Bruce Springsteen (1949) American rock artist

His youth
Bruce Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949, in Freehold in the American state of New Jersey. He grew up in a middle-class family. In high school he experimented with guitar and he played in a series of bands, varying from garage rock to power trio blues-rock. After his graduation, he decided to continue his musical aspirations in folk. He moved to New York but fell short in establishing himself in the New York folk happening. Springsteen unwillingly returned to New Jersey within a year.

The start of his career
Bruce Springsteen's career started off when he met the E Street Band, a popular bar act that included saxophone player Clarence Clemons. He received little commercial success though with his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ (1973) and the follow-up called The Wild, the Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle. Manfred Mann's Earth Band would turn his debut album's leadoff track Blinded by the Light into a number one hit four years later. Although the critics praised him and compared him to Bob Dylan, Springsteen's breakthrough was to be helped by the band Chicago. A tour with them brought Springsteen's captivating live performances in the spotlights.

The breakthrough
The attention assisted his 1974 Born to Run in becoming one of the most purchased albums in the 1970s. With the hits Born to Run and Thunder Road, Springsteen was puffed up as the rescuer of rock 'n' roll, appearing on every music magazine cover you can think of, as well as on Time and Newsweek. Springsteen brought together all the energy of 1950s rock and the contemplation of 1960s rock, shaped into a new, contemporary fashion.

The problems
In the years following this success, Springsteen failed to enhance his popularity. Where people were already turned off because of the press attention for him, he was in court continuously because of a legal disagreement with a former manager. By the time Springsteen had resolved the management issues and returned with his fourth album, Darkness at the Edge of Town (1978), the punk and new wave movement had outflanked him. Bruce Springsteen had become mainstream himself.

The return
Now Springsteen really had to prove his musical and song writing qualities. His slick double album The River showed that quality, immediately going platinum in his home country and finally establishing his image as an international star. With a one-man acoustic, dark album (Nebraska; "it sounded as if someone had died", a review recalls) in between, he definitely changed gears towards a pop-oriented rock style with his massive Born in the U.S.A. in 1984. It sold 20 million copies, resulted in seven hit singles and was accompanied by a successful world tour for nearly two years. Now known as The Boss, the artist was the new working-class American hero, also embraced by Ronald Reagan and other patriotic politicians, despite Springsteen's critical lyrics.

Springsteen then returned with a more withdrawn effort. Facing marital problems, Tunnel of Love (1987) described the artist's lost loves, emotional confusion and other adult psychological problems. A short time later, Springsteen divorced from his first wife. Later he would marry E Street Band singer Patti Scialfa.

The consolidation
After a three year break from music, Springsteen resumed his career in 1992. He consolidated his earlier successes and chose to take on musical endeavours of his own taste and to keep on touring. After performing in MTV Unplugged (most of the session plugged-in by the way), he released 1993's Streets of Philadelphia for the movie Philadelphia. It earned Springsteen an Oscar and several Grammy awards. His early folk years returned in 1995's The Ghost of Tom Joad. With an acoustic guitar and soulful lyrics, Springsteen made clear why he was compared to Bob Dylan in the start of his career. In the meantime, his Greatest Hits had become a huge success. His last album, the bright Live in New York City appeared in 2001. Later that year, Bruce Springsteen was included on a compilation album for victims of September 11 called God Bless America.

His hits
Bruce Springsteen's greatest hits according to me are the following:

His albums (through 2002)

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