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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 is 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 an Italian mother and a Swedish father. He moved to the suburban town of Garrett Park, Maryland, near the northern border of Washington, D.C. as a 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 19, 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.
Lofgren used the Neil Young album credits to land his band Grin a record deal in 1971. Lofgren had formed the band originally with bassist George Daly and drummer Bob Berberich, and the group played in venues throughout the Washington D.C. area before going to California. Daly left the band early on to become a Columbia Records A & R Executive and was replaced by bassist Bob Gordon, who remained through the release of four critically acclaimed albums of catchy, hard rock, from 1971 to 1974, with guitar as Lofgren's primary instrument.
The single "White Lies" got heavy airplay on Washington, D.C.-area radio. Lofgren wrote the majority of the group's songs, and often shared vocal duties with other members of the band (primarily drummer Bob Berberich). After the second album Nils added brother Tom Lofgren as a rhythm guitarist. Grin failed to hit the big time, and were released by their record company.
Grin - Lisner Auditorium, December 1, 1972
George Washington University, Washington DC
01. I Had Too Much 3:44
02. Ain't Love Nice 2:11
03. Love or Else 4:05
04. Please Don't Be Long 2:19
05. Moon Tears 8:34
06. Love Again 4:56
07. Heart on Fire 5:09
08. Slippery Fingers 5:47
09. Sad Letter 3:39
10. Heavy Chevy 3:53
11. Like Rain 5:35
12. End Unkind 12:24
13. See What Love Can Do 9:34