After nearly 40 years in the music industry, most rock n’ roll artist’s careers slow down. But not Bruce Springsteen‘s. At the age of 62, “The Boss” is rocking sold out concerts and playing unforgettable music. With Springsteen’s ability to write lyrics that reflect not only the working man’s struggle, but also the mood of a generation, Bruce has attracted fans both young and old. His powerful words and rock n’ roll style resonates with listeners and turns them into life-long fans. He is a talented singer, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, and performer. He is the voice of the working man and inspiration to many. He is “The Boss.”
Bruce Springsteen has been acknowledged with many of the highest honors a musician can receive. He has appeared simultaneously on the covers of Newsweek and Time. He has won 20 of the 46 Grammy Awards for which he was nominated, most of them for Best Rock Song and/or Best Album. He has won two Oscars, one for Best Original Song for “Streets of Philadelphia” in 1994 and one for Best Original Song for “The Wrestler” in 2009. He also received an Academy Award for Best Original Song “Streets of Philadelphia” in 1994. The Boss has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Several of his tours have been named Top Draw by Billboard Touring Awards.
9. Political Involvement
The Boss recently used his lyrics to lend his voice to the political arena. In 2008, as the country teetered on the edge of a disastrous economic cliff, Bruce Springsteen wholeheartedly endorsed then Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States. First the endorsement came as a simple paragraph on his website, but next his endorsement got louder – as in singing into a microphone at a campaign rally kind of louder. Springsteen opened for Obama at a rally in the swing state of Ohio in November of 2008. Four years later, he again campaigned for Obama who was running for re-election.
8. The E-Street Band
Let’s face it, a huge part of what makes Bruce Springsteen “The Boss” is his collaboration with The E-Street Band. Comprised of core band members; Stevie Van Zandt, Patti Scialfa (who is also Springsteen’s wife), Max Weinberg, Gary Tallent, Roy Bittan, and Nils Lofgren and additional musicians; Suzie Tyrell, Jake Clemons (nephew of the late Clarence Clemons), Charles Giordano, Barry Danielian, Everet Bradley, Clark Gayton, Curtis King, Eddie Manion, Cindy Mizelle, Michelle Moore, Curt Ramm, and Tom Morello. The core band members have been with Springsteen since his first album in 1973. Missing from the band is Danny Frederici, who died of melanoma in 2008, and Clarence Clemons, who passed away in 2011 from complications due to a stroke he suffered six days prior. Together, the talent of the E Street Band creates a magnetic compilation of instruments for which each band member is a master in his or her own way.
7. Album Sales
In the past forty years Springsteen has released 18 studio albums. He has sold 64.5 million albums in the US, which makes him the 15th highest selling artist of all time. Born in the USA was his highest selling album which reached over 15 million in sales. Shortly after that were the Born to Run and The River albums which combined sold 11 million copies.
Bruce Springsteen is best known for his powerful songs, but the songwriter/musician is also a philanthropist who is serious about giving back – quietly. He is the financial backing behind a charity in New Jersey which gives relief to citizens in need. Springsteen also gives to several larger charities including Every Mother Counts, Musicians on Call, Project Green Leaf, Rainforest Foundation Fund, WhyHunger, and Aid Still Required. He has performed at concerts to support Vietnam Veterans, the revitalization of Asbury Park, New Jersey, and Amnesty International. He has been named the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year for his creative and philanthropic work.
5. Music for the Middle Class
From humble beginnings in Freehold, New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen saw and understood the life of working middle-class families. That understanding translated into his music from his very first album in 1973. Songs like “Thunder Road,” “Badlands,” “Born in the USA,” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” ring with a longing for something more. Even as Springsteen’s fame grew, his songs remained connected to the heart of the middle-class and the turmoil of the country. In his album The Rising, that was released after the tragedy of September 11th, Bruce sings of faith and hope. And on his latest album, High Hopes, some songs sound almost like hymnals, as Bruce allows his Catholic background to guide his lyrics.
4. Concert Sales
Springsteen is known for his high energy concerts, which doesn’t make it surprising that The Boss brings in a lot of revenue from his performances. During the High Hopes Tour, which began in South Africa in late January and ended in Uncasville, Connecticut on May 18th, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played 32 concerts in 25 different cities. Their final ticket sales from the tour: 554,032 seats sold and a whopping $64.9 million dollars in sales. Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball Tour, which played 127 shows between 2012 and 2013 sold over 3 million tickets and grossed close to $350 million in sales. Springsteen’s Magic Tour and The Rising Tour nearly matched the Wrecking Ball Tour’s numbers. Another of Springsteen’s concert tours that performed well was his Born in the USA Tour. It grossed close to $100 million in ticket sales.
3. The Fans
For those who cherish the rough voice of Springsteen and hold tight to his lyrics of hope, listening to him belt out songs like “Badlands” and “Thunder Road” brings a whole lot of joy. Bruce’s fans are wide reaching and span from those who lived through the horror of the Vietnam War and those who are just now emerging from adolescence and searching for understanding in a song. Some fans, such as the collaborators of E Street Radio, which is a satellite station, plays no other artists but Bruce Springsteen. They have been doing so since 2005. Other fans, such as the members of the Asbury Park Public Library, take to keep every book, article, magazine, newspaper, album, etc. in mint condition for the public. To date there are over 100,000 pieces of memorabilia in the Bruce Springsteen section of the library. And then there are the thousands of female Bruce fans who adore him for the way he can describe love, need, and desire without ever having to actually say the word love.
2. High Hopes
While Bruce Springsteen may have created a name for himself with rock n’ roll hits like “Born in the USA” and “Badlands,” his 18th and most recent album High Hopes shows that even “The Boss” can change his style. Still featuring the E-Street Band, the High Hopes album was recorded in New Jersey, LA, Atlanta, Australia, and New York City. Unlike previous albums, High Hopes comes with a different sound and a new face. After meeting Tom Morello, guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, Springsteen invited the edgy guitar player to become part of his most recent album. Morello’s performance on “The Ghost of Tom Joad” is perhaps the most impressive of the entire album. The album also includes music from the late Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici.
1. Live Performances
Bruce Springsteen‘s albums might bring in listeners, but his concerts turn listeners into life-long fans. In a time of fancy stage choreography, flashy wardrobes, and shiny lights, an artist’s music can become secondary during their concert. But not with Springsteen. There are no pauses, no breaks, and no intermissions during his concerts. There are no wardrobe or set changes. When the lights go down and the blaring glow of the stage spotlight shines down him, Bruce Springsteen keeps it simple. He sings, he plays his guitar, and he connects with his audience through his songs and pure dynamic energy. He works the crowd in magnetic fashion. And he doesn’t stop. For three heart-pumping hours he sings. And the audience sings right along with him. With sweat dripping, Springsteen embodies a true performer. His music is moving and his concert leaves his fans holding onto every strum of his guitar and every word he sings. He is an entertainer enjoying every moment of time spent bringing his music to his fans. He is without a doubt, “The Boss.”