The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music located at Monmouth University in New Jersey has curated an extensive photographic body of work to be shown at the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame located in the historic Boch Center Wang Theatre in Boston, MA starting September 13.
The host of photographers includes Danny Clinch, Ed Gallucci, Eric Meola, Barry Schneier and Frank Stefanko. Also in this roster is Springsteen's younger sister Pamela. An award-winning lensperson, Pamela has documented not only her brother's 'Ghost of Tom Joad' images but also captured musicians such as Keith Richards, Neil Young, Lenny Kravitz and Brian Eno.
Springsteen's history with Monmouth University goes back to his first performances there between 1969-1974. Monmouth has hosted several academic conferences, starting in 2018 that have included Springsteen discussing his work and craft. The archives themselves house nearly 35,000 items from 47 countries and serve as a repository for his written works, periodicals and artifacts. All of Springsteen's tours have been curated to include items such as bumper stickers, tour programs, backstage passes, patches and fan art.
One of the most notable spots on view at Monmouth is the Song Request Signs. Decades of handwritten requests directed at Springsteen and his band during their live shows are at times fascinating and humorous. As noted by one, "Missed school. In the sh*t now. Can I play 'Growin’ Up' with you?"
Of special note, photographer Barry Schneier recognized Springsteen's unique persona in 1974 and persuaded Window Pane Productions to book Springsteen on May 9th at the Harvard Square Theater, opening for Bonnie Raitt. The band was on shaky ground with the news that Columbia Records would drop them due to poor sales. What Schneier witnessed that night was not only an earth-shattering performance that he was able to capture, but a trajectory-altering review from writer Jon Landau. The immortal crowned blessing he gave would be the game changer for Springsteen's career forever when he wrote, "I saw my rock and roll past flash before my eyes. I saw something else: I saw rock and roll's future and its name is Bruce Springsteen."
Launched in 2019, the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame celebrates America's folk music culture and heritage. This special Springsteen exhibit of images and interviews, as noted by the site, "showcases intimate photographs of one of America's most important musical voices. Through photos and interviews, this exhibit gives a unique perspective of Bruce Springsteen away from the sold-out arenas and in front of the lens."