Happy National Boss Day, but Bruce Springsteen might not appreciate being called “the Boss.”
Celebrated on October 16, National Boss Day was established in 1958 when Patricia Bays Haroski of Illinois registered it with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Interestingly, her boss was her father. Illinois Governor Otto Kerner officially proclaimed the date in 1962.
As for Springsteen, the nickname “the Boss” was used by his bandmates even before he achieved fame. It denoted his leadership, both on and off the stage, where he was the central figure. Springsteen was the go-to person, responsible for the group’s affairs before and after performances, solidifying his role as the boss.
“My recollection was the Boss was a result of paying (band members and crew) at the end of the week,” said Springsteen to Mark Hagen for Mojo in 1999. The interview is included in the “Talk About a Dream” compilation edited by Christopher Phillips and Louis R. Masur. “It was never meant for public dissemination.”
As the “Boss” nickname gained notoriety beyond the close-knit band circle, Springsteen came to regret it. The moniker seemed incongruent with Springsteen’s humble, hardworking, and relatable everyman persona.
“Well, the thing I have with this ‘Boss’ is funny, because it came from people .. who work around you,” said Springsteen to Dave DiMartino in a 1980 Creem magazine interview, also in “Talk About a Dream.” “And then, somebody started to do it on the radio. I hate being called ‘Boss’ (laughs). I just do. Always did from the beginning. I hate bosses. I hate being called the boss.”