Bruce Springsteen was born in New Jersey
, the son of a bus driver and a legal secretary. He was raised Roman Catholic, and spent much of his early life attending Catholic schools, until, at about age fourteen, he began attending public school. A musical child from a young age, he was known to be shy, and to prefer his guitar over interacting with other students. He began performing in a band, The Castiles, at the age of sixteen. After graduating from school he attended Ocean County College. His academic pursuits were cut short when he dropped out soon after. At eighteen he was summoned by the US Army
to take part in the Vietnam
War, but intentionally failed the tests. Through the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, Springsteen performed in a number of bands. The beginnings of the E Street Band formed in 1972, around the same time that his songwriting abilities caught the notice of musical producers, resulting in an audition for Columbia Records.
He was signed by Columbia Records, and brought the members of what would be the E Street Band along with him. They released their first album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.
, in early 1973 to critical acclaim but limited commercial success. His second album was released in September of that year, paralleling the success pattern of the first. After fourteen months of production he released his third album, Born to Run
, in August of 1975. This album was the first to receive both critical and commercial success. This marked his mainstream breakthrough, and catapulted him to nationwide stardom. Following this success he spent a year out of the studio due to legal disputes, and instead spent time touring the country with the E Street Band. His fourth album, which marked a newer sound and style for Springsteen, was released in 1978, and followed by a nation-wide tour that cemented his well-known live performance style. He began to involve himself in political movements in 1979, with his participation in an anti-nuclear power protest concert. His fifth album was released in 1980, and contained his first Top Ten hit, as well as being the first in a movement towards pop-rock. It was again a critical success, which lead to another tour, this time with an extended engagement in Europe
. In 1982 he released his sixth album, an acoustic album that received widespread critical acclaim, garnering the title Album of the Year from Rolling Stone
as well as kicking off the lo-fi musical movement. In 1984 he released Born in the USA
, an extremely popular album that remains one of the best-selling albums ever. In 1985 he participated in the We Are the World campaign. He also married for the first time in that year. It was this point that marked the peak of his commercial success. In 1987 he released his eighth album, which detailed the upcoming breakup of his marriage. That same year, he appeared at the Human Rights Now! tour, as well as promoting his own material with a national tour. 1989 marked the end of the E Street Band and of his marriage. Two years later he married again, eventually having three children.
After a brief break from music he released two albums simultaneously in 1992. They met with some critical and commercial success, but fan support was waning as he made numerous changes to his sound and style. He received an Academy Award in 1994 for a song he wrote for the film Philadelphia
. In 1995 he released his eleventh album, which consisted mostly of solo guitar tracks. It received mixed reviews, but was followed by a fairly successful tour. In 1999 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year he and the E Street Band reconciled and went on a reunion tour for over a year. In 2002 he and the band released their first full album together in eighteen years, Springsteen's twelfth. It received critical and commercial success, and he promoted it in worldwide and nationwide tours in 2002 and 2003. In 2003 he performed at the Grammy Awards, and the following year participated in the Vote for Change tour. He released his thirteenth album, another mostly-acoustic one, in 2005, again to critical acclaim; he received five Grammy nominations for the album. A Sirius Satellite Radio station dedicated exclusively to his work, began broadcasting in late 2005. He released his fourteenth album in 2006, the tour for which proved more popular in Europe than America. His fifteenth album was released in 2007, and debuted at number one in both Ireland
and the UK.
In 2008 Springsteen gave his public support to the campaign of Barack Obama
, for whom he performed at a number of rallies. He later performed at President Obama's inaugural ceremony. Also in 2008 he provided a song for the film The Wrestler
, which resulted in him winning a Golden Globe. In early 2009 he released his sixteenth album. He performed at Super Bowl XLIII, which was followed by a tour for his new album. During this tour he and the band performed at a number of festivals around the world, as well as tribute and benefit concerts. He appeared in a documentary film, The People Speak
, that same year. He also received the Kennedy Centre Honours, and was named one of the Artists of the Decade by Rolling Stone
. A documentary about him and the making of his 1978 album was released in late 2010. He and his wife released a charity Christmas single in 2011. His seventeenth album was released in early 2012, and followed by a nationwide tour.