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Adele Ann Springsteen – Bruce Springsteen Opens Up On How Alzheimer’s Has Affected His Mother

adele ann springsteen

Bruce Springsteen needs no introduction. With over 20 studio albums to his name, The Boss, alongside the E Street Band, is one of the most successful artists of all time, Bruce Springsteen is an icon that will go down as a beloved figure in rock history. 

However, as well documented as Bruce’s success in the music industry has been, less is known about his private life, and especially his relationship with his wider family.

Though Bruce Springsteen prefers to keep his private life separate from his public persona, he has made it very clear numerous times the admiration he has for his elderly mother, Adele Ann Springsteen. 

During a 2021 concert, Bruce Springsteen opened up about his Mother’s experience with Alzheimer’s and the impact that it has had on his life and his relationship with her.

Want to know a little more about one of the most important people in Bruce’s life? Then make sure to read on down below! 

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Who Is Adele Ann Springsteen?

Adele Ann Springsteen was born on May 4, 1925. Tragically she suffers from Alzheimer’s, a condition that directly affects memory, and can even directly impact basic motor function. 

Bruce has stated that his mother’s condition has continued to worsen over the years, which is incredibly sad, but that his mother still shows many rewarding signs of her old self.  He revealed that, unfortunately, she cannot stand, speak, or even feed herself, but that she still responds incredibly well to music.

Whenever Adele hears music she recognizes, she is known to get up and dance along to it, especially the music of her son.  Despite Alzheimer’s having a direct and palpable impact on Adele’s memory and motor function, she can still very much recognize her son.

Whenever Bruce visits his mother, she always ends up smiling, and also attempts to vocalize words that are very similar to “I love you”. This is a very sweet reminder of the immense bond between mother and son that the two clearly share! 

Bruce stated in an interview with Today that:

I put on Glen Miller and she starts moving in her chair […] she starts reaching out for me, to take her in my arms once more and to dance with her across the floor.

It’s clear that Adele Ann Springsteen has a very special connection with music. Bruce puts this largely down to her upbringing in the 1940s. The 40s were a time of big bands and swing music, and Bruce stated that his mother loved to dance across the many stages of her life.

Bruce recalls fondly;

Alzheimer’s has taken a lot away from us. But the need to dance hasn’t left her.

It goes without mentioning that Adele has a particularly strong connection to the music of her son. The Boss has made a point of inviting his mother to numerous concerts across his years in the industry.

Videos have even floated online of his mother, well into her 90s dancing along to his shows at Madison Square Garden! 

The Connection Between Music And Alzheimer’s 

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Alzheimer’s has been studied for a number of years across a wide range of sufferers, and one strong connection that has been found is that music can help a sufferer to recall memories from childhood.

In fact, Alzheimer’s sufferers can often recall entire songs, including the beats or lyrics despite the negative impacts of the disease on a sufferer’s memory. Studies have shown that playing music from someone’s childhood is known to help improve their mood, promote relaxation, and prevent behavioral issues. 

Bruce went on to say this in his interview with Today: 

Music is an essential part of mom’s spirit, it’s who she is. It’s beyond language and it’s more powerful than memory.

It’s clear that Adele Ann Springsteen has some very strong memories attached to music, and that they have helped to ease the symptoms of her Alzheimer’s in numerous ways. 

But why is the connection between music and memory so strong?

The main reason that recollection of music manages to remain healthy in Alzheimer’s sufferers is that the area of the brain that is dedicated to attention actually remains mostly untouched.

This is the same area of the brain that registers music.

The sections of the brain that are affected directly by Alzheimer’s are those that are responsible for language and memory. This is why many Alzheimer’s sufferers lose the ability to communicate through language. 

When music is played for Alzheimer’s sufferers, not only do they often immediately recall individual parts of the music, such as lyrics or rhythms but their brains are also directly stimulated.

Music will awaken areas of the brain associated with visuals and salience, and cause them to directly interact with one another. 

Playing music that is directly linked to a sufferer’s own life and memories can even help the sufferer to dig up lasting memories that are associated with the music. This can even include unconscious memories that have long remained dormant. 

Finally, it is also important to note that knowledge of music, such as how to play instruments, or the rhythms of certain songs is actually stored in the area of the brain that is responsible for procedural memory.

This is where the processes for repetitive actions are stored. This is also another area of the brain that goes untouched by Alzheimer’s.

Why Is Bruce Springsteen’s Relationship With His Mother So Strong?

Although Bruce Springsteen often tries to keep his private life and the life of his family separate from the world of stardom, he has often spoken about the admiration he has for his mother and the special bond that he shares with her. 

It was clear to Adele Springsteen from an early age that Bruce was destined to be a musician. Bruce grew up obsessed with the music of Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley and showed a clear passion for music. 

Bruce had a particular love for the guitar, which his mother helped to facilitate by renting a guitar from a local music store for $6 a week.

This was a significant investment that required her to work long and difficult hours. In 1964, Bruce eventually owned his first guitar, which cost his mother $60, and for which she had to take out a loan to purchase! 

The relationship between Bruce Springsteen and his mother is steeped in his love of music, and it is clear that he values the immense contribution that his mother made towards getting his career off the ground.

Perhaps if Adele had never rented that guitar for Bruce, his career could have taken a very different turn and we wouldn’t be blessed with classics such as “Born In The USA” and “Streets Of Philadelphia”. 

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To Conclude 

As you can now hopefully see, the bond between Bruce Springsteen and his mother Adele Ann Springsteen is a strong one, which makes it all the more upsetting to know how Adele is suffering from Alzheimer’s as a result of her advanced age. 

However, despite the odds stacked against her, and the potential strain that a condition like Alzheimer’s could put on their relationship, the two have managed to maintain their strong and special bond.

Adele’s strong connections to music, especially to that of her son have helped her to have moments of pleasure despite the horrible condition holding her back.

As well as this, it is also clear that Adele still recognizes her son whenever he visits, as evidenced by the smile that climbs across her face, and the vocalizations of love that she lets out! 

Alzheimer’s is a condition that affects a massive number of elderly people and has had a harsh and tragic impact on numerous relationships and familial bonds.

Despite all this, the relationship between Adele and Bruce Springsteen has remained incredibly strong, perhaps partly helped by the powerful role that music plays in memory and how memories are retained.

The story of Adele Springsteen and her son is proof that music is a language that knows no barriers or boundaries, and that it can unite people across the world. 

For a glimpse into the special bond that Bruce and Adele share, have a look at this feel-good clip of them dancing together during his performance in Philadelphia, courtesy of The Magik Rat.