Bruce Springsteen, early days and career bio


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Bruce Springsteen



September 23, 1949 Long Branch, New Jersey to bus driver Douglas Springsteen, of Irish and Dutch descent, and mother Adele Zerilli from the Italian American community. 

Bruce Springsteen in the Early Years

He seemed to march to a different drummer even from his early days in New Jersey's rough and tumble neighberhoods. By age 16 he was already in a band, first on the guitar and then as lead singer. He had to grow up quickly, because after finishing high school he dropped out of college and plunged into working life. Though it may not have seemed like it at the time, this was a gift because it filled the songs he wrote with an earthy, working-class, no-nonsense look at the lives we led, in a way that reverberated with heartland America. Even gigs in New York and California couldn't pry him away from his roots, and he always came back to play popular New Jersey clubs such as The Stone Pony in Asbury Park.

It's kind of funny how people say -- after someone becomes successful -- they always knew he or she was going to be a success. Bruce had to live a little closer to reality, fighting for a foothold in life. Even when he was "discovered" by Columbia in 1972 and got the cherished record deal, his first album drew many compliments but few sales. Ditto the second album. Undeterred, he plunged into the third, which took a marathon 14 months to record. This was the semi-legendary Born to Run album in 1975. The guy from New Jersey became an "overnight success."

Bruce Springsteen in Recent Years

A longtime supporter of military veterans and human rights in his songs and concerts, The Boss came forward with a tribute to those who died on 9-11-2001 in his album The Rising. This led to voter registration rally-concerts in 2004 aimed at getting young people registered to vote. Four years later that led to involvement in the campaign of a young Senator from Illinois who was seeking to be President of the United States. Probably just a lucky guess. But it won Springsteen a great gig at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial during a pre-inauguration concert attended by 400,000. Now if he could have just sold tickets....

In 2009, it is not known if he endorsed either the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals -- but he did get a similarly impressive gig performing at halftime in the Super Bowl. Not bad for a working-class guy from New Jersey.

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