Adele Springsteen, Bruce’s mother, dies at 98

by JAY LUSTIG

Embed from Getty Images

Bruce Springsteen has announced the death of his mother Adele with a message on social media quoting from his own song, “The Wish.”

The message reads:

Adele Springsteen – May 4, 1925-January 31, 2024.

I remember in the morning mom hearing your alarm clock ring. I’d lie in bed and listen to you getting ready for work, the sound of your makeup case on the sink. And the ladies at the office all lipstick, perfume and rustling skirts, how proud and happy you always looked walking home from work.

It ain’t no phone call on Sunday, flowers or a Mother’s Day card. It ain’t no house on the hill with a garden and a nice little yard. I’ve got my hot rod down on Bond Street I’m older but you’ll know me in a glance. We’ll find us a Little rock ‘n roll bar and we’ll go out and dance.

Bruce Springsteen, The Wish

The message also includes the video of the two of them dancing together, below.

“Adele we will miss all the sunshine you so generously gave to all of us,” wrote her daughter-in-law, Patti Scialfa, on her Instagram account.

Steven Van Zandt, posting on X, called her “The Matriarch of our family and an unrelenting source of inspiring positive energy. One of a kind. She will always be there for us. Dancing in the audience.”

Springsteen spoke often of his mother, always lovingly, over the years. In his “Springsteen on Broadway” show, he acknowledged her battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

“My mother loves to dance,” he said at one 2021 show. “She grew up in the ’40s … (with) the big bands and the swing bands, and that was a time when dancing was an existential act.

“She’s 95 and she’s 10 years into Alzheimer’s and that’s taken a lot away from us. But the need to dance hasn’t left her. … when I put on Glenn Miller and she starts moving in her chair — she does, she does — she starts reaching out for me, to take her in my arms once more and to dance with her across the floor. …

“This is an essential part of mom’s spirt, it’s who she is. It’s beyond language and it’s more powerful than memory. It’s the embodiment. This is what she has put her trust in and lived her life by and which, despite all she has suffered, she carries on with to this moment, as if life’s beauty never deserted her. I love her.”

Adele Ann Springsteen (neé Zerilli) was born in Brooklyn, but her family moved to Freehold when she was young. She married Douglas Springsteen in 1948, and they had two daughters, Virginia and Pamela, in addition to Bruce.

She worked as a legal secretary, and while Douglas (who died in 1998) suffered from depression, and drank, and went through periods of unemployment, she was as dependable as he was erratic.

“She willed we would be a family and we were,” Springsteen wrote in his 2016 autobiography, “Born to Run.” “She willed we would not disintegrate and we did not. She willed we would walk with respect through the streets of our town and we did.”

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