy is stopped by the police while walking home from a party in the Bronx. He's only 16. He's been stopped by the police before, but this time is different. In a special four-part series, the Generation Y podcast unravels the story of Kalief Browder, a young boy who was falsely accused of stealing a backpack and held without bail at Rikers Island for three years. He endured regular abuse by prison staff and inmates and was held in solitary confinement for more than 700 consecutive days. Two years later, Kalief was released, never having stood trial. This is a story that digs into the injustice of the justice system and a young life caught in the middle. We say innocent until proven guilty, but where do we draw the line between due process and cruelty? To hear this four-part series, follow Generation Y wherever you get your podcasts.

You can listen ad-free on the Amazon Music or Wondery app. Steve Hartman has the story of a nurse who's a lifesaver in every sense of the word. At Community Hospital North in Indianapolis, newborn intensive care nurse Katrina Mullen has a reputation for going above and beyond. But as you'll soon see, the lengths she went to for these triplets and their 14-year-old mother is beyond compare. Being that age and having all three babies, premature and sick, was going to be a hard road for her. Katrina was once a teenage mother herself, and she knew that this young mom, Shariah Small, didn't have a stable home life. So even after the babies were discharged, Katrina continued to visit them and shower them with gifts. Pacifiers or bottles, three matching bags, pacifiers or bottles, three matching outfits for them.

What is driving you to do all this? Just love. I mean, I loved her, I loved them, and I just wanted to see her be a successful parent. She was just there. She was there emotionally, she was there physically, she was there mentally. Which was all new for Shariah.

Yeah. She was really the only person there. But Shariah still didn't have a proper home for the kids. So eventually, the Department of Child Services intervened. They began looking for a foster family, or more like multiple foster families, because finding one place for a teenage mother and her triplets would be nearly impossible. And that's when Shariah got a text message that simply said, I can't wait for you to come home. Never mind that Katrina already had five kids of her own.

What color is that? She took on these other four without giving it a second thought. It's been exhausting.

It's been crazy and busy. But I've never once sat and said, I wish I hadn't done this. But that seems illogical. You just listed a bunch of reasons why this is a terrible idea, and then you say I would absolutely do it again. I would absolutely do it again. In fact, just a few months ago, Katrina adopted Shariah, who just finished high school and now plans to go to college, all thanks to the nurse who went above and beyond and beyond some more.

What happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease? A question worth pondering with Michael J. Fox. Do you remember the first time you were in New York City? I came to see you.

I came to see you and do that shot. Promoting a new show, and I introduced a new name in Hollywood, Michael Fox. What do you do if you are children of the 60s and your oldest son makes William Buckley look like FDR?

Actor Michael Fox plays just such a son on the NBC television series Family Ties. You don't subscribe to the Wall Street Journal in real life? I don't yet.

I have to be careful on the set that I'm not holding it upside down. Me and my friend who came with me to New York wandered down Fifth, and we were at breakfast, and it was $20. I lost my s***. I got $20.

What you remember is breakfast, and I remember meeting you. On the cusp of a very bright future. There were people at every state in the union that got protest.

What were you protesting? Good grooming? Family Ties debuted 40 years ago. Well, how do I look?

Middle-aged. After taping the first show with a live audience, did you know you were the star? I knew it.

I knew it landed. He knew he'd found something, and this was the moment he found it. The name of his character was Alex Keaton, until he takes the phone. Alex P. Keaton here. I just did this ad-lib thing, and I just said, Hello, this is Alex Keaton. And I just went, Hello, this is Alex P. Keaton.

And it became a big part of the character. Is P funny? P's funny. P's percussive. Percussive P. Parkinson's not funny. An incurable, degenerative disease. But for years, Michael J.

Fox has been getting a laugh. Parkinson's is a gift. It's a gift that keeps on taking, but it's a gift.

Every time I see you, I can see it's taken a little bit more of something. It's been 30-plus years. There's not many of us that have had this disease for 30 years.

Half his life. Yeah, it sucks. It sucks having partners. As millions know too well. For some families, some people, it's a nightmare. It's a living hell. We have to deal with realities that are beyond most people's understandings.

Fox is first to say he has advantages. My life is set up so I can pack Parkinson's along with me if I have to. But at some point, Parkinson's going to make the call for you, isn't it?

Yeah, it's behind the door. I won't lie, it's getting harder. It's getting tougher. Every day gets tougher.

But that's the way it is. Who do I see about that? Even talking comes at a price. I can make myself still, but I won't be as animated. Show me what happens if you make yourself still.

As he showed us six years ago. We're not talking. I can't even talk.

I just have to move. More now than tremors and slurred speech, muscle rigidity, the exhausting jerks and twists. It's been falls and broken bones. I had a spiral sleeve. We had a tumor in my spine. And it was benign, but it messed up my walking. And then I started to break stuff. Broke, broke this arm. I broke this arm. I broke this elbow. I broke my face.

I broke my hand. Falling on things. I'm falling, which is a big killer with Parkinson's. It's falling and aspirating food and pneumonia.

All these subtle ways it gets you. You don't die from Parkinson's. You die with Parkinson's. I'm not going to be 80. I'm going to be 80.

He does think about mortality, but at 61, he savors his past. We had to go through our den, our TV room. And I look at the Back to the Future, and I was just starting. And I hadn't seen it since 1987.

I hadn't seen it. As he recalls, Tracy Paul and his wife of 35 years had been waiting for him. I sat down on the sofa. Like 45 minutes later, Tracy goes, what are you doing?

Where are you? And I said, Back to the Future's on it. He said, you're watching Back to the Future? And I said, yeah, you know, I'm really good in it.

In the summer of 1985, Michael J. Fox was the hottest name in Hollywood, with not only a number one movie, but a number two. And a top TV show. 20 to 30 percent of TV viewing audience was watching you. That's not true now.

I'm sure they're not. Walking down the hallway, every roommate here, family times. He was massive. How'd you handle that fame? I pigged out on it. I loved it. Mike is, he's a genuinely great guy.

In recognition of his foundation work, old friend Woody Harrelson presented Fox with an honorary Oscar last year. We did some damage. We did some damage in the 80s. You say, we did some damage.

Pretty good time. Is it possible you did some damage? Yeah, very possible. I mean, there's so many ways that I could have hurt myself. I could have hit my head. I could have drank too much at a certain developmental period. Most likely, I think, is that I was exposed to some kind of chemical.

What we say is that genetics loads the gun and the environment pulls the trigger. $1.5 billion. That's how much the Michael J. Fox Foundation has raised for research, announcing a breakthrough this month, a biomarker for Parkinson's, which could mean faster diagnosis and treatment. This is, um, changes everything. I know with where we are right now, in five years, they will be able to tell if they have it, be able to tell if they're ever going to get it. We'll know how to treat it. It's great if you want to say what I'm saying, but I'd rather you don't fall over. Yeah, I'm working on it.

Yeah. The child, all the best, is one I'm with at the time. My kids are great. I love being with my family. You know what, you could put a little bit of this in there.

His family all appear in a new documentary about Fox. The Story of Me, take two. His life. What did it mean to be still? I wouldn't know I was ever still. His career. Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine?

And, of course, Parkinson's. It's called Still. Still. What does still imply? Evoke? I can never be still until I couldn't be still.

And still has other meanings. Still here. Still committed.

I'll take them all. Good, stop and reset. And we see it all.

Losing his footing. You got it? All right, yeah, okay. Thank you.

But not his dignity or his sense of humor. Nice to meet you, sir. Nice to meet you. You knocked me off my feet.

Nice to meet you. You knocked me off my feet. And you come in with the punchline. You knocked me off my feet.

You knocked me off my feet. Got the laugh. I got the laugh.

Yeah. Always looking for the laugh. Michael J.

Fox is a serious person. Funny, but wise. There had never been a time in your life that wasn't amazing. Very good life.

It's perverse to say it, but kind of a charmed life. That's the point. That's the joke. I recognize how hard this is for people. And I recognize how hard it is for me. But I have a certain set of skills that allow me to deal with this stuff. And then I realize, with gratitude, optimism is sustainable. If you find something to be grateful for, then you find something to look forward to. Then you carry on.

Write that down. With gratitude, optimism is sustainable. Just one of the many hits that, over the decades, has made Bruce Springsteen a superstar. Now, at age 73, he's looking back to a moment in his career he considers a turning point.

And he's talking with our Jim Axelrod. This is where the magic happens. This is the room where it happened.

That's right. It may not look like much, but this small bedroom in Colts Neck, New Jersey... This is the orange shag rug that was here 40 years ago.

This is the same bed. Good Lord. where Bruce Springsteen made what he considers... That's all we're standing. ...his masterpiece.

On the front lawn. Nebraska. Ten songs. Dark and mournful. From the town of Lincoln, Nebraska. If I had to pick one album out and say, this is going to represent you 50 years from now, I'd pick Nebraska.

To the badlands of Wyoming I'd keep debris hanging in my pan Written 41 years ago at a time of great upheaval in Springsteen's interlink. I had just hit some sort of personal wall that I didn't even know was there. It was my first real major depression where I realized, I've got to do something about it. And you can't succeed your way out of pain.

No, you cannot. That's a very good way of putting it. You cannot succeed your way out of that pain. Coming off a hugely successful tour for the River album, he'd had his first top ten hit. He was 32, a genuine rock star, surrounded by success and learning its limits. Your rock and roll meds, singing in front of 40,000 people, all that is is anesthesia. Yeah, and it worked for me. I think in your 20s a lot of things worked for you.

Your 30s is where you start to become an adult. Suddenly I looked around and said, where is everything? Where is my home? Where is my partner? Where are the sons or daughters that I thought I might have someday?

And I realized, none of these things are there. So I said, okay, the first thing I've got to do as soon as I get home is remind myself of who I am and where I came from. I lived in this house exactly half a lifetime ago. Home at the time was a fixed-up farmhouse he was renting. I enjoyed it here because I liked access to this reservoir. I think they keep the canoes.

The canoe remains is still there. Here he would try to understand why his success left him so alienated. This is all inside of me.

You can either take it and transform it into something positive or it can destroy you. There are records, films, books that don't just come in the front door. They come in the back door.

They come up through a trap door and stay with you in life. Author Warren Zane's new book, Deliver Me From Nowhere, offers a deep and moving examination of the making of Nebraska. Here's Bruce Springsteen making a record from a kind of bottom in his own life. Springsteen's pain was rooted in a lonely childhood.

They were very poor. And then he becomes Bruce Springsteen. He felt that his past was making his present complicated. And he wanted to be freed of it. Oh, here it is. This is the sound.

Wow. For Springsteen, liberation had always come through writing. While he filled notebook after notebook... It's funny because I don't remember doing all this work. ...the album didn't come together until late one night when he was channel surfing and stumbled across Badlands. I believe I shoot people every now and then.

Not that I deserve a medal. Terrence Malick's film about Charles Starkweather, whose murder spree in 1957 and 58 unfolded mainly in Nebraska. I actually called the reporter who had reported on that story in Nebraska. And amazingly enough she was still at the newspaper and she was a lovely woman and we talked for a half hour or so and it just sort of focused me on the feeling of what I wanted to write about. They wanted to know why.

In a serial killer... I did what I did. ...Springsteen had found a muse. Sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world.

There's a meanness in this world. That explains everything Starkweather's done. Yeah. I tried to locate where their humanity was as best as I could.

In a surge of creativity, he wrote 15 songs in a matter of weeks. This is pretty much the setup, I think. I had a little chair here. Mike was over there with this tape player.

And one January night in 1982, it was time to record. The acoustics of this room... Not bad. The orange shag carpet makes it really dead.

You know, there's not a lot of echo. Not just beautiful to look at. Not only was it beautiful, it came in handy. One of rock's biggest stars sat in this bedroom alone and sang.

At least for a little while... Getting exactly the sound he was looking for. Had us all fun. Some songs explored the confusion left from childhood. Mansion on the hill, my father's house, used cars. They're all written from kids' perspectives. Children trying to make sense of the world that they were born into. She said, I'm sorry, son, but no one by that name lives here anymore.

Others profiled adults left out or left behind. There's that very stark, dark, lonely sound. It's austere.

Very austere, very bare bones. On a broken-down boom box, Springsteen mixed the songs onto a cassette tape he carried around in his pocket. You got one cassette.

That's right. And you're walking around with it in your pocket for a few weeks? Yeah, in my back pocket. I hope you had a plastic case on it.

I don't think I had a case. I'm lucky I didn't lose it. The band would record what he had on the cassette, but bigger and bolder wasn't what he was looking for. It was a happy accident.

I had planned to just write some good songs, teach them to the band, go in the studio and record them. But every time I tried to improve on the tape that I had made in that little room, it's the old story, if this gets any better, it's going to be worse. Bruce Springsteen wasn't working E Street, but another road entirely. Nebraska was muddy. It was imperfect.

It wasn't finished. All the things that you shouldn't put out, he put out. Did any part of you worry, oh my goodness, what am I putting out there?

I knew what the Nebraska record was. It was also a signal that I was sending that I've had some success, but I do what I want to do. I make the records I want to make.

I'm trying to tell a bigger story, and that's the job that I'm trying to do for you. A few more songs that didn't make the cut. Born in the U.S.A. Well, you probably heard them later.

Born in the U.S.A., Pink Cadillac. All stuff that didn't make it. Songs the guy in the leather jacket who'd written of chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected suicide machines kept in this binder with Snoopy on the cover.

Boy, I'm glad we can see it. People wouldn't believe it otherwise. In that small bedroom, Springsteen the rocker made an album that fleshed out Springsteen the poet. Imagine if he hadn't. And then people might be assessing a career and say, oh, it was great, man, 70,000 people singing Rosalita in the stadium. But that might have been closer to where it ended in considering what you've done. Yeah, I mean, I was just interested in more, in more than that. I loved doing it.

I still love doing it to this day. But I wanted more than that. If they want to enjoy your work, try anything. If they want to understand your work, try Nebraska. Yeah, I'd agree with that.

I'd definitely agree with that. Not long ago, we heard Steve Hartman sing the praises of the nursing profession. Our commentary this morning is from author Sarah DiGregorio, whose latest book is called Taking Care. If I say nurse, what do you think of? Maybe it's a nurse who cared for you or of nurses going to work during the pandemic. Or perhaps what springs to mind are countless dire headlines. Nursing shortages, nurses quitting, nurses striking.

It can all blur together into a nebulous miasma of bad news. After all, many of us already know that the health care system isn't working well for us. So when we non-nurses hear about nurses striking for better staffing, it might sound just like another intractable inside baseball health care dispute.

But that couldn't be farther from the truth. Nurses strike because they know what the public doesn't. Your survival can depend on whether or not your nurse has time to care for you. Nurse-to-patient ratios can be a matter of life or death.

Research over decades has shown this strong association. The higher the level of nurse staffing, the more likely you are to be discharged alive or to have a good outcome. Ratios sound bureaucratic, but they tell a real story. If you are hospitalized, your nurse might be assigned four patients or they might be assigned, for instance, eight patients.

That's not unusual. What that ratio means for you, though, is that you may or may not get the care that you need because a nurse can't be in eight different places at once. Nurses are often the first to notice signs of a stroke, of liver failure, of a need for more intensive respiratory support. Without a nurse to notice and address those complications, sometimes patients die avoidable deaths.

This is such a real risk that nursing has a term for it, failure to rescue. Hospitals often claim that labor costs are too high, and that's one reason nurses are asked to work short-staffed. But hospital administrator pay has continued to rise in recent years. Just for instance, the CEO of Hospital Corporation of America made over $14 million in 2022. Unlike the correlation between nurse staffing and patient outcomes, researchers have found no correlation between hospital CEO pay and patient mortality or value to the community.

This leads to a question. What is the purpose of a hospital, and should its budget reflect its purpose? The purpose of nursing is to maximize people's health and well-being.

So we need to make sure that nurses have the working conditions that make it possible for all of us to get the care we deserve. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. Hey, Prime members! You can listen to CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. Or you can listen ad-free with Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at slash survey.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-30 16:15:33 / 2023-04-30 16:32:58 / 17

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