×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Boss at 70: A Look Back at Bruce Springsteen’s Early Years

In a March 6, 1973, review of Blood, Sweat & Tears at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Variety briefly praised the opening act: Bruce Springsteen was “a young man with a hot guitar from Asbury Park, N.J.” If you substitute the word “ageless” for “young” — the Boss turned 70 on Sept. 23 — the description still fits. 

Springsteen’s first mention in Variety (Dec. 13, 1972) occurred when reviewer Fred Kirby caught a 65-minute set at Kenny’s Castaways in New York and accurately predicted, “Bruce Springsteen, 22, appears ready to make his impact.” Just three years later, Variety noted that the singer-songwriter “hits it big with front covers this week on both Time and Newsweek. It’s the first time in recent memory that a pop artist has been doubly front-paged.” Springsteen’s documentary “Western Stars” debuted Sept. 12 at the Toronto Film Festival, and Warner Bros. opens it wide Oct. 25.  

In Variety’s Jan. 7, 1976, anniversary issue, Kirby summed up the prior year in music by naming some of the breakout performers of the past 12 months, including the Bay City Rollers, the Captain & Tennille, KC & the Sunshine Band, Melissa Manchester, Queen, the Ritchie Family, Gil Scott-Heron and Patti Smith.

He added: “The top new name of 1975 was Asbury Park’s Bruce Springsteen, although his first Columbia album came out early in 1973. He had become a fave in the New York area by the next year and 1975 saw him break out. His promotion as a new ‘Messiah of rock’ drew charges of hype, but Springsteen, known for his two-hour-plus rock sets, has kept the SRO crowds happy.”

The phrase “two-hour-plus” was an understatement. For his debut in the U.K., he played for 3½ hours at the Hammersmith Odeon. In the Dec. 3, 1975, concert review, Fabienne Lewis noted: “Bruce Springsteen, touted here as the latest rock phenomenon from America, did in fact live up to the publicity that preceded his first British concert. He played to an SRO house Nov 18. … Aided by the E Street Band, surely one of the best units around, Springsteen gave a powerful, mesmerizing performance that left the audience jamming the aisles.” Lewis singled out Clarence Clemons on sax and Roy Bittan on piano, and noted that the top ticket price was $4.40.

More Film

  • "Jojo Rabbit" and "Schitts Creek" Win

    'Jojo Rabbit,' 'Masked Singer' and 'Maleficent' Win Top Honors at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The Costume Designers Guild handed out its trophies for the 22nd annual CDG Awards with “Jojo Rabbit” and “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” receiving top honors among the costumers. In the TV category, the hit “The Masked Singer” and designer Marina Toybina beat out reigning designer Zaldy (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) for excellence in variety, reality-competition, live [...]

  • Weathering With You

    Japan Box Office Leaps to $2.4 Billion Record in 2019

    The Japanese box office leaped by 17% in 2019 to set a record $2.4 billion score, according to figures announced Tuesday by the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, locally known as Eirin. The previous high was the $2.2 billion recorded in 2016. The Makoto Shinkai animation “Weathering with You” was the highest earning film [...]

  • Lionsgate Developing 'Memetic' Apocalyptic Horror Movie

    Film News Roundup: Lionsgate Developing 'Memetic' Apocalyptic Horror Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Lionsgate is developing graphic novel “Memetic” as a feature, the latest Laura Ziskin Prize is announced and Firelight Media creates a fund for nonfiction filmmakers of color at the mid-career mark. PROJECT LAUNCHES Lionsgate is in final negotiations for motion picture rights to the apocalyptic horror graphic novel “Memetic” for [...]

  • Sylvie's Love Review

    'Sylvie's Love': Film Review

    Sultry music swells as the camera swoons over a young couple in a tender nighttime embrace. The 1950s residential New York City street is carefully rain-slicked and lined with shiny classic cars: an obvious stage set. Gene Kelly might just have swung on that lamppost; Doris Day might lean out of an upstairs window to sigh [...]

  • Martin Scorsese Irishman BTS

    Martin Scorsese's Body of Work Extends Far Beyond Male-Centric Mafia Movies

    Actors sometimes complain about being typecast, but it’s a fact of life for anyone in entertainment. John Ford is usually labeled a director of Westerns, despite “The Grapes of Wrath” and  “Mister Roberts.” David Lean is known for his epics, but he also directed “Brief Encounter” and “Summertime.” Vincente Minnelli? The director of musicals, overlooking [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Will Oscar Campaigning Turn to Mudslinging?

    On March 5, 1963, Army Archerd wrote in Variety: “There’s been a not-so-subtle campaign pyramiding since Oscar nominations that Omar Sharif is an ex-Egyptian soldier who fought in the Israeli War. Forget it: Omar sez: ‘I never fought in any army.’” Archerd also denied the rumor that Sharif was Muslim. Two big takeaways: 1. Mudslinging [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Why Blake Lively Isn't Trying to Be the 'Female James Bond' in 'The Rhythm Section'

    “The Rhythm Section,” Reed Morano’s new espionage thriller about a female assassin who sets out to avenge her family’s untimely death, is not a female-led approximation of a “James Bond” film. Though Barbara Broccoli, the magnate producer whose family has been solely responsible for the franchise, is producing the movie, “The Rhythm Section” is decidedly not [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content