Danny Federici, the great organ player for the E Street Band, died today of melanoma at the age of 58. Sharing a stage with larger-than-life figures like The Big Man and Little Steven, Danny was never going to be the most famous member of the band, but he was an E Streeter for longer than anyone. His contributions were immense, and he will be greatly missed. You never anticipate something like this happening, but as they say, life goes on. It just won't be quite the same, especially on that stage for Bruce and the rest of the band.
"The first time I saw Bruce, I knew it right then and there. He was just a guy who came off the street, but in the musicians' circuit in those days, it was like, you gotta see this guy Bruce. Bruce from Freehold. He had a big mane of curly hair, a guinea tee and suspenders, real tight jeans. He was so fast. He's still fast, but he never plays guitar like he used to play."
- Danny Federici quoted in Born to Run: the Bruce Springsteen Story, by Dave Marsh
In my book, Danny's finest moment came on "Racing in the Street," the great song from Darkness on the Edge of Town.
"Now that it can be heard, the E Street Band is clearly one of the finest rock & roll groups ever assembled. Weinberg, bassist Garry Tallent and guitarist Steve Van Zandt are a perfect rhythm section, capable of both power and groove. Pianist Roy Bittan is as virtuosic as on Born to Run, and saxophonist Clarence Clemons, though he has fewer solos, evokes more than ever the spirit of King Curtis. But the revelation is organist Danny Federici, who barely appeared on the last L.P. Federici's style is utterly singular, focusing on wailing, trebly chords that sing (and in the marvelous solo at the end of "Racing in the Street," truly cry)."
- Review of Darkness on the Edge of Town, July 1978, by Dave Marsh