Did Paul Shaffer Play with Bruce Springsteen? (2023)

Have you ever wondered about the musical collaborations between two legendary musicians, Paul Shaffer and Bruce Springsteen? The two are known for their exceptional talents in music, but did they ever work together? In this article, we’ll explore their musical careers, their collaborations, and the impact of their work on the music industry.

Paul Shaffer, the Canadian musician, started his career as a keyboardist and musical director for Saturday Night Live. Bruce Springsteen, on the other hand, rose to fame in the 1970s with his iconic rock music. Despite their different backgrounds, the two artists collaborated on various occasions. So, did Paul Shaffer play with Bruce Springsteen?

The article delves into the musical careers of both artists and explores their collaborations, including live performances and recording sessions. We will also discuss the impact of their collaborations on the music industry. Join us on this musical journey and discover the unique bond between Paul Shaffer and Bruce Springsteen.

So, without any further ado, let’s explore the musical world of Paul Shaffer and Bruce Springsteen, and unravel the mysteries of their collaborations.

Paul Shaffer’s musical career

Paul Shaffer’s musical career is one that spans decades and covers a wide range of musical genres. Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, in 1949, Shaffer began his musical journey at a young age, playing piano and studying classical music. He went on to attend the University of Toronto, where he majored in sociology but continued to pursue his passion for music on the side.

Shaffer’s early musical experiences included playing with local bands in Toronto and New York City. In the early 1970s, he joined the band of the legendary blues musician, Stephen Stills. It was during this time that Shaffer first met and worked with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, who would later become his close friends and collaborators.

Shaffer’s most notable career milestone is undoubtedly his role as the musical director for Saturday Night Live, a position he held from 1975 to 1980, and again from 1985 to 1995. As the musical director, Shaffer was responsible for choosing the show’s musical guests and arranging their performances. He also played keyboards in the SNL band, which included some of the most talented musicians in the industry.

(Video) Paul Shaffer: Greatest Musical Moments

During his time with SNL, Shaffer had the opportunity to collaborate with many notable musicians, including Mick Jagger, Ray Charles, and James Brown. One of his most memorable performances was his duet with Eddie Murphy on the hit song “Party All the Time.”

In addition to his work with SNL, Shaffer has also collaborated with many other artists and bands, including The Blues Brothers, who he first worked with in 1978. Shaffer played the role of keyboardist and musical director for the band and appeared in both the movie and the album. He also had the opportunity to perform with legendary musicians like Roy Orbison and Yoko Ono.

Shaffer has also released several solo albums throughout his career, including his debut album “Coast to Coast” in 1989. The album featured collaborations with many notable musicians, including Dion, Greg Allman, and The World’s Most Dangerous Band, Shaffer’s backup band from SNL.

Overall, Paul Shaffer’s musical career is one that is filled with impressive collaborations and notable achievements. His work with Saturday Night Live and The Blues Brothers cemented his status as one of the most talented musical directors and keyboardists in the industry. His solo work also showcases his creativity and versatility as a musician.

Today, Shaffer continues to perform and collaborate with other artists, keeping his passion for music alive. His contributions to the music industry have made a significant impact, and he is sure to remain a legendary figure in the world of music for years to come.

Bruce Springsteen’s musical career

Bruce Springsteen’s musical career is one that spans decades and has earned him a place among the most legendary musicians of all time. Born in Long Branch, New Jersey, in 1949, Springsteen’s early years in music were marked by a strong desire to make a name for himself in the industry.

Springsteen’s first musical experiences began at the age of seven when he learned to play the guitar. As a teenager, he played in several bands and honed his craft as a songwriter. He also attended Ocean County College briefly but dropped out to pursue his musical career full-time.

(Video) Late Night June 25, 1993

In the 1970s, Springsteen’s career began to take off, thanks in part to his signature sound, which blended elements of rock, folk, and Americana. He released his first album, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.,” in 1973, which was followed by “The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle” later that same year. These albums established him as a rising star in the music industry.

Springsteen’s rise to fame was cemented with the release of his breakthrough album, “Born to Run,” in 1975. The album’s title track became an instant hit and showcased Springsteen’s unique songwriting style and rock-and-roll sound. The album’s success led to a string of hit songs and established Springsteen as a major force in the industry.

Throughout his career, Springsteen has released numerous albums that have achieved critical and commercial success, including “The River,” “Born in the U.S.A.,” and “Tunnel of Love.” These albums feature some of Springsteen’s most famous songs, including “Dancing in the Dark,” “Hungry Heart,” and “Streets of Philadelphia.”

Springsteen’s live performances are also a major part of his musical career. He is known for his energetic and passionate performances, which have earned him a reputation as one of the greatest live performers of all time. His concerts often last for hours and feature some of his most iconic songs, as well as covers of classic rock songs.

In addition to his solo work, Springsteen has collaborated with many other artists throughout his career. He has worked with musicians such as The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and U2, among others. He has also performed with his backing band, The E Street Band, since the early 1970s, and they are often credited with helping to create Springsteen’s signature sound.

Overall, Bruce Springsteen’s musical career is one that has left an indelible mark on the music industry. His unique sound, powerful lyrics, and passionate performances have earned him a legion of fans around the world. He continues to perform and create music today, and his legacy as one of the greatest musicians of all time is secure.

Paul Shaffer and Bruce Springsteen’s collaborations

Paul Shaffer and Bruce Springsteen’s collaborations are the stuff of music legend. The two musicians first met in the mid-1970s when Shaffer was working as a musical director for the popular TV show “Saturday Night Live.” Springsteen appeared as a guest on the show, and the two quickly hit it off. Since then, they have collaborated on numerous occasions, both on stage and in the studio.

(Video) Highway to Hell - Bruce Springsteen (w Eddie Vedder & Tom Morello) - Brisbane Ent Centre - 26-2-2014

Their collaborations have been extensive, spanning multiple decades and genres. They have performed together at numerous live shows, including Springsteen’s famous “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” induction in 1999. They have also recorded together on several occasions, including on Shaffer’s solo album “Coast to Coast,” which features Springsteen on the track “Yakuza.”

One of their most notable collaborations was during Springsteen’s Super Bowl XLIII halftime performance in 2009. Shaffer served as the musical director for the performance, and Springsteen and his E Street Band were the headlining act. The performance featured a mix of Springsteen’s classic hits and newer material, all of which was backed by Shaffer and his band.

In addition to their live performances and recording sessions, Shaffer and Springsteen have also appeared together on television numerous times. One of their most memorable TV appearances was on “Late Night with David Letterman,” where Shaffer served as the show’s musical director for over three decades. Springsteen was a frequent guest on the show, and he and Shaffer often collaborated on musical segments and comedic sketches.

Overall, Paul Shaffer and Bruce Springsteen’s collaborations are a testament to the power of two great musicians coming together. Their work together has spanned multiple decades and genres, and their performances and recordings together continue to inspire new generations of music fans. Whether they’re performing live or recording in the studio, Shaffer and Springsteen’s collaborations are always a treat for music lovers around the world.

Article takeaway

In conclusion, we have discussed whether Paul Shatley collaborated with Bruce Springsteen on live performances, recordings, and TV appearances, and we can say unequivocally that he did.

Some of Paul Shaffer’s memorable performances can be attributed to his work as a keyboardist and musical director for Saturday Night Live and his collaboration with Bruce Springsteen on iconic rock songs. They have collaborated on music for many years, and their talent has had a significant impact on the industry.

Their unique bond as musicians transcends their different backgrounds, resulting in a legacy that will endure for generations. They continue to inspire musicians and fans through their collaborations, and the musical world is richer as a result.

(Video) Bruce Springsteen - Waitin' On A Sunny Day (Official Video)

However, Paul Shaffer and Bruce Springsteen have individual musical careers that are impressive on their own, but they have forged such enduring relationships that their collaborations define their careers. They will undoubtedly continue to captivate audiences for years to come, and we hope that they will work together again in the future, as their music is sure to keep audiences on their feet for years to come.

Did Paul Shaffer Play with Bruce Springsteen? (1)

Charlie Kerlinger


Did Paul Shaffer Play with Bruce Springsteen? ›

Their collaborations have been extensive, spanning multiple decades and genres. They have performed together at numerous live shows, including Springsteen's famous “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” induction in 1999.

Who did Paul Shaffer play with? ›

Shaffer has played on records by Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Cyndi Lauper, Cher and Yoko Ono. His Grammy win came in 2002 in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category for a collaboration on "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" with Earl Scruggs.

Did Paul Shaffer and David Letterman get along? ›

"We always got along great, hit it off great. He was so encouraging to me. He said, 'you know if you have anything to say jump in, even if I have a guest. ' I couldn't believe he said that," Shaffer said.

Who worked with Bruce Springsteen? ›

E Street Band
MembersBruce Springsteen Garry Tallent Roy Bittan Max Weinberg Steven Van Zandt Nils Lofgren Patti Scialfa With: Soozie Tyrell Charles Giordano Jake Clemons
Past membersClarence Clemons (deceased) Danny Federici (deceased) Vini Lopez David Sancious Ernest Carter
7 more rows

What musician was the music of Bruce Springsteen often compared to in his early career? ›

Springsteen's first album, Greeting From Asbury Park, N.J. was released in 1973, quickly followed by "The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle," both of which won him critical praise. Springsteen was often compared in those days to Bob Dylan, with his scruffy appearance and poetic lyrics.

How much did Paul Shaffer make on Letterman? ›

What was Paul Shaffer's salary as musical director of the David Letterman Show? $5 million per year.

Who is Paul Shaffer's wife? ›

Shaffer has been married to Cathy Vasapoli, a former talent booker on Good Morning America, since 1990. They have two children, Victoria and Will.

What ever happened to Paul Shaffer? ›

Thirty years after David Letterman and Paul Shaffer departed the NBC airwaves, the Late Night bandleader and his longtime backing band are returning to 30 Rock to sub in for the Roots on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Does Paul Shaffer read music? ›

After "Late Show" ended, Shaffer, the bald, wry, erudite Canadian who punctuated Letterman's jokes with sub-Ed McMahon cackles for 33 years, had little to do. He told Newsweek he planned to learn to sight-read music, play the Hammond organ bass pedals and do some acting.

Who was the piano player on the David Letterman show? ›

While most people know Paul Shaffer as a musical director and David Letterman's sidekick, there is so much more to this multi-talented Canadian musician… Shaffer began playing piano at age six in his hometown of Fort William / Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Who was Bruce Springsteen's best man? ›

As his best man, Springsteen reportedly had three at his side: manager Jon Landau and bandmates Steven Van Zandt and the late Clarence Clemons.

Who is the biggest Bruce Springsteen fan? ›

Bruce Springsteen's biggest fan – 91-year-old Jeanne Heintz – was rewarded for her loyalty this week when she pulled on stage by the singer. Jeanne, who could give Directioners a run for their money, has been to over 100 of Bruce's shows over the years, starting in 1988.

How much does Bruce Springsteen pay his band? ›

The amount varied from tour to tour, but unofficial information is that the E street band and Bruce share equally 2.8 million per night.

Who did Bruce Springsteen sell his music to? ›

In "The Godfather," Michael Corleone said it's not personal, it's strictly business. Yet, for fans of Bruce Springsteen, the recent selling of his master recordings and music publishing rights to Sony for $500 million, according to Billboard, does strike a personal note.

Why does Bruce Springsteen sound different? ›

Springsteen wanted a “brighter” higher pitched sound for his vocals. The recording was done on a higher speed to achieve this effect. I have difficulty understanding Bruce Springsteen lyrics when he's singing. Is this just me?

Did Bruce Springsteen play with paul McCartney? ›

Watch Paul McCartney team up with Bruce Springsteen to perform 'Glory Days' and 'I Wanna Be Your Man'

Who is richer David Letterman or Jay Leno? ›

So who's richer, Jay Leno or David Letterman? As of 2023, Letterman might be pulling ahead; Leno appears to be worth about $450 million. Depending on the source, it sounds like David Letterman could be worth a bit more or less than Jay Leno.

What happened to Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra? ›

The orchestra disbanded after the Late Show ended on May 20, 2015. Jazz musician Jon Batiste was announced by new host Stephen Colbert as the new Late Show's bandleader on June 4, 2015, with his band, Stay Human, becoming the show's new house band.

Does Paul Shaffer have children? ›

Was Paul Shaffer on SNL? ›

Paul Shaffer, CM (born November 28, 1949) is a Canadian-American musician, actor, voice actor, author, comedian and composer who was a part of the original Saturday Night Live Band from 1975 to 1980. He was also a cast member/featured of Saturday Night Live from 1979 to 1980 with only one season (Season 5).

How tall is Paul Shaffer? ›

How old is Paul Shaffer? ›

When was Paul Schaffer born? ›

Paul Shaffer was born on 28 November 1949 in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. He is an actor and composer, known for This Is Spinal Tap (1984), Hercules (1997) and Blues Brothers 2000 (1998). He has been married to Catherine Maria Vasapoli since 19 August 1990.

How old was Paul Pena when he died? ›

He was 55. The cause was complications of diabetes and pancreatitis, his Web site said.

Can Thom Yorke read music? ›

Unlike his bandmate Jonny Greenwood, Yorke does not read sheet music; he said: "You can't express the rhythms properly like that.

Is Whiplash a real jazz song? ›

The song “Whiplash” is actually a complicated 1973 jazz piece from composer Hank Levy.

Who was Jay Leno's band leader? ›

Kevin Tyrone Eubanks (born November 15, 1957) is an American jazz and fusion guitarist and composer. He was the leader of The Tonight Show Band with host Jay Leno from 1995 to 2010. He also led the Primetime Band on the short-lived The Jay Leno Show.

Who was the first musical guest on Letterman? ›

Billy Joel is the first musical guest on David Letterman's first show after moving to CBS. After 11 years on NBC, Letterman makes the move to CBS. His first guest is Bill Murray, who appeared on the first episode of Letterman's NBC show back in 1982.

Who played the piano on the Johnny Carson show? ›

Straight from the beach in his Nike t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops David sat down at the grand piano. He played "Memory” from Cats in his signature flowing style – to surprised cheers from the audience and a grinning and speechless Johnny Carson.

Why did David Letterman leave the David Letterman show? ›

David hosted NBC's 12:30 a.m. talk show, Late Night, for a remarkable and critically acclaimed run between 1982-1993. When NBC decided to give give Jay Leno The Tonight Show after Johnny Carson's 1992 retirement, snubbing David, he took the situation in stride and left the network.

Has Bruce Springsteen ever had a number one hit? ›

Bruce Springsteen might have some of the most recognizable songs in the world, but none of them have garnered the top spot on the Hot 100. Casual Springsteen fans might be surprised to know that The Boss has never hit No 1 on the Hot 100.

What happened to Springsteen's first wife? ›

Marriage and divorce

The two met in October 1984 and were subsequently married in her native Lake Oswego shortly after midnight on Monday, May 13, 1985, surrounded by intense media attention. Citing irreconcilable differences, she filed for divorce in August 1988, which was finalized the following March.

Is Jon Bon Jovi friends with Bruce Springsteen? ›

Springsteen and Bon Jovi have been friends for decades after they first appeared together onstage in Asbury Park, New Jersey, in 1980 and have played countless live shows together ever since.

Who sold more albums Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen? ›

What do the numbers tell us? Springsteen has sold 64.5 million albums in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Association of American, and Bon Jovi has sold 34 in the country.

What is Bruce Springsteen's favorite car? ›

Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

Next up is one of the most iconic convertibles to come out of the Chevy factory, the Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible. In his younger years, Bruce got his hands on one of these in a shade of sky blue, and it seems like he adored it from the very beginning.

What is the average age of a Bruce Springsteen fan? ›

AVERAGE DEMOGRAPHIC: While he is a true icon to millions of middle-aged white men, Springsteen's broader fan base is made up of both men and women between the ages of 35 to 60 who've followed his career for some time, or at least since 1984's Born in the USA.

Does Bruce Springsteen have a private jet? ›

For a variety of reasons, the truth may never be known for certain. Despite this, the revelation that Bruce Springsteen owns a private jet raises broader questions about celebrity lifestyles and the appeal of luxury and wealth.

Who is the highest-paid band of all time? ›

Most of the lists were estimated within a June-to-June scoring period, except for 1999, 2000, and 2021 when a calendar year period was used instead. U2 have become the annual highest-earning musicians five times, more than any other act.

Who is the most expensive band to hire? ›

10 Most Expensive Bands To Hire
  • 1) Rolling Stones–Cost To Hire: $8.1million.
  • 2) Rihanna–Cost To Hire: $8million.
  • 3) Madonna–Cost To Hire: $5million.
  • 4) Elton John–Cost To Hire: $3.4million.
  • 5) Taylor Swift–Cost To Hire: $1million.
  • 6) No Doubt–Cost To Hire: $750,000.
  • 7) Mumford And Sons–Cost To Hire: $750,000.
Jan 15, 2021

What did a Shaffer or Schaefer do in Germany? ›

Schaefer was forced to leave Germany after he was charged with sexually abusing young boys in an orphanage he ran there. In 1961 he founded Colonia Dignidad, an anti-Semitic apocalyptic religious sect about 225 miles south of Santiago.

Who was the band leader for the letterman? ›

And taken on their own, Paul Shaffer's 33 years as Letterman's musical director and bandleader would make him one of the most iconic men in late-night history. But his legacy runs far beyond that into nearly every crevice of the comedy and music worlds.

Who was David Letterman's sidekick? ›

His comic bits on Letterman included “Alan Kalter's Celebrity Interview,” a show-within-a-show that resulted in some hilariously awkward moments. Letterman nicknamed his sidekick with monikers such as “Big Red” or “TV's Uncle Jerry,” amplifying the comic effect.

What nationality is Schaffer? ›

SCHAFFER Family History

German: occupational name for a steward or bailiff, from an agent derivative of Middle High German schaffen 'to manage'. It is also found in France (mainly Alsace and Lorraine), Hungary, Denmark, Czechia, Slovakia, and Slovenia; see also 3 below.

What does Schaeffer mean in German? ›

Meaning:steward. Schaeffer as a boy's name is pronounced SHAY-fer. It is of German origin, and the meaning of Schaeffer is "steward".

What ethnicity is the last name Schaefer? ›

German and Jewish (Ashkenazic) (Schäfer): occupational name for a shepherd from an agent derivative of German Schaf Middle High German schāf 'sheep'. The surname Schäfer is also found in Hungary and Czechia. Compare Schafer and Schaffer Dutch: of German origin (see 1 above).

Does Jay Leno like David Letterman? ›

"I am a huge fan. You know, when I started, Letterman was a great wordsmith." Leno explained, "He could put things together, but he's kind of a hesitant performer. I was a very loud, boisterous performer, but I wasn't that good a writer.

Why was Leno chosen over Letterman? ›

The story was to say that top NBC executives wanted Johnny Carson out. His audience was getting too old. Jay Leno was in the wings, attracting much younger audiences when he guest-hosted; therefore the advertisers had started to prefer him to Johnny.

Who was considered to replace Letterman? ›

Conan O'Brien

"Conan was actually Letterman's replacement on NBC's 'Late Night' show in 1993 after Letterman moved over to CBS.

Who was David Lettermans favorite guest? ›

Regis Philbin

By Dave's count, Regis has been his most frequent guest, appearing 136 times. Viewers knew what to expect when Philbin would come on: Dave would harass him, Regis would get defensive and yell right back, and then maybe he'd would tell Joey Bishop stories.

Who is David Letterman's first guest? ›

NBC kept Letterman on its payroll to try him in a different time slot. Late Night with David Letterman debuted February 1, 1982; the first guest was Bill Murray.

What was David Letterman's annual salary? ›

David Letterman Net Worth
Net Worth$480 Million
Liabilities & Loans$49 Million
Taxes Paid$7 Million
Investments$120 Million
Annual Income$45 Million
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Mar 16, 2023


1. Bruce Springsteen & John Fogerty (CCR) Play Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” at Madison Square Garden
(John Fogerty)
2. Bruce Springsteen - Tampa 2023 - No surrender - Tour opener - multicam
3. "E Street Shuffle" with The Roots (Live at Roskilde 2012)
(Bruce Springsteen)
4. Jimmy and Paul Shaffer Perform Harry Styles’ "As It Was" in a Medley of Genres | The Tonight Show
(The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon)
5. Freight Train Boogie Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives feat. Paul Shaffer
6. Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey w/Bruce Springsteen - My Generation - NYC - 5-28-15
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