|Home | Bruce Biography | 50 facts on Bruce | The E-Street Band | Albums Discography | Bruce Lyrics | "Live in Dublin" | "Working on a Dream, a review" | Bruce Springsteen Links Page | A Tribute to the Boss | Tribute 2 | Springsteen Quotes | European tour 2003 | Cards and E-Mail ||
This part of Bosstown was created to give you some insight in the man, his music and the things he stands for.|
A small Biography
Thanks to his rebellious persona, small town outsider lyrics, and memorable pop tunes Bruce Springsteen has become one of the most popular rock musicians of the past 30 years, selling tens of millions of albums and winning over legions of loyal fans worldwide. He remains one of the most respected musicians in history, known as much for his integrity and charitable contributions as he is for his brilliant songwriting and marathon live performances. He is, simply put, the last, true voice of rock and roll.
Born, not in Freehold as many people think, but in nearby Long Branch, N.J. on September 23, 1949,( He was raised in Freehold tho ) Springsteen grew up in a normal, middle-class family, first experimenting with guitar while in high school. After graduation he moved to New York City but failed to establish himself in the local folk scene, reluctantly returning to Asbury Park, N.J. less than a year later. Springsteen performed with a succession of small bands, such as the Rogues and Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, before finding a place with the E-Street Band, a popular bar act. Springsteen's first album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., was released in 1973, quickly followed by The Wild, the Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle, both of which won him critical praise and comparisons to Bob Dylan but little commercial success.
After a tour with the band Chicago that brought attention to Springsteen's captivating live shows, the singer-songwriter returned with his breakthrough 1974 effort Born to Run, which quickly reached the Top 5 thanks to frequent airplay of the title track and "Thunder Road." Born to Run became one of the most praised and purchased albums of the decade and Springsteen was hyped as the savior of rock 'n' roll, appearing on magazine covers (notably both Time and Newsweek simultaneously) and newspaper articles.
For the next three years, Springsteen did not record a single note due to a lawsuit brought against his first manager, Mike Appel. Springsteen fought to break his contract, which not only bound him to Appel but surrendered complete control of his song catalog. When it was over, Springsteen regained control of his career and was working with producer Jon Landau, who had once proclaimed: “I have seen the future of rock and roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen.”
With management issues resolved, Springsteen returned in 1978 with the darker Darkness on the Edge of Town, considered by many to be the pinnacle of his songcraft. Two years later came the somewhat "slicker" album The River, which quickly went platinum in the Untied States, thanks to the Top Ten hit, “Hungry Heart,” and established Springsteen as a major international star. Springsteen switched back to a dark, edgy sound with 1982's Nebraska, a sparse, raw-sounding album recorded live to four-track in his New Jersey home and not accompanied by a major tour. Suddenly Springsteen changed gears, moving from an artistic, despairing acoustic style to no-hold-barred, arena rock with 1984's Born in the U.S.A., which sold 20 million copies and was accompanied by a massive world tour which lasted nearly two years.
With a new high-profile image, Springsteen's upbeat, uniquely American anthems became part of the zeitgeist, embraced by conservative politicians like Ronald Reagan despite their anti-patriotic overtones. "The Boss" hit the big time, becoming an international superstar, later releasing a five-album live collection to fight a growing horde of bootleggers who sold live recordings to eager fans world over.
1987's Tunnel of Love marked another change in Bruce's style. Facing marital problems with his actress wife Julianne Phillips, Springsteen began singing about lost love, emotional turmoil and other adult problems. After one last tour, Springsteen parted ways with both Phillips and the E Street Band. He became romantically involved with backup singer Patti Scalfia in 1990; the couple gave birth to a son, Evan, and married in 1991. One year later, Springsteen returned with not one but two new albums, Human Touch and Lucky Town. While Human Touch was more staid and radio-oriented, Lucky Town was another step forward for the singer-songwriter, a return to the powerful, consistent albums of the 1970s and early 1980s. After a plugged-in performance on MTV's Unplugged program, Springsteen resumed touring.
In the fall of 1993 he released "Streets of Philadelphia" for the movie Philadelphia; the song became a Top 10 hit and won several Grammys and an Academy Award. Now in the midst of a full-fledged comeback, a "greatest hits" album was released and Springsteen reunited with the E Street Band for several new tracks. 1995's The Ghost of Tom Joad found "The Boss" returning to his folk days with a Dylan-esque acoustic guitar, soulful lyrics and a 1930s folk motif inspired by the movie The Grapes of Wrath starring Henry Fonda. Springsteen kept a low profile for the next few years. He and Patti settled in New Jersey and raised their three kids, Evan, Jessica and Sam.
In 1998, the four-disc box set, Tracks, was released and debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. Fifty-six of the 66 tracks were previously unreleased. On March 15, 1999, Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A reunion tour with the E Street Band followed that same year. The world tour ended in 2000 with the release of Live in New York City.
Then the world changed on September 11, 2001, when terrorists struck the Twin Towers, devastating New York City and the country as a whole. In the months that followed, Springsteen quietly began writing new material for the first time since The Ghost of Tom Joad. In 2002, Springsteen and the E Street Band released The Rising, the first artistic expression that directly addressed the events and the aftermath of 9/11. The album was critically praised for its unflinching honesty and compassion, as well as its poignant and uplifting message of faith and hope, all wrapped up in good old-fashioned rock and roll. The album earned three Grammy Awards in 2003 for Best Rock Song ("The Rising"), Best Rock Album and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance (“The Rising").
During the early 2000s, Springsteen became a visible advocate for the revitalization of Asbury Park, and played an annual series of winter holiday concerts there to benefit various local businesses, organizations, and causes. These shows were explicitly intended for the devoted fans, featuring numbers such as the E Street Shuffle outtake "Thundercrack", a rollicking group-participation song that would mystify casual Springsteen fans. He also frequently rehearses for tours in Asbury Park; some of his most devoted followers even go so far as to stand outside the building to hear what fragments they can of the upcoming shows. The song "My City of Ruins" was originally written about Asbury Park, in honor of the attempts to revitalize the city. Looking for an appropriate song for a post-Sept. 11 benefit concert honoring New York City, he selected "My City of Ruins", which was immediately recognized as an emotional highlight of the concert, with its gospel themes and its heartfelt exhortations to "Rise up!" The song became associated with post-9/11 New York, and he chose it to close The Rising album and as an encore on the subsequent tour.
At the Grammy Awards of 2003, Springsteen performed The Clash's "London Calling" along with Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl, and E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt and No Doubt's bassist, Tony Kanal, in tribute to Joe Strummer; Springsteen and the Clash had once been considered multiple-album-dueling rivals at the time of the double The River and the triple Sandinista!. In 2004, Springsteen and the E Street Band participated in the "Vote for Change" tour, along with John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Bright Eyes, the Dave Matthews Band, Jackson Browne, and other musicians. All concerts were to be held in swing states, to benefit the liberalism political organization group America Coming Together and to encourage people to register and vote. A finale was held in Washington, D.C., bringing many of the artists together. Several days later, Springsteen held one more such concert in New Jersey, when polls showed that state surprisingly close. While in past years Springsteen had played benefits for causes in which he believed – against nuclear energy, for Vietnam veterans, Amnesty International, and the Christic Institute – he had always refrained from explicitly endorsing candidates for political office (indeed he had rejected the efforts of Walter Mondale to attract an endorsement during the 1984 Reagan "Born in the U.S.A." flap). This new stance led to criticism and praise from the expected partisan sources. Springsteen's "No Surrender" became the main campaign theme song for John Kerry's unsuccessful presidential campaign; in the last days of the campaign, he performed acoustic versions of the song and some of his other old songs at Kerry rallies.
An acoustic guitar number during the solo Devils & Dust Tour performance at the Festhalle Frankfurt, June 15, 2005. Devils & Dust was released on April 26, 2005, and was recorded without the E Street Band. It is a low-key, mostly acoustic album, in the same vein as Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad although with a little more instrumentation. Some of the material was written almost 10 years earlier during, or shortly after, the Ghost of Tom Joad Tour, a couple of them being performed then but never released.The title track concerns an ordinary soldier's feelings and fears during the Iraq War. Starbucks rejected a co-branding deal for the album, due in part to some sexually explicit content but also because of Springsteen's anti-corporate politics. The album entered the album charts at No. 1 in 10 countries (United States, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Ireland). Springsteen began the solo Devils & Dust Tour at the same time as the album's release, playing both small and large venues. Attendance was disappointing in a few regions, and everywhere (other than in Europe) tickets were easier to get than in the past. Unlike his mid-1990s solo tour, he performed on piano, electric piano, pump organ, autoharp, ukulele, banjo, electric guitar, and stomping board, as well as acoustic guitar and harmonica, adding variety to the solo sound. (Offstage synthesizer, guitar, and percussion were also used for some songs.) Unearthly renditions of "Reason to Believe", "The Promised Land", and Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream" jolted audiences to attention, while rarities, frequent set list changes, and a willingness to keep trying even through audible piano mistakes kept most of his loyal audiences happy.
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 featured 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 American roots music project focused around a big folk sound treatment of 15 songs popularized by the radical musical activism of Pete Seeger. It was recorded with a large ensemble of musicians including only Patti Scialfa, Soozie Tyrell, and The Miami Horns from past efforts. In contrast to previous albums, this was recorded in only three one-day sessions, and frequently one can hear Springsteen calling out key changes live as the band explores its way through the tracks. The Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band Tour began the same month, featuring the 18-strong ensemble of musicians dubbed The Seeger Sessions Band (and later shortened to The Sessions Band). Seeger Sessions material was heavily featured, as well as a handful of (usually drastically rearranged) Springsteen numbers. The tour proved very popular in Europe, selling out everywhere and receiving some excellent reviews, but newspapers reported that a number of U.S. shows suffered from sparse attendance.By the end of 2006, the Seeger Sessions tour toured Europe twice and toured America for only a short span. Bruce Springsteen with The Sessions Band: Live in Dublin, containing selections from three nights of November 2006 shows at The Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, was released the following June.
Springsteen's next album, titled Magic, was released on October 2, 2007. Recorded with the E Street Band, it featured 10 new Springsteen songs plus "Long Walk Home", performed once with the Sessions band, and a hidden track (the first included on a Springsteen studio release), "Terry's Song", a tribute to Springsteen's long-time assistant Terry Magovern, who died on July 30, 2007.The first single, "Radio Nowhere", was made available for a free download on August 28. On October 7, Magic debuted at number 1 in Ireland and the UK. Greatest Hits reentered the Irish charts at number 57, and Live in Dublin almost cracked the top 20 in Norway again. Sirius Satellite Radio also restarted E Street Radio on Channel 10 on September 27, 2007, in anticipation of Magic. Radio conglomerate Clear Channel Communications was alleged to have sent an edict to its classic rock stations to not play any songs from the new album, while continuing to play older Springsteen material. However, Clear Channel Adult Alternative (or "AAA") station KBCO did play tracks from the album, undermining the allegations of a corporate blackout. The Springsteen and E Street Band Magic Tour began at the Hartford Civic Center with the album's release and was routed through North America and Europe. Springsteen and the band performed live on NBC's Today Show in advance of the opener.
Longtime E Street Band organist Danny Federici left the tour in November 2007 to pursue treatment for melanoma.
Danny made his only return to the stage on March 20, 2008, when he appeared for portions of a Springsteen and E Street Band performance at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Danny died on April 17, 2008 at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, having suffered for three years with melanoma.
Springsteen's album, Working on a Dream, is dedicated to him.(The last Carnival is a track he wrote especially for Danny)
Springsteen supported Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, announcing his endorsement in April 2008 and going on to appear at several Obama rallies as well as performing several solo acoustic performances in support of Obama's campaign throughout 2008, culminating with a November 2 rally where he debuted "Working On A Dream" in a duet with Scialfa.At an Ohio rally, Springsteen discussed the importance of "truth, transparency and integrity in government, the right of every American to have a job, a living wage, to be educated in a decent school, and a life filled with the dignity of work, the promise and the sanctity of home...But today those freedoms have been damaged and curtailed by eight years of a thoughtless, reckless and morally-adrift administration."
Following Obama's electoral victory on November 4, Springsteen's song "The Rising" was the first song played over the loudspeakers after Obama's victory speech in Chicago's Grant Park. Springsteen was the musical opener for the Obama Inaugural Celebration on January 18, 2009 which was attended by over 400,000. He performed "The Rising" with an all-female choir. Later he performed Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" with Pete Seeger.
On June 18, 2008, Springsteen appeared live from Europe at the Tim Russert tribute at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to play one of Russert's favorite songs, "Thunder Road". Springsteen dedicated the song to Russert, who was "one of Springsteen's biggest fans." On January 11, 2009, Springsteen won the Golden Globe Award for Best Song for "The Wrestler", from the Mickey Rourke film by the same name. After receiving a heartfelt letter from Mickey Rourke, Springsteen supplied the song for the film for free.
Springsteen performed at the halftime show at Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009, agreeing to do it after many previous offers. A few days before the game, Springsteen gave a rare press conference, where he promised a "twelve-minute party." His 12:45 set, with the E Street Band and the Miami Horns, included abbreviated renditions of "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out"", "Born to Run", "Working on a Dream, and "Glory Days", the latter complete with football references. The set of appearances and promotional activities led Springsteen to say, "This has probably been the busiest month of my life."
Springsteen's Working on a Dream album was released in late January 2009 and the supporting Working on a Dream Tour ran from April 2009 until November 2009. The tour featured few songs from the new album, with instead set lists dominated by classics and selections reflecting the ongoing late-2000s recession. The tour also featured Springsteen playing songs requested by audience members holding up signs as on the final stages of the Magic Tour. Drummer Max Weinberg was replaced for some shows by his 18-year-old son Jay Weinberg, so that the former could serve his role as bandleader on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.During this tour, Springsteen and the band made their first real foray in the world of music festivals, headlining nights at the Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands, Festival des Vieilles Charrues in France, the Bonnaroo Music Festival in the United States and the Glastonbury Festival in the UK and Hard Rock Calling in the UK. Several shows on the tour featured full album presentations of Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, or Born in the U.S.A. The band performed a stretch of five final shows at his homestate Giants Stadium, opening with a new song highlighting the historic stadium, and his Jersey roots, named "Wrecking Ball".The tour ended as scheduled in Buffalo, NY in November 2009 amid speculation that it was the last performance ever by the E Street Band, but during the show Springsteen said it was goodbye “for a little while.” A DVD from the Working of a Dream Tour entitled London Calling: Live in Hyde Park was released in 2010.
In addition to his own touring, Springsteen made a number of appearances at tribute and benefit concerts during 2009, including The Clearwater Concert, a celebration of Pete Seeger's 90th birthday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th anniversary benefit concert, a benefit for the charity Autism Speaks at Carnegie Hall. On January 22, 2010, he joined many well-known artists to perform on Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Reliefý, organized by George Clooney to raise money to help the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
In 2009, Springsteen performed in The People Speak a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States". Springsteen was among the recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, an annual award to figures from the world of arts for their contribution to American culture, in December 2009. President Obama gave a speech in which he talked about how Springsteen has incorporated the life of regular Americans in his expansive pallette of songs and how his concerts are beyond the typical rock-and-roll concerts, how, apart from being high-energy concerts, they are "communions". He ended the remark "while I am the president, he is The Boss". Tributes were paid by several well-known celebrities including Jon Stewart (who described Springsteen's "unprecedented combination of lyrical eloquence, musical mastery and sheer unbridled, unadulterated joy"). A musical tribute featured John Mellencamp, Ben Harper and Jennifer Nettles, Melissa Etheridge, Eddie Vedder and Sting.
The 2000s ended with Springsteen being named one of eight Artists of the Decade by Rolling Stone magazine and with Springsteen's tours ranking him fourth among artists in total concert grosses for the decade. In September 2010, a documentary about the making of his 1978 album "Darkness on The Edge of Town" was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film, The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, was included in a box set reissue of the album, entitled The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story, released in November 2010. Also airing on HBO, the documentary explored Springsteen's making of the acclaimed album, and his role in the production and development of the tracks.
Springsteen is working on his next studio album with Ron Aniello , who also co-produced the 2007 album "Play It As It Lays", by Springsteen's wife, Patti Scialfa. Ron Aniello also produced "Children's Song" early in 2011, a duet with Bruce and Patti, which was done for a charity project.
On june 12, 2011 "the Big Man" Clarence Clemons, Springsteens longtime friend and the E-Street Bands saxophoneplayer suffered a stroke and died of complications from it on June 18, at 69 years of age. This leaves the future of the E-Street Band uncertain for the moment..
Maybe though we should find some hope in the words included in Bruce's eulogy for Clarence
"Clarence doesn't leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die."
Back to Top