Bruce Springsteen, 'Born To Run,' And The Lawsuit That Almost Ruined His Career

By Jacob Shelton
Bruce Springsteen backstage at Hammersmith Odeon, London before his first UK show, 18th November 1975. (Photo by Mark and Colleen Hayward/Getty Images)

With the 1975 album Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen looked like the new king of rock 'n roll -- "Thunder Road," "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" and the title track would become classic rock anthems -- but a lawsuit threatened deny him the throne.

Springsteen was hailed as the voice of a generation on the covers of Newsweek and Time magazines, but instead of capitalizing on his success and hitting the studio to record another album he put on a suit and went to court. He spent much of 1976 and 1977 -- important years in rock music that should have been important years for Bruce -- in a courtroom fighting for his professional life in a lawsuit against Laurel Canyon, Ltd., owned by his manager and publisher Mike Appel.

What began as a partnership based on getting Springsteen’s voice to the masses ended in bitterness, and a three year wait before The Boss took the world to the Darkness on the Edge of Town. Not as much about money as it was about trust and the ability of an artist to create, Springsteen’s lawsuit against his manager and producer was propped up with bitter feelings that lasted long after the suit was resolved.