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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Springsteen Returning with Western Stars

Written by Jon Williams

Many performers approaching 70 years of age and nearly 50 years into their career would be slowing down and coasting on their past success. Many performers, but not Bruce Springsteen. The recent announcement of his upcoming solo album Western Stars, releasing June 14, came just a short time after the conclusion of Springsteen on Broadway, his intimate performance show that was originally planned to run for eight weeks and instead ran for well over a year. On top of that, Springsteen has also said that he’s written enough material for a new album with the E Street Band, so fans can be on the lookout for that (plus new tour dates) as well.

Springsteen’s passion for music began at a young age, and he started playing for audiences when he was in his teens. He performed with a number of different musicians over the next several years until signing his first record deal in 1972. That led to his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., in 1973. That was followed later that same year by The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. These albums were well received by critics but did not sell especially well, so Springsteen spent nearly a year and a half and recruited the help of his friend Steven Van Zandt as he threw everything he had into his next album.

These efforts paid off when Born to Run was released in August of 1975. On the strength of his incredible live performances, the album went to #3 on the Billboard 200 and a star was born. He built on that success with Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978, The River in 1980, and Nebraska in 1982, three albums that helped to polish Springsteen’s image of a smart, soulful songwriter with their unflinching looks at working-class life and American politics.

Then in June of 1984 came the album Born in the USA. The iconic title track, along with smash singles like “Dancing in the Dark” and “Glory Days,” made Bruce Springsteen a household name and, over time, a rock n’ roll legend. Since its release it has sold more than 30 million copies, making it one of the bestselling albums of all time. Shortly thereafter, he played a prominent part of the star-studded charity hit “We Are the World,” further cementing his place in the music and pop culture pantheon of the 1980s. He then showed a more subdued side of his musical personality with the 1987 album Tunnel of Love.

The five-year break in albums following Tunnel of Love was Springsteen’s longest to date. He made up for it by releasing two albums, Human Touch and Lucky Town, on the same day in 1992. He would release just one more album in the ‘90s, 1995’s The Ghost of Tom Joad (currently unavailable), but the decade was notable for other reasons, among them an Academy Award and a slew of Grammy Awards for the song “Streets of Philadelphia” and his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. In the aftermath of 9/11, he made a triumphant return with the 2002 album The Rising.

Since then, Bruce has been as prolific as ever, releasing six albums with no more than three years in between up through 2014. That year’s High Hopes was his most recent leading up to the release of Western Stars, but as noted above, he has been far from idle. The year of 2016 was particularly busy, seeing the release of Chapter and Verse, an 18-track career retrospective in conjunction with his autobiography, Born to Run—the audiobook, which he narrated, won the Audie Award for Best Memoir. That year he was also presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour for a civilian in the United States, by President Barack Obama.

Bruce Springsteen is a music icon and a rock n’ roll legend, and he’ll be in the forefront of pop culture for the foreseeable future. In addition to the release of Western Stars, he’s also promising a documentary on the making of the album, as well as a new album and tour with the E Street Band. With his popularity high and holding steady, now is a great time to make sure your library’s shelves are stocked with plenty of material relating to the Boss. SmartBrowse his name on our website to find his discography of studio and live albums, concert films, and much, much more from his acclaimed career.

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