Video via YouTube user Springsteenfan
Decades before fans chanted “Bruuuce” in daringly deep octaves, and long before he earned his Boss moniker, Bruce Springsteen was a relative unknown, a novice musician simply trying to make a name for himself. Still, even in his early years, Springsteen showed incredible potential, hinting at the rock legend that he would later become.
Case in point: Springsteen’s first-ever gig. Footage from the 1972 concert at Max’s Kansas City in New York shows a young (and bearded) Springsteen performing his inaugural set as a signed artist with Columbia Records. He was booked as the opening act for Dave Van Ronk and Doris Abrahams, but clearly made a strong impression — the kind usually attributed to seasoned, headliner types.
In the clip, he’s introduced by MC and booking agent Sam Hood as “a fine young songwriter” and a “special talent.” As Springsteen settles on his stool, guitar in hand, he says, “This is a song about being new in town,” before diving into “Henry Boy”.
The track was included on a list of possibilities for Springsteen’s debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., but still remains to see an official release. A studio version of the song can be found on a handful of bootlegs, though.
Watch the footage from Springsteen’s career-launching gig above.