Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen

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About Bruce Springsteen

More than mere performer, Bruce Springsteen is the embodiment of what we think of when we think of rock ’n’ roll. Born in 1949 and raised in working-class northern New Jersey, Springsteen melds the gut thrill of early rock and soul with the poetics of the singer-songwriter movement for a sound that doesn’t just describe the triumphs and sorrows of everyday Americans but spins them into myth. It’s a feat that elevated him from working musician to something like a national hero upon his arrival. Though best known for his arena-sized anthems, Springsteen actually varies his approach quite a bit, from the sweat-soaked grandeur of the E Street Band workouts on albums such as 1975’s Born to Run to the stark Dust Bowl folk of 1982’s Nebraska, embracing the nostalgic allure of rock while integrating his sound with synthesizers and Broadway-level showmanship (the latter evident not only in his marathon, tank-emptying concerts but also in 2017’s Springsteen on Broadway run). Tonally, Springsteen is just as hard to pin down, leavening his darkest, most politicized stories—“Born In the U.S.A.,” for example—with his most uplifting music, a contrast that has made him equal parts patriot and dissident, often blurring the line between the two. Or, as he himself put it in a press conference for his 2012 album, Wrecking Ball, “I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream.” But while Springsteen’s celebrated examinations of contemporary social issues have won him numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts, the past has always weighed heavily on his imagination. Some of his most vital work of the 21st century, like 2020’s Letter to You, finds him pairing decades-old compositions with new material, managing to look backward while also boldly pressing forward.

Long Branch, NJ, United States
September 23, 1949
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