It’s hard to believe an artist as ubiquitous with the American dream as Bruce Springsteen waited until 1992 to make his North American TV debut—ut when he did he made sure he landed on Saturday Night Live with a bang.
In fact, when the singer arrived on the show he even went as far as to upstage the weekly celebrity host Tom Hanks. The Hollywood actor may have been one of the brightest stars on the rise at the time but nothing could top The Boss.
In 1992 Springsteen had become a champion of the anti-promotional campaign. The singer and his handlers were hellbent on avoiding any publicity or promo spots when releasing the two albums Human Touch and Lucky Gown—but the operation backfired.
Soon enough Springsteen, one of the most beloved artists of the era, had two albums that were drastically underperforming. While the musician still resisted many varying promotional spots one proved too lucrative to miss out on.
”It really has a galvanizing effect,” says Bob Merlis, a longtime Warner Bros. Records vice president of the time, ”It’s the crown jewel-a great outlet.” Of course, he’s speaking about the power of Saturday Night Live. “It s a rarefied environment and rare juxtaposition of something that is undeniably hip. It`s still the place to be, and still what people talk about on Monday morning.”
The show had always given The Boss an open invitation to perform on the late-night weekend must-see programme. It was one he declined for 17 years before arriving on May 9th, 1992, to deliver a three-song set in hope of jolting his albums up the charts.
Nearing the show’s comedy peak at the time, the writers of SNL inadvertently made it difficult for musicians to upstage any of the show’s main cast. But Springsteen isn’t just anybody and he arrived with as much furore as anyone.
The Boss would not disappoint. He delivered a cracking set the highlight of which you can see below. Springsteen performing the Lucky Town number, ‘Living Proof’ with the same vigour and verve that had made him America’s favourite.
Watch the moment Bruce Springsteen made his US TV debut on Saturday Night Live back in 1992