April 18, 2008

Teardrops Down On E Street: Danny Federici Dies At 58

Danny Federici, a founding member of the E Street Band, died Thursday at age 58 following a three-year battle with melanoma.

On his official website, Bruce Springsteen pays tribute to his bandmate and friend, writing, “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."

Indeed, as keyboardist and organist in the E Street Band, Federici occupied an essential role in defining the sound and scope of Springsteen’s music. Songs like “The Promised Land,” “Kitty’s Back,” “Because The Night,” and “4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” feature distinguishing performances by the musician known affectionately as the Phantom.

Last fall, Federici assumed his usual role on the road, touring in support of Springsteen’s latest album, Magic. However, following an emotional concert on November 19 in Boston – the last night of the tour’s first leg – a statement was released, revealing Federici’s illness. Charles Giordano, who played with Springsteen on his 2006 album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, as well as on the tour that supported it, has stood in for Federici on all subsequent dates.

Federici’s very last performance with the E Street Band occurred on March 20 in Indianapolis, where he made an impromptu appearance, playing several songs toward the end of the show.

With a world tour still ongoing and heading to the American Southeast, news of Federici’s death prompted Springsteen to postpone his next two scheduled concerts, Friday night in Ft. Lauderdale and Saturday night in Orlando. Information regarding rescheduled dates has yet to be announced, but ticket holders are urged to check with Ticketmaster or venue websites for impending details. As it stands now, Springsteen will resume his tour on Monday, April 21 in Tampa.

Also stated on Springsteen’s website, “The Federici family and the E Street family request that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund.” The foundation’s website serves to accommodate online contributions as well as to honor Federici’s memory.