You Say It's Your Birthday: Bruce Springsteen

Today is the birthday of none other than The Boss, born this day 1949. A

brief summary of Springsteen's career begins with his 1963 purchase of a

guitar for $18. Two years later, Springsteen joined the high school band The

Castiles, and embarked on the rocky road to stardom. After The Castiles,

Springsteen did brief stints in Earth Steel Mill (which contained future

members of the E Street Band) and Dr. Zoom and The Sonic Boom before forming

the 10 piece Bruce Springsteen Band. In 1972 Springsteen signed with Appel

management company, a cataclysmic move that would later be the bane of his

career. Shortly after signing, Appel negotiated a 10 album deal with CBS for

Springsteen, for an advance of $25,000 with a recording budget of $40,000.

Relations between Appel and CBS quickly became quite dysfunctional, with

Springsteen and his band stuck in the middle. Things improved, however, when

Rolling Stone critic John Landau caught Springsteen's act in

Cambridge, Mass., and was inspired to write "I saw rock n' roll future -- and

its name is Bruce Springsteen."

CBS fully exploited this quote, plastering most of the developed world with

bill posters featuring Landau's words in promotion of Springsteen's 1975 Born

To Run tour. In 1976 Appel attempted to renegotiate Springsteen's contract,

causing him to review the document and realize he only made 3.5% of album

wholesale sales, compared to Appel's 14%. Negotiations continued to sour,

despite Appel sending Springsteen a check for $67,368.78, and in 1977

Springsteen finally became legally free to seek new management. His next big

release was the double album The River , in 1980. He continued to

tour, write songs both for his band and others, and produce albums, and in

1985 was a central figure on the star studded USA for Africa We Are the

World album. Springsteen continued to perform on various benefit albums,

and proved himself a man with morals, turning down Lee Iacocca's $12 million

offer for the rights to use "Born in the USA" in a Chrysler commercial. His

morals were called into question however, in 1988, when the married

Springsteen (to actress Julianne Phillips in 1985) was photographed in close

motel room proximity to back up singer Patti Scialfa. Phillips and

Springsteen divorced in 1989, and Scialfa (who he later married) gave birth

to his son, Evan James, in 1990. Later Springsteen releases include Human

Touch and Lucky Town . To see what The Boss himself has to say

about his music, check out the ATN

interview in the current (September)

issue. Today is also the birthday of Ray Charles, and Ben E. King.