Information about Bruce Springsteen

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Information about Bruce Springsteen

1990s

In 1992, after risking charges of "going Hollywood" by moving to Los Angeles (a radical move for someone so linked to the blue-collar life of the Jersey Shore) and working with session musicians, Springsteen released two albums at once. Human Touch and Lucky Town were even more introspective than any of his previous work. Also different about these albums was the confidence he displayed. As opposed to his first two albums, which dreamed of happiness, and his next four, which showed him growing to fear it, at points during the Lucky Town album, Springsteen actually claims happiness for himself.

Some E Street Band fans voiced (and continue to voice) a low opinion of these albums, (especially Human Touch), and did not follow the subsequent "Other Band" Tour. For other fans, however, who had only come to know Springsteen after the 1975 consolidation of the E Street Band, the "Other Band" Tour was an exciting opportunity to see Springsteen develop a working onstage relationship with a different group of musicians, and to see him explore the Asbury Park soul-and-gospel base in some of his classic material.

It was also during this tour that fans generally became aware of Springsteen using a teleprompter so as to not forget his lyrics, a practice that has continued ever since. An electric band appearance on the acoustic MTV Unplugged television program (that was later released as In Concert/MTV Plugged) was poorly received and further cemented fan dissatisfaction. Springsteen seemed to realize this a few years hence when he spoke humorously of his late father during his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech:

I've gotta thank him because what would I conceivably have written about without him? I mean, you can imagine that if everything had gone great between us, we would have had disaster. I would have written just happy songs and I tried it in the early '90s and it didn't work; the public didn't like it.

A multiple Grammy Award winner, Springsteen also won an Academy Award in 1994 for his song "Streets of Philadelphia", which appeared in the soundtrack to the film Philadelphia. The song, along with the film, was applauded by many for its sympathetic portrayal of a gay man dying of AIDS. The music video for the song shows Springsteen's actual vocal performance, recorded using a hidden microphone, to a prerecorded instrumental track. This was a technique developed on the "Brilliant Disguise" video.

In 1995, after temporarily re-organizing the E Street Band for a few new songs recorded for his first Greatest Hits album (a recording session that was chronicled in the documentary Blood Brothers), he released his second (mostly) solo guitar album, The Ghost of Tom Joad. This was generally less well-received than the similar Nebraska, due to the minimal melody, twangy vocals, and didactic nature of most of the songs, although some praised it for giving voice to immigrants and others who rarely have one in American culture. The lengthy, worldwide, small-venue solo acoustic Ghost of Tom Joad Tour that followed successfully featured many of his older songs in drastically reshaped acoustic form, although Springsteen had to explicitly remind his audiences to be quiet during the performances.

Following the tour, Springsteen moved back to New Jersey with his family. In 1998, another precursor to the E Street Band's upcoming re-birth appeared in the form of a sprawling, four-disc box set of out-takes, Tracks. In 1999, Springsteen and the E Street Band officially came together again and went on the extensive Reunion Tour, lasting over a year. Highlights included a record sold-out, 15-show run at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey to kick off the American leg of the tour.