Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen

By: Paige DuBay

Background Information

Born in New Jersey on September 23, 1949 Bruce Springsteen is an American Musician and Singer-Songwriter.

  • Springsteen was raised a Roman Catholic and states that it was his Catholic upbringing that most influenced his music. He noted in an interview in 2013 that his faith had given him a “very active spiritual life.”
  • As a kid Springsteen struggled to fit in at school. His former teachers claimed he was a “loner, who wanted nothing more than to play his guitar.” He completed high school, but felt so uncomfortable there that he skipped his own graduation ceremony. He attended college at Ocean County College briefly but ended up dropping out.
  • Springsteen was inspired to take up music by Elvis Presley at the age of seven. At age 13, his mother bought him his first guitar. In 1965, when he was just 16, he became the lead guitarist and singer of The Castiles.
  • In the late 1960’s, he performed briefly in a trio known as Earth, playing in clubs in New Jersey. During this period of time he acquired his nickname “The Boss” by taking on the task of collecting the band’s nightly pay and distributing it amongst his bandmates.

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Major Start to His Career

Bruce Springsteen signed with Columbia Records in 1972 and formed the band, E Street.

  • Crawdaddy magazine editor, Peter Knobler, stated, "He sings with a freshness and urgency I haven't heard since I was rocked by 'Like a Rolling Stone'" after his first interview with Springsteen in 1973.
  • In the May 22, 1974 issue of Boston's The Real Paper music critic Jon Landau wrote, "I saw rock and roll's future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen. And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time" after his performance at the Harvard Square Theater.
  • By the late 1970's, Springsteen had earned a reputation as a songwriter whose material could provide hits for other bands.

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What he is known for...

  • He is widely known for his "brand" of heartland rock, poetic lyrics, and lengthy and energetic shows.
  • Starting in the 1970's and continuing to present day, his concerts have run up to 250 minutes in length, uninterrupted.
  • He is known for his song writing ability, it is said that he is known for having, "more words in one or two songs than other artists had in whole albums."
  • His most successful albums, Born in the U.S.A. and Born to Run, feature songs centered around the struggles of the daily American life.
  • He wrote about and involved himself in things in believed in such as:
-The song Born in the U.S.A. is a bitter commentary of the treatment of

Vietnam Veterans.

-He headlined the Human Rights Now! Tour in 1988

-His album The Rising mostly reflected on the September 11, 2001 attacks.

-He was the musical opener in the Obama Inaugural Celebration and was a huge supporter of the Obama administration.

-He is an activist for gay rights and has spoken out many times as a strong supporter of same-sex marriage.

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Awards and Recognition:

  • Springsteen has sold more than 64 million albums in the U.S. and more than 120 million albums worldwide making him the 15th highest selling artist of all-time.
  • Springsteen has earned numerous awards for his work. Some major awards include: 20 Grammy Awards, 2 Golden Globes and an Academy Award.
  • He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
  • In 2004, the magazine, Rolling Stone, ranked him as the 23rd Greatest Artist of all time.

Where is he now?

Bruce Springsteen is still writing and releasing music. His 18th album will be released in 2014.

  • Bruce recently performed in the 2009 Super Bowl Half-Time show with his old band-mates.
  • Bruce married his wife, Patti Scialfa in 1999, and they raised their 3 kids in New Jersey to be away from the paparazzi-filled life.

Although Bruce Springsteen is now 64, he doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon!

Lesson Plan:

  • I would have my students research a famous musician and create a Smore. The students will have to use the Smore to convince a reader who has never heard of their artist why they are inspiring and why they should go to their concert.
  • Once the students have made their Smore's they will also choose a minimum of 5 songs to create a Soundtrack to play during their convincing presentation as well as write a paragraph explaining why they chose the music.
  • The students will present their flyer to their classmates as if they are trying to convince them to become fans of their artist!


  1. Glory Days
  2. I'm on Fire
  3. Dancing in the Dark
  4. Born to Run
  5. Born in the U.S.A.