This Day In Rock. LITTLE STEVEN
Steven Van Zandt was born on November 22, 1950, in Boston, Massachusetts. Steven Van Zandt was born as Steven Lento and is of South Italian descent. Growing up in New Jersey, Van Zandt learned to play the guitar and started playing in a band in the mid-1960s.
Around 1975, he helped form Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and joined Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. With both groups, he helped out behind the scenes. in the early 1980s Van Zandt also formed his own group, Little Steven and the Disciplines of Soul.
Around 1984, Van Zandt left the E Street Band to pursue other interests. He used his clout as a musician to help fight apartheid, the government policy of racial segregation, in South Africa. Van Zandt enlisted other famed performers, including Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Bono and Springsteen, to join together to establish an organization called Artists United Against Apartheid, which recorded the album ‘Sun City’. The single bearing the album's title called for musicians to boycott the South African resort of that name.
Over the years, Van Zandt has released solo albums which explore a wealth of musical styles and social and political themes.
Along with his own work, Van Zandt has been a producer for numerous recording artists, including Lone Justice and Lords of the New Church. His songs have been performed by Jimmy Cliff, Pearl Jam, Jackson Browne and Brian Seltzer, among others.
In 1999, Van Zandt took his career into a new direction: acting. With no previous experience, he was a natural in the role of Silvio Dante, Bada Bing’s owner, on the award-winning HBO series The Sopranos. Van Zandt once again assumed the character of TV gangster in 2012 by playing reformed crime boss Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano on the Netflix series Lilyhammer.
Van Zandt helped put together a series of concerts of garage rock bands in 2001 and began hosting a syndicated radio program called Little Steven’s Underground Garage the following year.
A longtime member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee, he was honored with induction into the Hall, along with the rest of the E Street Band, in 2014.