We are now entering the 1990s and Bruce Springsteen would later acknowledge that the 1990s were a “lost period” for him: “I didn’t do a lot of work. Some people would say I didn’t do my best work.”
I will now hand over to William Price King to explore the changes in Springsteen’s career during the decade.
Following Bruce Springsteen’s move to California in 1991 there was a change in the mood and tone of his music. He was clearly much happier in his personal life, and the rawness and intensity in his music that had propelled his career to such success in the previous decade, was evolving into a more measured delivery. Part of this was that he no longer recorded with the E Street Band, which to many of his fans, was a disappointment. He still continued to work with pianist Roy Bittan and Springsteen added studio musicians including Randy Jackson on bass guitar and Jeff Porcaro on drums to work on his next albums.
He released two albums on the same day on March 31st 1992 – Human Touch and Lucky Town. Springsteen had been working on Human Touch since the late 1980s with the intention of releasing in 1990. As he had shelved the project in 1991 as he began recording Lucky Town coming back to it the following year.
Human Touch featured mainly love songs and received critical success with some considering that the title track was amongst some of his best work, however his fans were not as enthusiastic. Lucky Town had a different folk theme and focused on specific events in Bruce Springsteen’s life rather than his love life. Living Proof for example was about the birth of his first son.
However, there was good news in 1994 when the multiple Grammy Award winner also won an Academy Award for his song Streets of Philadelphia, from the soundtrack of the film Philadelphia.
This haunting ballad captures the pain and the loneliness that accompanied the AIDS crisis. It was also a comeback for Springsteen, earning him a spot in Billboard’s Top 10, four Grammys as well as the Oscar. The vocal track from the video was recorded live during the shooting, using a hidden microphone – a new modern day technique at the time which was quite appropriate for emotionally intense songs.
His next release in 1995 followed a temporary reunion with the E Street Band to record a handful of new songs for his first Greatest Hits Album. This was followed by his second predominantly solo guitar album, The Ghost of Tom Joad which was inspired by John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and by Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass, a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dale Maharidge and photographer Michael Williamson.
Although Springsteen’s first guitar solo album Nebraska had done fairly well, this second album did meet with some criticism for the poor melody and vocals although some praised it for giving a voice to immigrants and others who rarely featured in American Culture. The extended Ghost Tom Joad Tour which was performed in small venues also included some of his older and popular tracks, stripped back in a new acoustic form.
However the decade did end on a high note when Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 by Bono of U2. To the delight of his fans, 1999 also brought Springsteen and the E Street Band together for a year long Reunion Tour. The final two shows were recorded for HBO and the corresponding DVD and album were released as Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Live in New York City.
In 2002, Springsteen released his first studio effort with the full band in 18 years, The Rising, produced by Brendan O’Brien. This record became Springsteen’s best-selling album of new material in 15 years. Kicked off by an early-morning Asbury Park appearance on The Today Show, The Rising Tour commenced, barnstorming through a series of single-night arena stands in the U.S. and Europe to promote the album in 2002, then returning for large-scale, multiple-night stadium shows in 2003.
Waiting on a Sunny Day is from the album The Rising, which predominantly deals with themes of relationship struggles, existential crisis, and social uplift, in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks. But this particular upbeat song is a reflection of a much simpler world, before the terror attacks. For Bruce Springsteen, this song was “a good example of pop song writing,” which he wrote in the style of Smokey Robinson.
Springsteen’s fan base both in the USA and in Europe had remained loyal throughout the 1990s but there had definitely been a cooling off in his popularity in the central and southern states due to his political leanings. Now however, The Boss was definitely back, and this was demonstrated by the 10 nights the band played in the Giants Stadium in New Jersey that has seldom been equalled. The Rising Tour finished with three nights in Shea Stadium with a guest appearance by Bob Dylan.
This successful album and tour was followed in April 2005 with the release of Devils and Dust, recorded without the E Street Band. Another low key acoustic album it did feature more orchestration than Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad albums. The title track is about an ordinary soldier’s feelings and fears during the Iraq War and the rest of the album reinforced Springsteen’s anti-corporate sentiments. The album entered the charts at #1 in ten countries including the US, UK, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.
In April 2006, Springsteen released We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, an American roots music project focused around a big folk sound treatment of 15 songs popularized by the radical musical activism of Pete Seeger. This was Springsteen’s first album of cover songs and his second consecutive non-E Street Band and non-rock music project.
It was recorded with a large ensemble of musicians including only Patti Scialfa, Soozie Tyrell, and The Miami Horns from past efforts. In contrast to previous albums, this was recorded in only three one-day sessions, and frequently one can hear Springsteen calling out key changes live as the band explores its way through the tracks.
A tour began the same month. The tour proved very popular in Europe, selling out everywhere and receiving some excellent reviews. Bruce Springsteen with The Sessions Band: Life in Dublin, containing selections from three nights of November 2006 shows at the Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, was released the following June.
Old Dan Tucker is from the album, which won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album in 2007. This song is largely Anglo-American in nature but has black influences and falls into the idiom of minstrel music, relying on rhythm and text declamation as its primary motivation with a very simple melody and a simple harmonic base.
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