Happy anniversary, Bruce Springsteen and Columbia Records.
The Boss signed with Columbia 50 years ago, on June 9, 1972, after a May 2, 1972, audition with legendary music man John Hammond. He’s the same guy who signed Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan.
The fateful moment is told in a new illustrated explainer video released on the afternoon of June 9 on Columbia’s social media.
“Springsteen grew up without frills,” states the video’s narrator. “He sprung from a mill working father and spent his days in a small New Jersey town crammed into decrepit housing with extended family. When he finally left his stifling hometown, aptly named Freehold, he went to the Jersey Shore, where he haunted surf shops and concert venues.”
Or, as the locals like to call it, Challenger Eastern Surfboards in Ocean Township and the Upstage in Asbury Park.
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Springsteen manager Mike Appel got the young Boss the audition with Hammond. Springsteen brought up a cracked guitar borrowed from Vinnie “Skeebots” Maniello of the Castiles, Springsteen’s first band.
After the Boss played, Hammond said, “You got to be on Columbia Records.” Springsteen skipped down the street in joy.
On June 9, they made it official. His debut, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.,” was released on Jan. 5, 1973.
All the success afterward affirmed to Hammond that “what he found was no fluke.” Check out the video below:
Story continues after gallery
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Springsteen remains with Columbia to this day. A new Springsteen and the E Street Band international tour was announced May 24. It will begin in the U.S. early in 2023, with yet-to-be-announced arena shows, then head to Europe, where more than 1 million tickets have been sold for 26 stadium shows.
Visit www.brucespringsteen.net for more information.
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Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; [email protected].