We all want to keep up with the latest and greatest music news. But sometimes, it’s great to look back on all of the fantastic (and not-so-fantastic) events in music that got us to where we are now.
On this day in 1972, Bruce Springsteen signed with Columbia Records.
Bruce Springsteen started his musical career in 1964 at the age of fifteen after seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. He bought a cheap guitar for $18.95 at an appliance store and started playing live with The Rogues. His mom took out a loan to upgrade his guitar to one that cost $60. At sixteen, Springsteen sought assistance from a local couple who sponsored young musicians in town. The couple helped him get a job playing with The Castiles because they trusted him when he said he would “make it big.”
In his very early 20s, Springsteen performed with the band Child (later Steel Mill), some members of which would later be in The E Street Band. Steel Mill got rave reviews and developed a cult following rapidly, but Springsteen still continued to broaden his horizons by playing with other bands. In May of 1972, Springsteen auditioned for Columbia talent scout John Hammond and on June 7th, 1972, Springsteen signed his first recording contract.
Since Springsteen had auditioned alone, Columbia expected an acoustic album, but Springsteen immediately started bringing in musicians he had previously played with. Eventually, they came to be called “The E Street Band.”
Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. was released in January 1973 and saw immediate critical (though not commercial) success. Springsteen was compared to Bob Dylan, particularly in the songwriting department. None of the singles were huge hits for Springsteen, but one song, namely “Blinded By the Light” soon became a #1 hit for Manfred Mann’s Earth band, making it Springsteen’s only #1 hit through to the present day as a songwriter. It wasn’t until Born To Run that Springsteen became a household name. The album went to #3 on the charts and created worldwide success.
If the recent tour prices on Ticketmaster for Springsteen’s tour aren’t an indication, Springsteen is still very successful in his career. Audiences marvel at his energetic stage performances. His albums consistently make it high on the charts. An almost countless number of current artists list Springsteen as an inspiration (Joe P. recently mentioned Springsteen in a Big Room interview).
Springsteen may not be everyone’s cup of tea. He’s made questionable decisions in his life (like draft dodging and tax evasion). His voice can be an acquired taste that some never acquire. But I think two things are undeniable: he is a strong songwriter and the world of music would be infinitely different without the signing of Springsteen on this day in 1972.
Editor’s note: My early experience with Springsteen was not due to one of his compositions, but the cover he and The E Street Band did of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Every Christmas season, one of our fellow Columbus stations used to do a giveaway in which you would have to call in as soon as you heard Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” To this day, the opening notes trigger me to get excited and search for a phone. I never won but boy did the idea of winning make me love hearing that song.
–Just Emma (JustEmma@CD929FM.com)
Written by: Emma Sedam
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