the springsteens2 Rock Flashback: Patti Scialfa

The Springsteens watch their daughter compete in an equestrian competition in England last May (Getty Images/Chris Jackson)

It’s [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Patti Scialfa[/lastfm]’s birthday today. We’d like to be polite enough not to mention her age, but that’s not how we roll. She’s 58. Now, do you know who she is?

Patti is a college-trained musician who studied briefly at a jazz conservatory, but her degree didn’t keep her from having to scuffle around the New York and New Jersey scene in the late ’70s, trying to get noticed as a singer and songwriter. After doing some recording with [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes[/lastfm], she got the opportunity to join the E Street Band as a singer shortly before [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Bruce Springsteen[/lastfm] launched his Born in the USA tour.

Although Scialfa and Springsteen had known one another for several years by 1984, there was nothing romantic between them. Springsteen met model Julianne Phillips in 1984 and married her a year later. Their marriage was troubled practically from the start, and they separated in 1988. About the same time, Springsteen and Scialfa were linked in tabloid reports, supposedly having gotten together romantically during the 1988 Tunnel of Love tour. Springsteen’s divorce from Phillips was finalized in 1989; months later, Scialfa was pregnant with the couple’s first child. They married in 1991.

Patti Scialfa has released three solo albums, and has reportedly finished songs for a fourth, which would be her first since 2007. She hasn’t performed with her husband since 2009, preferring to spend time being a mother to the couple’s three kids, aged 21, 19, and 17. Unlike many rock stars, Bruce Springsteen did it backwards — he married the trophy wife first, then settled down with a hometown girl afterward.

Here’s Patti performing “As Long as I (Can Be With You)” from her 1993 album Rumble Doll.

Experience more Rock Flashbacks.


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