Explore the vibrant life and legacy of Adele Springsteen, the cherished muse and dance partner who left an indelible mark on Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Nation. From intimate moments to grand stages, discover the enduring bond that shaped a lyrical legend.
Adele Zerilli Springsteen, the enduring legal secretary, muse, and dance partner, whose vivacity resonated across Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Nation and beyond, has passed away at the age of 98.
Bruce Springsteen shared the news on Instagram, commemorating his mother with a video of their dance to Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” and a poignant caption, “Adele Springsteen — May 4, 1925-January 31, 2024.” He eloquently quoted lyrics from his song “The Wish,” paying tribute to his mother’s morning routine and unwavering presence.
Although specifics about the cause of her death remain undisclosed, Bruce had revealed in 2021 that Adele had been battling Alzheimer’s for a decade, robbing her of speech and mobility.
Adele, the last of the Italian-American Zerilli sisters and a mother of three, played a pivotal role in Bruce Springsteen’s anthem “American Land,” celebrating the diverse roots of their family. From her New York City origins to settling in Freehold as a child, she could not have foreseen her role in inspiring lyrical legendry in New Jersey.
Known for her infectious charm, Adele became a fan favorite in her own right. Videos capturing her rocking out onstage with Bruce date back to 1992, as Rolling Stone magazine notes.
Bruce Springsteen, in various interviews, praised his mother’s intelligence, strength, and creativity. In a 2010 Ellis Island speech, he credited her with holding the family together during tough times. Reflecting on her work ethic, he mentioned, “Her life had an incredible consistency, work, work, work every day, and I admired that greatly.”
In Bruce’s early days, Adele’s sacrifices were evident, even scraping together money for his first guitar, a touching story depicted in “The Wish.” As Bruce’s success grew, Adele transitioned from intimate performances in living rooms to grand stages across America and Europe.
Even in her later years, Adele continued to share the stage with her son. At the age of 90, she danced and sang background on “Twist and Shout” in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium in 2012. In 2016, mother and son celebrated together with a lively dance to “Ramrod” at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Adele Springsteen, described by E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt as the “Matriarch” and an unwavering source of positive energy, leaves behind a lasting legacy. Her husband, Douglas, who inspired some of Bruce’s songs, preceded her in death in 1998. Survivors include their daughters, Pamela Springsteen and Virginia Shave, and a large extended family.
As Bruce expressed on Ellis Island, “Thank you, Mom. I love you very much.” Adele Springsteen’s spirit will undoubtedly live on in the hearts of those touched by her joyous presence.