24/03/2017

Uriel Jones

24th March 2009, Motown drummer Uriel Jones, died aged 74 after suffering complications from a heart attack. Jones played on many Motown classics including 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine' by Marvin Gaye, ‘Cloud Nine’ by the Temptations, ‘I Second That Emotion’ by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and ‘For Once In My Life’ by Stevie Wonder.

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Simon and Garfunkel

24th March 1966, Simon and Garfunkel made their UK singles chart debut with 'Homeward Bound.' Simon is said to have written the song at Farnworth railway station, Widnes, England, while stranded overnight waiting for a train. A plaque is displayed in the station to commemorate this, although memorabilia hunters have stolen it many times. The song describes his longing to return home, both to his then girlfriend, Kathy Chitty in Brentwood, Essex, England, and to return to the United States. The song was also a No.5 hit in the US.

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23/03/2017

Rory Gallagher

RORY GALLAGHER 

Artist Biography by Richard Skelly

For a career that was cut short by illness and a premature death, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Rory Gallagher sure accomplished a lot in the blues music world. Although Gallagher didn't tour the U.S. nearly enough, spending most of his time in Europe, he was known for his no-holds-barred, marathon live shows at clubs and theaters around the United States.

Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Irish Republic, on March 2, 1948. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Cork City in the south, and at age nine he became fascinated with American blues and folk singers he heard on the radio. An avid record collector, he had a wide range of influences, including Leadbelly, Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker. Gallagher would always try to mix some simple country blues songs into his recordings.

 

Rory Gallagher
Gallagher began his recording career after moving to London, when he formed a trio called Taste. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1969 in England and later picked up for U.S. distribution by Atco/Atlantic. Between 1969 and 1971, with producer Tony Colton behind the board, Gallagher recorded three albums with Taste before they split up. Gallagher began performing under his own name in 1971, after recording his 1970 debut, Rory Gallagher for Polydor Records in the U.K. The album was picked up for U.S. distribution by Atlantic Records, and later that year he recorded Deuce, also released by Atlantic in the U.S.

 

Live! In Europe
His prolific output continued, as he followed up Deuce with Live in Europe (1972) and Blueprint and Tattoo, both in 1973. Irish Tour 1974, like Live in Europe, did a good job of capturing the excitement of his live shows on tape, and he followed that with Calling Card for Chrysalis in 1976, and Photo Finish and Jinx for the same label in 1978 and 1982. By this point Gallagher had made several world tours, and he took a few years rest from the road. He got back into recording and performing live again with the 1987 release (in the U.K.) of Defender. His last album, Fresh Evidence, was released in 1991 on the Capo/I.R.S. label. Capo was his own record and publishing company that he set up in the hopes of eventually exposing other great blues talents.

Some of Gallagher's best work on record wasn't under his own name; it's stuff he recorded with Muddy Waters on The London Sessions (Chess, 1972) and with Albert King on Live (RCA/Utopia). Gallagher made his last U.S. tours in 1985 and 1991, and admitted in interviews that he'd always been a guitarist who fed off the instant reaction and feedback a live audience can provide. In a 1991 interview, he told this writer: "I try to sit down and write a Rory Gallagher song, which generally happens to be quite bluesy. I try to find different issues, different themes and different topics that haven't been covered before...I've done songs in all the different styles...train blues, drinking blues, economic blues. But I try to find a slightly different angle on all these things. The music can be very traditional, but you can sort of creep into the future with the lyrics."

Gallagher passed away from complications owing to liver transplant surgery on June 14, 1995, at age 47. For a good introduction to his unparalleled prowess as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, pick up Irish Tour 1974, Calling Card, or Fresh Evidence, all available on compact disc.(AllMusic)

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Damon Albarn

Happy birthday to Damon Albarn, born on 23rd March 1968, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. With Blur he scored the 1994 UK No.1 album Parklife, which spent over 2 years on the UK chart, and the 1995 UK No. 1 'Country House'. Albarn along with Jamie Hewlett formed the "virtual band" Gorillaz who had the 2001 UK No.4 single, 'Clint Eastwood.' Other projects include The Good, The Bad & The Queen, (2007 self-titled album with Paul Simonon, Tony Allen and Simon Tong). Albarn's debut solo studio album Everyday Robots was released in 2014.

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The Concert For Bangladesh

23rd March 1972, The film of The Concert For Bangladesh featuring George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton premiered in New York. The event was the first benefit concert of this magnitude in world history. The concert raised $243,418.51 for Bangladesh relief, which was administered by UNICEF. Sales of the album and DVD continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.

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22/03/2017

Ric Ocasek

March 23rd 1949, Born on this day, Ric Ocasek, The Cars, (1978 UK No.3 single 'My Best Friend's Girl.' 1984 US No.3 & 1985 UK No.4 'Drive' was used as part of the soundtrack for the Live Aid concert.

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Jimmy Miller

March 23rd 1942, Born on this day, Jimmy Miller, New York-born record producer and musician. He is best known for his lengthy association with The Rolling Stones, for whom he produced a string of singles and albums during the band's career: Beggars Banquet (1968), Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), Exile On Main Street (1972) and Goats Head Soup (1973). Miller died on 22 October 1994.

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Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis

Artist Biography by Cub Koda

 

Is there an early rock & roller who has a crazier reputation than the Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis? His exploits as a piano-thumping, egocentric wild man with an unquenchable thirst for living have become the fodder for numerous biographies, film documentaries, and a full-length Hollywood movie. Certainly few other artists came to the party with more ego and talent than he and lived to tell the tale. And certainly even fewer could successfully channel that energy into their music and prosper doing it as well as Jerry Lee. When he broke on the national scene in 1957 with his classic "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," he was every parents' worst nightmare perfectly realized: a long, blonde-haired Southerner who played the piano and sang with uncontrolled fury and abandon, while simultaneously reveling in his own sexuality. He was rock & roll's first great wild man and also rock & roll's first great eclectic. Ignoring all manner of musical boundaries is something that has not only allowed his music to have wide variety, but to survive the fads and fashions as well. Whether singing a melancholy country ballad, a lowdown blues, or a blazing rocker, Lewis' wholesale commitment to the moment brings forth performances that are totally grounded in his personality and all singularly of one piece. Like the recordings of Hank Williams, Louis Armstrong, and few others, Jerry Lee's early recorded work is one of the most amazing collections of American music in existence.

 

He was born to Elmo and Mamie Lewis on September 29, 1935. Though the family was dirt poor, there was enough money to be had to purchase a third-hand upright piano for the family's country shack in Ferriday, LA. Sharing piano lessons with his two cousins, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Lee Swaggart, a ten-year old Jerry Lee Lewis showed remarkable aptitude toward the instrument. A visit from piano-playing older cousin Carl McVoy unlocked the secrets to the boogie-woogie styles he was hearing on the radio and across the tracks at Haney's Big House, owned by his uncle, Lee Calhoun, and catering to blacks exclusively. Lewis mixed that up with gospel and country and started coming up with his own style. He even mixed genres in the way he syncopated his rhythms on the piano; his left hand generally played a rock-solid boogie pattern while his right played the high keys with much flamboyant filigree and showiness, equal parts gospel fervor and Liberace showmanship. By the time he was 14, by all family accounts, he was as good as he was ever going to get. Lewis was already ready for prime time.

 

But his mother Mamie had other plans for the young family prodigy. Not wanting to squander Jerry Lee's gifts on the sordid world of show business, she enrolled him in a bible college in Waxahatchie, TX, secure in the knowledge that her son would now be exclusively singing his songs to the Lord. But legend has it that the Killer tore into a boogie-woogie rendition of "My God Is Real" at a church assembly that sent him packing the same night. The split personality of Lewis, torn between the sacred and the profane (rock & roll music), is something that has eaten away at him most of his adult life, causing untold aberrant personality changes over the years with no clear-cut answers to the problem. What is certain is that by the time a 21-year-old Jerry Lee showed up in Memphis on the doorstep of the Sun studios, he had been thrown out of bible college; been a complete failure as a sewing-machine salesman; been turned down by most Nashville-based record companies and the Louisiana Hayride; been married twice; in jail once; and burned with the passion that he truly was the next big thing.

 

Sam Phillips was on vacation when he arrived, but his assistant Jack Clement put Roland Janes on guitar and J.M. Van Eaton on drums behind Lewis, whose fluid left hand made a bass player superfluous. This little unit would become the core of Lewis' recording band for almost the entire seven years he recorded at Sun. The first single, a hopped-up rendition of Ralph Mooney's "Crazy Arms," sold in respectable enough quantities that Phillips kept bringing Lewis back in for more sessions, astounded by his prodigious memory for old songs and his penchant for rocking them up. A few days after his first single was released, Jerry Lee was in the Sun studios earning some Christmas money, playing backup piano on a Carl Perkins session that yielded the classics "Matchbox" and "Your True Love." At the tail-end of the recording, Elvis Presley showed up, Clement turned on the tape machine, and the impromptu Million Dollar Quartet jam session ensued, with Perkins, Presley, and Lewis all having the time of their lives.

 

With the release of his first single, the road beckoned and it was here that Lewis' lasting stage persona was developed. Discouraged because he couldn't dance around the stage strumming a guitar like Carl Perkins, he stood up in mid-song, kicked back the piano stool and, as Perkins has so saliently pointed out, "a new Jerry Lee Lewis was born." This newfound stage confidence was not lost on Sam Phillips. While he loved the music of Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, he saw neither artist as a true contender to Elvis' throne; with Lewis he thought he had a real shot. For the first time in his very parsimonious life, Sam Phillips threw every dime of promotional capital he had into Lewis' next single, and the gamble paid off a million times over. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" went to number one on the country and the R&B charts, and was only held out of the top spot on the pop charts by Debbie Reynolds' "Tammy." Suddenly, Lewis was the hottest, newest, most exciting rock & roller out there. His television appearances and stage shows were legendary for their manic energy, and his competitive nature to outdo anyone else on the bill led to the story about how he once set his piano on fire at set's end to make it impossible for Chuck Berry to follow his act. Nobody messed with the Killer.

 

Jerry Lee's follow-up to "Shakin'" was another defining moment for his career, as well as for rock & roll. "Great Balls of Fire" featured only piano and drums, but sounded huge with Phillips' production behind it. It got him into a rock & roll movie (Jamboree) and his fame was spreading to such a degree that Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins left Sun to go to Columbia Records. His next single, "Breathless," had a promotional tie-in with Dick Clark's Saturday night Bandstand show, making it three hits in a row for the newcomer.

 

But Lewis was sowing the seeds of his own destruction in record time. He sneaked off and married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown, the daughter of his bass-playing uncle, J.W. Brown. With the Killer insisting that she accompany him on a debut tour of England, the British press got wind of the marriage and proceeded to crucify him in the press. The tour was canceled and Lewis arrived back in the U.S. to find his career in absolute disarray. His records were banned nationwide by radio stations and his booking price went from $10,000 a night to $250 in any honky tonk that would still have him. Undeterred, he kept right on doing what he had been doing, head unbowed and determined to make it back to the bigs, Jerry Lee Lewis style. It took him almost a dozen years to pull it off, but finally, with a sympathetic producer and a new record company willing to exact a truce with country disc jockeys, the Killer found a new groove, cutting one hit after another for Smash Records throughout the late '60s into the '70s. Still playing rock & roll on-stage whenever the mood struck him (which was often) while keeping all his releases pure country struck a creative bargain that suited Lewis well into the mid-'70s.

 

But while his career was soaring again, his personal life was falling apart. The next decade-and-a-half saw several marriages fall apart (starting with his 13-year-long union with Myra), the deaths of his parents and oldest son, battles with the I.R.S., and bouts with alcohol and pills that frequently left him hospitalized. Suddenly, the Ferriday Fireball was nearing middle age and the raging fire seemed to be burned out.

 

 

Last Man Standing

But the mid-'80s saw another jump start to his career. A movie entitled Great Balls of Fire was about to be made of his life and Lewis was called in to sing the songs for the soundtrack. Showing everyone who was the real Killer, Lewis sounded energetic enough to make you believe it was 1957 all over again with the pilot light of inspiration still burning bright. He also got a boost back to major-label land with a one-song appearance on the soundtrack for Dick Tracy. In 2006, Lewis released Last Man Standing, which featured duets with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Rod Stewart, Jimmy Page, and others. He followed it up in 2010 with another album of duets, Mean Old Man, which saw Lewis teaming with Eric Clapton, Merle Haggard, John Fogerty, and Kid Rock, among others. With box sets and compilations, documentaries, a bio flick, and his induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame all celebrating his legacy, Lewis still continued to record and tour, delivering work that vacillated from tepid to absolutely inspired. While his influence will continue to loom large until there's no one left to play rock & roll piano anymore, the plain truth is that there's only one Jerry Lee Lewis and American music will never see another like him.(AllMusic)

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George Benson

March 22nd 1943, Born on this day, George Benson, US singer, jazz /pop singer, guitarist, (1980 US No.4 & UK No.7 single 'Give Me The Night').

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Led Zeppelin

March 22nd 1975, Led Zeppelin started a six-week run at No.1 on the US album chart withPhysical Graffiti the group's fourth US No.1 album. On its first day of release in the US, the album shipped a million copies – no other album in the history of Atlantic records had generated so many sales. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.

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Pink Floyd

22nd March 1980, Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)' started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart. The track, which was the group’s only US chart topper, was also a No.1 in the UK, Germany, Australia, Italy and in many other countries around the world. Pink Floyd received a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Rock Duo or Group for the song, but lost to Bob Seger's Against The Wind.

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21/03/2017

Bruce Springsteen





BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN 

Artist Biography by William Ruhlmann

 

In the decades following his emergence on the national scene in 1975, Bruce Springsteen proved to be that rarity among popular musicians, an artist who maintained his status as a frontline recording and performing star, consistently selling millions of albums and selling out arenas and stadiums around the world year after year, as well as retaining widespread critical approbation, with ecstatic reviews greeting those discs and shows. Although there were a few speed bumps along the way in Springsteen's career, the wonder of his nearly unbroken string of critical and commercial success is that he achieved it while periodically challenging his listeners by going off in unexpected directions, following his muse even when that meant altering the sound of his music or the composition of his backup band, or making his lyrical message overtly political. Of course, it may have been these very sidesteps that kept his image and his music fresh, especially since he always had the fallback of returning to what his fans thought he did best, barnstorming the country with a marathon rock & roll show using his longtime bandmates.

 

Bruce Springsteen was born September 23, 1949, in Freehold, New Jersey, the son of Douglas Springsteen, a bus driver, and Adele (Zirilli) Springsteen, a secretary. He became interested in music after seeing Elvis Presley perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 and obtained a guitar, but he didn't start playing seriously until 1963. In 1965, he joined his first band, the Beatles-influenced Castiles. They got as far as playing in New York City, but broke up in 1967 around the time Springsteen graduated from high school and began frequenting clubs in Asbury Park, New Jersey. From there, he briefly joined Earth, a hard rock band in the style of Cream. Also in the hard rock vein was his next group, Child (soon renamed Steel Mill), which featured keyboard player Danny Federici and drummer Vini Lopez. (Later on, guitarist Steve Van Zandt joined on bass.) Steel Mill played in California in 1969, drawing a rave review in San Francisco and even a contract offer from a record label. But they broke up in 1971, and Springsteen formed a big band, the short-lived Dr. Zoom & the Cosmic Boom, quickly superseded by the Bruce Springsteen Band. Along with Federici, Lopez, and Van Zandt (who switched back to guitar), this group also included pianist David Sancious and bassist Garry Tallent, plus a horn section that didn't last long before being replaced by a single saxophonist, Clarence Clemons. Due to a lack of work, however, Springsteen broke up the band and began playing solo shows in New York City. It was as a solo performer that he acquired a manager, Mike Appel, who arranged an audition for legendary Columbia Records talent scout John Hammond. Hammond signed Springsteen to Columbia in 1972.

 

 

Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

In preparing his debut LP, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., Springsteen immediately re-hired most of his backup band, Federici, Lopez, Sancious, Tallent, and Clemons. (Van Zandt, on tour with the Dovells, was mostly unavailable.) The album went unnoticed upon its initial release in January 1973 (although Manfred Mann's Earth Band would turn its lead-off track, "Blinded by the Light," into a number one hit four years later, and the LP itself has since gone double platinum). The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle (September 1973) also failed to sell despite some rave reviews. (It too has gone double platinum.) The following year, Springsteen revised his backup group -- now dubbed the E Street Band -- as Lopez and Sancious left, and Max Weinberg (drums) and Roy Bittan (piano) joined. (In 1975, Van Zandt returned to the group.) With this unit he toured extensively while working on the LP that represented his last chance with Columbia. By the time Born to Run (August 1975) was released, the critics and a significant cult audience were with him, and the title song became a Top 40 hit while the album reached the Top Ten, going on to sell six million copies.

 

Darkness on the Edge of Town

Despite this breakthrough, Springsteen's momentum was broken by a legal dispute, as he split from Appel and brought in Jon Landau (a rock critic who had famously called him the "rock & roll future" in a 1974 concert review) as his new manager. The legal issues took until 1977 to resolve, during which time Springsteen was unable to record. (One beneficiary of this problem was Patti Smith, to whom Springsteen gave the composition "Because the Night," which, with some lyrical revisions by her, became her only Top 40 hit in the spring of 1978.) He finally returned in June 1978 with Darkness on the Edge of Town. By then, he had to rebuild his career. Record labels had recruited their own versions of the Springsteen "heartland" rock sound, in such similar artists as Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band (who actually preceded Springsteen but achieved national recognition in his wake), Johnny Cougar (aka John Mellencamp), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Meat Loaf, Eddie Money, and even fellow Jersey Shore residents Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, to name only some of the more successful ones. At the same time, the punk/new wave trend had become the new focus of critical devotion, making Springsteen seem unfashionable. Notwithstanding these challenges, Darkness earned its share of good reviews and achieved Top Ten status, selling three million copies as the single "Prove It All Night" hit the Top 40. (In early 1979, the Pointer Sisters took Springsteen's composition "Fire" into the Top Ten.)

 

The River

Springsteen fully consolidated his status with his next album, the two-LP set The River (October 1980), which hit number one, sold five million copies, and spawned the Top Ten hit "Hungry Heart" and the Top 40 hit "Fade Away." (In 1981-1982, Gary U.S. Bonds reached the Top 40 with two Springsteen compositions, "This Little Girl" and "Out of Work.") But having finally topped the charts, Springsteen experimented on his next album, preferring the demo recordings of the songs he had made for Nebraska (September 1982) to full-band studio versions, especially given the dark subject matter of his lyrics. The stark LP nevertheless hit the Top Ten and sold a million copies without benefit of a hit single or a promotional tour. (Van Zandt amicably left the E Street Band for a solo career at this point and was replaced by Nils Lofgren.)

 

Born in the U.S.A.

But then came Born in the U.S.A. (June 1984) and a two-year international tour. The album hit number one, threw off seven Top Ten hits ("Dancing in the Dark," which earned Springsteen his first Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, "Cover Me," "Born in the U.S.A.," "I'm on Fire," "Glory Days," "I'm Goin' Down," and "My Hometown"), and sold 15 million copies, putting Springsteen in the pop heavens with Michael Jackson and Prince. For his next album, he finally exploited his reputation as a live performer by releasing the five-LP/three-CD box set Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Live/1975-85 (November 1986), which topped the charts, was certified platinum 13 times, and spawned a Top Ten hit in a cover of Edwin Starr's "War." (In March 1987, "the Barbusters" -- actually Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, took Springsteen's composition "Light of Day," written for the movie of the same name, into the Top 40.)

 

Tunnel of Love

Characteristically, Springsteen returned to studio work with a more introverted effort, Tunnel of Love (October 1987), which presaged his 1989 divorce from his first wife, actress Julianne Phillips. (He married a second time to singer/songwriter/guitarist Patti Scialfa, who had joined the E Street Band as a backup vocalist in 1984.) The album was another number one hit, selling three million copies and producing two Top Ten singles, "Brilliant Disguise" and the title song, as well as the Top 40 hit "One Step Up." The album earned him a second male rock vocal Grammy. (In the spring of 1988, Natalie Cole covered the Springsteen B-side "Pink Cadillac" for a Top Ten hit.)

 

Human Touch

Springsteen retreated from public view in the late '80s, breaking up the E Street Band in November 1989. He returned to action in March 1992 with a new backup band, simultaneously releasing two albums, Human Touch and Lucky Town, which entered the charts at numbers two and three, respectively, each going platinum. A double-sided single combining "Human Touch" and "Better Days" was a Top 40 hit. Of course, this was a relative fall-off from the commercial heights of the mid-'80s, but Springsteen was undeterred. He next contributed the moody ballad "Streets of Philadelphia" to the soundtrack of Philadelphia, film director Jonathan Demme's 1993 depiction of a lawyer fighting an unjust termination for AIDS. The recording became a Top Ten hit, and the song went on to win Springsteen four Grammys (Song of the Year, Best Rock Song, best song written for a motion picture or television, and another for male rock vocal) and the Academy Award for best song.

 

Greatest Hits

In early 1995, Springsteen reconvened the E Street Band to record a few new tracks for his Greatest Hits (February 1995). The album topped the charts and sold four million copies, with one of the new songs, "Secret Garden," eventually reaching the Top 40. Despite this success, Springsteen resisted the temptation to reunite with the E Street Band on an ongoing basis at this point, instead recording another low-key, downcast, near-acoustic effort in the style of Nebraska, The Ghost of Tom Joad (November 1995) and embarking on a solo tour to promote it. The LP won a Grammy for best contemporary folk album, but it missed the Top Ten and only went gold.

 

Tracks

A much more prolific songwriter and recording artist than what was reflected in his legitimately released discography, Springsteen went into his vault of unreleased material and assembled the four-CD box set Tracks (November 1998), which went platinum. Whether inspired by the playing he heard on those recordings, bowing to constant fan pressure, or simply recognizing the musicians with whom he had made his most successful music, Springsteen finally reunited the E Street Band in 1999, beginning with a performance at his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. All the members from the 1974-1989 edition of the group returned. (Characteristically, Springsteen sidestepped the question of whether to use Van Zandt or Lofgren in the guitar position by rehiring both of them.) They embarked on a world tour that lasted until mid-2000, its final dates resulting in the album Live in New York City, which hit the Top Ten and sold a million copies.

 

The Rising

Springsteen's writing process in coming up with a new rock album to be recorded with members of the E Street Band was given greater impetus in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the resulting disc, The Rising (July 2002), contained songs that reflected on the tragedy. The album hit number one and sold two million copies, winning the Grammy for rock album, as the title song won for rock song and male rock vocal. Following another lengthy tour with the E Street Band, Springsteen again returned to the style and mood of Nebraska on another solo recording, Devils & Dust (April 2005), taking to the road alone to promote it. The album hit number one and went gold, winning a Grammy for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance. One year later, Springsteen unveiled another new musical approach when he presented We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (April 2006), an album on which he played new arrangements of folk songs associated with Pete Seeger, played by a specially assembled Sessions Band. The album reached the Top Ten and went gold as Springsteen toured with the group. It also won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. The tour led to a concert recording, Live in Dublin (June 2007), which reached the Top 40.

 

Magic

Once again, Springsteen recorded a new rock album, Magic (October 2007), as a precursor to re-forming the E Street Band and going out on another long tour. The album hit number one and went platinum, with the song "Radio Nowhere" earning Grammys for rock song and solo rock vocal. (Another track from the album, "Girls in Their Summer Clothes," won the rock song Grammy the following year.) Sadly, longtime E Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici succumbed to a three-year battle with melanoma on April 17, 2008, his death causing the first irrevocable change in the group's personnel (saxophonist Clarence Clemons would die on June 18, 2011 due to complications from a stroke). Federici was replaced by Charles Giordano who had played with Springsteen previously in the Sessions Band.

 

Working on a Dream

Springsteen finished the tour in 2008 and held several additional shows in support of Senator Barack Obama, whose presidential campaign had kicked into hyperdrive earlier that year. While playing an Obama rally in early November, Springsteen debuted material from his forthcoming album, Working on a Dream, whose tracks had been recorded with the E Street Band during breaks in the group's previous tour. The resulting album, which was the last to feature contributions from Federici (as well as his son, Jason), arrived on January 27, 2009, one week after Obama's historic inauguration. It immediately hit number one, Springsteen's ninth album to top the charts over a period of three decades, and it went on to win him another Grammy for solo rock vocal and to go gold. In February, Springsteen and the E Street Band provided the half-time entertainment at Super Bowl XLIII. The group's tour, which featured full-length performances of some of Springsteen's classic albums at selected shows, ran through November 22, 2009. In December, the 60-year-old was ranked fourth among the top touring acts of the first decade of the 21st century, behind only the Rolling Stones, U2, and Madonna. The same month he was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

 

Wrecking Ball

Springsteen's 2010 was devoted to a revival of Darkness on the Edge of Town, with the 1978 masterpiece receiving an expanded box set called The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town; the set contained a feature-length documentary and a double-disc set of outtakes which was also available separately. As Springsteen began work on a studio album produced by Ron Aniello, who previously worked with Patti Scialfa, Clarence Clemons died from complications from a stroke on June 18, 2011. Clemons' last recorded solo appeared on "Land of Hope and Dreams," one of many politically charged songs on the resulting album, Wrecking Ball. Supported by a major media blitz that included a showcase week of Bruce covers on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the Boss delivering a keynote address at South by Southwest, Wrecking Ball appeared the first week of March 2012. Before the end of that month, he embarked on a mammoth world tour to promote the album, on which he eventually took in 26 countries over the course of 18 months.

 

High Hopes

Late in 2013, it was announced that the E Street Band would receive a belated induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in early 2014. Prior to the induction ceremony came High Hopes, Springsteen's 18th studio album. Inspired in part by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who had temporarily replaced Van Zandt for the last six months of the Wrecking Ball tour and also played on the album, High Hopes was a collection of covers, reintepretations of old songs, and leftovers; it appeared in mid-January 2014.(AllMusic)

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