Bruce Springsteen is the enbodiment of American Rock 'n' Roll. Influences from Chuck Berry, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Woodie Guthrie shaped the music.
Starting as a folk singer/songwriter in Greenwich Village, Springsteen was quickly spotted and signed by CBS Records. Early Springsteen records, Greetings from Asbury Park NJ and The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle were Dylanesque storytelling wrapped in Jersey Shore r&b, soul, and stax, see Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. His third effort, entitled, Born to Run was an instant success, and is the early highpoint of Springsteen's career.
Before Springsteen ever had a hit record, he had the hype. This was purely on the basis of the live shows. In 1974, Rolling Stone critic and future Springsteen manager, Jon Landau stated 'I saw rock 'n' roll future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.' A quarter century later, Landau has been proved correct.
Springsteen shows would last between 3,5 and 4,5 hours, and were regarded as near-religious experiences. I personally went to shows in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena (<20.000) and the Silverdome (>60.000) fans during the Born in the USA tour. Springsteen would keep playing until the fans were out of energy. He would ask if we wanted more, and once the energy was gone, he walked off. Those were the best shows I ever saw.
The late seventies and early eighties saw the revivalist Springsteen release a string of critically acclaimed and wildly popular records. Darkness on the Edge of Town was moody, stark, and different than anything else on AOR radio.
Four sides of the double album, The River, encompassed British Invasion and post-Byrds such as on the 'The Ties that Bind' and 'Out in the Street'. The word was that the studio, The Record Plant turned into an Elvis shrine. Singles such as 'Fire' and 'Because the Night' were giveaways to The Pointer Sisters, Robert Gordon and Patti Smith. Springsteen's own Top 10 single "Hungry Heart,' was a paeon to The Turles and harkened back to The Lovin' Spoonful. The darker 'River' and 'Stolen Car' were a harbringer of Springsteen's first solo record.