Today’s Rock Rewind: Springsteen signed to Columbia 40 years ago

Bruce Springsteen signed a record deal on June 9, 1972.  Forty years ago.  And he is still with the same record company. 

For all of the things that Springsteen is noted for (his songwriting, The E Street band, his marathon, gospel-fervor rock and roll show, his ass on the cover of Born in the USA), one that never gets talked about is his long relationship with one (albeit owned now by Sony, since 1988) record label – a tenure nearly unheard of in 2012. 

John Hammond famously “found” Bruce and had Springsteen play for him in the office, and set up a quick showcase gig at the Gaslight Club in NYC. 

Since Hammond discovered Dylan, and Springsteen was playing acoustic guitar for Hammond, and there were a lot of words in Springsteen’s songs, is it any wonder how the “New Dylan” label got slapped on his forehead?

Instead, Springsteen became known, with the E Street Band behind him, for  the best live rock and roll concerts – argue if you want – of the era.  Blending music styles of every decade since the 1950’s, conquering multiple genres (rock, pop, gospel, folk, tc…) and doing it while flat-out rocking out, nobody has ever done a better, more  thrilling job than Springsteen. 

This week, he played a  three hour, 40-minute show in Italy.   Non-stop. He is 62 years old.  No breaks.  And he did it in front of  more than 80,000 people in a huge soccer stadium. 

 And you want one more?  I believe this Wrecking Ball tour is his most fun, most intense, best-sounding trek since The River Tour in 1980/81.  And there have been a lot of good tours since then.  (1984 arena leg, 1999 Reunion Tour and even Working on A Dream tour with the loose setlists).  While the addition of the horns, the subtle use of background singers, and 17 people  making the E Street sound would seemingly to change what his shows feel  like, it has somehow made it better.  And while the sound is altered, it is absolutely more powerful and built to make arenas and stadiums feel more intimate – something they have proven adept at for more than 25 years.

So we note June 9, 1972 for the signing of the contract, and we note today, because Springsteen  continues to rock – watch the evidence on YouTube.

VIDEO – 1972 at the Gaslight Club (audition/showcase)

VIDEO: San Sebastian, Spain / June 2, 2012 – with the “rare” hat version of “Spirit in the Night”, done in full-blown 70’s R&B style.

VIDEO: “Ramrod” – Meadowlands -New Jersey-2012

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