Bruce Springsteen Admits He Wrote "The Ghost of Tom Joad" Before Reading 'The Grapes of Wrath'

Bruce Springsteen Admits He Wrote "The Ghost of Tom Joad" Before Reading 'The Grapes of Wrath'
Bruce Springsteen's 1995 album The Ghost of Tom Joad takes its name from a character from John Steinbeck's 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath. Now, to the horror of English teachers everywhere, the Boss has revealed that he hadn't actually read the book until after writing the title track.

Springsteen made the admission when speaking to the New York Times about his new children's book, Outlaw Pete. When asked about what books he was embarrassed to have never read, he said, "I read The Grapes of Wrath very late, long after I'd written the song 'Ghost of Tom Joad.' However, it ended up being everything I'd hoped it to be."

Interestingly, "The Ghost of Tom Joad" features lyrics that directly reference passages of the book, so Springsteen was clearly familiar with the story. We're guessing that he saw the film from 1940 (and had doubtless heard Woody Guthrie's "The Ballad of Tom Joad").

Springsteen also said that he has never read Steinbeck's 1952 tome East of Eden. This is interesting, considering that some have said that Springsteen's 1978 album Darkness of the Edge of Town is inspired by East of Eden. (The words "East of Eden" appear in the song "Adam Raised a Cain.")

Here's the question we'd really like answered: have the members of Canadian folk rock band the Grapes of Wrath read the book The Grapes of Wrath?