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Springsteen, Bruce (Frederick Joseph)(1949– ) musician; born in Freehold, N.J. A self-taught guitarist, he began performing with a local high school group, the Castiles, in 1965. Over the next five years, he was a sideman in several Asbury Park, N.J., bands before forming his own ten-piece group in 1971 and signing with Columbia Records the following year. Promoted as the new Bob Dylan, his highly-anticipated debut album was released in 1973, but not until his third album, Born to Run, released amidst a hail of publicity that included cover stories in Time and Newsweek, did he enjoy widespread commercial success. Contractual disputes prevented him from recording for the next three years, during which time he developed his celebrated live shows and honed his image as a grass roots musician with working-class values. He resumed regular recording activity in 1978, and by the mid-1980s he had become the world's most popular rock star. He had also become a figure of wide populist appeal: during the 1984 presidential campaign, his endorsement was sought, and his album Born in the U.S.A. was quoted by both major candidates. While continuing to record, he gradually reduced his touring schedule after 1985, but made personal appearances at numerous rock benefits such as Live Aid and Amnesty International, as well as local fund-raising concerts in Asbury Park.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.