01 May 2013

April 17 marked the fifth anniversary of Danny Federici’s death. You don’t have to know me very well to know that I love Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. I’ve seen them live 45 times.

Many of those times came after my mother died in late 2007. I decided that to help me get over my mom’s death, I would let myself see Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band wherever I wanted to, within reason, since those concerts were the few times following her passing that I felt true joy. 

But it was only a few months after my mom died that Danny Federici, Springsteen’s keyboard/organ player, died from melanoma. The band had already brought in someone to fill in for Federici as his health failed, but it didn’t feel like he was really gone. But after April 17, we had to accept that he wasn’t coming back. 

As I dealt with the grief from my mom’s death, the band seemed to do the same after it came back following Danny’s death. And we were doing it in a similar way: through music. I wasn’t at those first few shows after Danny died, but I saw enough of them on YouTube and followed along with the set list on a Springsteen message board to know that just as Springsteen’s music was healing my broken heart, playing as loud and hard and well as they could was helping them get over Danny’s death too. 

Today, two week’s after the fifth anniversary of his passing, Danny’s son, Jason, posted a notice on brucespringsteen.net asking all of us to remember his father by supporting The Danny Fund, which raises funds for melanoma research and is part of the broader Melanoma Research Alliance.  It was easy enough, all I did was test DANNY to 50555 to pledge $10. Given how much enjoyment his playing gave me over the decades, it seems the least I can do.

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