Bruce Springsteen congratulated Israeli music producer Louis Lahav – who served as an engineer on the Boss’s seminal 1975 album Born to Run – for being awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from ACUM, the entertainment nonprofit that oversees the copyrights of authors, composers, and music publishers in this country.
In a video shared by Lahav, Springsteen said, “Louie, I miss you my friend. Congratulations on receiving this year’s special award for your incredible contributions to Israeli music and culture over the decades, not to mention the culture of New Jersey.”
“It’s an outstanding achievement and so well-deserved. I’m sending you all my best for many years to come.”
The award was given to Lahav at a ceremony on July 9, which also honored Izhar Ashdot, Rami Kleinstein, and Astar Shamir.
How did Louis Lahav make his mark on music history?
In his tender 20s, Lahav found himself at a pivotal point in rock & roll history as the house recording engineer at 914 Studios in Blauvelt, New York, about 20 miles outside of New York City.
It was there in 1974 that Springsteen, fearful of losing his contract with Columbia Records after releasing two sterling – but poorly-selling – albums, arrived to record a song that would make or break his career.
“Everyone knew what was at stake with Bruce’s next album and it all centered on the title song ‘Born to Run,’” Lahav told The Jerusalem Post in 2020, upon the 45th anniversary of the release of the album, which is regularly slotted among the top 10 best of the rock era.
“We worked for six months just on the song, back and forth with different arrangements, overdubs. Bruce kept rewriting the lyrics. I was there late at night with him when everyone else had conked out and gone home. I stuck with him, I had been a paratrooper in the army and had this boundless energy, so Bruce always used to kid me about it.”
Springsteen’s drummer in the E-Street Band, Max Weinberg, told the Post that Lahav was one of the first people in the E Street world that he got friendly with when he joined the band in 1974.
“Whether as recording engineer, road manager, driver, resident philosopher – a true jack-of-all-trades – Louie called me aside during our first rehearsal after I got the drumming job and said he was happy for me as he truly believed Bruce was going to be the biggest star in the world. That took a while but Louie’s prediction was spot on. Louie’s warmth, deep soulfulness, and big-spirited intelligence are major elements of what I remember from my first days with the E Street Band,” said Weinberg.
Lavah’s wife, Suki, played violin on Born To Run’s centerpiece, “Jungleland” and toured with the band for a while in 1974.
Lahav returned to Israel in 1977, where he established himself as a “go-to” producer – working with everyone from Arik Einstein and Kaveret to David Broza, Shlomo Artzi, and Keren Peles.