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April 17, 2023

New Jersey establishes Bruce Springsteen Day to celebrate the rock icon's cultural legacy

The observance will be held each year on the Boss' birthday, Sept. 23, after being created by Gov. Phil Murphy last weekend

New Jersey has declared Sept. 23 as "Bruce Springsteen Day," an annual observance held on the singer's birthday to celebrate The Boss' cultural and artistic legacy.

Gov. Phil Murphy made the declaration Saturday during the inaugural American Music Honors, an awards gala hosted by the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University. The ceremony honored several other New Jersey musicians, including Steve Van Zandt, Sam Moore, Darlene Love and Steve Earle.

"Bruce Springsteen is one of the most recognizable, iconic and influential musicians — and New Jerseyans — of all time," Murphy said in a news release. "It is important to recognize Bruce for all he has done and will continue to do, from giving the gift of his music to lending his time to causes close to his heart, including making the Archives and Center for American Music a repository that will inspire tomorrow's songwriters and singers. We thank him for showing the world what it means to live our New Jersey values." 

Springsteen, 73, was born down the shore in Long Branch, Monmouth County on Sept. 23, 1949, but spent much of his childhood with his younger sisters in Freehold, close to the Nestlé factory. At 22, Springsteen purchased the electric guitar that eventually graced the cover of "Born to Run," and began playing venues throughout New Jersey with his band, The Rogues. 

He later performed as the lead singer and guitarist for The Castiles before forming the legendary E Street Band in 1972, according to Murphy's proclamation. Springsteen's career has been filled with accolades, from his Oscar-winning "Streets of Philadelphia" to a Tony Award for "Springsteen on Broadway" and a growing collection of American Music and Grammy awards.

Murphy also noted The Boss' expansive songwriting catalog, which, along with his own music, includes popular songs like The Pointer Sisters' "Fire," Natalie Cole's "Pink Cadillac" and "Because The Night" by fellow New Jersey native Patti Smith. 

"Bruce Springsteen forever will be remembered as the voice of the Garden State, signaling to the world that New Jerseyans were born to run," the proclamation states

Springsteen could not make it to the ceremony in person Saturday, because he and his wife, Patti Scialfa, an E Street Band member, tested positive for COVID-19 after performing for about 18,000 people at the Prudential Center on Friday night, reported. The concert was the band's first appearance in New Jersey in seven years. 

The performer previously postponed three concerts on the tour due to an unexplained illness impacting multiple members of his band, NME reported. It remains unclear when the tour will continue, but Springsteen and the E Street Band are scheduled to perform in Barcelona, Spain on April 28. 

Last month, Springsteen was among nearly a dozen artists and organizations awarded the National Medal of Arts during a ceremony at the White House. The National Endowment for Arts said Springsteen's five-decade career has been defined by his songwriting prowess, connecting listeners across multiple generations with music that "celebrates our triumphs, heals our wounds, and gives us hope, capturing the unyielding spirit of what it means to be American." 

Largely considered one of the greatest songwriters of all time, the "Born to Run" singer has an extensive musical catalog with 21 studio albums, 23 live albums, 77 singles and 63 music videos. He has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists in music history, PAPER reported. 

Springsteen and Scialfa most recently appeared together on singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams' new album, "Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart," the first since she suffered a stroke in 2020. The couple performed on "New York Comeback," a rock song that offers a reflection on the on the ebbs and flows of a career in entertainment.