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Bruce Springsteen is a rock and roll icon – a singer, guitarist and songwriter best known for his rock and roll music with a pop music edge. He has performed and recorded as a solo artist as well as with his band, the E Street Band. Springsteen’s music appears on the Columbia record label. Beside his rock and roll fame, Springsteen is also well known for his progressive politics, his various social relief efforts and his response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Springsteen fans commonly refer to him as “The Boss.”
Bruce Springsteen was born as Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen in Long Branch, New Jersey on September 23, 1949 and grew up in grew up in Freehold, New Jersey. Springsteen attended St. Rose of Lima parochial school through the eighth grade, graduated from Freehold High School and then briefly attended Ocean County Community College. The Boss developed a love for music at a young age after watching Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show, and he eventually learned to play guitar. The Boss’ eventually became the lead guitarist of the Castiles, a group which recorded songs in Brick, New Jersey. He then started performing with Steve Van Zandt and a few others in a band called the Child (and later called Steel Mill). They performed regularly in Asbury Park at small Jersey nightclubs.
Springsteen’s rock and roll fame began as he signed a record deal with Columbia records in 1972 and brought with him Steven Van Zandt and a few others who formed the E Street Band. Springsteen’s fame grew over the next few years until the breakout year of 1975. In August 1975, Springsteen and the E Street Band played a number of shows at The Bottom Line Club in New York. The show attracted massive media attention and, later that month, the release of one of his best known albums, Born to Run, shot Springsteen to rock and roll fame. He appeared on the covers of Time magazine and Newsweek Magazine in October 1975.
By the late 1970’s, The Boss was writing songs that other famous artists (such as Patti Smith and the Pointer Sisters) recorded. Springsteen’s best known album, Born In the U.S.A., was released in 1984 and became one of the best selling albums of all time. Springsteen famously turned down an offer from Chrysler Corporation to use the title track, “Born In the U.S.A.” for a car commercial.
Springsteen was originally married to actress Julianne Phillips. In 1988, Springsteen’s relationship with Patti Scialfa (one of the backup singers in the E Street Band) became public. The Boss and Patti soon relocated to California after Springsteen dissolved the E Street Band. Springsteen and Patti married in 1991 and had 3 children (one daughter and two sons).
In 1994, Springsteen won an Academy Award for “Streets of Philadelphia” which appeared in the movie named Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks.
The E Street Band eventually reunited in 1999. The Boss and the E Street Band continued to tour and made more successful albums together. The current members of the E Street Band are: Danny Federici, Garry Tallent, Clarence "Big Man" Clemons, Max Weinberg, Roy Bittan, Steven Van Zandt, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Soozie Tyrell.
Springsteen soon started to advocate the revitalization of Asbury Park and played a number of concerts to benefit local venues in that area. Springsteen also increased his political activism, especially with the 2004 presidential election. He played concerts on a politically motivated tour with other artists such as John Mellencamp, the Dixie Chicks, the Dave Mathews Band and others to encourage voters to elect John Kerry over President George W. Bush. 2004 was the first time that Springsteen specially engaged in the endorsement of political candidates.
Music / Albums
To date, Bruce Springsteen’s albums have sold millions of copies. This albums include: Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. (1973), The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle (1973), Born to Run (1975), Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978), The River (1980), Nebraska (1982), Born in the U.S.A (1984), Live/1975-85 (1986), Tunnel of Love (1987), Chimes of Freedom (1988), Human Touch (1992), Lucky Town (1992), In Concert/MTV Plugged (1993), Greatest Hits (1995), The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995), Tracks (1998), 18 Tracks (1999), Live in New York City (2001), The Rising (2002), The Essential Bruce Springsteen (2003), Devils & Dust (2005) and We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (2006). Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. earned The Boss many comparisons to Bob Dylan, but sales were slow on this album and on his second album, The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. Born to Run was Springsteen’s breakout hit album. The music on Darkness on the Edge of Town was the first reflection of The Boss’s political awareness, as the mood of his songs changed from prior albums. The River focuses much on working-class life and Nebraska was a solo acoustic album. Born in the U.S.A. is The Boss’s best known album. Live/1975-85 was a 5-record set that sold exceptionally well, becoming the first box set to debut in the Number 1 spot on the charts. Tunnel of Love was a much calmer and more thoughtful album than prior releases, and Human Touch and Lucky Town continued this trend. Springsteen’s Greatest Hits album marked the initial reorganization of the E Street Band. The Ghost of Tom Joad then marked Springsteen’s release of his second solo guitar album. Best known in recent times is Springsteen’s album The Rising which encompasses many reflections of the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. Devils & Dust is Springsteen’s third acoustic album. Springsteen’s most recent album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, focuses on songs popularized by folk music singer, Pete Seeger.
Bruce Springsteen has won numerous music honors and awards for his rock and roll music. To date, Springsteen has won over 10 Grammy awards, an Academy Award and an Emmy Award. Springsteen has also been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.