Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bruce Springsteen @ The Boss - America’s Radical Rock Guru

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949), nicknamed The Boss, is an American songwriter, singer and musician.

He has recorded and toured with the E Street Band and is widely known for his brand of rock infused with poetic lyrics and Americana sentiments.

Springsteen's recordings have tended to alternate between commercially accessible rock albums and somber folk-oriented works.

Much of his status stems from the concerts and marathon shows in which he and the E Street Band present intense ballads, rousing anthems and party rock songs, amongst which he intersperses whimsical or deeply emotional stories.

His most famous albums, Born To Run and Born In The USA, epitomise his penchant for finding grandeur in the struggles of daily life.

He has gradually become identified with progressive politics.

He is also noted for his support of various relief and rebuilding efforts in New Jersey and elsewhere, and for his response to the September 11, 2001, attacks, on which his album The Rising reflects.

He has earned numerous awards for his work, including 18 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and an Academy Award, and continues to have a strong global fan base.

He has sold over 65 million albums in the US and 120 million worldwide.

Springsteen was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and spent his childhood and high school years in Freehold Borough.

His father, Douglas Frederick Springsteen, was a bus driver of Dutch, Jewish, Spanish and British ancestry.

His mother, Adele Ann Zerilli, was a secretary of Italian ancestry.

He has an older sister, Virginia, who took photos for the Human Touch and Lucky Town albums and a younger sister, Pamela, who had a brief film career, but left acting to pursue still photography full time.

Raised a Roman Catholic, Springsteen was inspired to take up music at seven after seeing Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show.

In 1965, he became the lead guitarist and lead singer of The Castiles.

In the late 1960s, Springsteen joined the group Earth.

He acquired the nickname The Boss during this period for when he played in club gigs he took on the task of collecting the band's nightly pay and distributing it amongst his band mates.

From 1969 to 1971, Springsteen performed around New Jersey with guitarist Steve Van Zandt, organist Danny Federici, drummer Vini Lopez and bassist Vinnie Roslin in a band called Child, subsequently renamed Steel Mill with the addition of guitarist Robbin Thompson.

Springsteen signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1972, with the help of John Hammond, who had signed Bob Dylan to the same record label a decade earlier.

Springsteen brought many of his New Jersey-based colleagues into the studio with him, thus forming the E Street Band.

His debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, released in early 1973, established him as a critical favourite.

Because of his lyrics-heavy, folk rock-rooted music exemplified on tracks like Blinded By The Light and For You, critics initially compared Springsteen to Bob Dylan.

In late 1973 his second album The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle was released to critical acclaim.

With the release of Born To Run in 1975, Springsteen had his big break. Its songs Born To Run, Thunder Road, Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out and Jungleland all received massive radio airplay.

Springsteen subsequently produced Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978).

By the late 1970s, Springsteen had earned a reputation in the pop world as a songwriter whose material could provide hits for other bands.

In 1979, Springsteen and the E Street Band participated in an anti-nuclear concert in Madison Square Garden, New York City.

Springsteen continued to consolidate his focus on working-class life with the 20-song double album The River in 1980, and it yielded his first Top 10 single Hungry Heart.

The River was followed in 1982 by Nebraska.

While Nebraska did not sell well, it garnered widespread critical praise and influenced U2's album The Joshua Tree.

Springsteen is best known for his album Born In The USA (1984), which sold 15 million copies in the US alone and became one of the best-selling albums of all time with seven singles hitting the Top 10.

The title track was a bitter commentary on the treatment of Vietnam veterans, some of whom were Springsteen's friends and band mates.

The song was widely misinterpreted as jingoistic, and Ronald Reagan used it for his 1984 presidential campaign despite laughs from Springsteen fans, and disapproval from the singer himself.

Dancing In The Dark was the biggest hit from Born In The USA, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard music charts.

The music video for the song featured a young Courteney Cox dancing on stage with Springsteen, an appearance which helped kick-start the actress' career.

In 1985, Springsteen married actress Julianne Phillips. Sadly, the 5-year marriage ended in divorce.

Live 1975–85, a five-record box set was released in late 1986 and became a huge success, selling 13 million units in the US and becoming the first box set to debut at No. 1 on the US album charts.

It is one of the best selling live albums of all time.

Springsteen released the much more sedate and contemplative Tunnel Of Love in 1987.

Springsteen married Patti Scialfa in 1991. They have 3 children.

In 1992, Springsteen released two albums, Human Touch and Lucky Town.

A winner of 18 Grammy Awards with 16 albums to his credit, Springsteen won an Academy Award in 1994 for his song Streets Of Philadelphia, which appeared on the soundtrack of the Tom Hanks film Philadelphia.

In 1995, he released his second solo guitar album, The Ghost Of Tom Joad (named for a John Steinbeck character famously played in the film The Grapes Of Wrath by Henry Fonda).

Five years later, Springsteen's Reunion Tour with the E Street Band featured his controversial new song American Skin (41 Shots) about the police shooting of African permanent resident Amadou Diallo.

In 2002, Springsteen released The Rising, his first studio effort with the full E Street Band in 18 years.

The album, mostly a reflection on the September 11 attacks, was a critical and popular success.

Many of the songs were influenced by phone conversations Springsteen had with family members of victims of the attacks, whose obituaries mentioned how his music touched their lives.

At the Grammy Awards of 2003, Springsteen performed The Clash's London Calling with Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl and E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt in tribute to Joe Strummer.

In 2004, Springsteen and the E Street Band participated in the anti-George W. Bush Vote For Change tour, together with John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, The Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, REM and Jackson Browne, among other musicians.

Devils And Dust was released in 2005, and was recorded without the E Street Band.

In 2006, Springsteen released We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, an American music tribute to Pete Seeger.

Springsteen's next album, Magic, was released in 2007. Recorded with the E Street Band, it featured 10 new Springsteen songs.

In 2008, Springsteen announced his endorsement of Barack Obama as US President.

He said: "Americans want truth, transparency and integrity in government, the right to have a job, a living wage, a decent school, and a life filled with the dignity of work, the promise and the sanctity of home. But today these freedoms have been damaged and curtailed by eight years of a thoughtless, reckless and morally-adrift administration."

In January 2009, Springsteen won a Golden Globe award for his song The Wrestler, from the Mickey Rourke movie of the same name.

The E Street Band’s current line-up comprises Springsteen (guitar, harmonica, piano), Garry Tallent (bass guitar, tuba), Clarence Clemons (saxophone, percussion), Max Weinberg (drums, percussion), Roy Bittan (piano, synthesiser), Steven Van Zandt (guitar, mandolin), Nils Lofgren (pedal steel guitar), Scialfa (acoustic guitar, percussion), Soozie Tyrell (violin, acoustic guitar, percussion) and Charles Giordano (organ, accordion) [Giordano replaced Danny Federici who died after a long illness in April 2008].

Springsteen’s music was first linked with the silver screen in the 1983 John Sayles film Baby, It's You. The film featured several songs from Born To Run.

Sayles later directed videos for songs from Born In The USA and Tunnel Of Love.

The song (Just Around The Corner To The) Light Of Day was written for the early Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett film Light Of Day.

The film Indian Runner, written and directed by Sean Penn, was inspired by Springsteen's song Highway Patrolman.

Springsteen made his first on-screen appearance as a cameo in High Fidelity and it was voted Best Cameo In A Movie at the MTV Movie Awards.

He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999.