Born on this day, 23rd Sept 1949, Bruce Springsteen, US singer, songwriter. His most successful studio albums, Born in the U.S.A. and Born to Run, showcase a talent for finding grandeur in the struggles of daily American life; he has sold more than 65 million albums in the United States and more than 120 million worldwide
To celebrate Bruce’s birthday, we bring you some facts on ‘The Boss’.
Springsteen was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and spent his childhood and high school years in Freehold Borough. He lived on South Street in Freehold Borough and attended Freehold Borough High School. His father, Douglas Frederick Springsteen, was of Dutch and Irish ancestry (his surname in Dutch means jumping stone).
Springsteen had been inspired to take up music at the age of seven after seeing Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show.
At 13, his mother bought him his first guitar for $18; later, she took out a loan to buy the 16-year-old Springsteen a $60 Kent guitar, as he later memorialized in his song “The Wish”. The first song a young Bruce learned play on the guitar was the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” which he has frequently played the song at live shows – it oftens forms part of the encore.
In 1965, 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 the lead singer of The Castiles.
Springsteen signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1972, with the help of John Hammond, who had signed Bob Dylan to the same label a decade earlier.
His debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., released in January 1973.
In the May 22, 1974, issue of Boston’s The Real Paper, music critic Jon Landau wrote after seeing a performance at the Harvard Square Theater, “I saw rock and roll’s future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time.” Landau subsequently became Springsteen’s manager and producer, helping to finish the epic new album, Born to Run.
His 1984 album Born in the U.S.A. has sold over 15 million copies in the U.S. alone and became one of the best-selling albums of all time. The title track was a bitter commentary on the treatment of Vietnam veterans, some of whom were Springsteen’s friends and bandmates.
There really is an E Street. It runs northeast through the New Jersey shore town of Belmar. According to Springsteen lore, the band took its name from the street because original keyboard player David Sancious’ mother lived there and allowed the band to rehearse in her house.
The working title of Darkness on the Edge of Town was American Madness, also the title of a 1932 Frank Capra movie. Early copies of the album were mistakenly released inside covers for Barbra Streisand’s Songbird.
Springsteen bought a 1950 Corvette with his first royalty cheque from ‘Born To Run’. It’s the first car he ever owned, and now resides in a Rock N’Roll Hall Of Fame exhibition.
Test pressings of ‘Born To Run’ have a sepia tint and the title printed in a handwritten-style font. A rare Springsteen collectable can change hands for $1000 plus.
In 1979, Bruce saw the Ramones play at the Fast Lane in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He met the band and Joey Ramone asked Bruce to write a song for them. Springsteen wrote “Hungry Heart” and considered giving it to them, but hung on to it at the urging of his manager.
Springsteen has never had a No.1 single in the US, although the Manfred Mann’s Earthband cover of Asbury’s Park ‘Blinded By The Light’ hit the top spot in early 1977.
Astronauts on a 1999 voyage of space shuttle ‘Discovery’ were played ‘Redezvous’ as a wake-up call, before docking with the Hubble telescope. The Boss had a planet named after him that same year
Springsteen’s music has been used in many films and he has also written and performed several works specifically for films, examples are Philadelphia, Dead Man Walking, Jerry Maguire, and The Wrestler.
Springsteen made his first on-screen appearance in a brief cameo as himself in High Fidelity in 2000 and it was voted “Best Cameo in a Movie” at the MTV Movie Awards.
After a 1976 concert in Memphis, a most certainly inebriated Springsteen went to Graceland at three in the morning, jumped the wall, and ran to the front door. Security grabbed him before he could make it to the door and sent him packing. Knocking wouldn’t have done much good, anyway. Elvis was in Lake Tahoe at the time.
Bruce has fans in high places. Barack Obama has said that there are “a handful of people who enter into your lives through their music and tell the American people’s story. Bruce Springsteen is one of those people.” He’s also said that he ran for President because he couldn’t be Bruce Springsteen.
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