At one point in his interview with Bruce Springsteen, "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley asks the singer what he gets out of being in therapy. "It's just a thing where, that just allowed me to have a greater range of choices," says an obviously uncomfortable Springsteen.
"Explain that to me," presses Bradley.
"I don't really want to," answers Springsteen, laughing.
And he doesn't.
That pretty much sums up the kind of success Bradley has in his attempt to show America the private side of Springsteen. Although this fascinating-yet-misdirected portrait of American rock's reigning statesman, scheduled for this Sunday's "60 Minutes," gives ample time to Springsteen's music and social commentary, it's clear Bradley is hoping for something a little more personal. But instead of revealing inner pain, and crying, jTC Springsteen just laughs off the questions.
It's as if Bradley has become the anti-Barbara Walters.
"You're very private about your family," Bradley remarks, as the two stroll down the boardwalk at Asbury Park, N.J.
Springsteen laughs. "That's the way it should be," he says.
"Listen," counters Bradley, "there are some people who want to talk about everything."
"Yeah, that's a sickness invading our society," says Springsteen, laughing some more. "I don't know, maybe it's good. Maybe it's therapeutic But I pay a guy that I do that with."
The sad thing is, when Bradley moves away from the People approach, Springsteen is both fascinating and articulate. Asked about his disagreement with the way Ronald Reagan tried to co-opt "Born in the U.S.A." by claiming it as an endorsement of the Republican social and economic policies, Springsteen is eloquent in his rebuttal.
"In my opinion, those are failed policies," he says. "That the efficiency of the economy is not the most paramount thing. A country is judged not by its accomplishments, but by its compassion, the health and welfare of its citizens. That's the core of its spirit."
There are also some performance excerpts from his current solo tour (including a stunning backstage rendition of "The Streets of Philadelphia"), and a few moments that convey Springsteen's remarkable story-telling ability.
Such as the time, shortly after he made the covers of Time and Newsweek, that he decided he needed to visit Elvis Presley.
The King, it seems, wasn't expecting the Boss, so Springsteen jumped the fence. But instead of an audience with Elvis, what he got was a chilly reception from the Graceland guards.
"I told them I was on the cover of Time and Newsweek," he recalls. "They probably wanted to cart me off to the funny farm, but all they did was take me out, lead me out the front gate and push me back toward the cab."
If there were more stories like that and fewer inquiries into his personal life, this "60 Minutes" segment could have been a classic. As things stand, though, it merely reminds us that Ed Bradley is no match for MTV News' Kurt Loder.