Danny Federici, 1950-2008

Danny Federici, organist and (occasionally) accordion player for the E Street Band, died Thursday afternoon following a three year battle with melanoma (skin cancer). “The Phantom” played with Bruce for over 40 years.

Check out this video of
Danny playing accordion with Bruce and Nils playing acoustic guitars on “Fire.”

The Springsteen song that most comes to mind now is “Mary’s Place” from The Rising. The narrator wonders how, given the sadness and grief caused by the loss of a loved one, you can “live brokenhearted.” Amidst all the religious symbolism of the song, what really seems to pull the narrator through is the power of music, especially the music shared with the departed:

Seven days, seven candles
In my window light your way
Your favorite record’s on the turntable
I drop the needle and pray
Band’s countin’ out midnight
Floor’s rumblin’ loud
Singer’s callin’ up daylight
And waitin’ for that shout from the crowd . . .

Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up.

Donations may be made to the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.


One thought on “Danny Federici, 1950-2008

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  1. This is a sad passing. Federici’s organ had a powerful role in elevating Springsteen’s music from rock to experience. The line you quoted about “drop the needle and pray” is a poignant tribute to the power of Springsteen’s work and the place Federici played in adding to it. Thanks for your thoughtful insight. Tom Buckel.


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