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Who is Bruce Springsteen?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 23, 2024
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American singer-songwriter and guitarist from New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen is known for his down-to-earth image and his songs that celebrate the working man. Since the release of his breakthrough album, Born to Run in 1975, Springsteen has achieved an iconic status in American popular music. He has won fifteen Grammys, an Oscar, and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Bruce Springsteen was born in Freehold, New Jersey in 1949, to a working class Catholic family. He bought his first guitar at age thirteen, and soon began to play in bands around New Jersey.

Bruce Springsteen's first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, was released by Columbia Records in 1972, and instantly drew comparisons to Bob Dylan for its emphasis on lyrics, though it did not meet great commercial success. His second album, The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, did not find much of an audience base, either.

However, Bruce Springsteen soon became legendary for his live shows. He and his band, the E Street Band, frequently played rollicking, high energy shows that lasted three or four hours. Bootleg recordings from these early shows are still in high demand today.

In 1975, Bruce Springsteen had his first big break with the release of Born to Run, an epic record with a "Wall of Sound" style production by Phil Spector. Two of the album's stand-out tracks, "Thunder Road" and "Born to Run," still receive major radio airplay on classic rock stations. Bruce Springsteen's greatest commercial success came with the release of Born in the USA in 1984, which is one of the best-selling albums of all time, with seven singles in the Top Ten charts.

Though his career has had several ups and downs, Bruce Springsteen's music remains popular and relevant today; he drew wide critical acclaim for his 2002 album, The Rising, which responded to the tragedy of the September 11 attacks. In 2006, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band recorded an album of Pete Seeger cover songs, called We Shall Overcome: the Seeger Sessions.

Bruce Springsteen has also adopted a voice in American politics recently. In 2004, he played in support of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who used Springsteen's song, "No Surrender" as his campaign theme song. Though Kerry ultimately lost the election, Springsteen served as a powerful voice for his candidacy.

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Discussion Comments

By anon292105 — On Sep 18, 2012

Bruce Springsteen was never a member of Dire Straits. He is the lead singer of his own band called 'The E-Street Band.'

By anon77591 — On Apr 14, 2010

I'm Brazilian. I like this singer very much especially his old songs, maybe Born in the USA is one of my favorites, after Philadephia.

I have a question, was Bruce a member of the Dire Straits Band?

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