Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen in concert during 1981
Background information
Also known as The Boss
Born September 23, 1949 (1949-09-23) (age 64)
Long Branch, New Jersey, United States
Genres Rock, heartland rock, roots rock, folk rock
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano
Years active 1972–present
Labels Columbia
Associated acts E Street Band, Steel Mill, Miami Horns, The Sessions Band
Website brucespringsteen.net
Notable instruments
Fender Telecaster
Fender Esquire[1]
Takamine Guitars
Hohner Marine Band Harmonica

Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949) is an American rock musician from New Jersey. His songs include "Born to Run" and "Born in the USA". For more than 30 years he has been a singer along with his "E-Street Band." Also, he is now a member in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jon Landau, a music writer for Rolling Stone magazine, once said: "I have seen the future of rock and roll, and its name is Bruce Springsteen." Springsteen won an Oscar for his song "Streets Of Philadelphia", written for the Tom Hanks' movie Philadelphia.

Early life[change | change source]

Springsteen was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and spent his childhood and high school years in Freehold Borough. His father, Douglas Frederick Springsteen, was a bus driver.His mother, Adele Ann (née Zirilli), was a legal secretary. He has two younger sisters, Virginia and Pamela. Pamela was an actor but left this profession and became a photographer. She took photos for the Human Touch and Lucky Town albums.

Springsteen attended the St. Rose of Lima Catholic school in Freehold Borough.Old teachers have said he was a "loner, who wanted nothing more than to play his guitar." He completed high school, but felt so uncomfortable that he skipped his own graduation ceremony. He briefly went to Ocean County College but had no degree.

Early career[change | change source]

Till the early 1970s he played with different bands in the Atlantic area. In 1972 he signed a record contract with Columbia Records. His first album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., released in January 1973, was commercely not a success but was highly favoured by music critics. Also his second album The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle was more acclaimed than sold.[2]

In the May 22, 1974, issue of Boston's The Real Paper, music critic Jon Landau wrote after seeing a performance at the Harvard Square Theater, "I saw rock and roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time." Landau became Springsteens manager and producer.

Breakthrough[change | change source]

The commercial breakthrough was his third album Born to Run, which was released on August 25, 1975. Due to this Springsteen was on the covers of Time magazine and Newsweek. After a legal battle with his old manager Mike Appel he could release his third album Darkness on the Edge of Town not earlier than 1978. In 1978, he worked together with Patti Smith, who had a hit with Springsteens song Because the Night. Also Manfred Mann (Blinded by the light) and the Pointer Sisters (Fire) had success with songs of Bruce Springsteen. The next album was The River. The single from this album Hungry Heart was his first Top 10 hit. The River brought Bruce Springsteen in a wide range of styles from ballads (f.e. The River) to rock songs.

His next album was Nebraska (1982) which he recorded in a studio at his home. The only instruments in this records were guitar and harmonica. The songs are about outsiders of the US-society. Despite its commercial flop it is regarded by critics as one of Springsteens best albums.

He is probably best known for his next album Born in the USA which sold 15 million copies in the USA. It contains 7 single hits which all reach the Top 10. The following tour was also a huge success. The title track of the album was widely misunderstood as patriotic hymn. In fact it was a comment on the treatment of Vietnam veterans. In later years Springsteen performed the song only with acoustic guitar to make the meaning of the song more clearly. An acoustic version also appeared on Tracks, a later album. Videos for the album were made by famous movie directors Brian De Palma and John Sayles.

The next album was Live/1975–85, which sums up the powerful live performances of Bruce Springsteen. It was a five records box-set and was the first set which reached #1 in the charts.

After Born in the USA, Springsteen recorded again more sedate and contemplative albums like Tunnel of Love (1987). In late 1989 he dissolved the E-Street Band and married Patti Scialfa. The couple relocated to California. In 1992 he released two albums at once, Human Touch and Lucky Town. After he had received man Grammy Awards he also was winner of the Academy Award in 1994 for his song "Streets of Philadelphia", which appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Philadelphia.

In 1995, he released his second solo guitar album, The Ghost of Tom Joad, inspired by John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath .Following the album he made a solo acoustic where he played the new songs but also many of his older songs in acoustic form. After the tour he and his family went back to New Jersey.

In 1999, the E Street Band and Springsteen officially played together again. They made a reunion tour which lasted over one year. The last two concerts of the tour were recorded for an HBO Concert also a DVD and album was released under the title Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live in New York City. The same year Springsteen was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. About the 1990s Springsteen said: "I didn't do a lot of work. Some people would say I didn't do my best work."[3]

2002 the artist released The Rising the first studio album with the E Street Band for 19 years. The 2005 album Devils & Dust was again mostly acoustic and recorded without the band. In November 2005, Sirius Satellite Radio started a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week radio station on Channel 10 called E Street Radio. This channel brings commercial-free Bruce Springsteen music, including rare tracks, interviews, and daily concerts of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band recorded throughout their career.In April 2006, Springsteen released We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, an project with folk songs which were made popular by Pete Seeger. It was recorded with a large ensemble of musicians including only Patti Scialfa, Soozie Tyrell, and The Miami Horns from past efforts. The end of the decade brought three albums. (Magic (#1), Working on a Dream (#1) and The Promise (#16), which featured again outtakes of different songs). On January 11, 2009, Springsteen won the Golden Globe Award for Best Song for "The Wrestler", from the Mickey Rourke movie by the same name.[4]

Springsteen and politics[change | change source]

In September 1979, Springsteen and the E Street Band joined the Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) anti-nuclear power collective at Madison Square Garden for two nights, playing an short set and two songs from his next album. 1988 Springsteen headlined the worldwide Human Rights Now! tour for Amnesty International. 2008 he supported Barack Obama's presidential campaign and he was the musical opener for the Obama Inaugural Celebration on January 18, 2009 . He performed "The Rising" with an female choir. Later he performed Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" with Pete Seeger.

Lyrics[change | change source]

Springsteen's lyrics often explore highly personal themes such as and unhappiness with life in everyday situations.

E Street Band[change | change source]

He did most of his records with the E Street Band. The band was formed in October 1972. Although Springsteen played with other bands the E Street Band was his band for 40 years. The band took the name from a street in Belmar, New Jersey where the mother of a founding member lived. The band members do also solo works and play as session musicians. (for example:Bittan and Van Zandt for Bob Dylan on Empire Burlesque). Clemons and Lofgren also went on tour with Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band in 1989. Although Springsteen informed the band in 1989 that he would not play with them they stayed friends and from 1999 onwards they again played and recorded together.

Band members[change | change source]

1972–1973
1973–1974
  • Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, mandolin
  • Clarence Clemons – tenor, baritone and soprano saxophones, backing vocals, percussion
  • Danny Federici – organ, accordion, piano, backing vocals
  • Vini Lopez – drums, cornet, backing vocals
  • David Sancious – piano, organ, keyboards, saxophone
  • Garry Tallent – bass, tuba, backing vocals
1974
  • Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Ernest Carter – drums
  • Clarence Clemons – tenor, baritone and soprano saxophones, backing vocals, percussion
  • Danny Federici – organ, accordion, glockenspiel, backing vocals
  • David Sancious – piano, organ
  • Garry Tallent – bass, tuba
1974–1975
  • Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Roy Bittan – piano, electric piano, backing vocals
  • Clarence Clemons – tenor, baritone and soprano saxophones, backing vocals, percussion
  • Danny Federici – organ, accordion, glockenspiel, backing vocals
  • Suki Lahavviolin, backing vocals
  • Garry Tallent – bass, tuba
  • Max Weinberg – drums
1975–1983
  • Bruce Springsteen – lead and backing vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano
  • Roy Bittan – piano, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Clarence Clemons – tenor, baritone and soprano saxophones, backing vocals, percussion
  • Danny Federici – organ, piano, accordion, glockenspiel, backing vocals
  • Garry Tallent – bass, backing vocals, percussion
  • Steven Van Zandt – guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
  • Max Weinberg – drums, backing vocals
1984–1989
  • Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Roy Bittan – piano, synthesizer
  • Clarence Clemons – tenor and baritone saxophones, backing vocals, percussion
  • Danny Federici – organ, accordion, synthesizer, backing vocals
  • Nils Lofgren – guitar, backing vocals
  • Patti Scialfa – vocals, synthesizer
  • Garry Tallent – bass
  • Max Weinberg – drums, backing vocals
1995
  • Bruce Springsteen – lead and backing vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, synthesizer, glockenspiel
  • Roy Bittan – piano, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Clarence Clemons – tenor and baritone saxophones, pennywhistle, backing vocals, percussion
  • Danny Federici – organ, accordion, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Nils Lofgren – guitar, pedal steel guitar, slide guitar, Dobro, banjo, backing vocals
  • Patti Scialfa – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Steven Van Zandt – guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
  • Garry Tallent – bass, backing vocals
  • Max Weinberg – drums, backing vocals
1999–2008
  • Bruce Springsteen – lead and backing vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, synthesizer, glockenspiel
  • Roy Bittan – piano, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Clarence Clemons – tenor and baritone saxophones, pennywhistle, backing vocals, percussion
  • Danny Federici – organ, accordion, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Nils Lofgren – guitar, pedal steel guitar, slide guitar, Dobro, banjo, backing vocals
  • Patti Scialfa – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Steven Van Zandt – guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
  • Garry Tallent – bass, backing vocals
  • Max Weinberg – drums, backing vocals

with

  • Soozie Tyrell (2002–2008) – violin, backing vocals, percussion, acoustic guitar
2008–2011
  • Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, synthesizer, glockenspiel
  • Roy Bittan – piano, keyboards, accordion, backing vocals
  • Clarence Clemons – tenor and baritone saxophones, pennywhistle, backing vocals, percussion
  • Nils Lofgren – guitar, slide guitar, accordion, backing vocals
  • Patti Scialfa – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Steven Van Zandt – guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
  • Garry Tallent – bass
  • Max Weinberg – drums

with

  • Soozie Tyrell – violin, backing vocals, percussion, acoustic guitar
  • Charles Giordano – organ, accordion, synthesizer
  • Jay Weinberg – drums (substitute during part of 2009 tour)
2011–present
  • Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, synthesizer, glockenspiel
  • Patti Scialfa – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Roy Bittan – piano, keyboards, accordion, backing vocals
  • Nils Lofgren – guitar, slide guitar, accordion, backing vocals
  • Steven Van Zandt – guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
  • Garry Tallent – bass
  • Max Weinberg – drums

with

  • Soozie Tyrell – violin, backing vocals, percussion, acoustic guitar
  • Charles Giordano – organ, accordion, synthesizer

[5]

Discography[change | change source]

Albums[change | change source]

Major studio albums (along with their chart positions in the U.S. Billboard 200 at the time of release):

[5] Live albums

Singles[change | change source]

  • 1975 Born to Run
  • 1978 Prove It All Night
  • 1980 Hungry Heart
  • 1981 Fade Away
  • 1981 The River
  • 1984 Dancing in the Dark
  • 1984 Cover Me
  • 1984 Born in the U.S.A. (song)
  • 1985 I’m on Fire
  • 1985 Glory Days
  • 1985 I’m Goin’ Down
  • 1985 My Hometown
  • 1985 Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  • 1986 War
  • 1987 Fire
  • 1987 Born to Run (Live)
  • 1987 Brilliant Disguise
  • 1987 Tunnel of Love
  • 1988 One Step Up
  • 1988 Tougher Than the Rest
  • 1988 Spare Parts
  • 1992 Human Touch
  • 1992 Better Days
  • 1992 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)
  • 1992 Leap of Faith
  • 1993 Lucky Town (live)
  • 1994 Streets of Philadelphia
  • 1995 Secret Garden
  • 1996 The Ghost of Tom Joad
  • 1996 Missing
  • 2002 The Rising
  • 2002 Lonesome Day
  • 2003 Waitin’ on a Sunny Day
  • 2005 Devils & Dust
  • 2007 Radio Nowhere
  • 2008 Girls in Their Summer Clothes
  • 2008 Working on a Dream
  • 2012 We Take Care of Our Own

[6]

Other websites[change | change source]

References[change | change source]