Bruce Springsteen

  • Singer, songwriter and musician born in Long Branch New Jersey in 1949.
  • As a kid, Springsteen was a bit of a loner and he had a hard time fitting in with others at school. He turned to music as his comfort zone. At 15 years old, he saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, and he decided to buy a guitar. He began to perform at local venues with a band called the Rogues. The following year, he became the frontman for a band named the Castiles. They recorded two original songs at a local studio, and they expanded their performance spaces into New York City. As the end of the 60s approached, he joined a band called Earth, and then Steel Mill. Steel Mill included three musicians who would become part of Springsteen’s E Street Band. From 1969 to 1971, Steel Mill performed Springsteen-composed songs in New Jersey, Nashville, Richmond and California, and they quickly developed a cult following.
  • From early 1971 to mid-1972, Springsteen further developed his style, performing with Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom, then the Sundance Blues Band, and finally with the Bruce Springsteen Band. He hired new managers, who brought him to a national record company talent scout. In May 1972, he auditioned and soon he was signed to a recording contract.
  • He assembled a new band for his debut album. These artists would become the E Street Band, though they were not officially called that until 1974. His debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., was released in January 1973. Critics compared his lyrics to Bob Dylan, but initially the album did not sell well, and the two singles from the album – Blinded By the Light and Spirit In the Night – did not chart (though in later years they became fan favorites). Later in 1973, his second album was released – The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle. It too initially was not successful, despite fan favorite song Rosalita (Come Out Tonight). 
  • Given another chance to breakthrough, Springsteen spent 14 months trying to perfect his next album. When it was finally complete, he still was not satisfied, threatening to scrap half of the songs. In August 1975, Born To Run was finally released, and the album was a huge success. While the singles on the album were not hits on the pop chart, album-rock radio embraced the album, playing every track. The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 album chart and it was certified 6x platinum. The song Born To Run is one of the greatest songs of all time – Rolling Stone ranked it at #21 on their GOAT list, and it’s in my top 10. While not released as a single, the song Thunder Road was an anthem for his fans, and it was one of his greatest.
  • By this time, Springsteen and the E Street Band had become legendary for their live performances. Springsteen put all of his energy into his performances, and shows often would last over three hours, and sometimes four. His hard core fans have seen him perform hundreds of concerts over the years.
  • Three albums were released between 1978 and 1982 – Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River and Nebraska. All were top 5 albums, with The River, his only double album, reaching #1 on the album chart, certified 5x platinum. It included his first single to break into the Hot 100 top 5 – Hungry Heart. Nebraska was particularly solemn, mostly acoustic and with Springsteen performing all of the instruments. These albums were a turning point for Springsteen, with songs that were more intellectual and political. Also during this time, Springsteen-penned songs were hits for other artists – Blinded By the Light by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band went to #1 (Springsteen’s only #1 song on the Hot 100 chart), Patti Smith’s version of Because the Night reached #13, and the Pointer Sisters reached #2 with Springsteen’s Fire.
  • His 1984 album Born In the U.S.A. became his most popular album. It sold over 15 million copies in the U.S. and was #1 in 10 International markets. Seven singles from the album were top 10 hits on the Hot 100 chart, with Dancing In the Dark reaching #2 and topping the Mainstream Rock chart. Other personal favorites include the title track and Glory Days. 
  • Springsteen albums continued to be successful as his career advanced. He released 13 more studio albums between 1987 and 2020. Seven topped the Billboard 200 album chart. He had five more singles reach #1 or #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart – Brilliant Disguise, Tunnel of Love, One Step Up, Human Touch and Better Days – all between 1987 and 1992.
  • In 2016, Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run was released. It quickly became a best seller. The following year, his show Springsteen On Broadway began. Originally scheduled for an eight-week run, it was wildly popular, and it was extended three times, finally closing in December 2018. He received a special Tony Award for his performance.
  • He has received numerous awards for his work. He won 20 Grammy awards, and his albums Born to Run and Born in the U.S.A. both were selected for the Grammy Hall of Fame. He won an Academy Award in 1994 for Best Original Song for Streets of Philadelphia, which he contributed to the film Philadelphia. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 (the E Street Band was inducted in 2014). He was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 2009, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. Rolling Stone put him at #23 on their Greatest Artists of All Time list, and five of his albums were on their 2020 Greatest Albums list (the earlier lists had eight Springsteen albums on it). Four of his songs were chosen by Rolling Stone on their 500 GOAT songs – Born to Run, Thunder Road, Born in the U.S.A. and The Rising.
  • “The Boss” is a true icon in the world of music. His legacy of live performances are unmatched for their energy – some would consider him the greatest performer ever. Watch his live performance with the E Street Band of Born to Run – you see him full energy here, the ultimate Rock & Roll song!


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