Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are set to perform on the Grammys on Feb. 12. It will be the band's first public performance since the death of founding member Clarence Clemons in June. The appearance comes on the eve of the release of Springsteen's 17th studio album, Wrecking Ball, on March 6, and the launch of the Wrecking Ball Tour on March 18 in Atlanta.
It's not known what Springsteen and the band will perform on the show, though a good bet would be the politically-charged "We Take Care Of Our Own," which is the first single from the album.
Rock will be well-represented on this year's Grammy telecast. Foo Fighters, who are the front-runners to win Best Rock Album for Wasting Light, are also set to perform. So, too, will two acts who straddle the line between pop and rock: Paul McCartney and Coldplay (in a performance with Rihanna, presumably of their budding hit "Princess Of China").
Adele, who is expected to win six awards, including Album, Record and Song of the Year, will also perform on the show. It will be her first live performance since she underwent vocal cord surgery last fall.
Also performing on the show: Nicki Minaj, who is the front-runner to win both Best New Artist and Best Rap Album for Pink Friday; Taylor Swift, who is the front-runner to win Best Country Album for Speak Now; Bruno Mars; Katy Perry; Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton; and Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson. The latter team will presumably perform their hit "Don't You Wanna Stay."
Clarence Clemons, who was the saxophonist with the E Street Band since 1972, died on June 18 of complications from a stroke. He was long a focal point of Springsteen's live show. The other band members are Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Steve Van Zandt and Max Weinberg.
Springsteen has won 20 Grammys over the years, a total equaled or bettered by only 10 other artists in Grammy history. But it took Grammy voters a long time to get hip to Springsteen, who was a major star for nearly a decade before he won his first Grammy (for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, for 1984's "Dancing In The Dark").
Springsteen's 1975 breakthrough album Born To Run wasn't even nominated for a Grammy. (There were no categories expressly devoted to rock until 1979. Also, the membership at the time was stodgier.) The Grammys have since done an about-face on Springsteen, and on Born To Run in particular. The album was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003. A video about the creation of the album, Wings For Wheels: The Making Of Born To Run, won a Grammy as Best Long Form Music Video of 2006.
Fifteen of Springsteen's 20 Grammys have come in the rock field. The aforementioned video is one of five exceptions. Here are the others: "Streets Of Philadelphia," which he wrote for Jonathan Demme's 1993 movie of the same name, was voted Song of the Year and Best Song Written Specifically For A Motion Picture or For Television. The Ghost Of Tom Joad was voted Best Contemporary Folk Album of 1996. We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions was voted Best Traditional Folk Album of 2006.
Springsteen, who is 62, has yet to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, though he probably will within the next few years.
Springsteen's last four regular studio albums have debuted at #1. (I'm discounting We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, which was devoted to the songs of folk legend Pete Seeger. It debuted and peaked at #3.) Springsteen's Grammy performance may help boost his new album to the top—assuming it can get past Adele's unstoppable 21.