The Bruce Springsteen Timeline

September 23 1949

At a hospital in Long Branch, NJ, Adele Springsteen gives birth to a baby boy, who will be named Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen.

January 6 1957

Eight-year-old Bruce watches Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show, and the first seed is sown for his future career.

December 25 1962

Bruce receives his first guitar as a Christmas present (by some accounts), but his hands are too small and he can't really use it yet.


Bruce joins his first band, the Castiles, a five-piece rock band with Beatles and Rolling Stones influences. The band is mostly a cover band and performs at local malls and "battles of the bands".

May 16 1966

The Castiles record a single in the Bricktown Studio in New Jersey. It contains two songs written by Springsteen and singer George Theiss: "Baby I" and "That's What You Get". The single is pressed in five copies of which only two are known to be in existence today.


The Castiles break up when most of the members begin to find other interests in life. Bruce, however, has his mind set on a musical career and forms a new band called Earth. Bruce meets Steve Van Zandt for the first time. Bruce briefly attends Ocean County College, but soon realizes he will never adjust to the educational system. Bruce's parents move to California. Bruce himself remains in New Jersey staying at friends' houses and at a surfboard factory in Asbury Park. It is in Asbury Park he from now on will have his base and shape his musical style.


Bruce forms a new band, Child, which quickly changes its name to Steel Mill when it turns out there is another band called Child. Steel Mill is Springsteen's most famous early band. Their style is characterized by long bluesy instrumental passages and Springsteen's lyrical experiments. The lineup changes a couple of times, but among the members are Danny Federici, Steve Van Zandt, Robbin Thompson, and Vini Lopez.

January-February 1970

Steel Mill drive cross-country to California to try and make a break on the West Coast. They play a few dates at the Matrix in San Francisco to critical acclaim and record a few demos in a studio. They are even offered a record deal, but turn it down and return home to the East.

January 23 1971

At the height of their popularity (Steel Mill's crowds were sometimes counted in the thousands for their outdoor gigs) Bruce breaks up the band after a final gig at the Upstage Club in Asbury Park. Bruce spends the rest of 1971 experimenting with new band formations known under such names as the Bruce Springsteen Jam, Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, and finally the Bruce Springsteen Band.

Spring 1972

The Bruce Springsteen Band in various formations continue to play gigs in New Jersey and Virginia before they too are disassembled. Bruce instead decides to play solo gigs in New York City cafes. It is around this time Bruce meets Mike Appel, who soon becomes his manager.