Bruce Springsteen is an American singer-songwriter, born on September 23 1949 in New Jersey. He is also known by his nickname The Boss, and performs with his band The E Street Band.
Springsteen got his first guitar aged 13, having been inspired to play music by Elvis some years earlier. He started performing in public in 1964 in local trailer parks. In 1965, he joined a band called The Castiles, initially as lead guitarist and eventually becoming singer. He later performed briefly with another group, Earth, and it was during this time that he procured The Boss nickname.
The musician performed with various other acts before forming the E Street Band in all but name, in 1972. Springsteen drew heavily from his working class New Jersey surroundings in his music. He signed a deal with Columbia the same year. His debut album ‘Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.’ followed in January 1973, gaining him a strong critical reception but slow sales.
His second album, ‘The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle’, came swiftly after in September 1973 but struggled to make an impact commercially. Springsteen’s breakthrough came in 1975 with the release of ‘Born To Run’. The album was recorded in New York with Mike Appel and Jon Landau on production. It peaked at Number Three on the Billboard 200 and had sold six million copies in the US alone by 2000.
A legal dispute with Appel, also his former manager, kept Springsteen from re-entering the studio for a period. Once a settlement was reached, he began work on his next record. ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’ was released on June 2 1978. It is now certified as triple platinum in the US, while Rolling Stone listed it as the 150th greatest album of all time.
The 20-track double album ‘The River’ followed on October 17 1980. It went to Number One in the Billboard 200, as well the albums charts in Canada and Norway. It is certified platinum in the UK and five times platinum in the US.
Springsteen’s next album, ‘Nebraska’, took a new direction, boasting a more acoustic, stark sound. It was originally demoed on a four-track tape deck, with the intention to work the songs into full band pieces but Springsteen and producer Landau decided it worked better as it was and released the demos as the album.
His best-known album, ‘Born In The USA’, was released next. The record came out on June 4 1984 and detailed Springsteen’s views on war and national identity in America. It peaked at Number One in 11 countries and has sold over 30 million records worldwide.
Springsteen’s eighth album, ‘Tunnel Of Love’, was released in 1987 and marked the musician beginning to part ways with the E Street Band. It also followed the breakup of Springsteen’s marriage to the actress Julianne Phillips.
In 1992, Springsteen left New Jersey for LA and released two albums simultaneously – ‘Human Touch’ and ‘Lucky Heart’. Two years later, he won an Academy Award for his song ‘Streets Of Philadelphia’, which was taken from the film Philadelphia.
Springsteen reunited with the E Street Band on a handful of new tracks recorded for his Greatest Hits compilation in 1995. He then put out another acoustic album, in a similar vein to ‘Nebraska’, ‘The Ghost Of Tom Joad’ on November 21 1995. It went on to win the Best Contemporary Folk Album award at the 1997 Grammys.
Then living back in New Jersey, Springsteen was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999. U2’s Bono performed the induction, a favour Springsteen would return when U2 received the honour in 2005.
In 2002, Springsteen and The E Street Band released their first studio album together in 18 years, ‘The Rising’. It was produced by Brendan O’Brien and reflected on the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Springsteen’s next album, ‘Devils & Dust’, was recorded without the band and was released on April 26 2005. Like the musician’s other acoustic albums, it was more low-key than his full band records. ‘Magic’ followed in 2007 and featured the E Street Band once more. It went to Number One in the UK and Ireland upon release.
In 2008, Springsteen supported Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and appeared at several rallies along the campaign trail. A year later, he performed at the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show, playing ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out’, ‘Born To Run’, ‘Working On A Dream’ and ‘Glory Days’. He also headlined the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury a few months later.
His 17th studio album, ‘Wrecking Ball’, was made available on March 6 2012. It became his tenth Number One album in the US, tying him with Elvis for third most Number One albums of all time. Only The Beatles and Jay-Z have more.
In 2013, a documentary titled Springsteen & I was released. Directed by Baillie Walsh, it told the life and career of the musician as seen through the eyes of his fans. His next album ‘High Hopes’ came in January 14 2014, which was made up entirely of covers, outtakes from previous records or new versions of old songs.
Springsteen is set to publish his first graphic novel, Outlaw Pete, and release an eight-disc compilation, ‘The Album Collection Vol 1 1973-1984’, before the end of 2014.