He might have come into this world as Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen but his millions of fans know this is American singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen. He has been nicknamed The Boss. He is the originator of heartland rock which is a genre that combines mainstream rock music with poetic and socially conscious lyrics. These lyrics tell the tale of working-class American life.
Springsteen has sold over 71 million albums in the US and more than 140 million around the globe. This has made him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. The singer has won 20 Grammy Awards, 2 Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Special Tony Award. He has been inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2009 Springsteen received the Kennedy Center Honors, in 2016 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, and in 2023 was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Joe Biden.
His debut album was Greetings from Ashbury Park, N.J. in 1972. This album included two singles “Blinded by the Light” and “Spirit in the Night”. In 2003 this album was ranked at number 379 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle was the second album released in 1973. It included the singles “4th of July, Ashbury Park (Sandy)” and “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” which became the band’s most-used set-closing song through 1985.
The third album Born to Run came out in 1975. This album was a commercial success and had two singles released “Born to Run” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”.
It was Springsteen’s fifth album that brought him the most fame. The River came out in 1980 and was the first album to rise to number one on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart. Popular songs from this album released as singles were “Hungry Heart”, “Fade Away”, “I Wanna Marry You”, “Sherry Darling”, “The River”, “Cadillac Ranch”, and “Point Blank”.
Born in the U.S.A. the seventh album came out in 1984. It has been certified 17x Platinum by the RIAA. The album topped the charts in both the US and UK and other countries. This became Springsteen’s most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums of all time. Well-known singles from this album are “Dancing in the Dark”, “Cover Me”, “Born in the USA”, “I’m on Fire”, “Glory Days”, “I’m Goin’ Down”, and “My Hometown”.
His eighth album Tunnel of Love was released in 1987. On this album, Springsteen recorded most of the parts himself, with drum machines, and synthesizers. It topped the Billboard 200 chart. The album won Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo at the 1988 Grammy Awards. The singles released were “Brilliant Disguise”, “Tunnel of Love”, “One Step Up”, “Tougher Than the Rest”, and “Spare Parts”.
Human Touch the ninth album came out in 1992. The album sold over a million copies in the US. The singles were “Human Touch” and “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)”.
The same year he also released his tenth album Lucky Town. Springsteen had intended to release Human Touch in 1990 but the project took longer than expected. The single “Better Days” (paired with the title track from Human Touch) peaked at number one on the Mainstream Rock chart. Another song from this album “If I Should Fall Behind” was played at every show during the 1999 – 2000 Reunion Tour.
The Ghost of Tom Joad the eleventh album was released in 1995. It won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
The twelfth album The Rising came out in 2002. It was the first album since Tunnel of Love to top the US Billboard 200 chart. The album went on to win two Grammy Awards. The songs on this album are based on Springsteen’s reflections in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The singles were “The Rising”, “Lonesome Day”, and “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day”.
Devils & Dust album thirteen was released in 2005 and made its debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart. Besides “Devils & Dust” other songs included “Long Time Comin’”, “Reno”, “All I’m Thinkin’ About”, and “Matamoros Banks” Springsteen took off on a solo Devils & Dust Tour to promote the album.
The fifteenth album Magic came out in 2007 and was Springsteen’s first with the E Street Band since The Rising in 2002. It topped the charts in both the US and UK and six other countries. The singles were “Radio Nowhere” and “Girls in Their Summer Clothes”. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at number 2 on the list Top 50 Albums of 2007.
Working on a Dream the sixteenth album was released in 2009 and became Springsteen’s ninth number one. The song “The Wrestler” appeared as a bonus track and won a Global Globe award.
The seventeenth album Wrecking Ball came out in 2012 with the first single “We Take Care of Our Own” nominated for three Grammy Awards. Other singles were “Rocky Ground” and “Death to My Hometown”.
High Hopes album number eighteen was released in 2014 and became Springsteen’s eleventh number one album in the US. This is a collection of cover songs, out-takes, and re-imagined versions of tracks from past albums, EPs, and tours.
Western Stars number nineteen came out in 2019 and became a chart success in the US. The album's lead single “Hello Sunshine” was released with a music video. Other singles were “There Goes My Miracle”, “Tucson Train”, and “Western Stars”. Springsteen made his directorial debut with the documentary film that featured a full performance of the album. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019.
The twentieth album Letter to You was released in 2020. It was Springsteen’s first new studio album with the E Street Band to be released since the album High Hopes in 2014. The album responded to the issues of aging and death. Singles released were “Letter to You”, “Ghosts”, “The Power of Prayer”, and “I’ll See You in My Dreams”.
The final album to be released in 2022 is Only the Strong Survive. This is a cover album of R&B and soul songs. The first single was “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)”, a cover of the song by Frank Wilson. Other singles were “Nightshift”, “Don’t Play That Song”, and “Turn Back the Hands of Time”. Springsteen promoted the album with four appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Falcon” and on a special Thanksgiving episode.
The Boss continues to record and tour and rock on.