We tend to treat fame as something you either have or you don’t. Some people are famous, others are not. But there are also degrees of fame. Most people who are famous are not as famous as Tom Cruise or The Rock. But then just how famous somebody is often depends on the individual’s perception. Some of us would probably say that Bruce Springsteen is a bigger star than Stephen King, except for the time that he’s not.
A video is currently going viral on Twitter, and not for the first time, that shows Bruce Springsteen on The Graham Norton Show talking about a time he happened to meet a young fan at a movie theater, and ended up spending the evening with him and his family. Stephen King is now going viral himself after responding to the tweet telling a story about a time the two were together, and a fan thought the author was the bigger celebrity. King said…
I was in a little NYC bistro with Springsteen, just before NEBRASKA dropped. A teenage girl came over, stars in her eyes. Bruce reached for a pen. She never looked at him. She said, 'OMG, Stephen King!' Bruce laughed his ass off and I did the autograph thing.
The Nebraska album is one of Bruce Springsteen’s most highly regarded works, and it went a long way to making him the star he is today, but it was his sixth album. It’s not like he wasn’t already really famous at that point. But for some of us discovering Bruce Springsteen's music was a life-altering experience, and for others, we had the same experience with Stephen King books.
It’s probably pretty unusual for Bruce Springsteen to be anywhere and not get asked for autographs. The viral video that spawned King’s comment is about a fan asking if Springsteen wanted to sit with him at a movie theater, which is a pretty bold request from a fan. That might be on the extreme side of things the singer is asked for, but it shows how far fans are willing to go. Having somebody not even see him was likely a novel experience. No wonder he was laughing.
To be fair both men are probably used to signing a lot of autographs, but Bruce Springsteen almost certainly gets more requests. He’s just a more visible celebrity so people know what he looks like. While Stephen King has a unique look, and if you’ve seen him, you’d recognize him in a bistro, there are probably a lot of people who just don’t know what King looks like. Many Stephen King movies have seen the author's cameo, but you have to already know it's him for that to work.
At the same time, I totally get where this teen girl is coming from. I mean, if I saw Stephen King and Bruce Springsteen together in the same place I would I would probably have a heart attack, and I would want both of their autographs, but if I had to choose, it’s King for me too. I’m just a much bigger fan of his work.
Decades later, both Bruce Springsteen and Stephen King are still massive stars. Springsteen is about to embark on a new world tour. There are several upcoming Stephen King movies and series based on his work, including Salem's Lot, which is currently without a release date but may still find itself on the 2024 release schedule before the year is out.