Danny Federici, whose organ and accordion playing was the backbone for so much of the music of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band died earlier today. Even though I knew he was sick for a while with melanoma, it hit me hard and I’m still in shock. I always thought he’d be back with the band someday and the E Street Band, in it’s full glory would go on forever.
It’s bittersweet to find out the members of your favorite band are mortal (as someone said on a post on the Backstreets message board tonight). Bittersweet, especially, because with most bands we would have learned that lesson far sooner; as one or more members self-destructed to booze or drugs or other self destructive behavior. No big egos and fights and the band splitting up and tolerating each other for reunion tours rehashing their greatest hits, either. Sadly, Bruce did set them all free for a few years, but once they came back together again the sheer joy of each others company just shines through.
No, thankfully, Bruce, Danny and the rest of the band never quite seem to have gotten how to live as rock stars!
Oh, but to be missing Danny’s signature organ, and that accordion on Sandy (which I was just listening to on the way home from work tonight, ironically). Danny was one of the E Streeters that got taken for granted. As someone noted tonight, he wasn’t up front, playing off Bruce, like Clarence, or Little Steven, or Nils; but his organ set the mood, and helped make the magic, the good magic that is the E Street Band.
Official news, from the Springsteen website:
“Danny and I worked together for 40 years – he was the most wonderfully fluid keyboard player and a pure natural musician. I loved him very much…we grew up together.”
Danny Federici, for 40 years the E Street Band’s organist and keyboard player, died this afternoon, April 17, 2008 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City after a three year battle with melanoma.
The Federici family and the E Street family request that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund. A web site for the Fund is being established and we’ll post its link when it is on line.
Bruce Springsteen’s concerts scheduled for Friday in Ft. Lauderdale and Saturday in Orlando performance are being postponed. Replacement dates will be announced shortly.
Video from Danny’s last show with the band in Indianapolis:
We’ll miss you Danny! Rest in peace.