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Rock

Bruce Springsteen Worried Peptic Ulcer Disease Might Permanently Sideline Him: ‘Am I Gonna Sing Again?’

The rock icon said there were several months where he couldn't make a sound.

Bruce Springsteen performs at Footprint Center on March 19, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bruce Springsteen performs at Footprint Center on March 19, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona.

John Medina/Getty Images

Bruce Springsteen made a triumphant return to performance last week in Phoenix, taking the stage with the E Street band to relaunch their world tour after a six-month break due to the singer’s battle with peptic ulcer disease. But in an interview with E Street Radio host Jim Rotolo (via Deadline) the 74-year-old rock icon said there was a point recently when he feared he might never perform live again.

“Once I started singing, you know, you can rehearse singing, but your voice isn’t the same in rehearsal. You don’t have that edge of adrenaline that really pushes it into a better place and the thing when I had the stomach problem, one of the big problems was I couldn’t sing,” said Springsteen, who paused the E Street’s planned 2023-2024 world tour in September due to the serious effects of the gastro disease; 29 shows were postponed as a result of the medical issue.


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“You sing with your diaphragm. My diaphragm was hurting so badly that when I went to make the effort to sing, it was killing me, you know?,” he said. “So, I literally couldn’t sing at all, you know, and that lasted for two or three months, along with just a myriad of other painful problems.” At a certain point, Springsteen said he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to return to his signature high-energy performance style at all.

“I was, during the course of it, before people told me, ‘Oh no. It’s gonna go away, and you’re gonna be OK,’ you know, you’re thinking like, ‘Hey, am I gonna sing again?’ and you know, this is one of the things I love to do the best, the most, and right now I can’t do it.,” Springsteen said. “You know, I can’t do it, and it took a while for the doctors to say, ‘Oh no. You’re gonna be OK.’ At first, nobody was quite saying that, which made me nervous, you know, and at the end of the day, I found some great doctors, and they straightened me out, and I can’t do anything but thank them all.”

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Thanks to his medical team, Springsteen is back and during the show in Phoenix on March 19 — originally slated for Nov. 30 — he rocked through 29 songs without even mentioning the medical issue until the final song of the set. “I had a motherf–cker of a bellyache,” he told the crowd near the end of the two hour and 45 minute set.

The Springsteen tour rolls on on Monday (March 25) with a date at Pachenga Arena in San Diego.

This article was first published by Billboard U.S.

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Gordon Lightfoot
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