Like millions of other Americans, a seven year-old Springsteen watched Elvis Presley perform on The Ed Sullivan Show and became spellbound by rock and roll. He picked up the guitar at age thirteen and played in a number of local bands for the years leading up to his big break signing a record deal. From the onset of his career as a young recording artist, Springsteen brought a diverse blend of blues, jazz, soul, rock ‘n roll, and gospel elements to his songwriting. His varied song structures and lush multi-instrumentalism demanded a capable supporting band, and it wasn’t long before Springsteen had assembled his famed E Street Band. Although his first releases were critically successful, it was 1975’s Born to Run that brought Springsteen into the cultural spotlight. Songs like “Thunder Road,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” and “Born to Run” remain fan favorites even today. Springsteen’s legacy has continued to grow ever since, bringing about now classic albums like Born in the U.S.A., No Nukes, and Darkness on the Edge of Town. His most recent album, Wrecking Ball, was released in 2012 and earned the honor of being Rolling Stone’s album of the year. This album was his tenth to reach #1 on the Billboard charts and further established Springsteen as one of the best-selling artists of all time. The Boss has received 20 Grammy Awards, 2 Golden Globes, and has been inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
Much of Springsteen’s legend is tied to the numerous causes he has championed. He spoke out in support of Vietnam War veterans, sang for Africa on “We Are the World,” and recorded a two-night live concert in support of the Musicians United for Safe Energy collective. One of his most iconic concerts was performed in 1988 in East Germany to a crowd of more than 300,000 people – some journalists even say that this event helped serve as a catalyst for the fall of the Berlin Wall. Springsteen’s heartfelt “Streets of Philadelphia,” featured in the film Philadelphia, drew widespread attention to the AIDS epidemic and earned him an Academy Award. He dedicated an album to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, recorded a song to benefit Boston after the Boston Marathon bombings, and performed on the Hurricane Sandy relief telethon in earnest support of his native New Jersey. The list of The Boss’s humanitarian efforts goes on and on, and it is no surprise that he was chosen as the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year.
Despite approaching forty years in the limelight, Springsteen has showed no signs of slowing down. His raw and inexhaustible energy continues to fuel his acclaimed live performances and his devotion to many sociopolitical causes.