Friday, April 18, 2008

R I P Danny Federici

Danny Federici, one of the original members of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, died Thursday. He was 58.

The keyboardist passed away at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City after battling melanoma for three years, according to a posting on

His organ-playing can be heard in the classic "Born to Run," the 1975 song that launched Springsteen's career. He also played the organ and glockenspiel in the 1984 hit "Born in the U.S.A."

Robert Hilburn, former pop critic for the Los Angeles Times, said Federici brought a "soulful seasoning" to the band. "Sometimes it felt like the New Jersey shore, where he came from: sometimes bright, sometimes melancholy," Hilburn said.

"Danny was a marvelous musician, but for fans . . . his importance went beyond his keyboard work," Hilburn said. "There has long been a sense of brotherhood and community surrounding the E Street Band and Danny, through his playing and personality, contributed an essential element to that spirit."

Hilburn said of Springsteen's concert last week in Anaheim, "You couldn't help but miss Danny's presence. Without him, the band was not whole."

Federici, who has played with Springsteen since the late 1960s, dropped out of the group's U.S. tour in November to undergo treatment for the skin cancer. He made a special appearance in Indianapolis on March 20.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band began last year its first full-scale U.S. and European tour in four years.

Federici was born in Flemington, N.J., a long car ride from the Jersey shore haunts where he first met kindred musical spirit Springsteen in the late 1960s. The pair often jammed at the Upstage Club in Asbury Park, N.J., a now-defunct after-hours club that hosted the best musicians in the state.

It was Federici, along with original E Street Band drummer Vini Lopez, who invited Springsteen to join their band.

Federici became a stalwart in the E Street Band as Springsteen rocketed from the boardwalk to international stardom. Springsteen split from E Street in the late '80s, but they reunited for a hugely successful tour in 1999.

1 comment:

dr sardonicus said...

An important, underappreciated part of The Boss' sound over more than three decades. Rest in peace, Danny.

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