Bruce Springsteen Part One
I’m actually doing “The Boss” in Bruce Springsteen Part One, and it’s and very entertaining.
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949), nicknamed “The Boss“, is an American singer-songwriter who is a solo artist and is the leader of the E Street Band. Springsteen received critical acclaim for his early 1970s albums and attained worldwide fame upon the release of Born to Run in 1975. During a career that has spanned five decades, Springsteen has become known for his poetic and socially conscious lyrics and for his lengthy, energetic stage performances. He has recorded both rock albums and folk-oriented works, and his lyrics often address the experiences and struggles of working-class Americans.
At the Roskilde Festival in 2012
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen
September 23, 1949 (age 69).
Long Branch, New Jersey, U.S.
Colts Neck, New Jersey, U.S.
( m. 1985; div. 1989).
Patti Scialfa (m. 1991).
3, including Jessica.
• Rockfolk rockheartland rockhard rockroots rock.
• Vocals guitar harmonica piano.
E Street Band.
The Sessions Band.
Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes.
USA for Africa.
Springsteen has sold more than 135 million records worldwide and more than 64 million records in the United States, making him one of the world‘s best-selling music artists. His best-known songs include “Born to Run“ (1975 ), “Thunder Road“(1975 ), “Badlands“ (1978 ), “Hungry Heart“ (1980 ), “Dancing in the Dark“ (1984), “Born in the U.S.A.“ (1984 ), “Glory Days“ (1985 ), “Brilliant Disguise“ (1987), “Human Touch“ (1992 ), and “Streets of Philadelphia“ (1994 ). He has earned numerous awards for his work, including 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award (for Springsteen on Broadway). Springsteen was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999, received Kennedy Center Honors in 2009, was named Music Cares person of the year in 2013, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.
Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949, at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey. He was brought home from the hospital to Freehold Borough where he spent his childhood. He lived on South Street and attended Freehold Borough High School. His father, Douglas Frederick “Dutch“ Springsteen (1924—1998), was of Dutch and Irish ancestry, and worked as a bus driver, among other jobs, but was unemployed most of the time. Bruce‘s father suffered from mental health issues through his life which worsened in his later years. Springsteen said his mother, Adele Ann (née Zerilli), a legal secretary of Italian ancestry, was the main breadwinner.
His maternal grandfather was born in Vico Equense, a town near Naples. He emigrated through Ellis Island, and when he arrived, he couldn’t read or write. Eventually he became a lawyer, and impressed Springsteen when he was younger as being larger than life. Springsteen has two younger sisters, Virginia and Pamela. Pamela had a brief film career, but left acting to pursue still photography full-time; she took photos for his Human Touch, Lucky Town and The Ghost of Tom Joad albums.
Springsteen‘s last name is topographic and of Dutch origin, literally translating to “jumping stone“ but more generally meaning a kind of stone used as a steppingstone in unpaved streets or between two houses. The Springsteens were among the early Dutch families who settled in the colony of New Netherland in the 1600s.
Raised a Catholic, Springsteen attended the St. Rose of Lima Catholic school in Freehold Borough, where he was at odds with the nuns and rejected the strictures imposed upon him, even though some of his later music reflects a Catholic ethos and includes a few rock-influenced, traditional Irish-Catholic hymns. In a 2012 interview, he explained that it was his Catholic upbringing rather than political ideology that most influenced his music. He noted in the interview that his faith had given him a “very active spiritual life“, although he joked that this “made it very difficult sexually.“ He added: “Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.“
Springsteen grew up hearing fellow New Jersey singer Frank Sinatra on the radio. He became interested in being a musician himself when, in 1956 and 1957, at the age of seven, he saw Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show. Soon after this, his mother rented him a guitar from Mike Diehl‘s Music in Freehold for $6 a week; it failed to provide him with the ‘instant gratification‘ he desired.
In ninth grade, Springsteen began attending the public Freehold High School, but did not fit in there, either. Former teachers have said he was a “loner, who wanted nothing more than to play his guitar.“ He graduated in 1967, but felt so uncomfortable that he skipped the ceremony. He briefly attended Ocean County College, but dropped out.
Called for conscription in the United States Army when he was 19, Springsteen failed the physical examination and did not serve in the Vietnam War. He had suffered a concussion in a motorcycle accident when he was 17, and this together with his “crazy“ behavior at induction gave him a classification of 4F, which made him unacceptable for service.
1964– 1972: Early Years
This was different, shifted the lay of the land. Four guys, playing and singing,writing their own material … Rock ‘n’ roll came to my house where there seemed to be no way out … and opened up a whole world of possibilities.
— Bruce Springsteen, on the impact of The Beatles
In 1964, Springsteen saw the Beatles appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Inspired, he bought his first guitar for $18.95 at the Western Auto Appliance Store. Thereafter, he started playing for audiences with a band called the Rogues at local venues such as the Elks Lodge in Freehold.
In late 1964, Springsteen’s mother took out a loan to buy him a $60 Kent guitar. Springsteen later memorialized this act in his song “The Wish“. The following year, he went to the house of Tex and Marion Vinyard, who sponsored young bands in town. They helped him become the lead guitarist and subsequently one of the leadsingers of the Castiles. The Castiles recorded two original songs at a public recording studio in Brick Township and played a variety of venues, including CafeWha? in Greenwich Village. Marion Vinyard said that she believed the young Springsteen when he promised he would make it big.
In the late-1960s, Springsteen performed briefly in a power trio known as Earth, playing in clubs in New Jersey, with one major show at the Hotel Diplomat in NewYork City. Earth consisted of John Graham on bass, and Mike Burke on drums. Bob Alfano was later added on organ, then was replaced for two gigs by Frank ‘Flash‘Craig.
Ordinary life in New Jersey beach towns such as Asbury Park is the background to Springsteen’s early lyrics
From 1969 through early 1971, Springsteen performed with Steel Mill (originally called Child), which included Danny Federici, Vini Lopez, Vinnie Roslin and later Steve Van Zandt and Robbin Thompson. During this time he performed regularly at venues on the Jersey Shore, in Richmond, Virginia, Nashville, Tennessee, and a set of gigs in California, quickly gathering a cult following. San Francisco Examiner music critic Philip Elwood gave Springsteen credibility in his glowing assessment of Steel Mill: “I have never been so overwhelmed by totally unknown talent.” Elwood went on to praise their “cohesive musicality” and, in particular, singled out Springsteen as “a most impressive composer“.
Other acts followed over the next two years, as Springsteen sought to shape aunique and genuine musical and lyrical style: Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom (early– to mid-1971), the Sundance Blues Band (mid-1971), and the Bruce Springsteen Band (mid-1971 to mid-1972).
His prolific songwriting ability (with “more words in some individual songs than other artists had in whole albums“, as his future record label would describe it in early publicity campaigns) brought his skills to the attention of several people who were about to change his life: New managers Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos, who in turn brought him to the attention of Columbia Records talent scout John Hammond. Hammond auditioned Springsteen in May 1972.
In October 1972, he formed a new band for the recording of his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. The band eventually became known as The E Street Band, although the name was not used until September 1974.
Springsteen acquired the nickname “The Boss” during this period, when his bands played club gigs and he took on the task of collecting the band‘s nightly pay and distributing it amongst his bandmates. The nickname also reportedly sprang from games of Monopoly that Springsteen would play with other Jersey Shore musicians. Springsteen is not fond of this nickname, due to his dislike of bosses, but seems to have tacitly accepted it. Previously he had the nickname “Doctor“.
Even after Springsteen gained international acclaim, his New Jersey roots showed through in his music, and he often praised “the great state of New Jersey” in his live shows. He has also made surprise appearances at The Stone Pony and other shore nightclubs over the years.