William has informed and entertained us for the last three years with wonderful behind the scenes and insightful posts about some of the most iconic artists in jazz and classical music.
For those of us of a certain age – 39 plus VAT or Sales Tax… there are certain contemporary artists who have weaved their musical magic over the last 50 years or so. In this series William will be exploring the lives and music of those artists and we start with one of my all time winners.. The Boss.. Bruce Springsteen.
Bruce Springsteen was born in September 1949 and is an American singer songwriter best known for his work with the E Street Band. He is known to his millions of fans as ‘The Boss’ as well as for his poetic lyrics which reflect his roots, history and at times his political sentiments. He is renowned for energetic and lengthy concert performances which require as much stamina from his audiences as he entertains for four hours of longer.
He has been performing for nearly 50 years and has released over 250 albums with two of his most successful being Born to Run in 1975 and Born in the USA in 1984. He is one of the best-selling artists of all time and has received many awards for his work. This includes 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2009 he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient and in 2016 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Early Years.
Bruce Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949, in Long Branch, New Jersey of Dutch, Irish and Italian ancestory. His father, Doug Springsteen worked at a number of jobs including as a bus driver and prison guard whilst his mother Adele worked in an insurance office. His home life and in particular his relationship with his father was not always easy. “When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house, one was me, and the other was my guitar.”
It was a Catholic household and the young Bruce found this restrictive. However later in his career he did admit that if was his Catholic upbringing rather than the expected political ideology that had influenced his music. School, run by the nuns with its restrictive confines, was not a popular place for Bruce and he admits to getting into trouble frequently.
In high school his teachers said he was a “loner, who wanted nothing more than to play his guitar.” He also had the distinction of being the only altar boy knocked down by a priest during mass. He skipped his own high school graduation because he felt too uncomfortable to attend.
Music however offered no such restrictions and at an early age Bruce fell in love with Rock ‘n’ roll when he saw Elvis Presley performing on The Ed Sullivan Show. “Elvis was as big as the whole country itself,” Springsteen later remembered, “as big as the whole dream. He just embodied the essence of it and he was in mortal combat with the thing. Nothing will ever take the place of that guy.”
Here is one of Elvis Presley’s performances on the Ed Sullivan Show – Don’t Be Cruel
That was the start of the legend that was to take the music world by storm. Bruce’s mother, who clearly saw that music was the only thing that interested her son, took out a loan and bought him a Kent guitar for his 16th birthday and he has played that instrument ever since.
By 1967 the draft was in place for 18 year olds and Bruce Springsteen found another cause that would inspire some of his most successful lyrics. His intention was not to go to Vietnam and fortuitously he failed his physical, apparently due to his ‘crazy’ behaviour and a concussion previously suffered in a motorcyle accident. This released him from his military obligation and allowed him to pursue his music career full-time.
By the late 1960s, Bruce Springsteen was honing his performance skills with a number of bands on the New Jersey Shore including The Castles. Soon it became apparent that this new musician on the scene had a unique vocal quality in his gravelly baritone voice that has been his trademark throughout his career. It was during this time that he acquired his nickname ‘The Boss’ as he would collect donations from the audience and divide it equally amongst his band mates.
The duet “Sam and Dave” had a No.1 hit with “Hold on, I’m comin” in 1966, written by Issac Hayes and David Porter. Bruce Springsteen with his group “The Castles” payed tribute to “Sam and Dave” by doing a rock/blues version of the song which became an immediate crowd pleaser for the group. The fervor and intensity of the song is caught in this video.
One of the bands that he performed with regularly between 1969 and 1971 was the group Steel Mill. He rapidly developed a dedicated following and even music critics began to sit up and take notice.
Bruce Springsteen is quite convincing as a rock blues singer in this piece. His appropriation of the “blues sound” is perfect and and his ability to translate both the form and content of the blues in a rock song is refreshing and reminiscent of blues singer Leadbelly in “House of the Rising Sun.”
The San Francisco Examiner music critic Philip Elwood gave Springsteen credibility in his glowing assessment of Steel Mill: “I have never been so overwhelmed by totally unknown talent.” Elwood went on to praise their “cohesive musicality” and, in particular, singled out Springsteen as “a most impressive composer“.
The next few years were intensive as Bruce worked solidly to build not just his career but establish his unique music and lyrical style. Some of the bands that he worked with included Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom the Sundance Blues Band, and the Bruce Springsteen Band . With the addition of pianist David Sancious, the core of what would later become the E Street Band was formed.
The music genres that these bands explored were eclectic and included blues, R&B, Jazz, early rock ‘n’ roll and Soul. They also explored and developed the influences of current artists such as Joe Cocker and Van Morrison.
Here is “Southside Shuffle,” which, acording to band member Albee “Albany Al” Tellone, was written by Bruce Springsteen to showcase Southside Johnny on harmonica. In this recording one can easily hear the different musical genres Springsteen explored including the blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and soul.
Apart from his growing fan base, who loved the combination of his music, lyrics, vocal and performance abilities, music executives sat up and took notice. His career and his life were about to change dramatically and in 1972 he began to be represented by two new managers. Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos brought Bruce Springsteen to the attention of a Columbia Records talent scout, John Hammond who auditioned him for the label in May 1972.
Additional material: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Springsteen
For concert schedules and news: http://brucespringsteen.net/
Buy Bruce Springsteen’s Music: https://www.amazon.com/Bruce-Springsteen/e/B000AQ2ZLQ
About William Price King
William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.
His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.
William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking
William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.
Connect to William
Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
You will find the previous artists.. Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa in this directory.
And for the Jazz in this directory.
Thank you so much for stopping by and your feedback is always very welcome. Thanks Sally