“Until I realized that rock music was my connection to the rest of the human race, I felt like I was dying for some reason and I didn't know why.” Bruce Springsteen
Multiple Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen, nicknamed “The Boss,” has recorded numerous critically acclaimed studio albums since the early 1970s, most notably "Born to Run" (1975), "The River" (1980), "Born in the U.S.A." (1984), "Tunnel of Love" (1987), "Human Touch" (1992), "Lucky Town" (1992), "The Rising" (2002), "Devils & Dust" (2005), and "Magic" (2007). The musician, who frequently recorded with "The E-Street Band," is currently recording his upcoming studio album, "Working on a Dream," due to be released on January 27, 2009. He will star in the halftime show at Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009.
Having earned numerous awards for his work, including eighteen Grammy Awards and an Academy Award (for the song "Streets of Philadelphia" for the film "Philadelphia”), Bruce has sold over 65 million albums in the U.S, and 120 million records worldwide, Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999. This 5' 10'' musician with a distinctive raspy voice was also voted the 23rd “Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artist of All Time” by Rolling Stone and ranked #27 on VH1's “100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll.” He also became America's biggest entertainment earner in 2003 after raking in over $115 million from tour dates. Bruce was elected to the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2007 for his services to music and entertainment.
“Talking about music is like talking about sex. Can you explain it? Should you even try?” Bruce Springsteen
On a more personal note, Springsteen was married to model and actress Julianne Phillips from 1985 to 1989 and is now married to "The E-Street Band" member Patti Scialfa, with whom he has three children.
New Jersey Boy
Childhood and Family:
“When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house, one was me and the other was my guitar.” Bruce Springsteen
In Long Branch, New Jersey, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949. His father, Douglas 'Dutch' Frederick Springsteen (died on April 26, 1998 at age 73), worked a variety of jobs, including factory worker, prison guard and bus driver and was of Irish and Dutch ancestry. His mother, Adele Ann Zerilli, worked as a legal secretary and was of Italian ancestry. Bruce has two sisters, Virginia Springsteen Shave (born in 1950) and Pamela Springsteen (actress-turned-photographer; born on February 8, 1962). His family moved to California in 1969, but twenty-year-old Springsteen remained in New Jersey.
Raised Catholic, young Springsteen attended St. Rose of Lima Parochial School, in Freehold, New Jersey, and transferred to the public Freehold High School in the ninth grade. He completed high school but was asked not to attend his high school graduation because his long hair was considered disrespectful. He briefly attended Ocean County Community College, in Ocean County, New Jersey, but later dropped out.
Springsteen was a bachelor until the age of 35 when he married model and actress Julianne Phillips (born May 6, 1960). The two met in October 1984 and were married in Lake Oswego on May 13, 1985. The couple agreed to a separation during Springsteen's "Tunnel of Love" tour and filed for divorce on August 30, 1988. The divorce was finalized on March 1, 1989, and Springsteen began living with singer, songwriter, and guitarist Vivienne Patricia "Patti" Scialfa (born July 29, 1953), a band member in "E Street Band" whom he had dated briefly in 1984 shortly after she joined the band. After welcoming their first child, a son named Evan James Springsteen, on July 25, 1990, Springsteen and Scialfa married at their Beverly Hills home on June 8, 1991, when she was pregnant with their second child, daughter Jessica Rae Springsteen (born December 31, 1991). The couple's youngest child, son Sam Ryan Springsteen, was born on January 5, 1994. The family lives in Rumson, New Jersey, and owns a horse farm in nearby Colts Neck.
Bruce Springsteen was inspired to take up music after watching Elvis Presley on "Toast of the Town" (1948) at the age of seven. At 13, he bought his first guitar for $18 and at 16, his mother took out a loan to buy him a Kent guitar for $60.
“When I go into a strange hotel room, to this day, I'll take the guitar out of the case first thing and I'll play for five or ten minutes. Then the place feels like mine.” Bruce Springsteen
Springsteen, who didn’t own a record player from the time he was 17 until he was 24, taught himself how to play the guitar as a teenager and joined several high school student bands. In 1965, he became the lead guitarist and later lead singer in his second band "The Castiles" (his first band was “The Rogues”), who recorded two original songs, both co-written by Springsteen, at a public recording studio in Brick Township, New Jersey, but they were never released.
After "The Castiles" broke up in 1968, Springsteen formed the band “Earth.” From 1969 to 1971, he performed with Steve Van Zandt, Danny Federici and Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez in a band called "Child," which was renamed later to "Steel Mill" when guitarist Robbin Thompson joined the band.
"Steel Mill" disbanded in 1971 and Springsteen formed “Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom” and the 10-piece “Bruce Springsteen Band,” which played to packed houses around the Jersey shore. He then decided to go solo and moved to New York City where he sang solo at various nightclubs. One of his performances caught the attention of personal manager Mike Appel, who would arrange for an audition with Columbia Records executive and legendary talent scout John Hammond, who had also signed Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan to the label.
“When it comes to luck, you make your own,” Bruce Springsteen
In 1972, Springsteen signed a ten-album record deal with Columbia Records and released his debut album, "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." (1973), with his New Jersey-based colleagues who would later be called "The E Street Band." The album, which failed to do well commercially despite receiving favorable reviews, ranked number 379 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003.
He followed it up with the album "The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle" (1973). Like his debut album, the album, which includes the song "Rosalita," was also well-received critically but had little commercial success. It would later rank #132 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003.
Springsteen achieved popularity with his third album, "Born to Run" (1975), which was a critical and commercial success and became his breakthrough album. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 and rose on charts worldwide. Two singles were released from the album, "Born to Run" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out." The album that went triple-platinum in 1986 was ranked #8 on Rolling Stone's "Top 100 Albums of the Last Twenty Years" in 1987 and #18 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" in 2003. It is also listed in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of historic recordings. On October 27, 1975, Springsteen appeared simultaneously on the covers of Time and Newsweek, which previously only happened to world leaders.
After being out of the studio for two years due to a legal battle with former manager Mike Appel, Springsteen released his first record in three years, the 5x platinum double album “The River” (1980). That same year, he appeared in the documentary and concert film "No Nukes."
In 1984, Springsteen won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance - Male, for the song "Dancing In The Dark," the first single released from his seventh studio album "Born in the U.S.A." It also won him an MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance.
“We took all different types of pictures and in the end, the picture of my ass looked better than the picture of my face, so that's what went on the cover.” Bruce Springsteen (about the cover of "Born In The USA")
The same year he released his first live recording, “Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live: 1975-1985” (1986), Springsteen had his song, "Just Around the Corner to the Light of Day," included in the Paul Schrader film for the early Michael J. Fox/Joan Jett vehicle, "Light of Day."
The following year, Springsteen took home a second Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance - Male, for the title track “Tunnel of Love.” The album was voted #91 on "Greatest Album of All Time" by Q magazine readers in 1998, ranked #25 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s," and #475 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003.
1992 saw Springsteen release two albums simultaneously, “Lucky Town” and “Human Touch.” Two years later, he wrote the award winning song "Streets of Philadelphia" for Jonathan Demme's feature film "Philadelphia" (1994). It won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Music - Original Song, a Golden Globe for Best Original Song - Motion Picture, an ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures, and Grammy Awards for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Vocal Performance - Solo, and Song of the Year.
In the mid 1990s, Springsteen released the album “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” which won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. He was also reunited with members of “E Street Band” for a concert in NYC and wrote songs for Sean Penn's "The Crossing Guard" and Tim Robbins' "Dead Man Walking," the latter of which earned him another Academy Award nomination for Best Music, Original Song.
After releasing a box set compilation of unreleased material in 1998, Springsteen was reunited with “E Street Band” members for a world tour in 1999. During this time, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where Bono of U2 gave the induction speech (Springsteen gave the induction speech when U2 was inducted in 2005).
Hitting the new millennium, Springsteen made a cameo appearance as himself in Stephen Frears' film starring John Cusack adapted from the 1995 British novel by Nick Hornby, "High Fidelity," which was voted "Best Cameo in a Movie" at the MTV Movie Awards. He then had his first nationally distributed TV concert on HBO in April 2001, "Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live in New York City," which was nominated for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special at the Emmy Awards.
Springsteen scooped up three Grammy Awards (for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Album, and Best Rock Song) for his 12th studio album and the title track “The Rising” (2002). He continued to rack up more Grammy Awards in 2003 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for his collaboration with Warren Zevon in the song “Disorder in the House, and in 2004 for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for his song “Code of Silence.”
After releasing “Devils & Dust” (2005), Springsteen began a solo tour. The album debuted at the top of the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and earned five Grammy nominations, three for the title track "Devils & Dust" (Song of the Year, Best Rock Song, and Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance) and two for the album as a whole (Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Long Form Music Video).
“Music was my way of keeping people from looking through and around me. I wanted the heavies to know I was around.” Bruce Springsteen
The next year, Springsteen received a Grammy nomination for Best Long Form Music Video for "Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run" (2006) and released “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions” (2006), which was recorded with a large ensemble of musicians. The same month Springsteen began a tour that featured the 18-strong ensemble of musicians dubbed the “Seeger Sessions Band.”
On October 2, 2007, Springsteen released his 15th studio album, "Magic," his first with the "E Street Band" since "The Rising" in 2002. The album that spawned the singles "Radio Nowhere" and "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" was #2 on Rolling Stone's list of “Top 50 Albums of 2007.” He followed it up with a tour with the “E Street Band.”
Following the death of longtime "E Street Band" organist Danny Federici on April 17, 2008, Springsteen released an EP with the “E Street Band,” titled "Magic Tour Highlights," which was released for digital download on July 15, 2008.
“Danny and I worked together for 40 years. He was the most wonderfully fluid keyboard player and a pure natural musician. I loved him very much. We grew up together.” Bruce Springsteen (about the 2008 death of “E Street Band” keyboardist Danny Frederici)
Springsteen, alongside the “E Street Band,” is currently recording his upcoming album, "Working on a Dream," due to be released on January 27, 2009. He will star in the halftime show at Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009.
“Your success story is a bigger story than whatever you're trying to say on stage. Success makes life easier. It doesn't make living easier.” Bruce Springsteen
Grammy: Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, “Devils & Dust,” 2005
Grammy: Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, “Code of Silence,” 2004
Grammy: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, “Disorder in the House,” 2003
Grammy: Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, “The Rising,” 2002
Grammy: Best Rock Album, “The Rising,” 2002
Grammy: Best Rock Song, “The Rising,” 2002
Royal Swedish Academy of Music: Polar Music Prize, 1997
Grammy: Best Contemporary Folk Album, “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” 1996
ASCAP Film and Television Music: Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures, “Philadelphia,” 1995
Grammy: Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television, “Philadelphia,” 1995
Oscar: Best Music - Original Song, “Philadelphia,” 1994
Golden Globe: Best Original Song - Motion Picture, “Philadelphia,” 1994
Grammy: Best Rock Song, “Streets of Philadelphia,” 1994
Grammy: Best Rock Vocal Performance - Solo, “Streets of Philadelphia,” 1994
Grammy: Song of the Year, “Streets of Philadelphia,” 1994
Grammy: Best Rock Vocal Performance - Male, “Tunnel of Love,” 1987
Grammy: Best Rock Vocal Performance - Male, “Dancing in the Dark,” 1984