Bruce Springsteen can do no wrong. He is an amazing American singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet, humanitarian and photographer. He is truly unstoppable. With more than sixty million records sold and one-hundred and twenty award nominations, including two Golden Globes, two Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and an Academy Award win and nomination, Springsteen has become one of the most profound musicians in the industry, and in life in general, today.
He has been featured in hundreds of movie and television show soundtracks, including the popular classic, Jerry McGuire. His music videos have also topped the charts of every music network station and award show. In addition, his concert tickets are also one of the most top-selling venues in the music industry. Fans have always got their money’s worth because Springsteen is both famously and notoriously known for his concerts clocking until the three-hour mark or even longer! Depending how much he is into the music, fans get to see Springsteen get lost in his own songs during live performances. Whether you have seen Springsteen live or not, or even had the chance to meet him, the man has always received a positive reputation with his fans, known as treating them like they are his own personal friends and even family. Now, talk about a true, dedicated, and passionate artist!
Want to know more about Springsteen? Then, check out this list of the fifteen things you do not now about Mr. Bruce Springsteen aka “The Doctor” aka “The Boss” (perhaps there are some facts that even your parents and their parents do not know of themselves):
15. How He Became Known As “The Boss”
Before his solo career, Springsteen’s nickname was “The Doctor,” until he had joined a new band—a trio—Earth, in the late sixties. Performing at a variety of nightclubs in New Jersey, where he also grew up as well, Springsteen developed an ongoing nickname—“The Boss.” The nickname thrived from Springsteen taking over (or perhaps, control) of the band’s paperwork and payment stubs for their live performances. Each night, after playing a gig, he would collect and individually distribute the paychecks to his band members. He was the band’s first (and semi) accountant/bookkeeper, until he became too busy himself and they actually had to hire on someone else to take over the position. And like the badass boss he is, Springsteen is still referred as “The Boss” to many of his fans today. However, it has been reported numerous times that Springsteen actually dislikes the nickname due to the history behind it.
14. He Trespassed On Graceland
Is Springsteen a bad boy himself? Perhaps! It is no shock if he was or still is.
After a late night of drinking, a very inebriated Springsteen had an idea that he himself could not decide if it was a good or a very, VERY bad thing to do. He acted upon it immediately. He had jumped the fence of Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. That is right—Elvis Presley’s famous home. At the time, being 1976, Presley was well alive and at home, sound asleep. Being a diehard fan of Presley himself, Springsteen had only wanted to express his gratitude to the King of Rock N’ Roll. However, the Graceland security guards stopped him before he had actually reached the front door…and even made it all the way over the fence. Springsteen made breaking news instantly from the incident. He should be given credit because he has never shied away or denied this “situation.”
13. He Flunked Out Of The Army
More rebellious behavior. Springsteen earned a “4F” after being enlisted into the Vietnam War at eighteen years old. The night before his exam, he and a few potential colleagues/buddies went out drinking. They had one too many drinks and the rest sort of aligned in order from there on out. He had flunked his physical exam the following morning and was denied to enlist into the army. Although details have always been left out from that night and the morning after, it is expected that Springsteen and his buddies’ blood levels were out of whack; higher than usual. Perhaps, they also had the “morning after sickness” or were, in fact, still intoxicated. But, Springsteen had a better excuse the following year. Only months following his rejection to join the Vietnam War, he was involved in a scary motorcycle accident that left him severely injured. But that did not scare him off to stop riding motorcycles because he is still a proud owner today.
12. His Other Bands
In addition to the trio band Earth, Springsteen was also part of other groups throughout his career. This included lead vocals for The Castiles, Child, who are now known as The Steelmill, Sundance Blues Band, Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, The Bruce Springsteen Band, and Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. In 2005, he had also recorded the album Devils & Dust with different musicians. The following year, in 2006, he made the folk rock album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, with another band called The Sessions Band. Whether Springsteen was bouncing around from band to band because of creative differences, band members wanting to pursue something else, or pure collaboration, thankfully “The Boss” continued with his music. Today, Springsteen still performs with Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., now known as The E Street Band. They are often seen playing at one of many Springsteen’s three-hour long (or plus) live performances.
11. The Ramones
Before he became a household name, Springsteen was just another local who ran into lead vocalist, Joey Ramone, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Ramone was impressed with Springsteen as a songwriter and had asked him to write a song for his band, The Ramones. Being in the late seventies, Springsteen had already sold his previous songs, such as “Blinded by the Light,” “Because the Night,” and “Fire” to other bands. Therefore, Springsteen had actually never performed his own written material. He took upon Ramone’s offer and penned out, “Hungry Heart.” But when his manager, Jon Landau, found out about the situation, Springsteen was then strongly advised to not give away the song.
Springsteen listened and “Hungry Heart” became his first big hit, landing him on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has also been featured in multiple films like Risky Business, The Wedding Singer, The Perfect Storm, and Warm Bodies.
10. His Work On The Wrestler
Springsteen’s song “The Wrestler” plays over the ending credits to the 2008 film of the same title after character Randy “The Ram” Robinson jumps back into the ring. It is a decision that “The Ram” makes after finding himself, what he believes is, in a low point in both his career and personal life. The jump represents his comeback to life itself. The film stars Mickey Rourke and Marissa Tomei and is directed by legendary director, Darren Aronofsky. The film received a positive reception for its acting, directing, and story, as well as for its soundtrack; a big props to Springsteen and his contribution to the film. Both Mickey Rourke, Marissa Tomei, and Springsteen were nominated for Golden Globes at the 2009 ceremony. Rourke took home “Best Actor” and Springsteen won for “Best Original Song.” Rourke and Tomei scored Academy Award nominations in the following week, but Springsteen did not. He was truly robbed in the “Best Original Song” category.
9. His Work On Philadelphia
In 1994, Springsteen earned his first Academy Award for Best Original Song titled “Streets of Philadelphia.” The song was featured on the soundtrack for the 1993 feature, Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, a story about a homophobic lawyer (Washington) who fights to win his case for another lawyer (Hanks) with AIDS. The film received a powerful reception with its audience, including for its soundtrack as well, because it was the first mainstream movie to touch upon the AIDS movement. Springsteen later went on and scored his second Academy Award nomination in 1996 for his song, Dead Man Walking, featured on the movie of the same title. That film stars Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, a story about a nun who befriends a prison inmate on death row. The film was also directed by Tim Robbins—yes the actor, aka Andy from The Shawshank Redemption. In my opinion, Springsteen was, yet again, robbed for his contribution to this film as well (just like The Wrestler).
8. His Work On Jerry MaGuire
“Show me the money!”
Springsteen is certainly a film soundtrack artist favorite. His song “Secret Garden” was featured in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire. The film stars Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., and (at the time, newcomer) Renee Zellweger. The film is directed by Cameron Crowe, who is known for his passion for music and how certain songs play a significant element to his films. So when he and Springsteen teamed up, it was a dream team match in Heaven. The song serves as a reoccurring theme for the film. The song famously plays during two scenes, establishing the developing relationship between Cruise and Zellweger’s characters, Jerry and Dorothy. We hear the song during the first date scene between Jerry and Dorothy, colleagues who become an item. The second time we hear the song is after fallout between Jerry and Dorothy. The song is featured on Springsteen’s Greatest Hits album. Again…the song should have been nominated for an Oscar. Just saying.
7. His Song Was Used On The Space Shuttle Discovery
It is one thing for a singer to be famous in their own hometown and play at local clubs. It is another thing when a singer is a regional hero, much like a country singer near Nashville or a grunge band near Seattle. A singer’s popularity grows when their country knows who they are. The pinnacle for most singers is when they are international superstars. But what about someone who is an interstellar, interplanetary superstar? What happens when a singer becomes so popular that their songs can be heard in outer space? This is where Bruce Springsteen sets himself apart from his peers.
You can hear a Bruce Springsteen song anywhere, including space. “Space fans.” Springsteen’s popular song “Rendezvous” was used as a wakeup call for the Space Shuttle Discovery team in December 1999. Literally, it was the wakeup alarm call for the team. The irony was the space team going into “rendezvous,” checking out of the Hubble Space Telescope.
6. He Was Married Twice
Springsteen tied the knot with model/actress, Julianne Phillips, in 1985. She was his first wife. The duo had an eleven year age gap. They had divorced in 1989; it was said that Springsteen’s constant traveling and band touring was what had put a strain to the marriage. But no more than a year later, Springsteen became involved with a friend and his bandmate, singer-songwriter/musician, Patti Scialfa, who had first joined the band for the “Born in the U.S.A.” tour. It is reported that the two fell in love during the “Tunnel of Love Express Tour,” which Scialfa was hesitant to join because she wanted to pursue a solo music career. They wed in 1991, after the birth of their first child, Evan. Springsteen and Scialfa were actually colleagues from their earlier music days. Scialfa had joined Springsteen and his band, E Street Band, in the eighties. It is no surprise that the two started dating once they collaborated on songs and moved in together.
5. The Story Behind The Glory Days Music Video
The world can be small…too small most of the times, especially in the entertainment field. Before he had expressed his unhappiness with his marriage unraveling in his song “Tunnel of Love,” Springsteen was still happily married to his first wife, Julianne Phillips. He had cast his (now—then) wife, Phillips, in the music video for his smash hit “Glory Days.” Little did he, as well as everyone else involved with the music video, know that his soon-to-be ex (Phillips) and his current wife (Scialfa) would be colleagues in the “Glory Days” music video. Julianne Phillips made a cameo appearance at the very end of the music video on the baseball field. At the time, Patti Scialfa was part of the performance with Springsteen and the rest of the band. The music video was a hit on MTV. There was no bad blood ever reported on set or in general between the former and current Mrs. Springsteen.
4. He Has Three Children
Add fatherhood to Springsteen’s list. He shares three children with his wife, Patti Scialfa: Evan, Jessica, and Samuel. While most children of rock stars tend to keep a low profile, Springsteen’s three (now adult) children are often seen at his concerts and charity events, always supportive of their father’s achievements. They have done a well job staying out of the tabloids or breaking news of any reckless behavior. If anything, the Springsteen children are making a name for themselves. The oldest son, Evan, is a Boston graduate. He is taking after his father’s footsteps, singing and writing his own songs, which he won first place for the 2012 Singer/Songwriter Competition at Boston College’s Arts Festival. The only daughter, Jessica, is an American and national show jumping champion rider. She had competed in the US Show Jumping World Cup, as well as the 2012 FEI Nations Cup. She had also graduated from Duke University. The youngest, Sam, has become a firefighter.
3. The Story Behind The Wish
Springsteen has been open of his rough upbringing of him and his family making ends meet as far back as he can remember. At thirteen years old, his mother had purchased him his first owned guitar, costing the family eighteen dollars. She then purchased her son a sixty dollar Kent Guitar, which she took out a loan for…something that Springsteen himself felt the need to pay her back for. The guitar purchases was a lot for the Springsteen family financially. Springsteen has always appraised his mother for her dedication and supporting their family, as they lived in New Jersey. He discusses both his passion for music and the support from his mother in his song “The Wish.” The song is his “Thank You’” to her. He even claims that the song is a perfect Mother’s Day tune (or gift). He occasionally performs the songs at his concerts; most of the times, his mother is present at the shows.
2. Elvis Presley Inspired Him
Springsteen had learned his first song to play on the guitar as a boy, which was “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles. He was also a fan of Frank Sinatra’s singing and songwriting. Even at a young age, Springsteen knew that there was something special of the Beatles and Sinatra due to the impact they had (and still have) on people all around the world. He saw it as a sign and how music could truly affect others. But it was truly Elvis Presley who had inspired Springsteen to pursue the musician life. Presley was whom Springsteen wanted to be and felt as if he was destined to become a musician. He claims in multiple interviews and behind-the-scenes that he had recognized his true life calling in life after watching Presley’s famous (and infamous) Ed Sullivan Show performance. In a matter of time, Springsteen was soon performing all over New Jersey, including Route 34 and Elks Lodge. So, now we know why he had trespassed Graceland on that drunken night…
1. He Is Legendary
To most, Springsteen has become a living legend in their own lives and the entertainment industry. In addition to his Academy Award and two Golden Globe wins, he has also won more than twenty Grammy Awards and a handful of other music recognition. In 2013, he was recognized with the MusiCares Person of the Year for his music career. His humanitarian work has also earned him a spot on Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list as well as the Forbes Annual list of the World’s Most Powerful Celebrities. Springsteen certainly knows how to leave his mark on the world, inspiring others to always pursue their passion and, overall, dreams. Even with all of the awards and recognitions, Springsteen definitely does not let any of it go to his head. The dude has been identified as a cool guy and a genuine person to both his loved ones and fans.