Bruce Springsteen’s life has been an American classic, a rags to riches story of a quirky small town boy whose passion lead him down the path to stardom. The wisdom he gleaned along the way means he has more to offer than just the lyrics and riffs he’s known for, but advice and perspective for entrepreneurs everywhere.
Bruce Springsteen’s life began far outside of the limelight, spending his childhood among a working class family and community of Long Branch, N.J. An outsider and frequent troublemaker in his town and at Catholic schools, Springsteen recalls memories like being stuffed under nuns’ desks as punishment and his fraught relationship with his father in both interviews and lyrics alike.
However, Springsteen’s music is filled with rich imagery and appreciation for these tumultuous roots, a reflection of the singer’s choice to use his experiences to lift him up rather than weigh him down. He thinks of his lyrics as the most impactful pieces of his creative career, his poetic style often granting him comparisons to figures like Bob Dylan. a way to intertwine the pasts and presents of not only himself, but Americans all over the nation. Now worth $650 million, Springsteen is considered a legend in the music industry.
Success did not come immediately, however. Slow record sales followed his first two albums with the E Street Band, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle. While both were critically acclaimed by critics, public enthusiasm trickled. It wasn’t until his breakout work, Born to Run, that Springsteen’s career took off. After over a year of meticulous perfectionism in the studio that he would soon become known for, Bruce’s lyrics touched the hearts of Americans of all ages, and was followed by an astounding 17 more studio albums.
Now with 20 Grammy wins and almost 50 nominations, Bruce Springsteen has been named one of America’s most iconic rock musicians and was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. With a career spanning more than three decades, “The Boss” knows how to sustain a career and an audience.
Check out these 10 Bruce Springsteen quotes to take a glimpse into the iconic artist’s tools for success.
“When it comes to luck, you make your own.”
–Bruce Springsteen, “Lucky Town,” 1992
“Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.”
–Bruce Springsteen, Tim Irwin, Impact: Great Leadership Changes Everything
“If you’re good, you’re always looking over your shoulder.”
–Bruce Springsteen, Springsteen on Springsteen, 2013
“Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.”
–Bruce Springsteen, concert 1985
“You can’t be afraid of getting old. Old is good, if you’re gathering in life.”
–Bruce Springsteen, Clash, 2010
“You’re always in a box, and you’re an escape artist if you do what I do – or if you’re a creative person, period. You build your box, and then you escape from it. You build another one, and you escape from it. That’s ongoing.”
–Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stone, 2016
“It’s not the time in your life, it’s the life in your time.”
“The great challenge of adulthood is holding on to your idealism after you lose your innocence.”
–Bruce Springsteen, The Bruce Springsteen Scrapbook, 2004
“My greatest fear was that success was going to change or diminish that part of myself.”
–Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Springsteen: An Illustrated Biography, 2018
“The future is now. Roll up your sleeves and let your passion flow. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting.”
–Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road” Live, 2004