Springsteen was born September 23, 1949, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Springsteen was raised in a working-class household in Freehold Borough. The future Boss’s father, Doug Springsteen, had trouble holding down a steady job and worked at different times as a bus driver, millworker and prison guard.
Adele Springsteen, Bruce’s mother, brought in steadier income as a secretary in a local insurance office. Raised a Roman Catholic, Springsteen attended the St. Rose of Lima Catholic school in Freehold Borough, where he was at odds with the nuns and rejected the strictures imposed upon him, even though some of his later music reflects a Catholic ethos and included a few rock-influenced, traditional Irish-Catholic hymns.
From 1969 through early 1971, Springsteen performed with Steel Mill, which also featured Danny Federici, Vini Lopez, Vinnie Roslin and later Steve Van Zandt and Robbin Thompson. They went on to play the mid-Atlantic college circuit, and also briefly in California.
In January 1970 well-known San Francisco Examiner music critic Philip Elwood gave Springsteen credibility in his glowing assessment of Steel Mill: “I have never been so overwhelmed by totally unknown talent.”
Elwood went on to praise their “cohesive musicality” and, in particular, singled out Springsteen as “a most impressive composer”.Springsteen signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1972 with the help of John Hammond, who had signed Bob Dylan to the same label a decade earlier.
Springsteen brought many of his New Jersey–based colleagues into the studio with him, thus forming the E Street Band (although it would not be formally named as such for several more years).
In September 1973 his second album The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle was released, again to critical acclaim but no commercial success. Springsteen’s songs became grander in form and scope, with the E Street Band providing a less folky, more R&B vibe, and the lyrics often romanticized teenage street life.
In September 1979, Springsteen and the E Street Band joined the Musicians United for Safe Energy anti-nuclear power collective at Madison Square Garden for two nights, playing an abbreviated set while premiering two songs from his upcoming album.
The subsequent No Nukes live album, as well as the following summer’s No Nukes documentary film, represented the first official recordings and footage of Springsteen’s fabled live act, as well as Springsteen’s first tentative dip into political involvement.
In 1984, which sold 15 million copies in the U.S. alone and had seven top ten singles, it became one of the best-selling albums of all time. During the early 2000s, Springsteen became a visible advocate for the revitalization of Asbury Park, and played an annual series of winter holiday concerts there to benefit various local businesses, organizations, and causes.
These shows were explicitly intended for the devoted fans, featuring numbers such as the E Street Shuffle outtake “Thundercrack”, a rollicking group-participation song that would mystify casual Springsteen fans.
He also frequently rehearses for tours in Asbury Park; some of his most devoted followers even go so far as to stand outside the building to hear what fragments they can of the upcoming shows.
He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2007 for his services to music and entertainment. Official induction ceremonies held in May 2008.