Bruce Springsteen turns 67 today. To mark the occasion, here are a bunch of facts about the legendary artist. Starting with this: the video for ‘Glory Days’ was filmed in a club called Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ, part-owned by Frank Sinatra.
U2’s Bono inducted Springsteen into the Rock N’Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999, saying of Bruce: “Credibility – you couldn’t have more, unless you were dead.”
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. The facts in this gallery are all taken from a recent special edition of Uncut magazine devoted to Bruce Springsteen.
The first song that Springsteen learned to play on a guitar was The Beatles’ version of ‘Twist And Shout’. He has frequently played the song at live shows – it oftens forms part of the encore.
Bruce is a lightweight. When The Hollies covered ‘4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)’ , the band met Springsteen after a show and asked him to take them to a bar serving English beer. Drummer Bobby Elliot calimed Bruce passed out after three pints of Bass bitter.
Photographer Dave Marsh claims fellow students at Ocean County Community College petitioned for Springsteen’s expulsion on the grounds of his ‘unacceptable weirdness’.
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.
In 1975, ‘4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)’ became the first Springsteen single outside the US. Released in Germany only, a printing error saw it entitled ‘Sandy (4th July, Asbury Park)’.
The title of ‘Kitty’s Back’, from ‘The Wild, The Innocent…’ was inspired by a neon sign outside a Jersey Shore strip club.
Shortly after the release of his first album, Springsteen was drafted in at the 11th hour as part of Chuck Berry’s pick-up band at a gig in Maryland. Berry told Bruce “Play for your money, boy!” Springsteen later claimed he was never paid.
‘The Rising’ sold over two million copies in the US – Bruce’s best-selling LP of new material since ‘Tunnel Of Love’ in 1987.
There are about 60 Springsteen tribute acts currently working in the US and Europe, including Tramps Like Us, The Rising and The B Street Band. The latter played at new Jersey governor Chris Christie’s inaugural ball after Bruce declined the invitation.
Springsteen was honoured for his contribution to American culture at the Kennedy centre in Washington in December 2009. Here he is on the campaign trail with Barack Obama.
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.
Springsteen was uncomfortable with Columbia’s decision to market him as the “future of rock” and personally went round the Hammersmith Odeon removing promotional material before the band’s first london date on the ‘Born To Run’ tour.
Springsteen sent a demo of his song ‘Fire’ to Elvis Presley just weeks before he died. Robert Gordon ultimately recorded the first version, although it was The Pointer Sisters’ cover that reached No.2 in the US charts.
2005 fiction anthonology ‘Meeting Accross The River’ comprised 20 short stories by different writers based wntirely on the song from ‘Born To Run’.
To mark the final show of the ‘Working On A Dream’ tour on November 22, 2009 at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York, Springsteen and the E Street band played the entire album live for the first time.
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.
Following just four European dates for ‘Born To Run’ in November 1975, Springsteen did not tour ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’ in Europe at all – and did not return to the continent until April 1981.
Springsteen earned five Grammy nominations for the his album ‘Devils And Dust’ – winning Best Vocal Performance for the title track.
‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’ was NME’s album of the year for 1978, ahead of The Jam’s ‘All Mod Cons’, ‘This Year’s Model’ by Elvis Costello, Talking Heads’ ‘More Songs About Buildings and Food’ and ‘Africa Stand Alone’ by Culture.
In addition to ‘The Promised Land’ itself, that phrase appears in the lyrics to eight other Springsteen songs including ‘Thunder Road’ and ‘Racing In The Street’.
Unhappy with his picture on the cover of 1978’s ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’, Springsteen has admitted to spray-painting over the image in a giant Los Angeles billboard ad for the album.
Joe Strummer, with whose ‘Coma Girl’ Springsteen opened Glastonbury set in 2009, was a longtime fan, once telling a radio interviewer, “Bruce is great. If you don’t agree with that, you’re a pretentious Martian from Venus.”
‘The River’ was performed in its entirety at New York’s Madison Square Garden in November 2009, during the ‘Working On A Dream’ tour.
‘Hungry Heart’ was originally written for The Ramones.
‘Silver Palomino’ was written in tribute to a friend of Bruce’s, Fiona Chappel, who died leaving two young sons.
‘We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions’ won a 2007 Grammy for ‘Best Traditional Folk Album’.
Bruce wrote ‘From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)’ for Welsh new-wave rocker Dave Edmunds, and first played it to him in his dressing room after a 1981 show at London’s Wembley Arena.
When researching the Starkweather murders for ‘Nebraska”s title track, Springsteen range Ninette Beaver, the reporter of the original 1958 story.
Many of the musicians on the Seeger Sessions album belong to ‘The Gotham Playboys’, a group who played at two of Springsteen’s birthday parties.
The reference to a band playing a song called ‘Night Of The Johnstown Flood’ in Springsteen’s song ‘Highway Patrolman’ appears to be an invention. There are folk songs about the devastating 1889 Pennsylvania flood, but surely not one a road house band would play.
Johnny Cash covered ‘Johnny 99’ and ‘Highway Patrolman’ on his 1983 LP, ‘Johnny 99’.
The 2000 Sub Pop tribute album ‘Badlands’ included Nebraska songs by Ben Harper, Los Lobos, Aimee Mann and Hank III, who reinvented ‘Atlantic City’ as bluegrass.
Chrysler Motors are rumoured to have offered Springsteen $12m to use ‘Born In The USA’ in an ad campaign. He refused, and they commissioned a soundalike pastiche instead entitled ‘The Pride Is Back’.
‘Magic’ contains the hidden track ‘Terr’s Song’, a close-mic’d acoustic tribute to Bruce’s longtime right-hand man Terry Magovern, who died in his sleep on July 30, 2007.
Bruce’s very first Grammy- Best Rock Vocal Performance (Male) – arrived in 1984 for ‘Dancing In The Dark’, although he lost out to Lionel Richie’s ‘Can’t Slow Down’ in the Album Of The Year category.
Barack Obama’s election victory speech at Grant park, Chicago, in November 2008 was introduced by Springsteen’s ‘The Rising’ playing over the loudspeakers.
CBS Records were reportedly nervous about releasing Prefab Sprout’s Boss-referencing 1988 single ‘Cars And Girls’ until Springsteen heard the sing and told the label he loved it.
Forbes magazine’s 2009 list of the world’s most powerful celebrities ranked Springsteen No.6.
‘Tunnel Of Love’ shared both its title, and its concept of love as a fairground ride, with a key track from Dire Straights’ 1980 multi-million seller, ‘Making Movies’.
The Schiffer family of Point Pleasant, NJ, provided the roller coaster backing vocals on ‘Tunnel Of Love’.
Springsteen toured solo for ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’. He opened many of the concerts with a request for silence, adding: “Don’t make me come down there and smack you around- it’ll mess with my man-of-the-people image.”
Springsteen’s album ‘The Ghost Of Tom Joad’ was inspired in part by a collection of short stories by Dale Maharidge entitled ‘Journey To Nowhere’. He was later invited to write a new introduction to the volume.
Bruce has officially sanctioned two T-shirts promoting fictional locales mentioned in his songs – Thunder Road and Greasy Lake (from ‘Spirits In The Night’) – to raise money for the US-based charity the National Association To Protect Children.
E Street Band organ player Danny Federici died in 2008. By way of tribute, his son Jason contributes accordian to ‘Working On A Dream’ album track ‘The Last Carnival’.
Springsteen played the title track of ‘Working On A Dream’ – as well as hits including ‘Glory Days’ and ‘Born To Run’ – at half-time during the 2009 Super Bowl.
E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg occasionally plays in a Beatles tribute act, ‘The Fab Faux’, comprising musicians from the house bands of chat show hosts David Letterman and Conan O’Brien.
When Tracks was released in late 1998, the bootleggers were ready. No less than four multi-disc sets, covering some 250 studio outtakes and live cuts spanning his career all the way back to the ‘Castiles’ era, began making the rounds within months.
To the dismay of many sensing an uncharacteristic money-grab, Springsteen issued a single-disc sampler (’18 Tracks’) in 1990, which just happened to include three cuts absent from the box’s 4-disc, 66-song playlist.
‘The Rising’ debuted at No.1 on the US chart, and shifted over half a million copies in the US on its first week of sale alone.
‘The Rising’ was something of a rallying call for US Democrats, and was heavily used by John Edwards, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama in their 2008 nomination campaigns.
Springsteen won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1994 for ‘Streets Of Philadelphia.’ His title song ‘The Wrestler’ brought him a second Golden globe in 2009.
Springsteen’s famous electric guitar is not actually a Telecater. It’s a much-modified, two-pickup 1953 or 1954 Fender Esquire, purchased in New Jersey in the early 70’s. The boss has often called it “the best I have ever played.”
The upright bass on ‘The Angel’ was played by Richard Davis, who also played bass on Van Morrison’s ‘Astral Weeks’.
E Street Radio, a 24-hour station playing nothing but Springsteen, was launched by the Sirius Satellite group in 2005.
A 2006 episode of the US TV crime drama Cold Case used the lyrics of eight Springsteen songs to tell the story of a murder among a group of old high school friends. Series creator Meredith Stiehm initially wanted there to be no other dialogue in the programme.
‘The Wrestler’ won a Golden Globe for best original song. The facts in this gallery are all taken from a recent special edition of Uncut magazine devoted to Bruce Springsteen.
Bruce joined the Rock’N’Roll hall Of Fame in 1999, his induction speech given by Bono. He returned the favour when U2 were inducted six years later.