Bruce Springsteen’s long-time backing band grew out of the ashes of one of his early bands, Steel Mill, which comprised Danny Federici, Vini Lopez, Vinnie Roslin, RobbinThompson, and Steve Van Zandt. Most of these musicians would go on to become E Street band members. Keyboardist David Sancious would join the group at a time when Bruce was still experimenting with a variety of bands, and band names. The group is purportedly named for the street where David’s mom lived, as they frequently rehearsed at her house.
By the summer of 1972, the starting line-up was pretty much set, with Clarence Clemons, Vini Lopez, David, and Garry Tallent. This was the group that recorded Bruce’s first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. They first performed live on 12th November 1972, with the addition of the aforementioned Danny Federici. Bruce fired Vini Lopez on 12th February 1974 and Ernest “Boom” Carter took his place on drums.
Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg joined in September of 1974, on keyboards and drums, respectively. Around this time, Suki Lahav added a violin to the mix as well as supplying background vocals. She stayed with the band until March 1975. In July 1975, Steve Van Zandt “officially” became a full-time band member, multi-tasking on background vocals, lead guitar, and mandolin. He would stay with the band until the Born in the U.S.A. tour in 1984 and go off to pursue solo projects. In June 1984, Nils Lofgren took his place and Patti Scialfa joined the band, playing acoustic guitar and percussion and pitching in on background vocals. She would later become Bruce’s second wife.
On 18th October 1989, Bruce dissolved the band and called each musician personally to tell them. They reunited at the inaugural concert at Cleveland’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum on 2nd September 1995. On 15th March 1999, they did the same when The Boss was enshrined in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. This time, the band decided to reunite for good and they sealed the deal by going on a reunion tour.
In 2002, Soozie Tyrell joined the band, and proved to be a quadruple threat on acoustic guitar, background vocals, percussion, and violin. On 17th April 2008, Danny Federici, long-time accordionist, glockenspieler, and organist, and one of the first E Street Band members, died of complications from melanoma. He was replaced by Charles Giordano shortly thereafter, although Charles had been filling in for him during his illness, on accordion and organ.
Max Weinberg’s son Jay filled in for his dad on drums and percussion off and on during a 2009 tour, as Max was busy preparing for Conan O’Brien’s take-over of The Tonight Show. Max had been Conan’s long-time drummer on his popular Late Night program on NBC. Recently, Bruce and the E Street Band has taken to performing albums in their entirety at concerts in Giants Stadium. Featured albums on the tour include Born in the U.S.A., Born to Run, and Darkness on the Edge of Town. Steve Van Zandt has hinted at taking a break, but The Boss’s work, with or without the E-Streeters, is never done.
Roy Bittan (Piano, Synthesizer) 1974-1989, 1995, 1999-Present
Ernest “Boom” Carter (Drums) 1974
Clarence Clemons (Backing Vocals, Percussion, Saxophone) 1972-1989, 1995, 1999-2011
Danny Federici (Accordion, Organ, Glockenspiel) 1972-1989, 1995, 1999-2008
Charles Giordano (Accordion, Organ) 2007-Present
Suki Lahav (Backing Vocals, Violin) 1974-1975
Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez (Drums) 1972-1974
Nils Lofgren (Backing Vocals, Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar) 1984-1989, 1995, 1999-Present
David Sancious (Keyboards) 1973-1974
Patti Scialfa (Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals, Percussion) 1984-1989, 1995, 1999-Present
Garry Tallent (Bass, Tuba) 1972-1989, 1995, 1999-Present
Soozie Tyrell (Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Violin) 2002-Present
Steve Van Zandt (Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar, Mandolin) 1975-1984, 1995, 1999-Present
Jay Weinberg (Drums, Percussion) 2009-Present
Max Weinberg (Drums, Percussion) 1974-1989, 1995, 1999-Present
Bruce Springsteen recordings
Held up without a Gun (Bruce Springsteen)
Hungry Heart (Bruce Springsteen)