THE BOSS INDEX
For his 70th birthday, Bruce Springsteen by the numbers
September 23,
2019

1: The Billboard 200 chart position achieved by ten Bruce Springsteen studio albums, from The River to High Hopes and including Greatest Hits. This is also what She is, as well as the number of last chances to make it real

2: To date, the highest position a Springsteen single has reached on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (with "Dancing in the Dark"). Also, the number of hearts that are better than one; the number of faces owned by the Tunnel of Love singer; the number of concerts ever played by Springsteen's 1971 band Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom

3: The sum (in rock 'n' roll) of 1 + 1; duration (in minutes) of records more educational than many academic courses

4: Number in weeks "Dancing in the Dark" spent in the #2 position on the Billboard Hot 100, kept from #1 by Duran Duran's "The Reflex" and Prince's "When Doves Cry." Also, the number of tracks on the Teac Tascam 144 Portastudio cassette recorder Springsteen used to record Nebraska; the number of shows played on Springsteen's first European tour in 1975

5: Total number of former E Street Band members (dead or alive); number of concerts broadcast on the 1978 tour; number of Springsteen songs with "birthday" in the lyric

6: Length, in inches, of the metaphorical valley cut through the middle of the singer's skull in "I'm on Fire." Also, number of concerts Springsteen and the E Street Band played to open Brendan Byrne Arena in 1981

7: The number of Top Ten singles from Born in the U.S.A., and the number of weeks the album spent at the top of the Billboard chart. Also, number of nights to rock; days since the "Darlington County" singer has seen his buddy; stops on the 2004 Vote for Change Tour; angels who've got his number. The perfect shoe size of female protagonist in "Highway 29." If repeated on an odometer, the sign of a Lucky Man

8: Barracks number of Perrineville sergeant Joe Roberts; age when "My Hometown" protagonist runs with a dime to the bus stop to buy a newspaper for his old man

9: Number designation of the highway on which tramps are sprung from cages

10: Number of E Street Band members inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, in the category of Musical Excellence

11: Number of Springsteen albums (to date) that have achieved number-one Billboard chart rankings in the U.S.

12: Amount (in millions of dollars) Springsteen reportedly turned down to license "Born in the U.S.A." to Chrysler

13: Number of concerts Bruce Springsteen and band opened for headliners Chicago in June, 1973; times Springsteen has performed "Surprise Surprise" in concert

14: Peak position for a studio outtake, achieved by "Murder Incorporated" on the Mainstream Rock chart in 1995

15: Number of shows to elapse in 1980 before the single "Hungry Heart" became a regular part of the set; number of countries visited on the six-week Human Rights Now! Tour in 1988

16: The number of source concerts for the Live/1975-85 box set. Also, age of Bobby Jean and the singer when they met; number of months between Springsteen and the E Street Band's 1988 East Berlin performance and the fall of the Berlin Wall
 
17: The number of musicians in the touring Sessions Band in 2006 and in the expanded E Street Band, 2012-2014. Also, age of Mary when she meets the singer in "The River"

18: Cost (in dollars) of Springsteen's first guitar, purchased second-hand from Western Auto Appliance in Freehold, NJ

19: The number of studio albums Springsteen has released in his first 70 years. Also, the most pages devoted to a single chapter in Born to Run, on The Castiles; age at which "The River" singer got his union card and wedding coat

20: Number of Grammys awarded to Springsteen (to date); also, the number of songs on The River, his only studio double album

21: The year that the Walter Kerr Theatre, where Springsteen on Broadway played exclusively, first opened its doors

22: Springsteen's age when he auditioned for John Hammond and signed to Columbia Records. Also, the number of unique songs to open a show on the 2007-'08 tour for Magic — more than any other tour

23: The September date in 1949 that Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, the first of three children born to Adele and Douglas. Also, the peak position of the "Born to Run" single on the Billboard Hot 100, in November, 1975

24: The number of takes director Meiert Avis shot for the "Brilliant Disguise" video in October, 1987. Also, duration (in minutes) of longest known performance of "New York City Serenade" (Geneva Theater, Geneva, NY, December 7, 1974); number of E Street Band performances at Giants Stadium, from 1985 to 2009, before it met the wrecking ball

25: The number of Rolling Stone covers on which Springsteen has appeared

26: The number of Springsteen singles (to date) that have made it to the Billboard Hot 100 Chart

27: The number of years to elapse between performances of "Crush on You," the first song from The River to leave the set in 1980. Also, the October date in 1975 on which Springsteen appeared on the covers of both Time and Newsweek; Jon Landau's age when he wrote "Growing Young with Rock and Roll" in 1974

28: Number of times Springsteen played Brendan Byrne Arena (as originally named)

29: Number designation of the highway that provides the setting for the noir crime story on The Ghost of Tom Joad; average concert attendance (in thousands) on the The River Tour 2016

30: Number of times the phrase "hiding on the backstreets" is sung in the studio version of "Backstreets." Also, the September day on which Nebraska was released in 1982; the number of days out despite being six days running

31: The age at which Springsteen had his first Top 10 hit, "Hungry Heart" (peaking at #5), and his first #1 LP, The River

32: A particular Ford, with a Roadrunner engine; also, the number of studio recordings officially released from the sessions for both Born in the U.S.A. (1982-'84) and Darkness on the Edge of Town, 1977-'78

33: Total number of concerts on the 1977 tour, the final four of which took place at the Boston Music Hall

34: The age at which Bruce Springsteen released his most commercially successful album, Born in the U.S.A.

35: The number of years between the original River tour and the 2016 River Tour. Also, the protagonist's age in "My Hometown"

36: Number of concert appearances by "State Trooper," the least-performed number from Nebraska

37: The total number of countries in which Bruce Springsteen has performed to date. Also, the run time (in minutes, plus eight seconds) of Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

38: The age at which Bruce Springsteen engineered the Tunnel of Love Express Tour

39: Number of the Route where that great jukebox was located in "Valentine's Day"

39-1/2: The house number on Institute Street where Bruce Springsteen lived as a child, from 1955 to 1962. Also, the exact cost, in 2019 dollars, of a single $16 ticket on the 1984 Born in the U.S.A. tour

40: Number of concert performances collected on Live/1975-85

41: Combined number of shots fired at Amadou Diallo by plain-clothed police officers on February 4, 1999, inspiring Springsteen's "American Skin (41 Shots)"

42: The age at which Bruce Springsteen first toured without the E Street Band, behind the LPs Human Touch and Lucky Town

43: Number of songs performed (including the pre-show) in Olympiastadion, Helsinki, Finland on July 31, 2012, Springsteen's longest concert ever

44: Based on best-available information, total number of shows violinist Suki Lahav played with the E Street Band circa 1974-75

45: As of 2019, the number of years burning down the road for the cool-rockin' daddy in "Born in the U.S.A." Also, the year that Sleepy Joe came home from the war and took out a G.I. Loan for his cafe

46: Number of years that have passed since Bruce Springsteen released his first album

47: The number of different songs performed in full over six shows in 1981 at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, a candidate for the best stand in E Street Band history

48: The New York City street number on which Springsteen on Broadway was performed from October 12, 2017 through December 15, 2018

49: The age at which Bruce Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

50: The number of Grammy nominations Springsteen has received (to date). Also, Clarence Clemons' jersey number as an offensive lineman for Maryland State College

51: The number of different songs performed in full over seven shows in 1984 at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, another candidate for the best stand in E Street Band history. Also, the number of concerts Springsteen has performed in Italy, his maternal ancestral home

52: With a B prefix, the jukebox selection number that drops the blues in "Growin' Up"

53: The number of the street where Sherry, her man, and her mother are stuck in traffic

54: Springsteen's age at the end of the Rising tour, the highest grossing tour of 2003

55: The year that Springsteen began attending a Catholic school, entering first grade at St. Rose of Lima

56: Career number of performances at Madison Square Garden (including guest and theater appearances); the number of concerts on the 2006 Seeger Sessions Tour

57: The year Springsteen watched Elvis Presley's third appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which he would later describe as the Big Bang. Also, number of channels one could have flipped around in 1990 and still found nothing on; the street on which a famous Incident occurred

58: Number of weeks Springsteen on Broadway ran without Bruce missing a performance, from October 2017 to December 2018; the age of "Phantom" Dan Federici when he died

59: Occasions "One Step Up" has been performed live, the least for an original Springsteen single

60: Route number of the Bob's Big Boy where Wanda was employed; the weight (in pounds) of the stone on the singer's back in "The Rising"; average ticket price (in dollars) on the 1999 E Street Band reunion tour; amount (in dollars) of Adele Springsteen's loan to purchase Bruce's first electric guitar

61: Number of different songs to appear in a five-show Devils & Dust stretch in summer of 2005, from Columbus through Milwaukee

62: The age of Bob Dylan when Bruce Springsteen welcomed him to the stage as "my great friend and inspiration" for the final night of The Rising tour at Shea Stadium

63: The year that Bruce Springsteen graduated St. Rose of Lima School, ending his Catholic school tenure, and started public school at Freehold Regional High

64: Estimated number (in millions) of records — defined as albums, singles, and, oddly, music videos — Bruce Springsteen has sold in the U.S.

65: The year Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt met; year "tension was running high" in the "My Hometown" singer's high school

66: The number of tracks on Tracks, Springsteen's first big dive into his studio vault in 1998

67: The number of performances on the 1988 Tunnel of Love Express Tour, an atypically brief excursion

68: The year Frank Roberts received his discharge from the United States Army, and the year Springsteen failed a physical that kept him from serving in the armed forces. Also, the house number on South Street where Springsteen lived in high school

69: Age of the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, when he died. Also, a particular Chevrolet with a 396 big block engine, double hump "Fuelie" heads, and a Hurst shifter

70: Number of distinct global releases, according to the music collector site Discogs, of the "Dancing in the Dark" single, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Also, Bruce Springsteen's age today. In a month, he'll release his feature-length directorial debut, a concert film based on his most recent album, Western Stars — yet another well-received artistic and commercial success. Springsteen also plans to begin work soon on a record with the E Street Band, and to tour in 2020 — the 14th consecutive election year in which he'll perform his magic trick on stage.

Happy birthday, Bruce!

— compiled by Erik Flannigan, Flynn McLean, Christopher Phillips, Jonathan Pont, and Shawn Poole - photograph by Danny Clinch - special thanks to Brucebase



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