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The Life and Times of Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen, born on September 23, 1949 in Freehold, New Jersey, 18 miles from Asbury Park, a once fashionable but now dreary beach town that Springsteen immortalized in songs like "Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) and "Backstreets." He was the oldest of the three children (2 girls and a boy), of Douglas and Adele (Zirelli) Springsteen. His father, whose ancestry is Irish and Dutch, through the years worked as a factory laborer and prison guard but was mainly a bus driver. He was often out of work, with the burden of supporting the family thrown on his wife, a secretary. Though close to his mother, Springsteen fought, sometimes bitterly, with his father throughout adolescence.

Bruce attended a local parochial school where he was a loner who had few friends and did poorly in his studies. "I lived half of my first 13 years in a trance or something," he has recalled. "People thought I was weird." Rock ‘n' roll relieved the drabness of his typical small-town working-class upbringing. He was exited by Elvis Presley's first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, after which his, mother purchased him a guitar. Detesting the formal lessons his mother insisted on, he abandoned the quitar until 1963, when he bought a secondhand $18 instrument. He learned to play by himself after a cousin taught him to play the harmonia and the piano, and suddenly rock music became an all-absorbing passion. A memorable moment in his life was in high school when he formed his first band, the Castiles, who became good enough to play in a popular Greenwich Village nightspot, the Cafe Wha. From then things had grown rapidly and Bruce Springsteen's spot in Rock ‘n' Roll was the beginning of a tremendous career.

Bruce is a composer and also a lyricist who in 1972 signed with Columbia Records and then achieved stardom in 1975. It was to his third album: ‘Born To Run'; telling of a day in the life of a desperatte teenager, that gave him that stardom. By the end of the dacade, "The Boss," as he affectionally called by fans and fello musicians, had become rock ‘n' roll's foremost statesman.

Bruce Sringsteen had recorded many successful albums in his career but there is one, that I love the most, that definitly put him on the top. It was his 1984 album ‘Born in the USA' that sealed Springsteen's superstar status, spending seven weeks at the top of the US chart, where it was resident for over two years. Springsteen and the E Street Band had created an album that soared to the top of the LP charts. The album had become Columbia's all-time bestseller with over 15 million copies sold around the world. The album was a double-edged patriotic sword as Springsteen laid his integrity on the line, and seven of its 12 tracks were big US hit singles, including ‘Dancing in The Dark' (also a UK Top 30 hit as by US rock revivalists Big Daddy in the style of Pat Boone's ‘Moody River'!) And ‘Glory Days" (both Top 5), and ‘Cover Me', I'm On Fire', ‘I'm Going Down', ‘My Hometown' and especially the title track ‘BORN IN THE USA' (all Top 10).

Springsteen made an extensive tour of the United States in 1984 when he was heard by more than one million people. That fall, during the U.S. presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan said in Hammonton, New Jersey, "America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in songs of a man so many young American admire, New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen." That many of Springsteen's best song's of the 1980's have been downbeat, reflecting the devastation of common people's lives in post-industrial America, inspired the president's words with a stark irony that was not lost on Springsteens admirers. When Walter F. Mondale countered by saying he had won Springsteen's endorsement, Springsteen found himself embraced by both of the major presidential candidates.

I can sit hear all day and talk to you about Bruce Springsteen's numerous Grammys and awards, for his many top ten hits and albums. Though, thats not the main thing for his music. The important thing is that he is a man that stands for the American way of life, a man that stands for freedem and the right to live. He stands for the honorable U.S. Constitution that gives us that freedem. He is a singer that represents the true American man, who they are, and how they live. As in the words of Bruce Springsteen: "Let Freedem Ring"

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