|Bruce Springsteen (americansongwriter.com ())|
Bruce Springsteen is many things to many people. Singer.
Songwriter. Musician. Poet. Son. Brother. Father. Husband. Friend of the common
man. Philanthropist. But I think President Obama said it best when honoring
Bruce at the 2009 Kennedy Center Awards, "Finally we honor the quiet kid from
Jersey who grew up to become the rock and roll laureate of a generation. For in the life of our country only a
handful of people have tapped the full power of music to tell the real American
story with honesty, from the heart. Bruce has said 'I've always believed that
people listen to your music not to find out about you but to find about
themselves. And for more than three decades in his songs of dreams and despair,
of struggle and hope, hard working folks have seen themselves. They've seen the
great state of New Jersey, and they've seen their America in songs that become
anthems. Russell's kids who were born to run, the struggles of workers in my
home town, the sacrifices of vets in Born in the USA, love and loss in the
streets of Philadelphia.'" Obama ended his tribute by saying, "Bruce was a great
friend over the last year, when I watched him on the steps of the Lincoln
Memorial when he rocked the National Mall before my inauguration I thought it
captured as well as anything what the spirit of America should be about. On a
day like that and today I remember, I'm the President but he's the boss."
Born (September 23, 1949), and raised in New Jersey, Bruce
Springsteen picked up his first guitar after being inspired by watching Elvis
Presley on the Ed Sullivan show when he was just 7 years old. His mother,
father and two younger sisters must have some interesting stories to tell about
life with "The Boss" during the early years of a future musical giant. By the
age of 18, as the Viet Nam war raged, Bruce had to report for the draft but
luckily for the music he has given us, he failed his physical so was not
allowed to join up. He played with different friends and in several bands but
when he finally signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1972, Bruce
Springsteen and the E Street band were born. His 1975 album "Born To Run" was
the springboard for his career taking off and he never looked back.
|Bruce Springsteen & President Obama Kennedy Center (newyork.cbslocal.com ())|
By the time his 1984 album "Born in the USA" came out Bruce
was honoring many friends who had come back, changed and scarred from the
Vietnam war experience. One of those friends was Ron Kovic, who wrote Born on
the Fourth of July, the best selling autobiography about his experiences in the
Vietnam war that would become the multiple Academy Award nominated film
starring Tom Cruise. At the
Kennedy Center awards in 2009, Ron told the story of meeting Bruce Springsteen
for the first time in 1978 in Los Angeles and introducing himself as the
Vietnam vet who had written the book, Born on the Fourth of July. "He seemed
surprised", Ron said, and he told me, 'I just read that book.' We talked for a
while and he invited me to San Francisco to see him perform at the Winterland
Arena and somewhere during that amazing concert he looked out and said, this
one's for you Ron and began singing Darkness on the Edge of Town. I remember as I sat in my wheelchair I
began to cry and it was the first time I had cried in a long time. Being born
on the fourth of July has always meant a lot to me and knowing you Bruce has
made it even more special to be Born in the USA."
That is the thing about
Bruce Springsteen songs. They are special and make us feel special and loved
and that our voices are being heard.
|Hurricane Sandy Benefit (thenonprofitmonitor.wordpress.com ())|
Recently Bruce was given yet another honor in Los Angeles,
when he was named MusiCares Person of the Year for his history of philanthropy.
MusiCare is the foundation arm of the Grammies (Music Awards) that provides "a
safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need." Bruce Springsteen, ever humble told
them, "I'm here tonight under false pretenses because whatever philanthropy
I've done usually just involves me playing the guitar, making a few bucks and
bringing some attention to the folks who are really doing the work." Not
exactly true though he may have been referring to the many charity concerts and
benefits he has been a part of, like NO NUKES, We Are the World, Amnesty
International, Concert for the victims of 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, to name
just a few.
Unlike many celebrities who are visible when the stakes are
high and the crisis big and known, Springsteen once told Rolling Stones
journalist Kurt Loder, "I want to try and just work more directly with people,
try to find some way to tie into the communities we come into." And that is just what he has been doing.
|Bruce, Band, including wife Patti Scialfa (telegraph.co.uk ())|
Bruce Springsteen began giving many years ago, out of the
spotlight, going about the business of helping others in a quiet, effective
way. During his Born in the USA tour of 1984, he gave generously to every food
bank in every city of his tour. Always gearing his philanthropy towards direct
giving to those in the most need and with local grass roots organizations in
those communities. A few examples in his home state of New Jersey include:
financing the building of the Newark Community Food Bank, almost half a million
dollars to help with home improvements for the needy and thousands more to help
laid off union workers.
According to Looktothestars.org Bruce Springsteen has
supported a lot of causes over the years. Some of those include disaster
relief, education, environment, health and human rights, poverty, hunger,
veteran support, voter education, women's rights and the creative arts. Some
notable foundations he supports include MusiCares, Amnesty International, Every
Mother Counts, Kristen Ann Carr
Fund, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, fellow musician Stings Rainforest
Foundation, and Project Green Leaf, to name just a few.
Bruce Springsteen is still rocking the house! He is known
for his long and energetic live shows but topped himself in June during a
concert that he dedicated to his friend, the late actor James Gandolfini.
During the middle of his show at Coventry Ricoh Arena in the UK, as a tribute
to "my great friend James" he decided to play, in order, his 1975 album Born To
Run. The show ran just over 3 hours but none of the sold out crowd left this
amazing moment in rock and roll history.
|Bruce Springsteen & family Kennedy Center Honors (AP ())|
Bruce is happily married to his back up singer and partner
Patti Scialfa and they have three grown children and still have their main
residence in New Jersey. I have always thought that Born to Run was for me, as
it has my name in the lyrics (..."Wendy let me in I want to be your friend..."). But
then that's what his music does. it connects us to our own lives and to each
other and we feel we are a part of something bigger.
The last words go to "The Boss": "You can't triumph without
music because music is life. Music is the birds singing, the wheat rustling in
the fields, the strumming of the wind through the leaves of that tree that was
in the backyard of your childhood home. The earth and the stars rolling through
the heavens at night. Before man
or woman heard their name they heard music. They heard the wind rushing past
their eardrums, the grass humming with insects. The birds knocking and rocking
in the trees."
Thank you Bruce.