Chart-topping album crowns late career renaissance for rocker Bruce Springsteen

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·2 min read

Bruce Springsteen’s album Letter To You, which has gone to number one in the UK, crowns a late career renaissance for the New Jersey-raised rocker.

Recent years have seen the musician, 71, take a one-man show to Broadway, make his directorial debut with the film Western Stars and host a BBC Radio 2 show from his home.

The last time Springsteen failed to top the albums chart in the UK was in 2006 with We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.

(Columbia/PA)
(Columbia/PA)

That album, a collection of songs made famous by the political activist and folk singer Pete Seeger, peaked at number three in the UK.

Letter To You, his 20th studio album, reunites Springsteen, known to his fans as The Boss, with his long-standing live group, the E Street Band, for the first time since 2014’s High Hopes.

It also sees him return to the impassioned brand of rock ‘n’ roll that characterised his most famous albums, which include Born To Run and The River.

Recorded across four days in November 2019 at his home studio, the 12 tracks reflect on mortality and ageing as well as politics.

Hard Rock Calling Festival – London
Bruce Springsteen with the E Street Band (Ian West/PA)

The songs came after a period of writer’s block which broke over a week-and-a-half of songwriting in April 2019 and were inspired, in part, by the death of former bandmate George Theiss.

Letter To You also includes three “lost” epics from his early 1970s playbook, re-recorded and released after previously only being available to fans in bootleg form.

An emoji of Springsteen was also released on Twitter to promote the record.

Speaking during an appearance on BBC Radio 6 Music in October 2019, he addressed his recent successes.

He said: “At 70, you appreciate the vitality of your creative life. I think I’ve had five years where I’ve done some of the best work I’ve ever done.

“The past five years, the book, the play, the film, this record, that’s very exciting, you know.”

Springsteen recently shared an audio recording on social media in which he urged Americans to vote Donald Trump out of the White House, reading a poem from Elaine Griffin Baker condemning Mr Trump’s running of the country.

His White House has “no art,” Springsteen said, “no literature, no poetry, no music”.

Springsteen, whose lyrics have been praised for chronicling a working class American experience, has previously threatened to leave the US should Mr Trump win a second term.