Welcome to this week’s post on the legend that is The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. There are few of us in our 50s and 60s who do not know his music and in particularly the iconic songs such as Born in the USA and Dancing in the Dark. This week William Price King takes us through the 1980s and the success that it brought for Bruce Springsteen after a frustrating start to his career.
Bruce Springsteen was seen as the advocate for the hard working Americans who also gave up their lives to fight for freedom. This was reinforced with his double album The River which was released in 1980. It was an eclectic mix of rock and roll and ballads that were delivered with intensity and emotion. It was also an album that hinted at the direction that Bruce Springsteen was headed both intellectually and musically.
The album was also cause for celebration as it yielded the first Top Ten single for Springsteen with the releases of Hungry Heart. The album itself became Springsteen’s first #1 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and he followed it up with an extended tour through to 1981 across Europe and multi-night arena performances in key US cities.
Springsteen originally wrote Hungry Heart for the Ramones but was convinced to keep it for himself by his manager and producer Jon Landau. This was Springsteen’s first top 10 hit, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1980. The song is about a guy who walks out on his wife and kids. The lyrics are pretty dark, but you’d never know it from the bright melody and arrangements. Furthermore, Springsteen’s voice was sped up a little on the recording which produced a higher pitched vocal. It’s a great song.
The album that followed in 1982 was a definite contrast to The River. Springsteen had recorded a demo tape at his home on a simple four-track tape deck and studio sessions expanded on the resulting tracks. However both Bruce and his producer decided that the songs worked better as solo acoustic numbers and the original demo tape was released as the album Nebraska. Although not as popular with the fans as his previous three albums it did receive high praise from the critics and was named Album of the Year by Rolling Stones magazine.
The fans had a very different reaction to the Born in the USA album released in 1984 and it propelled Bruce Springsteen into musical super stardom. Selling 15 million copies in the US and 30 million worldwide it became one of the best-selling albums of all time with seven singles in the Top Ten.
The title track Born in the USA is a protest song. It’s patriotic chorus is an ironic counterpoint to the verses which tell a heartbreaking story of a Vietnam vet, and casts a shameful eye on how America treated its Vietnam veterans. This song was originally entitled Vietnam, but when Springsteen received a script for a movie called Born in the USA, (from movie director Paul Schrader) about a rock band’s struggle with life and religion, he changed the title of the song to Born in the USA. Later, when the movie was finally made, the title Born in the USA was too associated with the song. So, to make up for that Springsteen provided Schrader with the song Light of Day, which became the new title for movie and the feature song in the film.
Born in the USA made a huge political statement that reverberated around America. His name was on the lips of prominent politicians including Ronald Reagan who said “America’s future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in the songs of a man so many young Americans admire—New Jersey’s own, Bruce Springsteen.”
This commercial success was followed by a more unsettled time for Bruce Springsteen’s personal life. There was a short-lived marriage to actress Julianne Phillips in 1985 followed by his relationship with one of the E Street Band’s back up singer Patti Scialfa, both sharing similar working class New Jersey roots. However, Springsteen was very affected by his failed marriage and he released a much more toned down and refective album in 1987. Tunnel of Love explored the rollercoaster of love, loss and heartbreak of relationships.
In Tunnel of love Springsteen tells quite a sentimental story about two people taking their first “sweethearts’ ride” together, the promises they make to each other, and their dreams. But then the tunnel becomes a metaphor for a romantic relationship which slowly sinks into the abyss. It is thought that Springsteen is referring to his own failing relationship with his wife in this song. On Tunnel of love, Springsteen plays most of the instruments and is backed by Roy Bittan on synthesizers, Nils Lofgren on lead guitar, and Max Weinberg on drums. His future wife, Patti Scialfa sings the background vocals.
On July 19, 1988, Springsteen held a concert in East Germany that attracted 300,000 spectators. Journalist Erik Kirschbaum has called the concert “the most important rock concert ever, anywhere”, in his 2013 book “Rocking the Wall! Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World.”
Later in 1988, Springsteen headlined the worldwide Human Rights Now! tour for Amnesty International. In late 1989 he dissolved the E Street Band, and he and Patti Scialfa relocated to California, marrying in 1991.
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
The previous Bruce Springsteen posts: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-meets-some-legends/
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