Who is Bruce Hornsby ?

Bruce Hornsby is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. He draws frequently from classical, jazz, bluegrass, folk, Motown, gospel, rock, blues, and jam band musical traditions.

Detailed Bruce Hornsby Biography


Bruce Hornsby’s illustrious career has included just about every type of success a musician can experience. His musical roles have been varied—lounge musician, unknown pop songwriter, successful mainstream musician, Grammy award winner.

Audiences are most familiar with Hornsby’s work with his band, the Range. “The Way It Is,” recorded by Bruce Hornsby and the Range, was one of the most played songs on American radio in 1987. Hornsby embarked on a solo career in the nineties that combined many forms of music and met with critical acclaim.

He is known for his acoustic piano playing and honest lyrics intensified by his strong vocals. Hornsby’s songs are real-life stories about small-town people.

His songs are so true to life that the citizens of his hometown, Williamsburg, Virginia, analyze every aspect of each one looking for similarities to their own lives. Hornsby told Jay Cocks of Time, “Sometimes they find themselves. Sometimes much to their chagrin.”

Bruce Hornsby Early life

Hornsby was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1954 November 23rd and raised in Williamsburg. He is an avid sports fan and once dreamed of a career in professional basketball after playing on the varsity team for James Blair High School.

Bruce Hornsby

A few colleges sought after him, but Hornsby didn’t think that he could go far in basketball because he averaged only 11 points a game. He still reunites with his old high school teammates for a game of pick-up ball occasionally. He also loves baseball and golf, but it was his love for music that prevailed.

Hornsby practised the piano as seriously as he practised basketball, even after years of disappointment with his music career. He told Mike D’Orso of Sports Illustrated, “I could’ve easily sacked it in, but I stayed intense. I still am.

It goes right back to what I learned on the court.” Hornsby studied music at Berklee College in Boston and eventually earned a degree from the University of Miami School of Music in 1977.

By 1980 he had formed a band with his brother Bob. They moved to Los Angeles but suffered through some lean years, which forced Bruce to sign with 20th Century Fox as a songwriter. Hornsby’s younger brother, John, co-wrote pop songs with him for 20th Century Fox and is still his songwriting partner.

Bruce Hornsby Career

The debut album of Bruce Hornsby and the Range, The Way It Is, went platinum. Its title track, a song about racial prejudice, topped the Billboard chart. Another single, “Mandolin Rain,” reached the top ten.

Hornsby produced six of the album’s songs, three others were produced by Huey Lewis, an early champion of Hornsby’s work. The album’s style, which Lambert described as “jazz-tinged folk-rock,” and socially conscious material struck a chord with audiences and critics.

Huey Lewis has called Hornsby’s music “rural Southern highbrow.” A People reviewer wrote: “With their small-town settings and common heroes, Hornsby’s are the sort of heartland tunes that just might knock a chip in the Springsteen-Mellencamp monopoly.” At the 1987 Grammy Awards Hornsby and his group were named best new artist.

A second album, Scenes from the Southside, has also sold millions. Hornsby’s music has been influenced by jazz pianist Keith Jarrett and country singer George Jones; his lyrics are drawn from current events and social trends.

Mostly, his work reflects his southern roots. “I guess this sounds pompous, but we want to create our sort of microcosm of a place, “he told Rolling Stone. “Kind of like Faulkner, I guess, had a county where all his things were set. If there’s anything special about what we’re doing, that’s what it is.”

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Bruce Hornsby Social Media Accounts

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Bruce Hornsby Songs

  • Across The River (1990)
  • Every Little Kiss (1986)
  • Lost Soul (1990)
  • Mandolin Rain (1986)
  • On the Western Skyline (1986)
  • The Valley Road (1988)
  • The Way It Is (1986)
  • The way it is

This song deals with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The line in the lyrics that mention “The law passed in ’64” is the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law was supposed to prohibit discrimination in public places, the government and employment.
The lyrics in this song deal with the need to resist complacency and never resign yourself to racial injustice as the status quo.

The way it is -Lyrics

Standing in line marking time
Waiting for the welfare dime
‘Cause they can’t buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor ladies’ eyes
Just for fun, he says, “Get a job”
That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
Ah but don’t you believe them
Said, hey little boy you can’t go where the others go
‘Cause you don’t look like they do
Said, hey old man how can you stand
To think that way, did you think about it
Before you made the rules?
He said, “Son, that’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
Ah but don’t you believe them”
That’s just the way it is
That’s just the way it is
Well they passed a law in ’64
To give those who ain’t got a little more
But it only goes so far
Because the law don’t change another’s mind
When all it sees at the hiring time
Is the line on the colour bar, no, no, no
That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
That’s just the way it is, it is, it is, it is
  • Mandolin Rain

Bruce Hornsby scored box office gold again with this song, a follow-up to “The Way It Is.” It kept up Hornsby’s career momentum, reaching #4 on the charts. The song is about a failed southern romance between two people who enjoy the rainfall and spent a lot of intimate time in it, but now that she’s gone, the singer mourns her loss and is reminded of her when he hears the rain.

Mandolin Rain Vidoe

Bruce Hornsby Tours

  • JUL 23 TUE
    North Carolina Museum Of Art
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Amos Lee
    Raleigh, NC, United States
  • JUL 24 WED
    Filene Center at Wolf Trap
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Amos Lee
    Vienna, VA, United States
  • AUG 7 WED
    Pabst Theater
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    S. Carey
    Milwaukee, WI, United States
  • AUG 9 FRI
    Pantages Theatre
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    S. Carey
    Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • AUG 10 SAT
    Okoboji Blue Water Festival
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Arnolds Park, IA, United States
  • AUG 11 SUN
    Canal Shores Golf Course
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Suzanne Vega
    Evanston, IL, United States
  • AUG 13 TUE
    Lied Center of Kansas
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Lawrence, KS, United States
  • AUG 16 FRI
    Dillon Amphitheater
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Dillon, CO, United States
  • AUG 17 SAT
    Chautauqua Auditorium
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Boulder, CO, United States
  • AUG 18 SUN
    Denver Botanic Gardens
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Denver, CO, United States
  • OCT 6 SUN
    Austin City Limits
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Austin, TX, United States
  • OCT 8 TUE
    Palace Of Fine Arts Theatre
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    San Francisco, CA, United States
  • OCT 10 THU
    The Magnolia Performing Arts Center – by Live Nation
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    El Cajon, CA, United States
  • OCT 11 FRI
    Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Scottsdale, AZ, United States
  • OCT 13 SUN
    Austin City Limits
    Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
    Austin, TX, United States

Bruce Hornsby Albums

with The Range
  • The Way It Is (1986) No. 3 US (RIAA: 3× Platinum)
  • The Way It Is Tour (1986–1987) (1987) (Japan)
  • Scenes from the Southside (1988) No. 5 US (RIAA: Platinum)
  • A Night on the Town (1990) No. 20 US
with the Grateful Dead
  • Infrared Roses (1991)
  • Grayfolded (1996)
  • Dick’s Picks Volume 9 (1997)
  • So Many Roads (1965–1995) (1999)
  • Dick’s Picks Volume 17 (2000)
  • View from the Vault, Volume Two (2001), also released as a DVD
  • Grateful Dead Download Series Volume 11 (2006)
  • 30 Trips Around the Sun (2015)
  • 30 Trips Around the Sun: The Definitive Live Story 1965–1995 (2015)
  • Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington, D.C., July 12 & 13, 1989 (2017)
Solo work
  • Harbor Lights (1993) No. 46 US
  • Hot House (1995) No. 68 US
  • Spirit Trail (1998) No. 148 US
  • Piano Jazz, Marian McPartland / Bruce Hornsby (2005)
  • Intersections (1985–2005) (2006) US (Legacy Recordings)
  • Solo Concerts (2014)
  • Absolute Zero (2019)

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