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"It certainly wasn’t Bruce overkill. He obviously enjoyed being out there playing and communicating, and it showed. The return of Bruce became an event that we all got to share."
—Kevin Hawkins, Amazon
THE COLUMBIA BROADCASTING SYSTEM IS ON THE AIR
Televised Activities Help Catapult
Springsteen to #1
He came, they rolled, it sold.

Bruce Springsteen’s resounding #1 debut this week may not be that much of a surprise, given the exalted status he holds among music fans, but when examining the scope of his first-week sales, one can’t ignore the scope of his televised activities.

How many of those half-million copies of The Rising were purchased by folks who caught Springsteen’s numerous television appearances? We’ll never know for certain, but it’s clear that the combination of Bruce and network TV made for a potent mix.

Here’s a rundown of last week’s broadcasts:

* An NBC Today Show lovefest on Tuesday, Aug. 30, the day of the album’s release. The entire program was broadcast from the famed Asbury Park boardwalk, culminating in a live Springsteen performance from the city’s Convention Hall.

* That same night, Springsteen appeared with Ted Koppel on ABC’s Nightline, and on Up Close, Koppel’s interview program that appeared following Nightline. The Up Close interview stretched to Wednesday night, as well.

* Not to leave CBS out of the picture, Springsteen played consecutive nights (8/1-2) on Late Night With David Letterman. The shows pulled some of the best numbers in years for the late-night talker.

"It didn’t seem forced," said Kevin Hawkins of Amazon. "It certainly wasn’t Bruce overkill. He obviously enjoyed being out there playing and communicating, and it showed. The return of Bruce became an event that we all got to share. You never got the impression he was trying to sell anything."

In fact, management and label personnel maintain the only marketing plan was to let Springsteen be Springsteen. Last week, Columbia Chairman Don Ienner told us that Springsteen was "doing what he does best: Performing and communicating, sharing his enthusiasm for the music and his belief in its power to heal."

Preplanned or not, Springsteen’s power combined with the power of television provided a sales phenomenon not often seen in the music world.

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