Garry Wayne Tallent (born October 27, 1949, Detroit, Michigan), sometimes billed as Garry W. Tallent, is an American musician and record producer, best known for being bass player and founding member of the E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen’s primary backing band since 1972. As of 2013, and not counting Springsteen himself, Tallent is the only original member of the E Street Band remaining in the band. Tallent was inducted as a member of the E Street Band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Growing up in Neptune City around the Jersey shore, Tallent took up first the tuba and then the bass. He was influenced by James Jamerson, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Paul McCartney. He started playing with Springsteen in 1971 in two earlier bands and then was an original member of the E Street Band, who formed in 1972. Both visually and musically he stays in the background though his bass plays a key role in Springsteen’s music; his most notable bass parts may be on the song “Fire” and the last verse of “Incident on 57th Street”. During the E Street Band’s early years, he occasionally played the tuba on some of Springsteen’s quirkier early songs, both in concert and on record (most notably “Wild Billy’s Circus Story”).
In addition to his work with Springsteen, Tallent has recorded with numerous other artists. In 1987 Tallent produced the song “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” for Marshall Crenshaw on La Bamba soundtrack. During the long time the E Street Band was inactive in the 1990s, Tallent moved to Nashville, having an affinity for country and western and rockabilly music. (By this point, Tallent had already long been referred to by the nickname “The Tennessee Terror,” a name given to him after once driving through Tennessee briefly on a roadtrip). There he opened the MoonDog recording studio and helped start the D’Ville Record Group label. Tallent has produced such artists as Jim Lauderdale and Steve Forbert.