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The E Street Band Biography

Bruce Springsteen formed the E Street Band in 1973, after he landed a recording contract with Columbia Records. Springsteen played with the musicians who became the E Street Band in various Asbury Park–based groups in the late 1960s and early 70s. The first lineup of the band – Garry Tallent on bass, Danny Federici on organ, David Sancious on piano, Vini Lopez on drums and Clarence “Big Man” Clemons on saxophone – logged many miles on the road, helping to establish Springsteen’s legendary reputation as one of the greatest performers in the history of rock and roll. In 1974, drummer Max Weinberg and pianist Roy Bittan replaced Lopez and Sancious, and in 1975, during the recording of Springsteen’s breakout album Born to Run, “Miami” Steve Van Zandt, who Springsteen had known since he was a teenager and who had been in a number of bands with Springsteen, joined the fold on guitar. That lineup of the band backed Springsteen on three of his most critically acclaimed and beloved albums: Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River, and backed him live as he moved from clubs to stadiums. 

When Steve Van Zandt left to pursue a solo career in the early 1980s, singer Patti Scialfa joined on vocals and Nils Lofgren, one of rock’s greatest guitarists, joined on guitar, and the band backed Springsteen on his explosive worldwide tour in support of Born in the U.S.A. in 1984-85. Springsteen did not work with the band for much of the 1990s, but reunited them in 1999 in a version that included both Van Zandt and Lofgren. The band has been together ever since, and despite the loss of Federici and Clemons, retains a distinctive sound and unparalleled reputation for live shows.

Through various incarnations, the “mighty men and women” of the E Street Band, as Springsteen calls them, have provided a unique and powerful sonic template for Springsteen’s music, combining British invasion guitar-driven rock, the joy of 1950s rock and roll and the drama and dynamics of soul music. They are showmen of the first order, and have more stamina than any rock band in the history of the music.