Douglas Springsteen; Father of Famed Singer

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Douglas Springsteen, whose fragile, tempestuous relationship with his famous son inspired several of Bruce Springsteen’s most poignant lyrics, has died.

Springsteen died Sunday in Belmont, according to the San Mateo County Bureau of Vital Statistics, which did not report his age or the cause of death.

The elder Springsteen held a variety of jobs over the years. He did factory work in a rug mill, drove a cab and worked as a prison guard. There was often a long time between jobs, and the family, which included Bruce and his two sisters, had to move in with his wife’s parents to make ends meet.


The Springsteens moved from New Jersey to California when Bruce was a teenager, but Bruce stayed in Freehold.

In many of his songs, the performer sang about the difficult relationship he had with his father.

In “Independence Day”:

Now I don’t know what it always

was with us,

We chose the words and yeah we

drew the lines.


There was just no way this house

could hold the two of us.

I guess that we were just too much of

the same kind.

In “Adam Raised a Cain,” he sang:

Daddy worked his whole life for

nothing but the pain,

Now he walks these empty rooms


looking for something to blame.

You inherit the sins, you inherit the


The singer also elaborated on the relationship in interviews and on stage. The normally private and reticent balladeer sometimes openly discussed how simple father-son conversations could deteriorate into screaming matches.

By 1979, a Springsteen biographer wrote, the feud had generally ended and the singer spoke of his father “with both affectionate humor and a kind of intense identification.”

Besides his son, Douglas Springsteen is survived by his wife, Adele, and the two daughters. A funeral Mass was said Thursday at St. Rose of Lima Church in Freehold.