BRUCE HORNSBY FACTS:
Hometown: Williamsburg, Virginia
Hits: “The Way It Is,” “Look Out Any Window,” “The Valley Road”
Whether as a solo performer as a member of any number of bands, Bruce Hornsby is one of the most beloved singers of the last 30 years. Known for his spontaneity and creativity on stage, Hornsby has carved out a loyal legion of fans that have followed him everywhere, from his days performing alone to his brief stint with The Grateful Dead.
Hornsby got his big break in music when he teamed up with David Mansfield, George Marinelli, Joe Puerta and John Molo to form Bruce Hornsby and the Range. It was with this quintet that he recorded and released what is his most well-known song, 1986's "The Way It Is." The elegiac mediation on the fleeting nature of life and the racial strife in the United States struck a chord with fans across all genres. The song was introduced to a new generation of listeners in 1998 when Tupac sampled its chorus in his posthumous hit "Changes."
While his first hit is considered to be his biggest, Hornsby continued to be a mainstay on the jamband scene throughout the rest of the decade. In 1988 he and The Range released their follow up album, Scenes from the Southside. While not as successful as the band's debut, it still contained a number of hit singles including "The Valley Road," which managed to crack into the top 10.
Although The Range found success, Hornsby began to perform with The Grateful Dead around the same time. He may not have been an official member of the Jerry Garcia-led band, but he remained a fixture on tour and was a regular guest for several years. Until Garcia died in 1995, Hornsby was played alongside the Dead in more than 100 shows. During that time, he began to infuse bluegrass and jazz sounds into his own music and began to form his own niche as a solo performer.
After a brief solo career and the formation of another short-lived band, Hornsby joined with fellow music icon Ricky Skaggs. Together, they both enjoyed newfound success thanks to songs including a cover of Hornsby's original "Mandolin Rain" and a bluegrass version of the Rick James classic "Superfreak." Hornsby remains a rabid performer and tourer and if his career path is any indication, he's certainly not going to stay put for long.
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