Nils Hilmer Lofgren (born June 21, 1951) is an American rock musician, recording artist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Along with his work as a solo artist, he has been a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band since 1984, a former member of Crazy Horse, and founder/frontman of the band Grin. Lofgren was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the E Street Band in 2014.
Early life and career :
Lofgren was born in Chicago in 1951 to Swedish/Italian parents. He moved to the suburban town of Garrett Park, Maryland, near the northern border of Washington, D.C. as a very young child. Lofgren's first instrument was classical accordion, beginning at age 5, which he studied seriously for ten years. After studying classical music and jazz, throughout his youth, Lofgren switched his emphasis to rock music, and focused on the piano and the guitar. By 1968, Lofgren formed the band Grin originally with bassist George Daly (later replaced by Bob Gordon), and drummer Bob Berberich, former players in the DC band The Hangmen. The group played in venues throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Lofgren had been a competitive gymnast in high school, a skill that popped up later in his career. During this time, Lofgren met Neil Young and played for him. Young invited Lofgren to come to California and the Grin trio (Lofgren, Daly and Berberich) drove out west and lived for some months at a home Neil Young rented in Laurel Canyon. Lofgren joined Neil Young's band at age 17, playing piano and guitar on the album After the Gold Rush. Lofgren worked on his parts around-the-clock when recording was not in session. Lofgren maintained a close musical relationship with Young, appearing on his Tonight's the Night album and tour among others. He was also briefly a member of Crazy Horse, appearing on their 1971 LP and contributing songs to their catalogue.