I first came to know of Bruce Springsteen because of the Born in the USA album so I guess I’m one of the ones who came along and ruined it for « real » fans. I think I was in grade 8 and I fell for all the marketing; the cool factor, the muscles and bandana, the drums on BITUSA, the leather lunged voice, the videos, all of it. I was the target audience and I fell hook line and sinker. I didn’t know any of his history or the importance of the E Street Band. To me it was just Bruce Springsteen, so when HT/LT came out they were just new Bruce Springsteen records to me and I enjoyed them both.
That being said, it was the live box set that I got for Christmas from my sister that turned me into a lifelong fan and made Bruce my favourite and most meaningful artist. The Nebraska songs in particular.
My only negative on HT/LT is that I can remember watching the SNL show with 57 Channels and thinking it was awful. I was extremely disappointed in that performance, I just thought he had way better songs that he could have chosen. But what did I know, I was just a 20 year old kid.