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A question about Bruce's grandfather


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#1 Eddy Wehbe

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 09:40 PM

It is established that Bruce wrote RANDOLPH STREET about his grandfather, who was an electrician. Introducing "Factory" on 03 Sep 1978 in Saginaw, MI, Bruce told the crowd:

 

I was born on September 23rd 1949 in this little town called Freehold... my grandfather, me and my mother, my father. We all lived at my grandparents' in a house in town. [...] My grandfather he was an electrician and he used to fix second-hand radios. And I remember when I was five years old, before we were to leave, he used to take me with him outside of town in the summer, and they used to have mining workers, used to come off from the South and work in the fields outside of town. He used to sell them radios that he'd buy and fix, bring them out there in the trunk of the car and take me with him [...]

 

Everything makes me believe that the first house where Bruce and parents lived (located at 87 Randolph Street in Freehold, NJ) was his paternal grandparents', so it was his paternal grandfather, Frederick Springsteen, who was the electrician about whom Bruce wrote the song. However, in his new book The E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Clinton Heylin wrote: "[...] he has already celebrated his grandfather, Mr Zerilli, in song [...] an autobiographical piece called 'Randolph Street'. [...]" This got me confused.

 

So, who was it, Frederick Springsteen or Thomas Zirilli?

 

And when did Bruce's grandfather (the electrician) pass away?

 

For the records, this is Bruce's family tree:

 

 

Father: Douglas Springsteen
Paternal grandfather: Frederick Springsteen
Paternal grandmother: Alice ???
Mother: Adele Zirilli
Maternal grandfather: Thomas Zirilli
Maternal grandmother: Rose ???
 

 

By the way, it's a beautiful song. Do give it a listen.

 



#2 Earthslayer

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 10:27 PM

Clinton Heylin is wrong on this point. Given that he's referencing Randolph Street then Heylin is talking about the wrong set of grandparents.

 

After they married Douglas & Adele Springsteen moved into Douglas' parents (Fred & Alice Springsteen) home on Randolph Street...this allowed Douglas & Adele to save up money so they could eventually put down a deposit and buy their own house. Bruce's parents (plus Bruce and older sister Ginny) lived at Randolph Street until early 1955 (until Bruce was almost 5 1/2yrs old).

 

Bruce's parents purchased and moved into the Institute Street home in early 1955....they lived at that location for nearly 8 years - until mid-late 1962. The birth of Bruce's youngest sister (Pam) in early 1962 forced Douglas & Adele to look for a home with an additional bedroom...so they sold the Institute Street home and bought a bigger home on South Street in late 1962 - which is where they lived until they sold it in 1969 as part of the Douglas & Adele (and young Pam) relocation to California. Bruce and older sister Ginny stayed behind in New Jersey (Ginny having recently married).

 

Not certain when Bruce's paternal grandfather died. I seem to recall it being 1970 or 1971...but that may be wrong.



#3 Eddy Wehbe

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 10:56 PM

Thank you Earthslayer. That clarifies everything.

 

One would expect Heylin to have been more immaculate in his research.

 

I believe I read somewhere that Frederick Springsteen died around 1963, but I could be wrong.



#4 HeroOfVirtue

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 01:30 AM

This is a great thread. I love learning stuff like this! Thanks for asking Eddy and thanks for answering ES.


We know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here

So hold tight to your anger, hold tight to your anger
Hold tight to your anger, and don't fall to your fear


Take your best shot, let me see what you've got, bring on your wrecking ball.

 

My City of Ruins: Bruce Springsteen and the American Reaction to Disaster


#5 -TG-

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 01:34 AM

Peter Ames Carlin's 'Bruce' has a lot of well-researched information about Bruce's early life and family.



#6 Eddy Wehbe

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:45 AM

Peter Ames Carlin's 'Bruce' has a lot of well-researched information about Bruce's early life and family.

 

I have that book. I may start reading it after the European tour.



#7 Eddy Wehbe

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:48 AM

Here's another thing I found in Heylin's book. He wrote that The Castiles was "named after a dodgy brand of Cigarillos".

 

I have always sought it was a brand of shampoo, and some other sources say it was a brand of soap.

 

Whichever it is, was it mentioned in some interview with Bruce or a Castiles member?



#8 C4G

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 12:06 PM

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Castile_soap

 

 

Buy it here -

 

http://www.luxebc.co...isting ads#9703



#9 Eddy Wehbe

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:40 PM

...another misleading thing in Heylin's book.



#10 Earthslayer

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:53 PM

Here's another thing I found in Heylin's book. He wrote that The Castiles was "named after a dodgy brand of Cigarillos".

 

I have always sought it was a brand of shampoo, and some other sources say it was a brand of soap.

 

Whichever it is, was it mentioned in some interview with Bruce or a Castiles member?

 

Clinton Heylin is wrong on this point. Heylin should have spoken to George Theiss, who could've straightened him out on this point.

 

"The Castiles" group name came from soap (Castile soap). "Castile" is a type of soap (olive oil - based) that has its ancient origins in the Castile region in Spain. Castile is a type of soap - it can be found in bar form or liquid form or it can be used as an ingredient in shampoos, lotions etc. Besides being a type of soap I believe "Castile" might have been used as part of some soap brand names in the USA in the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's.

 

The name "The Castiles" was chosen for the band because it was felt the name had a kinda classy feel to it....and it was not a name that any other bands in the region were using.



#11 Horley2

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 04:30 PM

Here's another thing I found in Heylin's book. He wrote that The Castiles was "named after a dodgy brand of Cigarillos".

 

I have always sought it was a brand of shampoo, and some other sources say it was a brand of soap.

 

Whichever it is, was it mentioned in some interview with Bruce or a Castiles member?

 

In the  Bruce exhibit at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame (it was in Philly last year), there was a sample of the bar of soap named Castiles. 



...another misleading thing in Heylin's book.

 

Making me glad I did not Heylin's book.



#12 Eddy Wehbe

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 04:48 PM

In the  Bruce exhibit at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame (it was in Philly last year), there was a sample of the bar of soap named Castiles. 

 

I read that in a recent issue of Backstreets, but had completely forgotten about it.






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