[lang_fr]Bruce Springsteen: Biographie[/lang_fr][lang_en]Bruce Springsteen: Biography[/lang_en]

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Bruce Springsteen (né le 23 septembre 1949 à Long Branch (et non Freehold, où il a grandi), New Jersey) est un chanteur et auteur-compositeur américain, surnommé « le Boss ». Il a deux sœurs.

Les débuts

Un soir, alors qu’il regarde la télévision, Bruce tombe par hasard sur un concert du King, Elvis Presley. C’est une véritable révélation pour le jeune homme qui déclarera quelques années plus tard : »Elvis a libéré les corps alors que Dylan (Bob) a libéré les esprits… ». Springsteen n’a alors plus qu’une idée en tête : se consacrer, corps et âme, à la musique. Sa mère lui offre sa première guitare, achetée chez un prêteur sur gage. Désormais, le jeune homme passe des journées entières à composer et à gratter frénétiquement les cordes de sa guitare, malgré la réticence de son père. Néanmoins, Springsteen persévère et, après quelques essais en solo, il commence à se produire avec divers groupes dont les noms vont souvent varier: Dr. Zoom And the Sonic Boom, le Bruce Springsteen Band et Steel Mill. Ses premiers pas dans l’univers du rock lui valent son célébrissime surnom : The Boss. Il commença à enregistrer avec le E-Street Band en 1973. Devant le découvreur de talents, John Hammond (qui avait fait signer Bob Dylan un peu plus tôt), il interprête, à la guitare, quatre titres de sa composition, dont Growin’ Up et It’s So Hard To Be A Saint In The City. Dans la foulée, il signe un contrat pour un album avec la Columbia en 1972. Springsteen amena avec lui en studio de nombreux musiciens amis originaires comme lui du New Jersey. La plupart de ces derniers formèrent le E Street Band. Son premier album, Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey, sorti en janvier 1973, lui valut la faveur des critiques, bien que les ventes restèrent au plus bas. Manfred Mann et son Earth Band ont repris une chanson de cet album, Blinded By The Light pour en faire un tube. La même année, il sort The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle, un album plus abouti que le précédent mais qui, encore une fois, ne rencontre qu’un succès local. Springsteen est sous pression. Son prochain album doit être un triomphe s’il souhaite poursuivre sa jeune carrière avec la Columbia.

La Bossmania (1974-1988)

Dans le Real Paper de Boston du 22 mai 1974, le critique musical Jon Landau écrivit : « J’ai vu l’avenir du rock’n’roll, il s’appelle Bruce Springsteen. Une nuit où j’avais besoin de me sentir jeune, il m’a fait me sentir comme si c’était la première fois que j’entendais de la musique. » Landau devint ensuite le manager de Springsteen. Avec la sortie de son album Born to Run en 1975, Springsteen fit les couvertures de Time Magazine et de Newsweek la même semaine, le 27 octobre de cette même année. Ce disque est une véritable consécration pour l’artiste et son groupe. Cet album ne dure que 39 minutes mais fait aujourd’hui partie des incontournables en matière de rock n’roll avec des titres emprunts de fougue comme la chanson titre Born To Run. Cependant, à l’époque, une bataille judiciaire avec son ancien manager Mike Appel empêcha Springsteen de composer pendant une longue période, et a probablement contribué à son album beaucoup plus sombre Darkness on the Edge of Town en 1978.

Dans la lignée de Darkness Bruce Springsteen composa Because the night, un hit pour Patti Smith (top 5 britannique)

L’album The River, sorti en 1980, s’inscrit dans le même registre avec des titres poignants comme Point Blank. En 1979, il participe au concert No Nukes contre l’utilisation de l’énergie nucléaire.

« En 1981, ému par la lecture du livre de Joe Klein « Woody Guthrie – A life » paru aux États-Unis l’année précédente, Bruce Sprinsteen interprète « This Land Is Your Land » lors de la plupart des concerts de sa longue tournée mondiale avec son groupe l’E Street Band, faisant ainsi découvrir un nom et une œuvre à des dizaines de milliers de jeunes fans de rock ; la chanson se retrouve dans le coffret de Springsteen « Live 1975-85 », prolongeant et multipliant son impact.

Bruce Springsteen participe également à l’album collectif « Folkways – A Vision Shared » en 1988 consacré aux géants de la folk-music, Leadbelly et Guthrie. » (extraits de l’Avant-propos de Jacques Vassal à l’autobiographie de Guthrie « En route pour la gloire »).

En 1982, il composa un album beaucoup plus intime, Nebraska, qu’il enregistra avec seulement une guitare, un harmonica et un tambourin sur un magnétophone quatre pistes. À l’origine, il ne s’agissait que d’une démo. Sur les conseils de son manager, John Landau, Springsteen sort cet album sans la contribution du E Street Band. Ce fut son premier album solo, mais par la suite il arrivera assez souvent qu’il se détache du E Street Band pour y revenir plus tard. En l’occurrence, il retrouvera son groupe peu après l’enregistrement de Nebraska.

La renommée de Springsteen lui vient probablement de son album aux millions d’exemplaires Born in the USA (1984), et la tournée mondiale à succès qui l’a suivi. George Bush utilisa même la chanson titre de l’album comme hymne pour sa campagne de 1988. Quelques années auparavant, Ronald Reagan avait tenté de se réapproprier les paroles de Born In The USA pour sa campagne éléctorale. Ce titre a d’ailleurs été victime d’une incroyable méprise. Beaucoup ont vu à travers ses paroles un hymne à la gloire des États-Unis, une déclaration patriotique prônant l’hégémonie américaine. Springsteen n’a pas apprécié ce ton patriotique attribué à ce titre. En réalité, Born in the USA raconte le retour au pays d’un vétéran de la guerre du Viêt Nam et le rejet qu’il subit de la part de ses concitoyens. L’appel au pays du refrain est plus teinté d’amertume que de fierté nationale. Springsteen déclara d’ailleurs, lors des concerts de sa tournée mondiale de 2002, avant d’interpréter son tube interplanétaire « J’ai chanté cette chanson pour dénoncer les conséquences de la guerre du Viêt Nam, aujourd’hui je la chante pour la paix ». Replacé dans le contexte international de 2002, cela valait condamnation des intentions d’intervention armée en Irak de George W. Bush, fils de celui qui avait dénaturé le message de la chanson.

Pendant la période 1985-1988, Bruce Springsteen gagna en matûrité. Toujours accompagné du E Street Band, il joua des dizaines de concerts dans des stades, notamment le 30 septembre 1985 au Los Angeles Coliseum. Son style est plus contemplatif et plus calme, à l’image de l’album Tunnel of Love (1987), une réflexion matûre sur les multiples visages de l’amour trouvé, perdu et gâché.

Les années solo (1988-1995)

Après 1989, il se sépare de son E Street Band (à part son pianiste Roy Bittan, son saxophoniste Clarence « Big Man » Clemons et sa femme guitariste Patti Scialfa) et sort deux albums solo en 1992 Human Touch et Lucky Town, poursuivant approximativement la même recherche que Tunnel Of Love. De nombreuses critiques s’élevaient en regrettant le conformisme grandissant de ces albums.

Gagnant de Grammy Awards à plusieurs reprises, il reçut également un Oscar en 1993 pour sa chanson Streets of Philadelphia, de la bande originale du film Philadelphia.

La reformation provisoire du E Street Band pour enregistrer quatre inédits sur le Greatest Hits de 1995 sembla redonner du souffle au Boss. En effet, la critique salua unanimement son album de 1995 The Ghost of Tom Joad, reprise des thèmes du livre Les Raisins de la Colère de John Steinbeck. L’artiste se lance dans une tournée mondiale, en solo, simplement armé d’une guitare et d’un harmonica. Dans cet album, Springsteen souligne les parallèles évidents entre cette œuvre et l’époque actuelle et renoue ainsi avec un ton plus engagé. Né dans un milieu ouvrier, Bruce Springsteen prend fréquemment la défense des laissés-pour-compte. Ainsi, lors de sa tournée en France en 1985, il fit un chèque de 10 000 dollars au Bureau d’aide sociale de Saint-Étienne, ville sinistrée par la crise économique avec la fermeture de l’usine Manufrance.

Le retour aux sources (2000-2007)

Après la sortie d’une compilation d’inédits laissés de côté tout au long de sa carrière, Tracks en 1998, la reformation tant attendue du E Street Band sur scène eut lieu le 9 avril 1999, à Barcelone, à l’occasion d’une tournée mondiale. Elle fut notamment marquée par la chanson polémique inédite American Skin (41 Shots) dénonçant le meurtre d’un jeune noir par la police de New York. Il fut retrouvé mort, le corps criblé de 41 balles. Springsteen reçut de nombreuses menaces anonymes avant son concert à New York, lui enjoignant de ne pas y interpréter ce titre. Springsteen refusa de plier devant la pression et attendit la fin du concert pour interpréter de façon très intense cette chanson.

En 2002, la sortie de l’album The Rising constitua un évènement pour deux raisons. Tout d’abord, l’album était le premier album studio du Boss et du E Street Band depuis plus de 15 ans. Ensuite, l’ensemble des chansons de l’album porte sur les attentats du 11 septembre 2001. Une nouvelle tournée mondiale s’ensuivit, où on retrouva toute la fougue du Boss.

En 2005, Springsteen renoue avec le genre intimiste en sortant l’album Devils And Dust. Dix ans plus tôt, le prix de l’académie Charles Cros l’avait récompensé pour la poésie des textes de l’album The Ghost Of Tom Joad. Le chanteur effectue une tournée mondiale, en solo, et offre au public des versions acoustiques de ses plus grands titres (Racing In The Street, The River ou encore Point Blank).

En 2006, le Boss décide de rendre hommage au folk américain, incarné par Pete Seeger, dont il s’est souvent inspiré (mais aussi Woody Guthrie ou Hank Williams). Il sort l’album We Shall Overcome, puis, part en tournée avec le Seeger Session Band et interprête des classiques du répertoire folk américain. Pendant cette tournée, il est accompagné d’une troupe de 17 musiciens (cuivres, banjo, violon…). L’album souligne tous les talents d’arrangeur musical de Springsteen et son profond attachement à la culture folk américaine, ses racines.Bruce s’élève contre la politique extèrieure américaine et participe aux cotés d’artistes comme Neil Young,Esther Galil…. au mouvement anti-guerre lors de l’invasion américaine en Irak.

Le 2 octobre 2007, un nouvel album appelé Magic doit paraitre en France avec le E-Street band. Une série de concerts débuteront à la même date aux États-Unis puis en Europe.

Membres actuels du E Street Band

Roy Bittan – piano (remplace David Sancious en 1975)
Clarence Clemons – saxophone
Danny Federici – orgue, glockenspiel, synthé
Nils Lofgren – guitare (remplace Steven van Zandt en 1984; reste dans le groupe après le retour de Van Zandt)
Patti Scialfa – guitare (femme de Springsteen – arrivée en 1984)
Gary W. Tallent – basse
Soozie Tyrell – violon (enregistre avec Springsteen en 1995, rejoint le groupe officiellement en 2002 pour l’album The Rising et la tournée)
Steven van Zandt – guitare, mandoline (remplace Sukia Levy [violon] en 1977; parti en 1984 pour une carrière solo sous le nom de Little Steven; revenu en 1995)
Max Weinberg – batterie (remplace Clarence « Boom » Carter en 1975, qui avait remplacé Vinnie « Mad Dog » Lopez en 1974 ou 1975)

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Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949) is an influential American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He has frequently recorded and toured with the E Street Band. Springsteen is most widely known for his brand of heartland rock infused with pop hooks, poetic lyrics, and Americana sentiments centered around his native New Jersey. His eloquence in expressing ordinary, everyday problems has earned him numerous awards, including fifteen Grammy Awards and an Oscar, along with an international fan base. His most famous albums, Born to Run and Born in the U.S.A., epitomize his penchant for finding grandeur in the struggles of daily life. He has sold over 60 million albums in the U.S. alone.

Springsteen’s lyrics often concern men and women struggling to make ends meet. He has gradually become identified with progressive politics. Springsteen 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.

Springsteen’s recordings have tended to alternate between commercially accessible rock albums and somber folk-oriented works. Much of Springsteen’s iconic status stems from his concerts and marathon shows in which he and the E Street Band revolve amongst intense ballads, rousing anthems, and party rock and roll songs, with Springsteen telling long whimsical or deeply emotional stories in between.

Springsteen has long had the nickname « The Boss, » a term which he was initially reported to dislike but now seems to have come to terms with, as he sometimes jokingly refers to himself as such on stage. The nickname originated when a young Springsteen, playing club gigs with a band in the 1960s, took on the task of collecting the band’s nightly pay and distributing it amongst his bandmates.

Springsteen’s music has long been intertwined with film. The song (Just Around the Corner to the) Light of Day was written for the early Michael J. Fox/Joan Jett vehicle Light of Day. His work has been used in films (winning him an Oscar for his song « Streets of Philadelphia »); and in turn, films have been inspired by his music, including « The Indian Runner, » written and directed by Sean Penn, which Penn has specifically noted as being inspired by Springsteen’s song Highway Patrolman. He was nominated for a second Oscar for « Dead Man Walkin' » from the movie Dead Man Walking. And « Lift Me Up » ran over the credits for the John Sayles film Limbo.

Life and career

Early years

Springsteen was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. His father, Douglas Frederick Springsteen, was a bus driver of Dutch and Irish ancestry. His mother, Adele Ann Zirilli, was a legal secretary of Italian ancestry. He has an older sister, Virginia, and a younger sister, Pamela. Pamela Springsteen had a brief film career, but left acting to pursue still photography full time.

Raised a Roman Catholic, Springsteen attended the St. Rose of Lima parochial school in Freehold Borough, where he was at odds with both the nuns and other students, even though much of his later music reflected a deep Catholic ethos and included many rock-influenced, traditional Irish-Catholic hymns.
In ninth grade he transferred to the public Freehold Borough High School, but did not fit in there either. He completed high school but felt so uncomfortable that he skipped his own graduation ceremony. He briefly attended Ocean County Community College, but dropped out.

Springsteen had been inspired to take up music at the age of seven after seeing Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show. At 13, he bought his first guitar for $18; later, his mother took out a loan to buy the 16-year-old Springsteen a $60 Kent guitar, an event he later memorialized in his song « The Wish ».

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 of The Castiles, and later lead singer of the group. The Castiles recorded two original songs at a public recording studio in Brick Township, New Jersey and played a variety of venues, including Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village. Marion Vinyard said that she believed Springsteen when, as a young man, he said he was going to make it big.

From 1969 through early 1971, Springsteen performed around New Jersey with guitarist Steve Van Zandt, organist Danny Federici and drummer Vini Lopez in a band called Child, later renamed Steel Mill. They went on to play at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, and also in California. During this time Springsteen also performed regularly at small clubs in Asbury Park and along the Jersey shore, quickly gathering a cult following. Other acts followed over the next two years, as Springsteen sought to shape a unique and genuine musical and songwriting style: Dr Zoom & the Sonic Boom (early-mid 1971), Sundance Blues Band (mid 1971), and The Bruce Springsteen Band (mid 1971-mid 1972). With the addition of pianist David Sancious, the core of what would later become the E Street Band was formed, with occasional temporary additions such as horns sections, « The Zoomettes » (a group of female backing vocalists for « Dr Zoom ») and Southside Johnny Lyon on harmonica. Musical genres explored included blues, heavy metal, R&B, jazz, church music, early rock’n’roll, and soul. His profilic songwriting ability, with more words in some individual songs than other artists had in whole albums, brought his skill to the attention of two people who were about to change his life: new manager Mike Appel and legendary Columbia Records talent scout John Hammond, who, under Appel’s pressure, auditioned Springsteen in May 1972.

Even after gaining international acclaim, Springsteen’s New Jersey roots reverberated in his music, and he routinely praised « the great state of New Jersey » in his live shows. Drawing on his extensive local appeal, he routinely sold out consecutive nights in major New Jersey and Philadelphia venues and, much like the Grateful Dead, his song lists varied significantly from one night to the next. He also made many surprise appearances at The Stone Pony and other shore nightclubs over the years, becoming the foremost exponent of the Jersey Shore sound.

1972–1974

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 (although it would not be formally named as such for a couple more years). His debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., released in January 1973, established him as a critical favorite, though sales were slow. Because of his lyrics-heavy, folk rock-rooted music exemplified on tracks like « Blinded by the Light » and « For You, » as well as the Columbia and Hammond connections, critics initially compared Springsteen to Bob Dylan. « He sings with a freshness and urgency I haven’t heard since I was rocked by ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, » wrote Crawdaddy magazine editor Peter Knobler in Springsteen’s first interview/profile, in March, 1973. Crawdaddy « discovered » Springsteen in the rock press and was his earliest champion. Famed music critic Lester Bangs wrote in Creem, 1975, that when Springsteen’s first album was released….. »many of us dismissed it: he wrote like Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, sang like Van Morrison and Robbie Robertson, and led a band that sounded like Van Morrison’s. »The track « Spirit in the Night » especially showed Morrison’s influence, while with « Lost in the Flood » Springsteen presented the first of his many portraits of Vietnam veterans.

In September 1973 his second album, The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle was released, again to critical acclaim but no commercial success. Springsteen’s songs became grander in form and scope, with the E Street Band providing a less folky, more R&B vibe and the lyrics often romanticizing teenage street life. « 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) » and « Incident on 57th Street » would become fan favorites, and the long, rousing « Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) » would rank among Springsteen’s most beloved concert numbers.

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 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. Given an enormous budget in a last-ditch effort at a commercially viable record, Springsteen became bogged down in the recording process while striving for a wall of sound production. But, fed by the release of an early mix of « Born to Run » to progressive rock radio, anticipation built toward the album’s release.

1975–1981

On August 13, 1975, Springsteen and the E Street Band began a five-night, 10-show stand at New York’s Bottom Line club; it attracted major media attention, was broadcast live on WNEW-FM, and convinced many skeptics that Springsteen was for real. (Decades later, Rolling Stone magazine would name the stand as one of the 50 Moments That Changed Rock and Roll. With the release of Born to Run on August 25, 1975, Springsteen finally found success: while there were no major hit singles, « Born to Run » (#23, Billboard Hot 100), « Thunder Road », « Tenth Avenue Freeze-out » and « Jungleland » all received massive FM radio airplay and remain perennial favorites on many classic rock stations to this day. With its panoramic imagery, thundering production and desperate optimism, some fans consider this among the best rock & roll albums of all time and Springsteen’s finest work. It established him as a sincere and dynamic rock & roll personality who spoke for and in the voice of a large part of the rock audience. To cap off the triumph, Springsteen appeared on the covers of both Time and Newsweek in the same week, on October 27 of that year. So great did the wave of publicity become that Springsteen eventually rebelled against it during his first venture overseas, tearing down promotional posters before a concert appearance in London.

A legal battle with former manager Mike Appel kept Springsteen out of the studio for over two years, during which time he kept The E Street Band together through extensive touring across the U.S. Despite the optimistic fervor with which he often performed, the new songs he was writing and often debuting on stage had taken a more somber tone than much of his previous work. Reaching settlement with Appel in 1977, Springsteen finally returned to the studio, and the subsequent sessions produced Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978). Musically, this album was a turning point of Springsteen’s career. Gone were the rapid-fire lyrics, outsized characters and long, multi-part musical compositions of the first three albums; now the songs were leaner and more carefully drawn and began to reflect Springsteen’s growing intellectual and political awareness. Some fans consider Darkness Springsteen’s best and most consistent record; tracks such as « Badlands » and « The Promised Land » became concert staples for decades to come, while the track « Prove It All Night » received a significant amount of radio airplay (#33, Billboard Hot 100). Other fans would prefer the work of the adventurous early Springsteen.[12] The cross-country 1978 tour to promote the album would become legendary for the intensity of its shows.

By the late 1970s, Springsteen had earned a reputation in the pop world as a songwriter whose material could provide hits for other bands. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band had achieved a U.S. No. 1 pop hit with a heavily rearranged version of Greetings’ « Blinded by the Light » in early 1977. Patti Smith reached number 13 with her take on Springsteen’s unreleased « Because the Night » (which Smith co-wrote) in 1978, while The Pointer Sisters hit No. 2 in 1979 with Springsteen’s also-unreleased « Fire ».

In September 1979, Springsteen and the E Street Band joined the Musicians United for Safe Energy anti-nuclear power collective at Madison Square Garden for two nights, playing an abbreviated setlist while premiering two songs from his upcoming album. The subsequent No Nukes live album, as well as the following summer’s No Nukes documentary film, represented the first official recordings and filmings of Springsteen’s fabled live act, as well as Springsteen’s first tentative dip into political involvement.

Springsteen continued to consolidate his thematic focus on working-class life with the double album The River in 1980, which finally yielded his first hit Top Ten single as a performer, « Hungry Heart », but also included an intentionally paradoxical range of material from good-time party rockers to emotionally intense ballads. The album sold well, and a long tour in 1980 and 1981 followed, featuring Springsteen’s first extended playing of Europe and ending with a series of multi-night arena stands in major cities in the U.S.

1982–1989

Springsteen suddenly veered off the normal rock career course, following The River with the stark solo acoustic Nebraska in 1982. According to the Marsh biographies, Springsteen was in a depressed state when he wrote this material, and the result is a brutal depiction of American life. The title track on this album is about the murder spree of Charles Starkweather. The album actually started (according to Marsh) as a demo tape for new songs to be played with the E Street Band – but during the recording process, Springsteen and producer Landau realized they worked better as solo acoustic numbers; several attempts at re-recording the songs in a studio led them to realize that the original versions, recorded on a simple, low-tech four-track cassette deck in Springsteen’s kitchen, were the best versions they were going to get.

While Nebraska did not sell especially well, it garnered widespread critical praise (including being named « Album of the Year » by Rolling Stone magazine’s critics) and influenced later significant works by other major artists, including U2’s album, The Joshua Tree. It helped inspire the musical genre known as lo-fi music, becoming a cult favorite among indie-rockers. Springsteen did not tour in conjunction with Nebraska’s release.

Springsteen probably is best known for his album Born in the U.S.A. (1984), which sold 15 million copies in the U.S. alone and became one of the best-selling albums of all time with seven singles hitting the top 10, and the massively successful world tour that followed it. The title track was a bitter commentary on the treatment of Vietnam veterans, some of whom were Springsteen’s friends and bandmates. The song was widely misinterpreted as jingoistic, and in connection with the 1984 presidential campaign became the subject of considerable folklore. Springsteen also turned down several million dollars offered by Chrysler Corporation for using the song in a car commercial. (In later years, Springsteen performed the song accompanied only with acoustic guitar to make the song’s original meaning more explicitly clear. An acoustic version also appeared on Tracks, a later album.) « Dancing in the Dark » was the biggest of seven hit singles from Born in the U.S.A., 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 kickstart the actress’ career; a number of the videos for the album were made by noted film directors Brian De Palma or John Sayles.

During the « Born in the U.S.A. » tour he met then model Julianne Phillips. Phillips met him in October 1984, and they were married in Lake Oswego, Oregon, on May 13, 1985 surrounded by intense media attention. Opposites in background, their marriage was not to be long-lived. Springsteen’s 1987 album « Tunnel of Love » described some of his unhappinesses in the relationship and during the subsequent Tunnel of Love Express tour, Springsteen took up with backup singer Patti Scialfa, which Phillips found out by reading tabloids. Phillips and Springsteen filed for divorce in 1989. The divorce was finalized in 1990 and Springsteen finally married Scialfa in 1991.

The Born in the U.S.A. period represented the height of Springsteen’s visibility in popular culture and the broadest audience demographic he would ever reach (this was further helped by releasing Arthur Baker dance mixes of three of the singles). Live/1975–85, a five-record box set (also released on three cassettes or three CDs), was released near the end of 1986 and also became a huge success, selling 13 million units in the U.S. and becoming the first box set to debut at No. 1 on the U.S. album charts. It is one of the best selling live albums of all time. It summed up Springsteen’s career to that point and displayed some of the elements that made his shows so powerful to his fans: the switching from mournful dirges to party rockers and back; the communal sense of purpose between artist and audience; the long, intense spoken passages before songs, including those describing Springsteen’s difficult relationship with his father; and the instrumental prowess of the E Street Band, such as in the long coda to « Racing in the Street ». Despite its popularity, some fans and critics felt the album’s song selection could have been better. Springsteen concerts are the subjects of frequent bootleg recording and trading among fans.

After this commercial peak, Springsteen released the much more sedate and contemplative Tunnel of Love (1987), a mature reflection on the many faces of love found, lost and squandered, which only selectively used the E Street Band. It presaged the breakup of his first marriage, to actress Julianne Phillips. Reflecting the challenges of love, on Tunnel of Love’s title song, Springsteen famously sang:

Ought to be easy, ought to be simple enough. Man meets woman, and they fall in love. But the house is haunted, and the ride gets rough. You got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above.

The subsequent Tunnel of Love Express tour shook up fans with changes to the stage layout, favorites dropped from the set list, and horn-based arrangements; during the European leg in 1988, Springsteen’s relationship with E Street Band backup singer Patti Scialfa became public. Later in 1988, Springsteen headlined the truly worldwide Human Rights Now! Tour for Amnesty International. In the fall of 1989, he dissolved the E Street Band, and he and Scialfa relocated to California.

1990s

Springsteen married Scialfa in 1991; they have three children Evan James (b. 1990), Jessica Rae (b.1991) and Sam Ryan (b.1994).

In 1992, after risking charges of « going Hollywood » by moving to Los Angeles (a radical move for someone so linked to the blue-collar life of the Jersey Shore) and working with session musicians, Springsteen released two albums at once. Human Touch and Lucky Town were even more introspective than any of his previous work. Also different about these albums was the confidence he displayed. As opposed to his first two albums, which dreamed of happiness, and his next four, which showed him growing to fear it, at points during the Lucky Town album, Springsteen actually claims happiness for himself.

Some E Street Band fans voiced (and continue to voice) a low opinion of these albums, (especially Human Touch), and did not follow the subsequent « Other Band » Tour. For other fans, however, who had only come to know Springsteen after the 1975 consolidation of the E Street Band, the « Other Band » Tour was an exciting opportunity to see Springsteen develop a working onstage relationship with a different group of musicians, and to see him explore the Asbury Park soul-and-gospel base in some of his classic material.

It was also during this tour that fans generally became aware of Springsteen using a teleprompter so as to not forget his lyrics, a practice that has continued ever since. An electric band appearance on the acoustic MTV Unplugged television program (that was later released as In Concert/MTV Plugged) was poorly received and further cemented fan dissatisfaction. Springsteen seemed to realize this a few years hence when he spoke humorously of his late father during his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech:

I’ve gotta thank him because — what would I conceivably have written about without him? I mean, you can imagine that if everything had gone great between us, we would have had disaster. I would have written just happy songs – and I tried it in the early ’90s and it didn’t work; the public didn’t like it.

A multiple Grammy Award winner, Springsteen also won an Academy Award in 1994 for his song « Streets of Philadelphia », which appeared in the soundtrack to the film Philadelphia. The song, along with the film, was applauded by many for its sympathetic portrayal of a gay man dying of AIDS. The music video for the song shows Springsteen’s actual vocal performance, recorded using a hidden microphone, to a prerecorded instrumental track. This was a technique developed on the « Brilliant Disguise » video.

In 1995, after temporarily re-organizing the E Street Band for a few new songs recorded for his first Greatest Hits album (a recording session that was chronicled in the documentary Blood Brothers), he released his second (mostly) solo guitar album, The Ghost of Tom Joad. This was generally less well-received than the similar Nebraska, due to the minimal melody, twangy vocals, and didactic nature of most of the songs, although some praised it for giving voice to immigrants and others who rarely have one in American culture. The lengthy, worldwide, small-venue solo acoustic Ghost of Tom Joad Tour that followed successfully featured many of his older songs in drastically reshaped acoustic form, although Springsteen had to explicitly remind his audiences to be quiet during the performances.

Following the tour, Springsteen moved back to New Jersey with his family. In 1998, another precursor to the E Street Band’s upcoming re-birth appeared in the form of a sprawling, four-disc box set of out-takes, Tracks. In 1999, Springsteen and the E Street Band officially came together again and went on the extensive Reunion Tour, lasting over a year. Highlights included a record sold-out, 15-show run at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey to kick off the American leg of the tour.

2000s

Springsteen’s Reunion Tour with the E Street Band ended with a triumphant 10-night, sold-out engagement at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in mid-2000 and controversy over a new song, « American Skin (41 Shots) », about the police shooting of Amadou Diallo. The final shows at Madison Square Garden were recorded and resulted in an HBO Concert, with corresponding DVD and album releases as Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live In New York City.

In 2002, Springsteen released his first studio effort with the full band in 18 years, The Rising, produced by Brendan O’Brien. The album, mostly a reflection on the September 11 attacks, was a critical and popular success. The title track gained airplay in several radio formats, and the record became Springsteen’s best-selling album of new material in 15 years. Kicked off by an early-morning Asbury Park appearance on The Today Show, The Rising Tour commenced, barnstorming through a series of single-night arena stands in the U.S. and Europe to promote the album in 2002, then returning for large-scale, multiple-night stadium shows in 2003. While Springsteen had maintained a loyal hardcore fan base everywhere (and particularly in Europe), his general popularity had dipped over the years in some southern and midwestern regions of the U.S. But it was still strong in Europe and along the U.S. coasts, and he played an unprecedented 10 nights in Giants Stadium in New Jersey, a ticket-selling feat to which no other musical act has come close.During these shows Springsteen thanked those fans who were attending multiple shows and those who were coming from long distances or another country; the advent of robust Bruce-oriented online communities had made such practices more common. The Rising Tour came to a final conclusion with three nights in Shea Stadium, highlighted by renewed controversy over « American Skin » and a guest appearance by Bob Dylan.

During the 2000s, Springsteen became a visible advocate for the revitalization of Asbury Park, and he’s played an annual series of winter holiday concerts there to benefit various local businesses, organizations and causes. These shows are explicitly intended for the faithful, featuring numbers such as the unreleased (until Tracks) E Street Shuffle outtake « Thundercrack », a rollicking group-participation song that would mystify casual Springsteen fans. He also frequently rehearses for tours in Asbury Park; some of his most devoted followers even go so far as to stand outside the building to hear what fragments they can of the upcoming shows.

At the Grammy Awards of 2003, Springsteen performed The Clash’s « London Calling » along with Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl, and E Street Band member Steven van Zandt in tribute to the late Joe Strummer; Springsteen and the Clash had once been considered multiple-album-dueling rivals at the time of the double The River and the triple Sandinista!.

In 2004, Springsteen announced that he and the E Street Band would participate in a politically motivated « Vote for Change » tour, in conjunction with John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Bright Eyes, Dave Matthews Band, Jackson Browne and other musicians. All concerts were to be held in swing states, to benefit MoveOn.org and to encourage people to vote against George W. Bush. A finale was held in Washington, D.C., bringing many of the artists together. Several days later, Springsteen held one more such concert in New Jersey, when polls showed that state surprisingly close. While in past years Springsteen had played benefits for causes in which he believed – against nuclear energy, for Vietnam veterans, Amnesty International and the Christic Institute – he had always refrained from explicitly endorsing candidates for political office (indeed he had rejected the efforts of Walter Mondale to attract an endorsement during the 1984 Reagan « Born in the U.S.A. » flap). This new stance led to criticism and praise from the expected partisan sources. Springsteen’s « No Surrender » became the main campaign theme song for John Kerry’s unsuccessful presidential campaign; in the last days of the campaign, he performed acoustic versions of the song and some of his other old songs at Kerry rallies. Springsteen’s stance coincided with a reduction in his fan base over the next two years, but how much was due to his politics versus his noncommercial music choices was unclear.

Devils & Dust was released on April 26, 2005, and was recorded without the E Street Band. It is a low-key, mostly acoustic album, in the same vein as Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad although with a little more instrumentation. Some of the material was written almost 10 years earlier during, or shortly after, the Ghost of Tom Joad Tour, a couple of them being performed then but never released. The title track concerns an ordinary soldier’s feelings and fears during the Iraq War. Starbucks rejected a co-branding deal for the album, due in part to some sexually explicit content but also because of Springsteen’s anti-corporate politics. Nonetheless, the album entered the album charts at No. 1 in 10 countries (United States, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland). Springsteen began the solo Devils & Dust Tour at the same time as the album’s release, playing both small and large venues. Attendance was disappointing in a few regions, and everywhere (other than in Europe) tickets were easier to get than in the past. Unlike his mid-1990s solo tour, he performed on piano, electric piano, pump organ, autoharp, ukulele, banjo, electric guitar and stomping board, as well as acoustic guitar and harmonica, adding variety to the solo sound. (Offstage synthesizer, guitar and percussion also are used for some songs.) Unearthly renditions of « Reason to Believe », « The Promised Land », and Suicide’s « Dream Baby Dream » jolted audiences to attention, while rarities, frequent set list changes, and a willingness to keep trying even through audible piano mistakes kept most of his loyal audiences happy.

In November 2005, New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine sponsored a U.S. Senate resolution to honor Springsteen on the 30th anniversary of the release of his Born to Run album. In general, resolutions honoring native sons are passed with a simple voice vote. For unstated reasons, this resolution was killed in committee. Also in November 2005, Sirius Satellite Radio started a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week radio station on Channel 10 called « E Street Radio. » This channel featured commercial-free Bruce Springsteen music, including rare tracks, interviews and daily concerts of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band recorded throughout their career.

In April 2006, Springsteen released another radical departure, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, an American roots music project focused around a big folk sound treatment of 15 songs popularized by the radical musical activism of Pete Seeger. It was recorded with a large ensemble of musicians, including only Patti Scialfa, Soozie Tyrell, and The Miami Horns from past efforts. In contrast to previous albums, this was recorded in only three one-day sessions, and frequently one can hear Springsteen calling out key changes live as the band explores its way through the tracks. The Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band Tour began the same month, featuring the 18-strong ensemble of musicians dubbed the Seeger Sessions Band (and later shortened to the Sessions Band). Seeger Sessions material was heavily featured, as well as a handful of (usually drastically rearranged) Springsteen numbers. The tour proved very popular in Europe, selling out everywhere and receiving some excellent reviews, but newspapers reported that a number of U.S. shows suffered from sparse attendance. By the end of 2006, the Seeger Sessions tour toured Europe twice and toured America for only a short span. Bruce Springsteen with The Sessions Band: Live in Dublin, containing selections from three nights of November 2006 shows at the The Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, was released the following June.

Springsteen’s most recent album, entitled Magic, was released on October 2, 2007. Recorded with the E Street Band, it featured ten new announced Springsteen songs plus « Long Walk Home, » performed once with the Sessions band, and a hidden track (the first included on a Springsteen studio release), « Terry’s Song, » a tribute to Springsteen’s long-time assistant Terry Magovern who died on July 30, 2007.The first single « Radio Nowhere » was made available for a free download on August 28. An accompanying tour with the E Street Band began at the Hartford Civic Center with the album’s release and was routed to North America and Europe. Springsteen and the band performed live on NBC’s Today Show in advance of the opener. Springsteen will be musical guest in November at New York Yankees manager Joe Torre’s « Safe At Home » Foundation’s 5th annual gala. Sirius Satellite Radio also restarted « E Street Radio » on Channel 10, on September 27, 2007 in anticipation of Magic. Just 3 days after the release of Magic, Billboard’s web site reported that another E Street Band album was perhaps in the works for 2008, perhaps in the spring. Producer Brendon O’Brian, who produced the Rising, Devils and Dust, and Magic, said that there were some songs left over from those sessions but would not comment on any specific plans for another new record as of yet.[citation needed] On October 7, Magic debuted at number 1 in Ireland and the UK. Greastst Hits reentered the Irish charts at number 57, and Live in Dublin almost cracked the top 20 in Norway again.

Discography:

1973: Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.
1973: The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle
1975: Born to Run
1978: Darkness on the Edge of Town
1980: The River
1982: Nebraska
1984: Born in the U.S.A.
1987: Tunnel of Love
1992: Human Touch
1992: Lucky Town
1995: The Ghost of Tom Joad
2002: The Rising
2005: Devils & Dust
2006: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
2007: Magic

Awards and recognition:

Grammy Awards

Springsteen has won 15 Grammy Awards, as follows (years shown are the year the award was given for, not the year in which the ceremony was held):

Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, 1984, « Dancing in the Dark »
Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, 1987, « Tunnel of Love »
Song of the Year, 1994, « Streets of Philadelphia »
Best Rock Song, 1994, « Streets of Philadelphia »
Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo, 1994, « Streets of Philadelphia »
Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television, 1994, « Streets of Philadelphia »
Best Contemporary Folk Album, 1996, The Ghost of Tom Joad
Best Rock Album, 2002, The Rising
Best Rock Song, 2002, « The Rising »
Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, 2002, « The Rising »
Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, 2003, « Disorder in the House » (with Warren Zevon)
Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, 2004, « Code of Silence »
Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, 2005, « Devils & Dust »
Best Traditional Folk Album, 2006, The Seeger Sessions: We Shall Overcome
Best Long Form Music Video, 2006, « Wings For Wheels: The Making Of Born to Run »

Only one of these awards has been one of the cross-genre « major » ones (Song, Record, or Album of the Year); he has been nominated a number of other times for the majors, but failed to win.


Academy Awards

Academy Award for Best Song, 1993, « Streets of Philadelphia » from Philadelphia

Emmy Awards

The Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live In New York City HBO special won two technical Emmy Awards in 2001.

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