Springsteen’s 69th birthday marks the end of another busy year
Sunday is New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen's 69th birthday, and as the man known as "The Boss" celebrates it also brings to an end a busy 68th year.
Springsteen's popular Broadway show is expected to end later this year, before it becomes available on Netflix, but his travels and history have taken him far beyond the "Great White Way."
People from Reese Witherspoon to former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle made the trip to New York to see Springsteen's show. For those who did not see the show, there was plenty of interest in a high school yearbook signed by Springsteen long before he became one of the most popular musicians on the planet.
Just how popular is Springsteen in his home state and beyond? Rider University announced it was offering a course this semester called "Unpacking Bruce Springsteen. The professor teaching the class told the Rider News he saw Springsteen as a "curator," with roots in the music of the 1950s and 1960s. The Springsteen class is part of a major in Popular Music offered at the school that includes The Beatles, Radiohead, and "A History of Pop and Rock Music."
When the New Jersey Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in May there was already going to be a Springsteen connection with the inclusion of 'Little Steven' Van Zandt. Springsteen surprised the crowd in attendance in Asbury Park when he inducted the E Streed Band "lieutenant." The two legendary musicians also took the opportunity to play on the stage together, making for an even more memorable night. Van Zandt has now been inducted as an individual, and as a member of the E Street Band.
The Walter Kerr Theatre where his show is staged was not the only stage in the city that Springsteen performed on this year. When fellow legendary musician Billy Joel played his 100th show at Madison Square Garden he welcomed his "brother from across the Hudson" onto the stage at the "World's Most Famous Arena." Springsteen and Joel are the same age and the dual appearance a flashback for those in attendance as they played "Born to Run and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out."
Joel also presented Springsteen a special Tony Award in honor of his successful Broadway show. Springsteen also performed at the Tony Awards, giving fans who hadn't yet had the chance to see the show a peek into what they were missing out on.
Springsteen also had a special performance on his calendar in New Jersey as he helped reopen the Asbury Lanes venue in June. The grand opening also included Portugal the Man and the Tangiers Blues Band at an event where Asbury Park residents had their own chance to win tickets to the concert.
In addition to the adulation he received for the Broadway show, his Tony performance and his appearance at the Asbury Lanes, Springsteen was not immune from controversy. During a performance of his show Springsteen changed the set list a little to address what he called an "inhumane" immigration policy.
Weighing in on the policy instituted by the Trump administration which split up families crossing the border illegally, Springsteen said he had to address it and break from the usual set list he performed more than 100 times before.
An Illinois couple was almost scammed out of $11,000 and iTunes gift cards after a man posing as Springsteen contacted them by text and said he needed money to help retrieve an investment in gold he had made in Dubai. The woman said the man identifying himself as Springsteen had first contacted them on Twitter, before the text messages and phone calls seeking money continued.
For those who won't be able to see Springsteen on Broadway before the curtain falls for the final time, it will be available on Netflix just in time for Christmas.
Previous reporting by Erin Vogt and Dan Alexander was included in this story