Bruce Springsteen is an American (New Jersey) rock singer, composer and guitarist. Also known as "The Boss", he has been rocking around the world along with the E-Street Band or on his own since 1972, releasing 26 albums so far.
He has sold over 80 million records world-wide, has won 18 grammy awards, 1 Academy Award (Philadelphia), and a couple Emmys, as well as being part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, and being ranked 23rd by the Rolling Stone Magazine in their list of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". He is married to E-Street Band member Patti Scialfa since 1991.
Early 70s: First two albums
Springsteen's whole name is Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen Zirilli, born the 23rd of September of 1949 in a NJ town called Freehold. His first music influences come from Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan later on, which made him buy a guitar and learn to play at the age of 13. Later he joined the band "The Castiles" in high school, playing guitar and later becoming lead singer.
During the late 60s and until 1972 Springsteen took part in many different projects: a trio named Earth, and the bands Child, Steel Mill, Dr Zoom & the Sonic Boom, Sundance Blues Band and The Bruce Springsteen Band. These were the days when he became fomous locally, specially in the town and pubs of Asbury Park, New Jersey, after which Springsteen named his soon to arrive first album. It was at this point that he earned the nickname "The Boss", because he was in charge of collecting the band's pay and distribute it amongst the different members.
It was during these years that Springsteen met and began several bands along with what soon would become widely known as "The E-Street Band", a loyal and skilled group of musicians who have accompanied Bruce for the most part of his career.
As Bruce slowly became famous in the area managers Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos contacted him, and managed to arrange an audition with Columbia Records talent seeker John Hammond. As a result of this Bruce signed with Columbia Records and released his first album "Greetings from Asbury Park" in 1973, soon to be aclaimed by the critics who saw in Springsteen's complex lyrics a new Dylan. Sales were not as good as the critics though. "Spirit in the Night", "Lost in the Flood", "Growing Up" and "Blinded by the light" are some of the excellent songs that forever would stay in the memory of his fans and in the lists of hundreds of shows all around the world, yet to come.
Later that year he released his secon album "THe Wild, the Innocent and the E-Stret Shuffle". Once again the critics were very good, but the sales were not so great. "4th of July Asbury Park" and "Rosalita" were among the best songs from this second release.
Born to Run
It was in 1974 that Jon Landau wrote one of the most famous quotes about Springsteen when he said "I saw the future of rock and roll and its name is Bruce Springsteen", and he sure was right. He soon became his manager and helped him producing his third unforgettable album that would make Springsteen famous all over the USA and later the rest of the world: "Born to Run", released in 1975 is one of the big milestones in Bruce Springsteen's career. More than 30 years after its release fans and critics worldwide consider "Born To Run" one of the most important and energetic albums in the history of Rock N Roll. With classic tracks such as "Thunder Road", "Jungleland", "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" and "Born to Run", this album contains some of the songs that were to became true hymns for the audience throughout the world for decades to come.
Darkness On the Edge of Town
After touring all over the USA, and going to court to fight over the rights of his tracks against his previous manager Mike Appel, he released a new album in 1978. His fourth, album was to be somewhat different, but great again nevertheless, "Darkness on the edge of town" steps away from the optimism of "Born to run" and speaks of daily struggles and problems, delivering once again classic tracks from these early years such as "Badlands", "The Promised Land", "Darkness on the Edge of Town", "Prove it all Night" and "Racing in the Street".
That same year Springsteen wrote two of his greates songs: "Fire" and "Because The Night", which he made for The Pointer Sisters and Patti Smith. Patti made some changes to the lyrics though the music remained the same, and years later Springsteen would release both songs in his live albums, singing his own version of "Because the Night".
His fifth album "The River" came a couple years later, in 1980, featuring the sentimental, heartbreaking song named after the album, and Springsteen first top-ten hit: "Hungry Heart", a sticky little tune aired world-wide. The album was successful again, and Springsteen toured Europe for the first time, along with the E-Street Band, as usual.
His next album, "Nebraska" was quite different from anything Springsteen had recorded to date. Alone in his house Springsteen wrote several tracks and recorded them on a four-track tape deck, a tape that he actually carried in his pocket for weeks before deciding what to do. The songs were accoustic and harsh, sad, and definitely not what his audience awaited after "The River", but as years went by it proved to be one of his most beloved releases, another cult album for Springsteen fans to treasure. Most important tracks in "Nebraska" are "Johnny 99", "Atlantic City" and "Mansion on the Hill" among others.
Born in the USA
It was in 1984 that Springsteen released his most successful, widely known and often misunderstood album "Born in the USA", with his hit named after the album, a song that criticized US and its attitude against Vietnam war and its vets, although some people thought it was a patriotic hymn, when it was actually a wild anti-war cry and political criticism. Each and every single track in the album is good, some of them among his best ever written songs, that go from the happier, rocking, "Glory Days", "Working on the Highway" to the sadness of "Downbound Train" and a pletora of different feelings in between: an ode to friendship "Bobby Jean", the intronspective "My Hometown" or the catchy "Dancing in the Dark", along with ballads such as "I'm on fire" made Born in the USA his best selling album, and for good reason.
After Born in The USA Tour Springsteen amazing talent and charisma on scene had turned him into a Rock icon worldwide. His vivid representations on stage, connection with the public and the E-Street Band made Springsteen shows somewhat special, different, energetic experiences not to be missed.
But his fans lacked any official live release from the boss, and Springsteen put out an amazing collection of Live tracks that became an instant classic in his discography: the huge Live 1975-85 was a box containing five records with live tracks covering all periods of his career to date. It was also released as three cassettes or a 3 CD box edition, including an extensive booklet loaded with pictures.
Tunnel Of Love
It was during "Born in the USA" tour that Bruce met and married actress Julianne Philipps. Things didn't go well, and they soon split. This experience resembled on his next album "Tunnel of love", and specially on one of his best songs ever written, the amazing "Brilliant Disguise". The album has other remarkable tracks such as the one that gives name to the album and "Tougher than the Rest" or "When you are Alone". On the subsequent "Tunel of Love Tour" Springsteen started a relationship with the backing singer Patti Scialfa, who is his wife now a days.
"Tunnel of Love" was also the album that marked his separation from the E-Street Band for a few years to come. Some of the E-Streeters took part in the recording and following tour, but the line-up was changed and The Boss decided to go on his own for a period of time.
Lucky Town, Human Touch & MTv Plugged
In 1992 Springsteen once again surprised critics and fans alike with the release of two albums at the same time: "Lucky Town" and "Human Touch", recorded with session musicians that went with him on the following World Tour, replaced the E-Street Band. Concerts were excellent as usual with Springsteen, and the musicians were good, but fans really missed the classic combination of Bruce & E-Street Band. Both albums are happier than previous releases, and in many lyrics the fans can feel that Springsteen has finally found that sweet spot in life where things are stable, both albums are heavily influenced by his decision to move to LA and start a new life there along with Patti Scialfa.
Though they are good albums in their own right, time has proved that not many of their tracks became "classic" Springsteen tracks, and even Bruce's loyal fan base stated their dislike for his decision to split from the E-Street Band during this period of his career.
In 1993 Bruce released a Live CD "In concert MTv Plugged", featuring the most representative songs of his latest tour, including an astonishing electric version of "Atlantic City" that he used to play in most concerts.
Greatest Hits & Tracks
In 1995 Bruce released a Greatest Hits CD, and although that was not very exciting for his fans the good news were that he was working along with the E-Street Band again, recording some new tracks for the ocassion. But it was some years later that this dream would come true for his fan base around the globe.
Later in 1998 he released a 4 CD case containing loads of out-takes, named "Tracks", featuring rarities and much sought after tunes that were only available in rare bootlegs until then.
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Springsteen's plans for the near future still didn't include the E-Street Band in 1995, he was determined to release a new solo album, in the style of Nebraska, and he did: "The Ghost of Tom Joad" is an acoustic piece, very introspective and political, based on the novel "The grapes of wrath" by Steinbeck. It was followed by a World Tour in which Springsteen, armed with his harmonica and accoustic guitar, played in Theaters and small venues, to give his concerts the more intimate approach needed given the nature of this new album.
The Rising to present days
It was in 2000 that Bruce got back with the E- Street Band, and after a succesful tour they recorded "The Rising" in 2002, an album which was heavily influenced by the 9/11 attack. The album was followed by "The Rising Tour" which lasted over a year and made a ticket selling record never acomplished before: 10 night shows sold out at the Giant Stadium in NJ.
In 2005 Bruce released "Devils and Dust" on his own, as a continuation to "The Ghost of Tom Joad", and in the same style. As a matter of fact he stated that most of the songs from the album were actually written by the time he released "The Ghost of Tom Joad". Once again The Boss went on tour all alone, playing mostly in small venues.
In 2007 Springsteen released his last album to date, "Magic" along with the E-Street Band, followed by a tour around USA and Europe. As usual with Springsteen the album worked very well, with a powerful first single "Radio Nowhere" which reminds of his most powerful sound from "Born in the USA".
The E-Street Band
The E- Street band is widely known for their long and loyal relationship with Springsteen since 1972. They have also recorded with many other reknown bands and artists (Meat Loaf, Dire Sraits, Peter Gabriel...), and their members have also released albums on their own.
The line-up of the band has changed during the years. Members these days are:
Roy Bittan - Keyboards
Clarence Clemons - Saxophone
Nils Lofgren - Guitar
Patti Scialfa - Backing Vocals
Garry Tallent - Bass
Soozie Tyrell - Violin
Steven Van Zandt - Guitar
Max Weinberg - Drums
Other members that took part in the band in the past were:
Ernest "Boom" Carter - Drums
Danny Federici - Keyboards
Suki Lahav - Violin
Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez - Drums
David Sancious - Keyboards
Bruce Springsteen albums are traditional american rock and roll from beginning to end, his style is heavily influenced by classics such as Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan in his early days, but go beyond rock and roll into blues, folk and pop culture, with artists such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Van Morrison, James Brown and Chuck Berry to name a few.
His songs speak of ordinary troubles and victories, with themes often binded to his origins and beloved New Jersey, songs that talk of winners and losers and all shades of grey in between. Often emotional, sometimes political and others more relaxed and joyful, Springsteen's songs and lyrics are deep within the audience subconscious forever to remain, as Springsteen is a Rock Legend still alive, a true Guitar Hero for generations to admire.
With over 36 years of rocking around the world, Springsteen has used lots of different gear, let's take a look at some of his most widely used guitars, amps and accessories:
Customized '52 Fender Telecaster , being this his most iconic guitar.
Customized 60's Fender Telecaster- 3-Tone Sunburst/White/Rosewood
Cutomized Vintage Fender Telecaster- Black/White/Maple
Takamine EF-381C 12-String Acoustic Electric Cutaway Guitar
Takamine TF450SMSB 6-string Acoustic-Electric Guitar - Sunburst
Fender Twin Reverb Amps
4x12 Marshall Cabs - Angled
Hohner Marine Band Harmonicas
Dean Markley Electric Guitar Strings (10,13,17,30,38,48)
D'Addario EXL115 Electric Guitar Strings
D'Addario EXP16 Acoustic Guitar Strings
1973 Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
1973 The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle
1975 Born to Run
1978 Darkness on the Edge of Town
1980 The River
1984 Born in the U.S.A.
1987 Tunnel of Love
1992 Human Touch
1992 Lucky Town
1993 In Concert/MTV Plugged
1995 Greatest Hits
1995 The Ghost of Tom Joad
1999 18 Tracks
2001 Live in New York City
2002 The Rising
2003 The Essential Bruce Springsteen
2005 Devils & Dust
2005 Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition
2006 Hammersmith Odeon London '75
2006 We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
2007 Bruce Springsteen with The Sessions Band: Live in Dublin
1988 Chimes Of Freedom
1996 Blood Brothers
Blinded by the Light
Spirit in the Night
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Born to Run
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Prove It All Night
The Promised Land
Open All Night
Dancing in the Dark
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm on Fire
I'm Goin' Down
Stand on It
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Because the Night
Tunnel of Love
One Step Up
All That Heaven Will Allow
Tougher Than the Rest
Chimes of Freedom
57 Channels (And Nothin' On)
Leap of Faith
Roll of the Dice
Streets of Philadelphia
Hungry Heart" (reissue)
The Ghost of Tom Joad
I Wanna Be With You
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Devils & Dust
All The Way Home
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Video Anthology / 1978-88
In Concert/MTV Plugged
The Complete Video Anthology / 1978-2000
Live in New York City
Live in Barcelona
Wings For Wheels
Hammersmith Odeon London '75
Bruce Springsteen with The Sessions Band: Live in Dublin
Originally by Fran