Bruce Springsteen first US musician to receive highest honour at the Ivor Novello Awards

Bruce Springsteen
The musician is one of the most-successful rock stars of the last 50 years
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Bruce Springsteen is to receive one of the highest honours in songwriting: Fellowship of the Ivors Academy.

The star will be the first US musician to be given the prize, which recognises writing that has enriched the cultural fabric of the UK.

Only 26 other people have ever received the fellowship, including Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney and Kate Bush.

Last year, the prize went to Sting, who used the opportunity to warn of the dangers that AI posed to songwriters.

Springsteen was born to a working class family in New Jersey in 1949 and, like many of his contemporaries, was inspired to pursue music after seeing Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan TV show.

After an apprenticeship in bar bands he launched himself as a solo artist, signing a deal with Columbia Records and releasing his first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, in 1973.

The album and its follow-up, The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, did not sell particularly well. Instead, his reputation was made as a live performer.

In 1974, music critic Jon Landau reviewed one of his shows with The E Street Band in Boston and enthused: "I saw rock and roll['s] future and its name is Bruce Springsteen."

Landau and Springsteen became friends, and worked together on a third album - Born To Run - which transformed the musician into a full-fledged rock star.

Heavily indebted to Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound and Roy Orbison's spine-tingling vocals, it sold nine million copies and saw Springsteen achieve the rare feat of appearing on the covers of Time and Newsweek magazine in the same week.

One of the hardest-working entertainers in showbusiness, he built up a fearsome reputation for his sweat-drenched concerts, which regularly run for over three hours.

Somewhat unexpectedly, he also became one of the breakout stars of early MTV, with videos for songs like Hungry Heart and Dancing In The Dark on heavy rotation alongside hits by Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince.

Bruce Springsteen
The star honed his craft in the boardwalk bars of New Jersey before becoming a household name

His biggest album was 1984's Born In The USA, which sold 15 million copies in the US and 30 million worldwide and spawned hit singles like Glory Days, I'm On Fire and My Hometown.

After such huge success, he stepped away from his longtime companions, The E Street Band, and subsequent albums varied in quality.

In the 1990s, he earned an Oscar for the theme song to the Tom Hanks' Aids drama, Philadelphia; and a 1995 greatest hits album topped the charts, selling four million copies.

After reconvening the E Street Band at the turn of the millennium, Springsteen began a creative hot-streak that has yet to fade - with highlights including 2002's The Rising, a response to the 11 September terror attacks; 2012's politically-charged Wrecking Ball and 2019's Western Stars, a homage to the 1970s-era golden age of the Laurel Canyon pop.

He was inducted to the Rock Hall of Fame in 1999, and played the Super Bowl half-time show 10 years later.

In 2016, the star released his autobiography, also titled Born To Run, and staged a series of intimate, one-man Broadway shows looking back at his life and career.

Initially planned for eight weeks, it ended up running for two years, commanding an average ticket price of $500 (£395).

Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt
The star's ever-faithful E Street Band - including guitarist and sidekick Steve Van Zandt - have been with him since the start

The Covid-19 pandemic put him in a contemplative mood, and he spent lockdown recording covers of his favourite songs, including Jimmy Ruffin's What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted and The Walker Brothers' The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More.

Those sessions became his 21st album, Only The Strong Survive, in 2022 - with a second volume due for release later this year.

Since 2023, he's also been back on the road with the E Street Band, playing stadiums and festivals around the world - although he was forced to postpone several shows last year to receive treatment for peptic ulcer disease.

He recently said the condition, which causes open sores in the digestive system, had affected his ability to sing.

"You sing with your diaphragm. My diaphragm was hurting so badly that when I went to make the effort to sing, it was killing me, you know?" the 74-year-old said in a recent interview on SiriusXM's E Street Radio with Jim Rotolo.

"So, I literally couldn't sing at all, you know, and that lasted for two or three months, along with just a myriad of other painful problems."

Now recovered, he's due to play Sunderland's Stadium Of Light on 22 May, and will collect his Ivor Novello honour the following day in London.

In a statement, the star said he was "proud" to be the first international songwriter to receive the fellowship.

"In addition to recognising my songwriting, the award stands as a tribute to the fans and friends who have supported me and my work for the last 50 years," he said.

"This entire country has made me feel welcome every step of the way, and for this, I will always remain deeply appreciative."