The tale of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘lost album’ The Promise

A look back in fear and anger
The tale of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘lost album’ The Promise is full of heartache and legal drama. There is lovely pop here, but it’s not the pop of its time
Harry Browne:The Sunday Times

“Remember,” says Bruce Springsteen to a bandmate, “there’s always room to throw out.” The black-and-white footage shows an astonishingly beautiful young Springsteen in the studio. He is slowly driving his fellow musicians crazy with his capacity to write new songs, record them and then toss them away. The album to be born in June 1978 is Darkness on the Edge of Town, and its gestation appears to be a process of elimination as much as of creation.

Even when it comes to the songs he plans to keep, Springsteen — whose three previous albums had swelled with lyrical and musical excess — is intent on stripping them down. “Roy, you playin’ any fills?” he asks his piano player Roy Bittan. “If so, they’re out.” The tone is mock-Bossy, with a hint of mincing, but he’s clearly serious.

These moments appear in Thom Zimny’s recent documentary, The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, which — along with other home-movie clips and live footage — fills no fewer than three DVDs in an extraordinary (and pricy) new box set with an annoyingly similar name.

For many fans, this set evokes a lyric from Darkness: “. . . if dreams came true, oh, wouldn’t that be nice”. The album holds a special place in our hearts; without the hype of Born to Run, the mega-popularity of Born in the USA or the scattergun eclecticism of The River, Darkness is the pure stuff, unadulterated Springsteen at his creative peak. In my own New Jersey adolescence, it was the first record, by anyone, that I fully inhabited, and I’ve heard of a fair few Irish adolescences in which it played a similar role.

As Springsteen describes it in the recent interview that anchors Zimny’s film, Darkness was a “tone poem” of “power, directness and austerity”. The documentary relates Springsteen’s obsessive pursuit of a relentless drum sound. “Stick!” he would scream, annoyed at hearing the drumstick rather than the primal crack-boom of Max Weinberg’s drums. Many songs on the album are so austere that the “melody” consists of little more than whatever note Garry Tallent’s bass intones whenever the bass drum sounds.

With all that stripping clean and throwing away, what was left out? And why was Springsteen only just getting into the studio nearly two years after being the magazine-cover face of record-industry hype with the release of Born to Run in 1975? The answers to these questions go to the heart, not only of this autumn’s “new” release, but also of the special place Springsteen holds in the history of the business — as opposed to the art — of rock’n’roll.

For most of the gap between Born to Run and Darkness, Springsteen was hamstrung by a lawsuit with his former manager that kept him out of the studio. Although it was settled quicker than, say, Muhammad Ali’s ban from boxing eight years earlier, it has taken on some of the same weight for fans. We revel in his defiance of “the Man” — but we still wonder what might have been, if he hadn’t been kept out of the ring in his late-twenties prime.

The Promise, tantalisingly, purports to give an answer, in the form of a double CD of 21 songs — Springsteen’s “lost album”, the one he says “could have/should have been released” in those gap years. (Just to cement the confusion, this album is also called The Promise, with a different ­mouthful of a ­subtitle.)

Springsteen is hardly the only big old star to root through the archives or rejects for Christmas stocking-fillers. Yet he and his PR machine are uniquely playing “back to the future”, magically trying to recreate the “missing” Springsteen album. The vaults were full of unfinished works, so on this album about half the songs are substantially revised, with vocals, instruments and even lyrics that weren’t there at the time. In the liner notes, he writes absurdly: “I did what I would’ve done to them at the time and no more.” Not even “what I think I would’ve done”. No, the 61-year-old Bruce knows the 27-year-old Bruce so well he can reproduce exactly what his younger self “would’ve done”.

Tampering aside, the claim that is this is the “lost album” is demolished when we recall a handful of the best outtakes from this period appeared in 1998 on the four-CD album Tracks and are not repeated here.

Nonetheless, the two discs of The Promise comprise a good old/new Springsteen album. From the opening piano and ­harmonica of Racing in the Street (78) — like the version on Darkness itself but in a less monotonic voice and fatalistic key — to the moving lament of the title track, it often seems a more deliberate successor, or response, to Born to Run than ­Darkness itself does.

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CD-Kritik zu Bruce Springsteen: Darkness On The Edge Of Town, The Promise

CD-Kritik zu Bruce Springsteen: Darkness On The Edge Of Town, The Promise
Buch-Kritik: The Light in Darkness legendären 1978er-Konzerttournee

von Gérard Otremba

Die musikalischen Schatzausgrabungen verdienter Rock’n’Roll-Gößen gehen weiter. Eine wunderbare CD-Box offeriert nun Sony/Columbia mit „The Promise“ von Bruce Springsteen. War schon „Tracks“ von 1998 eine wahre Fundgrube an bis dato unveröffentlichtem Studiomaterial der Jahre 1972-1995, konzentriert sich „The Promise“ auf die Zeit um das 1978 erschienene Album „Darkness On The Of Town“. Zwischen „Born To Run“ und eben „Darkness“ konnte Springsteen wegen eines Rechtsstreits mit Manager Allen Klein keine Songs veröffentlichen, trotzdem, oder gerade deswegen, eine der schöpferischsten Phasen in Springsteens Karriere.
„The Promise“ mit vielen unveröffentlichten Springsteen-Perlen

Das Nachfolgealbum des Meisterwerks „Born To Run“ und leider immer zu Unrecht im Schatten desselbigen stehende „Darkness On The Edge Of Town“ erhält nun die verdiente Aufmerksamkeit. In der Remastered-Fassung erstrahlen die vielen heißgeliebten Klassiker von „Badlands“ und „Something In The Night“ über „Racing In The Street“ und „Promised Land“ bis hin zu „Prove It All Night“ und „Darkness On The Edge Of Town“ in neuem Licht. Wesentlich wichtiger für die Springsteen-Kenner allerdings sind natürlich die beiden „The Promise“-CDs, voller in diesen Versionen noch nicht veröffentlichter Springsteen-Perlen. In der Alternativversion von „Racing In The Street“ sorgt die E-Street-Band um Gitarrist Stevie Van Zandt für einen opulenten und hymnischen Sound, verglichen mit der bekannten CD-Fassung fast schon bombastisch anmutend. „Gotta Get That Feeling“ ist ein wunderbarer E-Street-Shuffle mit satten Bläsern, überschwenglich wie das auf „The River“ erschienene „The Ties That Bind“.
„Because The Night“ und „Candys Boy“

„Outside Looking In“ ist bester Sixties-Rock’n’Roll, vorangetrieben von Garry Tallent am Bass und Max Weinberg an den Drums und vom Saxophonspiel Clarence Clemons’ verfeinert. „Someday (We’ll Be Together)“ gerät mit pathetischen Chören unterlegt eine Spur zu kitschig, vielleicht Springsteens endgültiger Christmas-Song. „Wrong Side Of The Street“ entpuppt sich als eine gut geölte, aus dem Ärmel geschüttelte, Midtemponummer, „Rendezvous“ ist bereits durch die „Tracks“-Box bekannt und „Candys Boy“ entzückt durch das Orgelspiel von Danny Federici. Jeder, der ein Springsteen-Konzert besucht hat und dann noch das Glück hatte, „Because The Night“ live erleben zu dürfen, weiß, welche Kraft und Dynamik dieser Song entwickelt. Hier als Studioalternative zu Patti Smith-Version. Herauszuheben sind auf der ersten Promise-CD definitiv „One Way Street“ und „The Brokenhearted“. Zwei balladeske Stücke, in denen Roy Bittan am Piano den Ton angibt und Bruce den edlen Romantiker, den keiner im Rock’n’Roll-Geschäft so prägnant verkörpert wie Springsteen. Grandiose Songs, endlich dann auch ganz regulär auf CD veröffentlicht.
Bruce Springsteen als Romantiker

Den Romantiker gibt Springsteen gerne auch auf der zweiten Promise-CD, die mit „Save My Love“ beginnt, einer viel zu kurzen Kleinod-Hymne. All die für „Darkness“ nicht gewollten Liebeslieder finden sich nun vereint auf „The Promise“. Diese zwei CDs stellen die perfekte Verbindung von „Born To Run“ zu dem Doppelalbum „The River“ dar. Es gibt wesentlich mehr „Thunder Road“ und „Independence Day“ zu hören, als etwa „Badlands“. Einen mit Handclapping und ausgelassenen Chören ausgestatteten witzigen Bar-Schunkler wie „Ain’t Good Enough For You“ gibt es auf der Darkness“-Platte einfach nicht. „Fire“ ist ähnlich wie „Because The Night“ auf dem Live-Album „1975-1985“ verewigt, während „It’s A Shame“ leichte Jazz-Anleihen erfährt und sich zeitlich eher an Springsteen-Stücke der frühen 70er Jahre orientiert. „Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)“ ist nichts anderes als „Factory“ revisited und mit knapp über zwei Minuten viel zu kurz geraten. „Talk To Me“ überzeugt durch fanfarenartige Bläsersätze, einem discoartigen Beat und ausgelassener Tanzstimmung. Ganz ähnlich verhält es sich bei „The Little Things (My Baby Does)“. Noch etwas hymnischer gestaltet und trotz des sich nach Stadionrock sehnenden Sounds vermittelt Springsteen wieder einmal diese zutiefst empfundene Romantik, wie sie nur der „Boss“ so einzigartig komponieren kann. Zwei glorreiche Balladen mit „Spanish Eye“ (sehnsuchtsvoll) und „Breakaway“ (dramatisch) runden die zweite Promise-CD ab, die mir „City Of Night“ in einer kleinen Nachtmusik ausklingt. Veredelt wird diese Box selbstredend mit dem Titelsong „The Promise“. Es ist die Quintessenz seines damaligen Schaffens, ganz viel „Thunder Road“, jede Menge „Racing In The Street“ und eine Prise „Darkness On The Edge Of Town“. Ein überragendes Stück Musikgeschichte, man ist zu Dank verpflichtet.
Springsteen-Konzerte live auf DVD

Die drei DVDs halten ebenfalls einige Glanzstücke bereit. Neben dem „Making Of Darkness“ das gesamte Album live 2009 im Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park nur für die Kameras aufgenommen, nun mit Charlie Giordano an der Orgel, der den unlängst verstorbenen Danny Federici ersetzt. Dazu lustige Aufnahmen aus den Hinterzimmern im Jahre 1976 und Live-Mitschnitte aus Phoenix von 1978. Es war damals für die jungen Damen im Publikum noch sehr einfach, kurz auf die Bühne zu klettern und Bruce zu umarmen. Auf der dritten DVD dann noch ein knapp dreistündiges Konzert aus Houston, ebenfalls von 1978. Mit „Independance day“, „The Ties That Bind“ und Point Black“ gibt es drei Stücke zu hören, die erst zwei Jahre später auf „The River“ zu Plattenehren kommen. Unbedingt sehenswert. Alles in allem eine prächtige Springsteen-Box. 100 Prozent Bruce, 100 Prozent Rock’n’Roll. Wann folgen die nächsten Ausgrabungen?

falls es einige hier immer noch nicht haben: Lawrence Kirsch bietet sein Buch zum Darkness-Album und der 78er-Tour, “The Light in Darkness”, im juli wieder portofrei an! Es gibt mittlerweile nur noch weniger als 100 Restexemplare, wenn die weg sind, sind sie weg. Das Buch hat über 200 Seiten und Fotos, alle Details findet ihr unter The Light in Darkness. Das Angebot gilt vom Juli-August.2014. Großartige Fotos, wie ihr auf seiner Seite sehen könnt, und “Augenzeugenberichte” von damals.

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Bruce Springsteen Doc to Feature Fans who Rushed the Stage During 1978 Darkness Tour Rosalita Performance

Michele Sensing and Dawn Hobel were among a group of women who crashed the stage during Bruce’s performance of Rosalita in Phoenix on July 8, 1978. Their memories of the moment will be included in an upcoming film about fans who have appeared onstage with the Boss to dance and sing.

More than 17 months have gone by since I first posted a trailer of my documentary “I Could Use Just A Little Help” on YouTube. Since then, the clip has been viewed nearly 10,000 times. That’s a very modest number in today’s world of viral videos. But I’m excited to know that my work has been seen by that many people, in so many different places around the world.

But since the day I posted the preview, so much has changed about the film, mostly the fact that I have added to it a segment that I believe will put it over the top and make it a documentary that all Bruce Springsteen fans, young and old, will enjoy even more than they already would have. It will serve as the sturdy foundation of a project that I believe could have stood on its own even without it.

Before I get into details, I’d like to share two important moments that I think back on regularly:

The first one happened one Saturday afternoon as I was sitting on my couch at my home in Morris County, N.J. The Yankee game was on television and I was flipping through my iPhone, Googling phrases like “Rosalita stage crashers” and “girls who jumped on stage with Bruce in Phoenix.” I spent a good hour doing this, digging through random articles that could have offered some kind of hint about who these people were and where they might be. I eventually realized I would have had more luck waiting inside Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, standing next to the limos drivers and holding a small sign that said, “ROSIE GIRLS.”The next moment came as I sat in a movie theater watching “Springsteen and I,” the Bruce doc that came out last summer and included a few interesting segments similar to the entire premise of my film – fans getting onstage with Bruce to dance and sing with him. When I saw Philly Elvis on the big screen and then realized that producers of that film had managed to “get” the guy who played guitar with Bruce in the middle of a street in Europe back in the 80s, I said to myself, “You’ve got to find those girls.”

With the help of a Bruce fan in Arizona who was originally from New Jersey (of course), and a blog posted on the website of the Phoenix New Times, I was able to track down two women who were part of one of the most historic stage crashing moments in rock & roll history.

Click on image to enlarge.

On July 8, 1978, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played a show at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. Early in the performance of Rosalita, women started rushing Bruce on stage. Just as Bruce sang the line, “I ain’t here on business, I’m only here for fun…” one of the girls circled around him and nuzzled up to the left side of his face before a roadie chased her away, Bruce and Clarence Clemons following the two into the darkness at front of the stage.

After Bruce returned to the mic, a blonde wearing white pants and yellow shirt popped up and gave him a kiss on the cheek before sneaking away. Two other girls jumped up there in the first half of the song, one simply screaming into Bruce’s mic when he clearly had shifted to the side to share it with her – like he usually does after saying, ‘C’mon, Steve!’ – the other just reaching out and touching him. That girl had come out of the same darkness that the first girl disappeared into.

Later, a group of women attacked Bruce just after he and other band members hollered the ‘Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” part of the song into their mics. Bruce fell to the stage and at least one of the female fans stuck her tongue in his mouth. Whether another did too is up for debate.

This entire scene was beautifully written about by Dave Marsh in Rolling Stone just a few weeks after that show. One of the women I was able to track down was the one who “reached out and touched” Bruce, and she brought along an original copy of the magazine when we met for an interview in the parking lot of the Coliseum last November. She was 16 at the time of that historic show, so the awkward silence in her car as she searches for her glasses so she can read from the article actually tells part of the story. It’s been a long time – 36 years this summer.

She underlined part of that story and wrote the word “me” in the margin.The other woman I met at the Coliseum that day didn’t bring any mementos with her, and her memory was a bit rusty (as you’ll see in the clip).
But she did bring her grandson along with her and his brief interview with me helps make the segment fun and hammers home this point, which some of us relatively young Bruce fans tend to forget: The man has been doing this for a long time! And the only thing that makes watching your grandmother grope a young man even remotely bearable is when that young man is the biggest rock star in the world (and your grandmother was not your grandmother yet).

Click to enlarge.

I also met separately in NYC with Dick Wingate, who was Bruce’s product manager at the time, responsible for coming up with a marketing plan for the Darkness on the Edge of Town album. Wingate gives some historical perspective to the segment, and it was a thrill for me to interview someone who was so much on the “inside” at that time. Wingate remembered those stage crashers well and since the live performance videos they were shooting at the time were part of the marketing plan he conceived, girls rushing on stage to kiss Bruce during one of his best-known songs made Wingate feel as if they’d “struck oil.”

He also puts to bed the notion that these girls were somehow ‘planted’ or that the moment was a setup. It wasn’t. One of the woman I spoke to was at the show with a couple of friends and some family members, including her aunt and uncle (seen in the segment), who had given her tickets for her 16th birthday just 10 days earlier. She broke away from the group and then followed the other women on stage, figuring, “what the heck?” when she saw the others run up there, one by one.

No one was arrested. The roadies were “kind and gentle” according to one of the women. Bruce clearly loved every second of it, rubbing his hands together and screaming “alriiiiight!” after getting a kiss from one of his female admirers. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be in the same position as Bruce that night. What male fan hasn’t?!

I also wonder if Bruce remembers those girls rushing up on stage to kiss him, to throw him to the ground or just to reach out and touch him. He’s seen millions of faces staring back at him over the years, but how many have actually done what these girls did?

Dave Marsh and Dick Wingate on the set of the Phoenix video shoot, July 1978

Shortly after jumping into this project with the simple objective of doing something really cool, I started to look at it like this was my chance to help the people who have been on stage with Bruce – whether invited or not – tell their stories. And my chance to give back to Bruce by introducing him to some of the people he’s shared such wonderful moments with over the course of his career.

The other people I talk to in this film lived through their own unique situations, from the Filipino woman now living in Brooklyn who was a college student when she went to a show in Ottawa in 1981 and ended up dancing the tango to Sherry Darling, to the teenage girl who was pulled up to dance with Bruce twice in three years, to the 20-something girl who was sure she was about to pulled up for a Courteney Cox moment only to be ignored by Bruce before eventually receiving the surprise of her life.  There are 7, 8 and 9 year old kids who sang into the same sweaty microphone as one of rock’s greatest legends, and a middle-aged woman who obsessed over Bruce in the early- to mid-80s only to dance cheek-to-cheek with him during the opening night of the Tunnel of Love Express Tour as her future husband watched from the front row.

Each of these segments has something different to offer. And, oh yeah, I tie all of them together by using the experiences of these other lucky fans as a way to prepare myself for my own attempt to get on stage with Bruce.

I’m editing footage as you read this, and the plan is to show this film to a very small group of fans sometime in August. Then I would like to have a larger screening sometime in September. From there, who knows?

I’ve got high hopes but at some point, because of the performance footage included in the film, as well as some of Bruce’s music, it’s likely going to have to get approved by the man himself.

I’m hoping he respects what I’ve done, tracking down a few of the people he’s shared some of his greatest moments with, including a couple of fans who hadn’t been heard from since that very historic night 36 years ago.

Seven minutes into that song on that night, Bruce sang the line, “Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.”

Well, for two fans we now know are named Michele and Dawn, someday has arrived.

Julian Garcia
July 8,2014

Julian Garcia is a journalist and filmmaker who lives in Montville, New Jersey, USA.

Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness, less than 100 copies left.
Focusing on Springsteen’s Darkness on The Edge of Town 1978 album and tour with amazing photos and stories.
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WATCH: Bruce Springsteen plays Passaic in ’78 in newly released videos

By Bobby Olivier/The Star-Ledger

For Music Vault, today was throwback Tuesday.

The online video service, which houses thousands of decades-old concert snippets, has remastered and released more than 13,000 clips to YouTube, giving fans access to long-lost live shows from legendary rock and soul artists like Bob Dylan, James Brown, The Who and much more.

Two dozen of those newly released black-and-white videos show Bruce Springsteen rocking the defunct Capitol Theatre in downtown Passaic as part of 1978′s Darkness Tour.

The Boss and his E Street Band played the old vaudeville house Sept. 19-21, and nearly all of the Sept. 20 show — 20 of the 22 songs Bruce played that night — is now available both on YouTube, and in a nicely ordered list on Music Vault’s website.

A few clips are also available from the Sept. 19 show, which was famously broadcast live on tri-state radio stations, and has subsequently been bootlegged as Bruce’s “Pièce de résistance” ever since.

Among fans, the fall show supporting the year’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town” album is regarded as one of the prolific singer’s finest nights.

Springsteen also played Capitol Theatre on New Year’s Eve 1977, in a show headlined by Jersey guy Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Videos from that night are available, too.

Content Editor Bill Antonucci told Rolling Stone that Music Vault plans to expand on its YouTube library over time.

SEPT. 20, 1978 SETLIST

Videos for all but two of these songs are available for viewing here.

Good Rocking Tonight

Badlands
Spirit in the Night
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Independence Day
The Promised Land
Prove It All Night
It’s My Life
(The Animals cover)
Thunder Road
Jungleland
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
Fire
Candy’s Room
Because the Night
Point Blank
Kitty’s Back
Incident on 57th Street
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Encore:
Born to Run
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Detroit Medley
Twist and Shout

Limited edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness, less than 100 copies left.
Focusing on Springsteen’s Darkness on The Edge of Town 1978 album and tour with amazing photos and stories.
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Was Saturday Night July 15, 1978 the Night That Changed My Life?

Bruce Springsteen- July 15, 1978

Was Saturday night July 15, 1978 the night that changed my life? No, but it is one of the two nights that I remember from that summer. The other night was Tuesday July 18, only 72 hours later, but the realization I came to between those two dates was immeasurable.

By July of 1978 I had been to many rock concerts presented by, what had been portrayed by the mass media of the day as, the best rock bands. Everyone from The Allman Brothers to ZZ Top including

The Big Man and The Boss

The Who and the self proclaimed World’s Greatest Rock N Roll band, The Rolling Stones. I had seen all these future Rock N Roll Hall of Fame members plus many other bands too numerous to mention here so I thought I knew a good rock concert from a bad one. Then there were the 72 hours between Saturday night July 15, 1978 and Tuesday night July 18, 1978. These 72 hours at the same time proved my thinking to be both, wrong, right and set a new paradigm, that is a new standard, for my understanding of a good rock concert.

What happened on that July night that changed the paradigm and set the new standard? A rock concert in the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Yes, that is correct the paradigm changed about the time The E Street Band broke into their 19th song of the evening, Rosalita. I remember telling my girlfriend, “Screw the others! The torch has been passed . . . this is the best concert I’ve ever seen!” But somehow at the time I knew that without seeing all of those others I would not have been able realize how good this one was!

Let me now explain how Tuesday night July 18, 1978, fits in as the other end of the paradigm shift. My understanding of what a good rock concert up to that point was predicated on the performances of the before mentioned bands especially The World’s supposed Greatest Rock N Roll band The Rolling Stones. During the Springsteen concert I had a ticket stub at home from the Stones July 6, 1975 performance in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas and a ticket for their upcoming concert in the same Sam Houston Coliseum scheduled to start in 72 hours on Tuesday July the 18th. I knew that the Stones, World’s Greatest Rock N Roll band or not, would not match the concert I was witnessing and I remember also telling my girlfriend after the show, “If I had that Stones ticket with me I’d probably sell it right now, or maybe even give it away.” Well I did not have it with me and I did attend the Stones concert on the 18th but even in the middle of You Can’t Always Get What You Want I was thinking, “This is great but the E Street vibe is still in this building.”

Seventy-two hours, not that long a time really: It was long enough for me to realize that before I had been wrong about what makes a good rock concert and it was long enough to test and to prove that my new paradigm was indeed correct.

The E Street Band had played for about an hour and a half and had just finished Jungleland when Bruce and the band assembled on stage and started bowing. I remember thinking, “Here it is, another hour and a half long concert, but it sure was a good hour and a half.” That is when Bruce stepped to the microphone and announced that they were going to take a 15 minute break and then come back to play another set. Well, I had seen that before by one of the Hall of Fame bands mentioned earlier and when they returned to the stage, one by one, they were mostly too stoned to play. So I did not have high hopes for the second set. Let’s just say that I was wrong about that because Bruce and the band ripped through 13 more songs that included Paradise by the C, The Promise and Quarter to Three.

Bruce and the band returned to Houston for a second concert during the Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour on December 8, 1978. That concert was held in the newer arena in town, The Summit. The Summit was equipped with TV cameras and large screens at either end of the arena. This is the concert video that is included in the Darkness on the Edge of Town box set. That second Houston concert was, like all E Street Band concerts, not a carbon copy of the July 15th concert but it was very similar in pace and a bit longer. The real treats of that concert were Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Point Blank, Racing in the Streets and The Fever.

The two photos included here were exposed during the July 15th concert. The image of Bruce under the microphone was exposed near the end of Jungleland. I remember this distinctly because Bruce stayed in that position long enough for me to shoot three exposures. In 1978 I had never even seen a motor drive on a camera much less owned one so it probably took five or six seconds to make the three exposures. And this is where I was standing when he made the announcement about the 15-minute break. This image also features Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici.

I believe the image I named The Big Man and The Boss was exposed while the band played Born to Run. To me this has always been an image of Clarence, hence Clarence’s top billing in the name of the image. Clarence is squarely in the spotlights blowing a solo while Bruce is on the top of two steps that separated him from the audience.

Early in the show Bruce had jumped down to that first step and, because of my seat far from the stage, I thought he had fallen off the stage. Bruce Springsteen jumped right off the stage and right into the audience that July night. Would the front man for the World’s Greatest Rock N Roll Band do that? You bet he would because since at least July 15, 1978 the front man for the World’s Greatest Rock N Roll Band has been Bruce Springsteen!

Prints of these images and others from concert tours by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band as well as images of other musicians, including Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, may be purchased at:
http://mike-norton.artistwebsites.com/art/all/spotlight/all and
See Mike Norton’s photos here: Bruce Springsteen

Mike Norton MFA is a professional photographer and an adjunct professor of photography at the Art Institute of Houston-North. His images have been reproduced on posters, book covers, CD covers and used by organizations as diverse as the Environmental Protection Agency and Exxon Mobil.

Jungleland, Houston, Texas 1978


Mike’s web site is www.mikenortonphotography.com.

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The Springsteen Song Hall of Fame

The Springsteen Song Hall of Fame
Joe Posnanski

Well, you might remember — and “might” is the key word since I did this a long time ago — I put up a survey asking people to vote for their favorite Bruce Springsteen songs so that we could start the Bruce Song Hall of Fame. This was a two step process. In the first step, I asked people to nominate songs which led to all sorts of mayhem where songs like “I Hate Bruce Springsteen” and “Jack Morris” were nominated. But about a thousand people participated and I put together a list of the 30 most mentioned Springsteen songs.

The second part involved people voting for their 10 favorite songs on the list, in order. More than 2,000 people voted. I have calculated the results using the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers or, anyway, my own meager math skills — 10 points for every first place vote, nine points for every second-place vote, eight points for every third place vote and so on.

And so… without further delay … here in the first class of songs to be inducted into the Bruce Springsteen Hall of Fame. Induction day date and ceremonies will be announced in the future.

Badlands

Released: August 1978
Album: Darkness on the Edge of Town
Inspiration: The Animals “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”

If you listen to the opening of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” you will note that the song more than inspired “Badlands” — it practically gave birth to Badlands. Springsteen himself has called “Badlands” grand theft.

I’ve often thought that “Badlands” is Springsteen’s best concert song, which might make it his best song. Darkness is such an enthralling album because so many conflicting emotions were running through Springsteen when he recorded it. It came out three years after Born to Run — three turbulent years that entirely changed Springsteen’s life. Before recording the Born to Run album, Springsteen wanted. What did he want? Everything. Success. Love. Passion. Fun. Escape. Born to Run is all about yearning, about getting out, about that meeting across the river, about loving Wendy with all the madness in his soul.

Darkness, though, is about the disappointments that come after, the petty fights of adulthood, the anticlimax of achieving fame and, well, yeah, the darkness on the edge of town.

The power of “Badlands,” I think, is in the lyrics. Man, Springsteen could really write songs then. Every word of “Badlands” is frustration, impotence, anger, every word shouts out this strong but rapidly fading prayer for love and hope to overcome the dreariness and pain. If you listen to the words you find that the narrator is not really hopeful. He’s almost at the end of hope.

“Badlands” has one of Springsteen’s most famous verses:

For the ones who had a notion
A notion deep inside
That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive

But what many miss is that’s not where the verse ends. The narrator is saying to those who HAD a notion that it ain’t no sin to be alive, well, he has a message for them:

I wanna find one face that ain’t looking through me
I wanna find one place
I wanna spit in the face of these badlands.

That doesn’t sound like the narrator is approving the message of hope. It sounds like he’s still looking for that notion, and he’s losing faith that he will ever find that notion that it’s no sin to be a alive, become more and more convinced that the notion might be false.

I think, like all great songs, Badlands has grown over the years. If you listen to album version of it, I think it’s pretty clear that Springsteen was saying that life’s a losing fight, that in the end you can keep pushing the but badlands will never treat anyone good. But if you listen to Springsteen perform the song now — and the way the crowd sings along — you get the sense that he has found the faces not looking through him, the places that can raise all of us above the badlands.

Limited edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness, less than 100 copies left.
Focusing on Springsteen’s Darkness on The Edge of Town 1978 album and tour with amazing photos and stories.
Free Shipping June – August 2014
CLICK HERE TO SAVE NOW- The Light in Darkness
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Bruce Springsteen The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story – Documenta de manera monumental

Bruce Springsteen The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story
Juan Cervera

El trueno (y el rayo) de “Born To Run” (1975) llegó tras dos intentos –“Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ” (1973) y “The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle” (1973)– alabados por la crítica, pero escasamente acogidos por la audiencia. Bruce Springsteen se encontró en la cima del rock’n’roll con un álbum de panoramas románticos y héroes más grandes que la vida. Parecía el último de su especie: toda la mitología del rock reescrita con furia, pasión y fiebre. Phil Spector y el Brill Building, soul y carreteras, Elvis, la noche y el amor, Roy Orbison, velocidad, neón y la promesa de una vida mejor. Un sueño del que Springsteen despertaría pronto con un interrogante y una encrucijada. Tenía que decidir entre convertirse en nueva carne para la devoradora máquina del show business o mantener su integridad artística y sus lazos con la comunidad de la que procedía. Optó por lo segundo. Y no fue un proceso fácil. “The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story” documenta de manera monumental –el disco original remasterizado, otro doble de inéditos – esa lucha y ese triunfo.
Con “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” (1978), el de Freehold se hizo mayor y degustó los tragos amargos de la realidad. Los héroes no habían nacido para correr: sencillamente eran seres humanos vulnerables perdidos en el lodo del dolor, la soledad y la lucha diaria por sobrevivir. Le quemaba en la cabeza y lo quiso plasmar en un álbum que no fuera continuista con el anterior. Enredado en una lucha por el control de su obra con su entonces mánager y amigo Mike Appel, sin opciones de entrar en un estudio, se encerró en su granja de Holmdel y dejó aflorar torrentes de música de la que tras un interminable proceso de descartes y reelaboración saldrían los diez cortes de “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”: los versos se hacían más concisos, sin los relatos-río de los anteriores álbumes, la música se replegaba sobre sí misma depurando al máximo la electricidad de la E Street Band –el piano de Roy Bittan es la columna que apuntala el álbum–, pero sin perder su carácter cinematográfico, y los temas se centraban en la desorientación juvenil y en observaciones aparentemente banales del día a día de la clase obrera.

Se grabaron alrededor de sesenta canciones, descartadas en su mayoría por ser excesivamente optimistas o por remitir a trabajos previos, y la secuenciación final fue un tormento (ampliamente documentado en las páginas que reproducen en facsímil su libreta de anotaciones de la época). Y desde el redoble de batería que abre “Badlands” ya se intuye que “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” es una de las grandes “novelas americanas” narradas con música, en línea paralela con la literatura de John Steinbeck o el cine de John Ford, un disco-bisagra donde Springsteen se hizo Autor, con mayúsculas, un Springsteen preocupado por el fondo y la forma en deslumbrante equilibrio, haciendo malabarismos entre la épica de “Born To Run” y “Born In The U.S.A.” (1984) y el ascetismo en blanco y negro presente en “Nebraska” (1982) y “The Ghost Of Tom Joad” (1995). Las canciones hablan por sí solas y las citaremos todas (y en orden): “Badlands”, “Adam Raised A Cain”, “Something In The Night”, “Candy’s Room”, “Racing In The Street”, “The Promised Land”, “Factory”, “Streets Of Fire”, “Prove It All Night” y “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”. ¿Queda claro para qué se inventaron sentencias como “obra maestra”? Para discos como este: escritos e interpretados con las tripas y el corazón, con inspiración y (sana) locura, radiografía sublime de todos los hermosos vencidos que se interrogan sobre el valor de la existencia, retratados en versos y notas de una pureza demoledora. O cuando la música se convierte en guía para entender un poco más el peso de la vida.
“The Promise”, el doble de inéditos de las mismas sesiones, también ayuda a entender “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”: aquí está la versión alternativa, más eléctrica, de “Racing In The Street”, un “Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)” que se transmutó en “Factory”, un “Candy’s Boy” que acabó siendo “Candy’s Room” (uno de los cortes más atípicos y fascinantes de todo el opus springsteeniano). También, la versión en estudio del “Because The Night” que le cedió a Patti Smith (y que esta mejoró, afirmo) y joyas de regusto añejo como “Gotta Get That Feeling” o la enorme “The Promise”, la canción, que parece un apéndice escapado de “Born To Run”. Son en total veintiún temas acreditados más uno oculto (“The Way”). Si tenemos en cuenta que en “Tracks” (1998) se desempolvaron otros seis, todavía quedan archivados un par de docenas de cortes de una de las etapas más fértiles y creativas del Boss: recordemos que el descomunal “The River” llegaría tan solo dos años después, en 1980.

El documental “The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town”, dirigido por Thom Zimny, no pasará a la historia del género. Las imágenes de archivo son impagables, pero la narración de los implicados en la gestación del disco es simplemente anecdótica y se pasa de puntillas (y de forma amable) sobre el espinoso affaire Appel. Sin embargo, tiene momentos reveladores: Springsteen confesando que en esa época “no tenía una vida”, lo que le permitió volcarse completamente en la música; o su obsesiva, casi enfermiza, fijación por el sonido de batería que quería para el disco.
El segundo DVD ofrece la interpretación live de “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” en 2009 en el teatro Paramount de Asbury Park, sin público, una decisión conceptual, pero extraña, para respetar la intimidad de las canciones. También, directos en Nueva Jersey, Nueva York y Phoenix del período 1976-78. Y, last but not least, el tercer objeto videográfico recupera el mítico concierto del viernes 8 de diciembre de 1978 en el Summit de Houston. Son ciento setenta y seis minutos de imágenes de calidad discutible pero de sonido torrencial y poderoso: Springsteen en plenitud de facultades poseído por el espíritu del rock’n’roll marcando la pauta de los shows arrebatadores y catárticos que le aseguraban su lugar en el sol de la eternidad.
En época de refritos y camelos que devalúan el valor de las reediciones, esta caja de presentación impecable sirve para algo más que recordar la existencia de un disco referencial para narrar el guión del rock: los añadidos no son retales para hacer caja rápida, sino pedazos de historia que complementan, explican y expanden el mensaje de la obra-madre.

Libro de Bruce Springsteen, The Light in Darkness.
Edición Limitada para fans del Boss.
Pídelo ahora: envío gratuito durante un mes!

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36 Years Ago Bruce Springsteen Released “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”

Springsteen and Clarence Philadelphia 1978

Darkness on the Edge of Town is the fourth album by Bruce Springsteen, released in the late spring of 1978. The album marked the end of a three-year gap between albums brought on by contractual obligations and legal battling with former manager Mike Appel. Although the album did not produce high charting singles it nevertheless remained on the charts for 97 weeks. A steady seller in Springsteen’s catalogue, it has been certified triple-platinum by the RIAA.

Although slightly less enthusiastic than those for Springsteen’s previous album Born to Run, reviews for Darkness on the Edge of Town were unanimously positive. Critics notably praised the maturity of the album’s themes and lyrics. It remains one of Springsteen’s most highly regarded records by both fans and critics and several of its songs have become staples of the singer’s live performances.
In September 2010 a documentary film chronicling the making of Darkness was first shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. Quoting Springsteen as saying “More than rich, more than famous, more than happy – I wanted to be great”, reviewer Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger commented: “For many fans, that long journey pulled onto the Turnpike here.” Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it at 150 on their list of the greatest albums of all time.

Rolling Stone Review: Dave Marsh

Occasionally, a record appears that changes fundamentally the way we hear rock & roll, the way it’s recorded, the way it’s played. Such records — Jimi Hendrix’ Are You Experienced, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, Who’s Next, The Band — force response, both from the musical community and the audience. To me, these are the records justifiably called classics, and I have no doubt that Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town will someday fit as naturally within that list as the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” or Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music.”

One ought to be wary of making such claims, but in this case, they’re justified at every level. In the area of production, Darkness on the Edge of Town is nothing less than a breakthrough. Springsteen — with coproducer Jon Landau, engineer Jimmy Iovine and Charles Plotkin, who helped Iovine mix the LP — is the first artist to fuse the spacious clarity of Los Angeles record making and the raw density of English productions. That’s the major reason why the result is so different from Born to Run‘s Phil Spector wall of sound. On the earlier album, for instance, the individual instruments were deliberately obscured to create the sense of one huge instrument. Here, the same power is achieved more naturally. Most obviously, Max Weinberg’s drumming has enormous size, a heartbeat with the same kind of space it occupies onstage (the only other place I’ve heard a bass drum sound this big).

Now that it can be heard, the E Street Band is clearly one of the finest rock & roll groups ever assembled. Weinberg, bassist Garry Tallent and guitarist Steve Van Zandt are a perfect rhythm section, capable of both power and groove. Pianist Roy Bittan is as virtuosic as on Born to Run, and saxophonist Clarence Clemons, though he has fewer solos, evokes more than ever the spirit of King Curtis. But the revelation is organist Danny Federici, who barely appeared on the last L.P. Federici’s style is utterly singular, focusing on wailing, trebly chords that sing (and in the marvelous solo at the end of “Racing in the Street,” truly cry).

Yet the dominant instrumental focus of Darkness on the Edge of Town is Bruce Springsteen’s guitar. Like his songwriting and singing, Springsteen’s guitar playing gains much of its distinctiveness through pastiche. There are echoes of a dozen influences — Duane Eddy, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Roy Buchanan, even Ennio Morricone’s Sergio Leone soundtracks — but the synthesis is completely Springsteen’s own. Sometimes Springsteen quotes a famous solo — Robbie Robertson’s from the live version of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” at the end of “Something in the Night,” Jeff Beck’s from “Heart Full of Soul” in the bridge of “Candy’s Room” — and then shatters it into another dimension. In the end the most impressive guitar work of all is just his own: “Adam Raised a Cain” and “Streets of Fire” are things no one’s ever heard before.

Much the same can be said about Springsteen’s singing. Certainly, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan are the inspirations for taking such extreme chances: bending and twisting syllables; making two key lines on “Streets of Fire” a wordless, throttled scream; the wailing and humming that precede and follow some of the record’s most important lyrics. But more than ever, Springsteen’s voice is personal, intimate and revealing, bigger and less elusive. It’s the possibility hinted at on Born to Run‘s “Backstreets” and in the post verbal wail at the end of “Jungleland,” In fact, Springsteen picks up that moan at the beginning of “Something in the Night,” on which he turns in the new album’s most adventurous vocal.

One could say a great deal about the construction of this LP. The programming alone is impressive: each side is a discrete progression of similar lyrical and musical themes, and the whole is a more universal version of the same picture. Ideas, characters and phrases jump from song to song like threads in a tapestry, and everything’s one long interrelationship. But all of these elements — the production, the playing, even the programming — are designed to focus our attention on what Springsteen has to tell us about the last three years of his life.

In a way, this album might take as its text two lines from Jackson Browne: “Nothing survives — /But the way we live our lives.” But where Browne is content to know this, Springsteen explores it: Darkness on the Edge of Town is about the kind of life that deserves survival. Despite its title, it is a complete rejection of despair. Bruce Springsteen says this over and over again, more bluntly and clearly than anyone could have imagined. There isn’t a single song on this record in which his yearning for a perfect existence, a live lived to the hilt, doesn’t play a central role.

Springsteen also realizes the terrible price one pays for living at half-speed. In “Racing in the Street,” the album’s most beautiful ballad, Springsteen separates humanity into two classes: “Some guys they just give up living/And start dying little by little, piece by piece/Some guys come home from work and wash up/And go racin’ in the street.” But there’s nothing smug about it, because Springsteen knows that the line separating the living dead from the walking wounded is a fine and bitter one. In the song’s final verse, he describes with genuine love a person of the first sort, someone whose eyes “hate for just being born.” In “Factory,” he depicts the most numbing sort of life with a compassion that’s nearly religious. And in “Adam Raised a Cain,” the son who rejected his father’s world comes to understand their relationship as “the dark heart of a dream” — a dream become nightmarish, but a vision of something better nonetheless.

There are those who will say that “Adam Raised a Cain” is full of hate, but I don’t believe it. The only hate I hear on this LP is embodied in a single song, “Streets of Fire,” where Springsteen describes how it feels to be trapped by lies. And even here, he has the maturity to hate the lie, not the liar.

Throughout the new album, Springsteen’s lyrics are a departure from his early work, almost its opposite, in fact: dense and compact, not scatter shot. And if the scenes are the same — the highways, bars, cars and toil — they also represent facets of life that rock & roll has too often ignored or, what’s worse, romanticized. Darkness on the Edge of Town faces everyday life whole, daring to see if something greater can be made of it. This is naive perhaps, but also courageous. Who else but a brave innocent could believe so boldly in a promised land, or write a song that not only quotes Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street” but paraphrases the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby”?

Bruce Springsteen has a tendency to inspire messianic regard in his fans — including this one. This isn’t so much because he’s regarded as a savior — though his influence has already been substantial — but because he fulfills the rock tradition in so many ways. Like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, Springsteen has the ability, and the zeal, to do it all. For many years, rock & roll has been splintered between the West Coast’s monopoly on the genre’s lyrical and pastoral characteristics and a British and Middle American stranglehold on toughness and raw power. Springsteen unites these aspects: he’s the only artist I can think of who’s simultaneously comparable to Jackson Browne and Pete Townshend. Just as the production of this record unifies certain technical trends, Springsteen’s presentation makes rock itself whole again. This is true musically — he rocks as hard as a punk, but with the verbal grace of a singer/songwriter — and especially emotionally. If these songs are about experienced adulthood, they sacrifice none of rock & roll’s adolescent innocence. Springsteen escapes the narrow dogmatism of both Old Wave and New, and the music’s possibilities are once again limitless.

Four years ago, in a Cambridge bar, my friend Jon Landau and I watched Bruce Springsteen give a performance that changed some lives — my own included. About a similar night, Landau later wrote what was to become rock criticism’s most famous sentence: “I saw rock & roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” With its usual cynicism, the world chose to think of this as a fanciful way of calling Springsteen the Next Big Thing.

I’ve never taken it that way. To me, these words, shamefully mistreated as they’ve been, have kept a different shape. What they’ve always said was that someday Bruce Springsteen would make rock & roll that would shake men’s souls and make them question the direction of their lives. That would do, in short, all the marvelous things rock had always promised to do.

But Born to Run was not that music. It sounded instead like the end of an era, the climax of the first twenty years of this grand tradition, the apex of our collective adolescence. Darkness on the Edge of Town does not. It feels like the threshold of a new period in which we’ll again have “lives on the line where dreams are found and lost.” It poses once more the question that rock & roll’s epiphanic moments always raise: Do you believe in magic?

And once again, the answer is yes. Absolutely.

Limited edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness, less than 100 copies left.
Focusing on Springsteen’s Darkness on The Edge of Town 1978 album and tour with amazing photos and stories.
Free Shipping June 2- 10 2014
CLICK HERE TO SAVE NOW- The Light in Darkness
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The Light in Darkness – książka nie tylko dla fanów ery “Darkness…”

Serwis informacyjny – Fanklub
01 maja 2014
Trasa promująca album „Darkness on the Edge of Town”, przez wielu fanów uważana jest jedną z najlepszych tras koncertowych Bruce’a Springsteena i E Street Bandu. Nic zatem dziwnego, że kilka lat temu kanadyjski fotografik Lawrence Kirsch postanowił udokumentować tę trasę specjalną,

ilustrowaną springsteen książką „The Light in Darkness”

. Dla chętnych zostało już mniej niż 100 książek!

Od razu trzeba zaznaczyć, że „The Light in Darkness” to nie jest klasyczna książka, z którą czytelnik zaznajamia się rozdział po rozdziale, która wyszła spod pióra zawodowego pisarza, krytyka muzycznego czy dziennikarza. Nie jest to też album z całostronicowymi cukierkowo kolorowymi obrazkami poprzetykanymi lakonicznymi podpisami…

Lawrence Kirsch wpadł na pomysł, że o koncertach Bossa z czasów Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour, najlepiej i najciekawiej opowiedzą fani, którzy na nich byli. Na tej samej zasadzie Kirsch dobrał zdjęcia do tej książki. Wprawdzie część zdjęć to fotografie zawodowców takich jak Kirsch, ale większość to dzieła fanów. W sumie w książce zamieszczono ponad 200 niepowtarzanych, wcześniej niepublikowanych fotografii.

Książkę można czytać albo tylko przeglądać, ale za każdym razem, gdy bierzemy ją do rąk można trafić na coś ciekawego. Np. zdjęcie Bossa z plastrem pod okiem. Podczas sylwestrowego koncertu ktoś rzucił na scenę petardę, która zraniła Bruce’a.

Fani którzy kupili rozszerzoną wersję płyty „High Hopes”, znajdą wśród zdjęć z 1978 roku, fotografię kojarzącą się obrazkiem znanym z bonusowego DVD z londyńskim koncertem z 2013 r.: Bruce na scenie ze swoją siostrą Pamelą.

W książce jest też jedno zdjęcie zrobione przez Lynn Goldsmith (fanom Bossa nie trzeba jej przedstawiać). Ale nie ma na nim jakiegoś wyjątkowego ujęcia Bossa… Fotografia zrobiona 23 maja 1978 roku przedstawia grupę fanów zmierzającą do wejścia do Shea Theter w Buffalo, gdzie Bruce rozpocznie trasę. Fajnie patrzy się na ówczesne stroje i fryzury, ale smaczek i urok tego zdjęcia tkwi zupełnie w czymś innym – na reklamie nad wejście do teatru możemy przeczytać, że na scenie wystąpi Bruce Springsteen.

Sporo też jest ilustracji z pamiątkami zgromadzonymi przez fanów: od biletów, przez plakaty i nuty aż po singiel z utworem Badlands wydany przez Columbię.

W książce znalazł się też wykaz wszystkich koncertów składających się na Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour oraz lista wszystkich utworów zagranych przez Bossa i TESB podczas całej tej trasy.

Bez dwóch zdań: książka „The Light in Darkness” opracowana przez Lawrence Kirscha to dla fanów Bosa bardzo atrakcyjna i cenna pozycja, ale dla chętnych zostało już mniej niż 100 książek!

Zamówienia na książkę można składać na specjalnej stronie internetowej: http://www.thelightindarkness.com/order/

Cena książki z wysyłką do Polski: 40 dolarów – pod warunkiem złożenia zamówienia do 9 maja włącznie.

Lawrence Kirsch jest Kanadyjczykiem, absolwentem Concordia University w Montrealu. W latach 70 fotografował Davida Bowie, Bruce’a Springsteena, The Rolling Stones, Boba Dylana i Eltona Johna. W latach 1977-1989, już jako zawodowy fotograf, na zlecenia takich wytwórnia jak WEA, CBS, Capitol, MCA, RCA i wielu innych, mieszkający w Montrealu Kirsch zjeździł całe Stany i Kanadę. Jego zdjęcia pojawiły się w ponad 100 magazynach oraz w wielu książkach, programach koncertowych, okładkach płyt i na plakatach. Kirsch jest też pomysłodawcą książki „For You” dedykowanej Bossowi i jego muzyce, na którą złożyły się wspomnienia i zdjęcia wykonane przez fanów Springsteena z całego świata.

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Bruce Springsteen’s Houston tour history through the years

By Craig Hlavaty

Special to the Chronicle

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Tuesday for the first time in the venue’s nearly 25 years of hosting concerts. Springsteen’s traveling show has always been a staple of the concert calendar at places like the Summit (and then the Compaq Center) and the Toyota Center. Expect the man and his band to turn in a nearly four-hour set, judging from recent set lists.

This will also be Springsteen’s first Houston visit since 2009′s Toyota Center date touring behind that year’s Working On A Dream. He only got as close as Austin for SXSW during the promo push for 2012′s Wrecking Ball. His newest release, High Hopes, is a grab bag of covers, re-imagined live nuggets, and songs that didn’t make it onto the last few full-length offerings. It’s not an album of misfit toys, that much is for sure.

It’s hard to believe that The Boss has been bringing his brand of wrought-iron Jersey rock to Houston for 40 years — before was even The Boss, maybe just the Assistant Manager — beginning with a four-day invasion of the Liberty Hall in March 1974. He was playing two sets a night three of those nights to accommodate the crowds, something you don’t see much of anymore on a rock tour, much less in Houston.

A Houston Chronicle review of one of the Liberty Hall shows described it as “a celebration of life so intense and vivid that only the most hardened cynic could avoid becoming involved,” which means the reviewer probably met a girl at the show. The only complaint from writer John W. Wilson seemed to be that Springsteen’s voice got lost in the musical soup of the show. There is a great, full-band bootleg floating around on YouTube of that March 9 appearance on KLOL hours before they hit the stage that night. Can you imagine getting all of those people into that tiny studio off Lovett in Montrose?

Not much time passed between the era when Springsteen and band were playing mid-size venues like Liberty Hall and the Houston Music Hall and when they became arena-sized scalper fodder, capable of selling thousands of seats within hours or days. Blockbuster albums like Born to Run and Born in The U.S.A. will have that effect on a career. Springsteen played the Summit for the first time on Dec. 8, 1978,(Darkness Tour) and again routinely every album cycle or so for a two-night stand until April 1988. He wouldn’t come to Houston again until a solo acoustic show at Jones Hall on Jan. 23, 1996 on the Ghost of Tom Joad tour. Once Bruce and the E Streeters were reunited in 1999, they returned to Houston and the Compaq Center in 2000 and 2002, the last time they would play the arena before it was turned into Lakewood Church.

In anticipation of Springsteen returning to Houston after a five-year absence, I dived into our photo archive for some shots of him in his live element here in Houston. Also, with a little help from online a Bruce database, the aptly-named BruceBase, I was able to fill in some of the blanks on those shows you may have forgotten that you were even at.

Judging by the photos, the man has made a deal with the man upstairs to age in reverse. There are few differences between the man at 64 and at 36, give or take a few wrinkles in the face. He probably knows a few more songs now, too.

The Light in Darkness Limited edition Bruce Springsteen book
Less than 100 copies remaining.
Last week for **Free Shipping** Click here to Order Now: Darkness

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Bruce Springsteen Limited Edition Book: Free Shipping

“My copy arrived in the UK after about a seven week wait – but it was so, so worth it. I sat down and read the entire thing that afternoon. Despite having listened to bootlegs, watched endless youtube clips and garnered some idea of the sort of mythology that surrounded the tour, the first-hand accounts filled a lot of gaps for me. It must be great for those of you who were there to read it and reflect, but for someone who wasn’t I can’t stress enough how wonderful this was to read. I also really loved that there was a lot of writing about the Darkness album itself, and about fans’ reactions and first listens to it, which I found so fascinating. Darkness was the first Bruce album I heard, over 30 years after it was released, with full knowledge of the trajectory of his career, so that was pretty special for me to get some idea of what it was like at the time. So, in short – absolutely would recommend”
-builtlikelight

The Light in Darkness limited edition book.
Less than 100 copies remaining.
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Bruce Springsteen’s 1978 Darkness on the Edge of Town TV Spots

The first spot is the new release Darkness spot, the second one is the pre-release teaser that ran on Saturday Night Live the weekend before.

Both of these 15 second TV spots courtesy of Dick Wingate. Dick was the product manager at Columbia Records from 1976 to 1978 and was instrumental in launching Bruce Springsteen’s fourth album,
Darkness on the Edge of Town.
You can read more about his contribution to the legacy of the Darkness era here:
Behind The Scenes of Darkness on the Edge of Town with Dick Wingate

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Earlier this year a student of mine asked who Bruce Springsteen was…

Darkness on the Edge of Town
Dr. Edward Mulholland

Light never shines more brightly than when it clears away darkness. I celebrated the New Year at a party I was never supposed to attend. I was to spend the night of the 31st with friends in Albuquerque and drive home on January 1st. Through the darkness of a broken down car shined the light of friendship and hospitality. I watched the Rose Bowl at a home known for its wonderful holiday parties, and the evening ended with a moment that will live long in my musical memory.

Earlier this year a student of mine asked who Bruce Springsteen was, when I mentioned a song of his. I almost rent my garments. But on January 1st in Albuquerque, a young self-taught guitarist gave my dream answer when I asked him if he knew any Springsteen, “I know every song he ever wrote.” I laughed condescendingly, and his dad and mom, die-hard music fans of my generation, said, “He means it. Try to stump him.” The young man, Kevin Cummings, is in his early 20s and forms part of a six-member band that is making musical headlines in Albuquerque, The Noms. After hearing his guitar recreate the entire opening piano solo of “New York City Serenade,” I ceased caring that my machine was a dud, stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of New Mexico. (This post is laced with lyrics. Indulge me.)

He sang every song I could name. He sang “Thunder Road” for his parents since it was a song from their wedding reception. We shared songs I hadn’t heard since I heard them on vinyl. (Hear “Meeting Across the River” on the radio lately?) And when it was nearly January 2nd, he sang his favorite, which also happens to be mine and my little sister’s, “Racing in the Street,” from my favorite album: Darkness on the Edge of Town.

When Bruce Springsteen was honored at the Kennedy Center a few years ago, John Stewart quipped, “When you listen to a Springsteen song, you are not a loser. You are a character in an epic poem… about losers.” True enough. But the epic that begins in the badlands, in the dim outskirts, has a destination, even when it’s only longed-for and never fully realized, and that destination is redemption. Even when we are faced with just a meanness in this world, when we are faced with debts no honest man can pay, my baby and me still have to ride to the sea, to wash these sins off our hands.

It begins in darkness and at the periphery. But by God’s grace it doesn’t have to end there. Because our God of light seeks out the fallen, enters the darkness, reaches out to the edge of town. I hadn’t noticed that until Kevin’s Springsteen set up the dominos and Pope Francis tipped one over. The Pope’s Angelus address on Sunday speaks of Christ going out to the periphery and reaching out to people rough around the edges. He chooses rude fishermen as apostles and preaches “in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,” where Isaiah said the people in darkness would see a great light. And that is where the Gospel always needs to start. That is why Pope Francis wants pastors to smell like their flock. They cannot fear the darkness on the edge of town. That is their starting point. The Easter litugy begins in darkness, outside the church. The light of Christ enters. So it must be every time, everywhere.

But there is more. My own soul is a town besieged by temptation and oft breached by sin. There is much darkness in me that I often close off from Christ’s light. My own faith cannot grow where I feel comfy in my belief. It can only grow under the flickering lamp posts of the periphery, where Christ does battle with the demons I fear to face. He does it because he is my brother, and nothing feels better than blood on blood, and if a man turns his back on his family, he just ain’t no good. He took the burden of sin upon Himself. That’s my burden. That’s my sin. And He calls me to live in the light, and not to fear it. He calls me to believe the surprising, amazing, staggeringly puzzling truth that I, who feel so undeserving, wasn’t made for darkness and loserville, hiding on the back streets, but called to live in a mansion on the hill.

And the greatest paradox of all is that I grow in light when I reach out to the darkness of others. I grow in strength when I admit my weakness and allow Christ to work in me, when what could have been despair becomes a prayer and a plea. Light never shines more brightly than when it clears away darkness.

I believe in the love that you gave me, I believe in the hope that can save me, I believe in the faith and I pray, that someday it may raise me above these Badlands…

* * *
Reprinted from the Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College. Dr. Mulholland can be reached at emulholland@benedictine.edu.

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Discover the light in the Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.
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Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town 1978 TV Spot

The Darkness on the Edge of Town TV spot was developed to support the Darkness tour and album in the late summer and fall of 1978. The crazy part is that although we shot 4-5 songs live in Phoenix in early July, Bruce wouldn’t approve any of the footage except Rosalita. So even though the song was released 5 yrs earlier it was the only live video that was available for the spot. Earlier, in May, we did teaser ads on Saturday Night Live the weekend before the album release that only had the album cover and did use Prove It All Night. They were 15 seconds.

Dick Wingate
Dick served as CBS’ product manager for the 1978 “Darkness on the Edge of Town” album release
January 2014

Limited edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness, less than 120 copies left.
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Overrated, Underrated, or Properly Rated: Bruce Springsteen

Born to Run (1975) There’s a particular brand of vanity that exists in certain kinds of young men between the ages of 19 and 27 where it’s vitally important to present a façade that is equal parts masculine, feminine, tough, and sensitive. For instance (and this example is purely hypothetical and not at all autobiographical), this certain kind of young man may drive around alone late on rainy nights — he actually chooses to drive when it rains because it is appropriately evocative for his inner emotional geography — while listening to Clarence Clemons’s sax solo on “Jungleland.” And when he feels himself starting to cry, he will look in the rearview mirror in order to stare at his own tears. He knows he will never tell anyone that he cries alone to the sounds of the Big Man’s titanic blowing, but he guesses that strangers will sense it, and this will make him appear soulful. (Forgive him. He is a little naive and very silly.) It doesn’t matter that the lyrics of “Jungleland” have virtually nothing to do with his life — he’s pretty sure that the only people for whom “kids flash guitars just like switchblades” represents reality are Danny Zuko and Kenickie. But this song is still his avatar, and he’s confident it always will be.

Because this person is a nerd, he will remember that a 25-year-old Bruce Springsteen painstakingly directed Clemons in the studio during the recording of “Jungleland,” telling him when to go up, when to go down, and when to hold. And he will wonder whether Bruce did this while staring at himself in the mirror. PROPERLY RATED.

Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978) This was the first Springsteen record coproduced by his new manager and ex–rock critic Jon Landau, and it sounds like a record designed by a rock critic. The songs are shorter (rock critics hate jamminess), more cynical (rock critics hate sentimentality), and generally weighed down by undercurrents of depression and severe daddy issues (no comment). So, I guess I’m outing myself as a sucker for critic-bait when I say this is my favorite Springsteen album. It’s his best “guitar solo” record (see “Adam Raised a Cain” or any live version of “Prove It All Night”). It’s also the first, best example of Springsteen juxtaposing rousing rock music with miniaturist, miserablist, Middle American storytelling — which is to say, it kicks your ass and crushes your heart. PROPERLY RATED.

The River (1980) This is a double album that feels like two separate albums. The first record takes place during the day — the people in these songs go to work and then drink off the drudgery at the corner tavern. The second record occurs in the middle of the night. (Not to be confused with The Night, the romanticized nocturnal fantasyland of the early records. This night is black, cold, and silent, like that final jump cut on the Sopranos finale.) I listen to the first disc at least three times as much, mostly because I love how it splits the difference between Born to Run and Darkness. This disc contains some of Springsteen’s most exuberant songs (“Two Hearts,” “Out in the Street”) as well as his most direct gut punches (“Independence Day,” the title track). Then you have the second disc, which is so ominous and death-obsessed it manages to out-Darkness Darkness. (This is the side that Sylvester Stallone plays endlessly in Cop Land, because the big lug feels like a stolen car being driven on a pitch-black night.)

Initially greeted by critics as a masterwork and responsible for Springsteen’s first hit, “Hungry Heart,” The River was subsequently overshadowed by the records that surround it in his discography. Casual listeners will always pick up Born to Run or Nebraska first. But The River is the most representative of his entire body of work. UNDERRATED.

Nebraska (1982) I love Nebraska. I love that it contains my favorite Springsteen “hit.”2 I love that it has at least three deep cuts (the title track, “Johnny 99,” and “Used Cars”) that belong in the 98th percentile of Bruce Springsteen deep cuts. I love that it easily has the best cover art of any Springsteen album.3 I love that Bruce recorded it at home and on a four-track recorder, which makes Nebraska his Bee Thousand. I love that Kanye West likened Yeezus to Nebraska, because “Hold My Liquor” is essentially “Highway Patrolman” as sung from Frankie’s point of view. That said, we’re not here to figure out whether Nebraska is great, but whether it’s properly rated. This complicates the issue, because Nebraska is the go-to record for people who don’t like Springsteen because it’s not like Springsteen’s other albums.

Which is fine, except these same people then take the next step and declare Nebraska to be Springsteen’s “best” album, based on the (strange) criterion that an artist’s least characteristic work should somehow be considered superior to his most characteristic. I can’t allow this. (In my view, Born, Darkness, and The River are all better records.) Therefore, I must declare Nebraska to be ever so slightly OVERRATED.

Steven Hyden-January 2014

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35 Years Ago: Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness ‘Firecracker Show’

Dave Lifton
December 31, 2013

Bruce Springsteen’s 1978 tour in support of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ took him from clubs and theaters to arenas over the course of its seven months. But it came close to ending in disaster. On Dec. 31, 1978 — the second-to-last-night of the tour — Springsteen got hit in the face with a lit firecracker.

The show took place at the Richfield Coliseum outside of Cleveland, which has always been one of Springsteen’s best markets. The two-night stand was the third time on the ‘Darkness’ tour that he had played Cleveland, including a show at the Agora on August 9 which has entered Springsteen lore as one of his greatest ever. And at his first show at the Coliseum 21 days later, things went so well that, after the show, he, Steve Van Zandt and Clarence Clemons went back to the Agora to sit in on a few songs with their friend Southside Johnny.

But on this night, what was supposed to ring in 1979 on a good note turned ugly shortly after midnight. Following the traditional ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and a cover of Elvis Presley’s ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight,’ someone in the crowd threw a firecracker onstage. It glanced off Springsteen’s face and then exploded. Fortunately, he was only slightly cut, with a bandage under his right eye marking where he got hit. After Van Zandt, who was perhaps auditioning for his future role on ‘The Sopranos,’ had some choice words for the hurler, Springsteen took to the mic. The audio, combined from both soundboard and audience sources, is embedded below.

“Now, I asked everybody, as I’ve seen people hurt at shows with firecrackers before, you know,” he said. “I’m gonna ask you again because we’re gonna be here tomorrow night…and you guys have always been great in this town. I love coming here and we love playing here — that’s why we came on New Year’s Eve. And the only thing I ask is that people don’t do stuff to hurt other people and to hurt themselves and to hurt me and whoever else is up here, because we came here to play some rock n’ roll for you, and you guys paid your money so you…could listen without being afraid of getting hurt or blown up or whatever. So if anybody sees anybody throwing stuff…just tell somebody so we can get ‘em out. If you want to throw something, we’ll give you your money back and you can throw it outside and do whatever you want.”

Springsteen and the E Street Band continued with ironically, the next song on the setlist, ‘Point Blank.’

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There’s So Much That You Want… 17 Cool “Darkness” Collectibles

Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town broke new ground for The Boss in 1978. A counterpoint to the operatic elegance of Born to Run, the album was an angry, raw record that burst forth after a three-year hiatus. Because of its darker tones, some might call Darkness a difficult album, but despite this, it’s a cherished gem for many fans.

As fans, we all wish that we could own a certain precious item from Bruce Springsteen’s career. It could be a vintage concert poster from the Steel Mill era, a ticket stub from one of the legendary 1978 concerts, a rare Japanese promotional record, a mid-80’s promotional jacket distributed to selected industry people, even an original handwritten manuscript for Born to Run… And some of us are lucky enough to own such items. Below are seventeen cool collectibles from the Darkness on the Edge of Town era that will make any fan of Springsteen’s most powerful album be envious.

Peter Schöfböck and Eddy Wehbe

“Badlands” Sheet Music (U.S.)


1. “Badlands” Sheet Music (U.S.)
Originally considered as one of several potential sleeve artwork designs for the Darkness album, this classic Eric Meola photograph eventually made it onto the cover of the sheet music for the “Badlands” single, issued by Warner Brothers Publications in August 1978. According to Meola, the photo was shot during the summer of 1977, just a few days after Elvis Presley’s death, when he and Springsteen travelled from Salt Lake City to Reno together. It shows Bruce driving down a dirt road in a 1965 Ford Galaxie convertible, with heavy storm clouds looming in the sky above; an image that arguably would have mirrored the album’s content like no other. While copies are rather hard to find these days and consequently tend to fetch steep prices, this sheet is definitely an item worth tracking down for its sheer graphic impact.

2. “The Promised Land” / “Streets Of Fire” 7-Inch Single (U.K.)
Issued exclusively in the U.K., which was the only country in the world to release not just two, but three singles off the Darkness album. Unlike most other European markets, CBS London caught up on the concept of picture sleeves rather late (in October 1980, to be precise), so this 7-inch disc still came in one of their decidedly boring plain company logo sleeves. However, packaging aside, it still ranks among one of the rarest Bruce Springsteen 45s today, simply because a large portion of the British population was either unaware of or totally indifferent to its very existence, and hence failed to buy a copy.

“The Promised Land” / “Streets Of Fire” 7-Inch Single (U.K.)

“The Promised Land” / “Streets Of Fire” 7-Inch Single (U.K.)

“The Promised Land” / “Streets Of Fire” 7-Inch Single (U.K.)

3. “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” 8-Track Tape Cartridge (North America)
The only worldwide release of the album which – “due to programming requirements” – contains “Candy’s Room” twice, not to mention a totally different song sequence. This is the kind of information that “Ultimate Backstreets Trivia Quiz” questions are made of!

“Darkness On The Edge Of Town” 8-Track Tape Cartridge (North America)

4. 1978 Springsteen Promo Neon Sign (U.S.)
In the late 1970s, CBS Records utilized fancy neon sign displays to promote their major artists at U.S. retail stores. This cool Springsteen sign, produced as a marketing tool for the Darkness album, has now become an impossible-to-find rarity.

1978 Springsteen Promo Neon Sign (U.S.)

1978 Springsteen Promo Neon Sign (U.S.)

In recent years, only one has surfaced at an online auction of vintage rock ‘n roll memorabilia. “The neon lights were used by CBS a number of times for star acts in that era,” said Dick Wingate, the man in charge of CBS marketing for the release of the Darkness album. “They came from the sales department for support at the local retail level.”

1978 Springsteen Promo Neon Sign (U.S.)

1978 Springsteen Promo Neon Sign (U.S.)

5. “Prove It All Night” / “Factory” 7-Inch Single (Japan)
CBS/Sony Japan’s art department has always been famous for creating unique and pretty striking artwork for domestic Springsteen 7-inch releases, and in this particular case, they certainly used their “creative license” to the max. Why not take Frank Stefanko’s original front cover photo for the album, cut Bruce’s image out of it, and paste him in front of a New York City night street scenario for a more dramatic effect? That is exactly what happened; with the result being one of the oddest and most unusual picture sleeve designs ever known to the Springsteen-collecting community.

“Prove It All Night” / “Factory” 7-Inch Single (Japan)

“Prove It All Night” / “Factory” 7-Inch Single (Japan)

“Prove It All Night” / “Factory” 7-Inch Single (Japan)

6. “Darkness on the Edge of Town Is Platinum” Columbia Records Promo Poster (U.S.)
To commemorate the event of Darkness reaching certified platinum status less than four weeks following its release, Columbia Records had this awesome promo poster printed up, which featured a great posed shot of Springsteen that again was taken by Eric Meola. The same artwork was also used for an elaborate, two-page center-spread ad that ran in Billboard magazine around the same time. “The ‘Platinum’ shot was done during a session at my studio in NYC for potential use on Darkness,” said Eric Meola. “But my good friend Frank Stefanko’s wonderfully moody rose wallpapered bedroom shot won out — and deservedly so.”

“Darkness on the Edge of Town Is Platinum” Columbia Records Promo Poster (U.S.)

7. “Badlands” / “Streets Of Fire” 7-Inch Single (Italy)
Another case of a Springsteen single being widely ignored by the record-buying public, the Italian “Badlands” 45 – featuring a superb and totally unique color picture sleeve – has become immensely rare because it sold poorly when it was released. In fact, CBS Italy had so many unsold copies left as of October 1980 that they decided to give them away as “freebies” with the domestic magazine Music, adding special stickers to both the sleeves and A-side labels.

Badlands

“Badlands” / “Streets Of Fire” 7-Inch Single (Italy)

8. “Last American Hero From Asbury Park, N.J.” Promo LP Sampler (Japan)
A Japanese exclusive, this promotional sampler was a part of the promotion for Darkness, yet, for some reason, only contained tracks from his first three albums. The black-and-white picture sleeve is the actual inner-sleeve photograph for the Darkness LP, taken by Frank Stefanko during the album’s photo shoot sessions. Limited to probably less than 100 copies, Last American Hero is one of the rarest Springsteen items ever, and arguably the rarest in this format.
Frank Stefanko’s photo is titled “Among the Cabbage Roses”
http://www.morrisonhotelgallery.com/photo/default.aspx?photographID=1438
The sampler contains an insert with Japanese song lyric translations and the disc has special white “Sample” labels.

“Last American Hero From Asbury Park, N.J.” Promo LP Sampler (Japan)

9. December 1978 Winterland San Francisco Concert Poster (US)
Original art designed by Randy Tuten. Winterland 1978. ’nuff said.

December 1978 Winterland Concert Poster (US)

December 1978 Winterland Concert Poster (US)

10. Dylan/Springsteen (shared) CBS Promo Ad (West Germany)
A full-page ad promoting both Darkness and Bob Dylan’s “Street Legal” LP that ran in German music magazines in the summer of 1978. What makes it so special is the Springsteen-related text, which is nothing short of hilarious; from the boasting headline (“One Of Them Already Is A Myth. The Other Will Become One. You Bet!”) to the almost surreal description of the album itself, stating that it sounds “like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan had fathered a son together,” and raving about the “congruent octaves” in Bruce’s singing voice, which at times is “satirizing David Bowie’s theatrics,” while on other occasions “seems to drag behind the aggressive saxophone gallop on Jesus sandals” (we kid you not). Granted, CBS’ German marketing department was never known for holding back on the kind of over-the-top Springsteen hype that would even make former Springsteen manager Mike Appel blush, but they certainly outdid themselves here.

Dylan/Springsteen (shared) CBS Promo Ad (West Germany)

Dylan/Springsteen (shared) CBS Promo Ad (West Germany)

11. Darkness on the Edge of Town Promo Picture Disc LP (U.S.)
If there ever was something like a “classic” Bruce Springsteen vinyl collectible (apart from the legendary “script cover” promo version of the Born To Run LP), this is probably it. The full album in the form of a high-quality, excellent-sounding picture disc, released to radio stations and music journalists only, and never made available commercially.

Darkness on the Edge of Town Promo Picture Disc LP (U.S.)

Darkness on the Edge of Town Promo Picture Disc LP (U.S.)

According to Dick Wingate, who served as CBS’ product manager for the “Darkness” album release, no more than 1,000 of these were pressed, although you can easily find still-sealed ones on eBay every other week. Unfortunately for collectors, counterfeits have been in circulation for quite some time, which can only be distinguished from genuine copies by actually dropping the needle on them (the counterfeited version has much poorer sound), while a more recent (2008) fake Darkness picture disc LP is a lot easier to detect by both its notably different graphic design and the absence of the original white die-cut display sleeve and lyric sheet.

Darkness on the Edge of Town Promo Picture Disc LP (U.S.)

Darkness on the Edge of Town Promo Picture Disc LP (U.S.)

Darkness on the Edge of Town Promo Picture Disc LP (U.S.)

Darkness on the Edge of Town Promo Picture Disc LP (U.S.)

12. “Prove It All Night” (Live Version) 12-Inch Acetate (U.S.)
In the summer of 1978, Columbia Records had planned to release a promotion-only 12-inch single of two live cuts, “Prove It All Night” and the instrumental “Paradise By The Sea”, (as it was still called back then) from Springsteen’s July 1 show at the Community Auditorium in Berkeley, Calif., for radio station airplay; with Darkness sound engineer Jimmy Iovine being on hand to professionally record and mix the material. Unfortunately, the project never got any further than this super-rare, one-sided acetate pressing, although both tracks eventually were distributed to radio DJ’s in tape form. The recording contains a powerfully raw and dynamic performance of “Prove It All Night” complete with its famous extended piano/triangle/guitar intro. The fact that it was not included on the “Live/1975-85″ box set – or at least issued as a single B-side – remains something of a mystery to this day. Our picture shows one of the sleeve stickers produced for the acetate.

“Prove It All Night” (Live Version) 12-Inch Acetate (U.S.)

13. September 1978 Passaic Capitol Theatre Marquee (U.S.)

September 1978 Passaic Capitol Theatre Marquee (U.S.)

September 1978 Passaic Capitol Theatre

Literally “highlighting” Bruce’s legendary three-night stand at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey from September 19 to 21, 1978 (the first show of which was broadcast and subsequently bootlegged as “Pièce De Résistance”), the awesome marquee designed by artist/fan Arlen Schumer now is almost as famous as the concerts themselves.

September 1978 Passaic Capitol Theatre Marquee (U.S.)

September 1978 Passaic Capitol Theatre

One half of the actual two-part marquee used to be on display at Billy Smith and Stephen Bumball’s “Asbury Park Rock’n Roll Museum” (which closed in 1988) and was later acquired by a private Springsteen collector, who eventually sold it to the owner of Denver music shop “Twist And Shout” (the other half apparently now resides in a private collection in New Jersey). Several cool photos taken outside the Capitol at the time the shows took place (as well as Arlen’s original artwork) can be viewed online at his official website, www.arlenschumer.com.

September 1978 Passaic Capitol Theatre Marquee (U.S.)

September 1978 Passaic Capitol Theatre

September 1978 Passaic Capitol Theatre Marquee (U.S.)

September 1978 Passaic Capitol Theatre

14. Darkness on the Edge of Town CBS/Sony Promo Ad (Japan)
Featured in popular Japanese pop/rock magazines such as Music Life, this handsome little ad depicted a particularly cool 1978-era Lynn Goldsmith “personality” shot of Bruce not widely published elsewhere, though CBS/Sony Japan did use the original color version of this same photo for their mega-scarce Darkness promo poster.

Darkness on the Edge of Town CBS/Sony Promo Ad (Japan)

Darkness on the Edge of Town CBS/Sony Promo Ad (Japan)

15. “Badlands” Original Mock-Up Album Sleeve Art (U.S.)
The photographs were taken by Eric Meola in 1977 and were considered for the Darkness on the Edge of Town album’s front and back cover art. The Bruce photograph was shot at Meola’s studio in NYC for potential use on the album cover art, but the eye-patched Clarence Clemons photo, which oddly ended up here, was shot for Clarence personally.

“Badlands” Original Mock-Up Album Sleeve Art (U.S.)

[Part #1: The prototype and its title]
These vintage cover paste-ups come from the Columbia Records art department and are a very early concept design dating from October 1977. At this stage, the album’s proposed title was “Badlands”, but Springsteen would later change it to Darkness on the Edge of Town reportedly because Bill Chinnock released an album titled Badlands in early 1978.

The early album track list included “Independence Day” (later released on “The River”) and “Don’t Look Back,” which was replaced at the last minute for the title track and remained unreleased until 1998 when it was included on the Tracks box set. “Candy’s Room” was still under the work-in-progress title “Candy’s Boy.” “Adam Raised A Cain,” “Something In The Night,” “Factory,” and even “Darkness On The edge Of Town” were not on the album track list at that stage.

“Badlands” Original Mock-Up Album Sleeve Art (U.S.)

[Part #2: Other alternate covers]
There have been other alternate covers as well, including the Meola photo used for the above-mentioned “Badlands” music sheet, and others that are similar to what was eventually released. A print proof with the title “Racing in the Street” and standard Frank Stefanko cover shot has also surfaced.

“Badlands” is also the title of a 1973 Terrence Malick’s film that later inspired Springsteen’s Nebraska, but that’s not all there is to the story. After the release of Born to Run, Jon Landau introduced Springsteen to classic movies. To find a title for the new album, the two jokingly went through Andrew Sarris’s book “The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968.” Springsteen picked “American Madness,” a 1932 Frank Capra film, while Landau selected “History Is Made at Night,” a 1937 Frank Borzage film. As far as it’s known, no artwork utilizing either of these two titles was ever produced.

“Badlands” Original Mock-Up Album Sleeve Art (U.S.)

16. Darkness on the Edge of Town Reel-To-Reel Tape (U.S.)
One of only four Springsteen albums officially released in this format, this vintage 7-inch, 4-track reel playing at 3 ¾ inches per second and housed in a nifty cardboard picture box is still very popular with collectors even in our hi-tech times of digital media.

Darkness on the Edge of Town Reel-To-Reel Tape (U.S.)

Darkness on the Edge of Town Reel-To-Reel Tape (U.S.)

Darkness on the Edge of Town Reel-To-Reel Tape (U.S.)

17. “Badlands” / “Candy’s Room” 7-Inch Single (Holland/France)
It’s “Bruce Springsteen, guitar semi-god” on the picture sleeve for this outrageously elusive 45 single, which was a Dutch export pressing made for exclusive distribution in France and marks the only worldwide appearance of “Candy’s Room” on a single of any format. Don’t expect to get back much change from your $1,000 or thereabouts if you manage to locate a copy.

“Badlands” / “Candy’s Room” 7-Inch Single (Holland/France)

“Badlands” / “Candy’s Room” 7-Inch Single (Holland/France)

“Badlands” / “Candy’s Room” 7-Inch Single (Holland/France)

“Badlands” / “Candy’s Room” 7-Inch Single (Holland/France)

Peter Schöfböck and Eddy Wehbe
December 12, 2013

I became a Bruce fan in early 1987, after listening to the Roxy 1975 live version of “Thunder Road” from the “Live/1975-85” box set (a copy I borrowed from my sister-in-law out of pure curiosity what all the hype surrounding it was about). Didn’t care much about Springsteen before that. I started to get seriously into collecting in the early 1990s; mainly inspired by Chris Hunt’s “Bruce Files” in the “Blinded By The Light” book. Originally I bought stuff through small ads in “Goldmine” and “Record Collector” magazines as well as at local record fairs. Many items also were purchased from “Badlands” in the U.K. I created the Lost In The Flood collectors’ website together with my partner-in-crime Alf Weber in October 2001. In early 2013, after 20+ years of collecting, I decided to quit that little “hobby” and sell my collection.
Fave song on “Darkness”: “Something In The Night”
Fave Springsteen show of all time: Winterland 12/15/78, though I personally do believe that Bruce’s first solo acoustic tour for The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995-97) was just as important a tour in his career as the 1978 one.
Peter Schöfböck

Darkness on the Edge of Town was released long before my parents had even met, which explains why I’ve been a Springsteen fan for only twelve years, and a collector of his releases for less than eight. It all starts with a good-looking picture sleeve or two before the obsession takes over and you feel the need of owning every variant of every release Springsteen has put out. Much credit goes to Peter Schöfböck’s Lost In The Flood website which has played a major role in this story. Because Darkness is the dearest to my heart, some of the most treasured items in my collection come from that era: the above-mentioned “Last American Hero” promo LP and the “Badlands” mock-up album sleeve to name a few. Now, when will I have the Passaic Capitol Theater marquee hanging on my bedroom’s wall?
Eddy Wehbe – Springsteen Lyrics web site: Springsteenlyrics.com

Special thanks to: Steen Andersson, Alessandro Cattaneo, Dan French, Eric Meola, Yosuke Ono, Mike Simpson, Jyrki Virta, and Dick Wingate

The Light In Darkness book documents the 1978 Darkness on the Edge of Town tour through a collection of amazing photographs, essays and collectibles submitted by fans who, each in their own way, have strong emotional connections to and recollections of this album and or tour.
Celebrate the 2013 Holiday Season with Bruce Springsteen.

Discover the Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness. The Light In Darkness is a collector’s edition, we are almost sold out! Buy now and save on shipping. The book is not sold in stores.

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35 ans déjà que Bruce Springsteen enflammait le Forum de Montréal à l’occasion du “DARKNESS TOUR “

Springsteen_poster

Montreal Forum Springsteen Concert Poster: November 8, 1978

Il y a 35 ans le 8 Novembre 1978, je me présente, avec ma copine, au Forum de Montréal pour assister au concert de Bruce Springsteen. J’avais raté sa précédente visite à Montréal à la Place des Arts le 19 Décembre 1975, mais on m’en avait dit le plus grand bien .

J’étais prêt car j’écoutais constamment depuis quelques mois les albums ” Born to Run ” et ” Darkness on the Edge of Town” . De plus, étant photographe amateur j’avais l’intention de prendre des photos avec mon Nikkormat et surtout utiliser ma lentille Nikor de 300 mm.

Mes billets : première rangée ,deus sièges à l’extrémité de la rangée. Endroit idéal pour prendre des photos, si on me le permettait, mais très difficile pour les tympans d’oreille puisque nous avions un immense haut-parleur à peine quelques pieds devant nous. Des sièges extraordinaires!

Ma seule crainte était celle de ne pas avoir apporté assez de pellicules photographiques : deux seuls films de 36 poses! Être à court de pellicule constitue le cauchemar de tout photographe je pense …Ce cauchemar, je l’ai vécu tout au long de cette soirée magique! La foule est nombreuse et fébrile. Tout juste avant que les lumières s’éteignent et que Bruce et le E Street Band ne s’installent, je sens que la soirée sera fantastique et qu’un grand moment est sur le point de se produire.

Les lumières s’éteignent et voilà on y est …

Springsteen_Montreal_1978

Bruce Springsteen, Montreal 1978
© Jean Garon

Ça démarre très très fort avec “Badlands” . Je suis renversé et ce n’est que la première chanson. Je dois me calmer car sinon je vais avoir épuisé mes deux rouleaux de films en deux chansons seulement. Je suis en train de devenir sourd, mais ce n’est pas important .Ma copine essaie de me parler mais je suis subjugué par la performance de Bruce et de ses musiciens.

Alors défilent les chansons “Streets of Fire”, “Spirit in the Night” , “The Ties That Bind”, puis la très attendue “Darkness on the Edge of Town”. Là on atteint un très haut niveau. Suivent ” Independence Day”, “The Promised Land”, “Prove It All Night”, “Racing in the Street”, “Thunder Road”. Moi qui n’était pas friand du saxophone, je le suis devenu ce soir-là ! Je me suis même demandé si je rêvais car ce spectacle dépassait mes espérances. Quelle intensité depuis le tout début !La foule est en délire et renversée .Je dois revenir à la raison car il ne me reste que quelques photos à prendre.

Springsteen_Clarence_1978

Bruce Springsteen, Montreal 1978
© Jean Garon

“Jungleland”, “Fire”, “Candy’s Room ” que j’attendais avec impatience . Je cesse de photographier car je veux apprécier moi aussi le spectacle. “Because the Night ” suit et j’en oublie très rapidement la version de Patti Smith. Puis ,un de mes grands moments de la soirée survient “Point Blank”. Cette version LIVE est extraordinaire. La version studio ne paraîtra que deux ans plus tard sur l’album The River, mais je la trouve moins intéressante . Bruce Springsteen, c’est en concert que ça se passe et pas uniquement en studio ! Quelle intensité ! Bruce est le plus grand “performer” et c’est incontestable !

Suivent “Mona/She’s the One”, “Backstreets”, “Rosalita “. Le public est sidéré et en redemande, et Bruce livre la marchandise avec satisfaction. Le concert est terminé mais la foule réclame Bruce et son groupe le E Street Band. Je suis épuisé mais eux le sont beaucoup plus que moi. Quelle joie d’être présent au Forum ! Il ne me reste plus que 4 ou 5 photos à prendre et le rappel s’en vient. Quel rappel !! “Born to Run ” pour débuter. Ce n’était une surprise pour personne mais ça fait un effet bœuf ! Puis ‘Detorit Medley ” alors là je suis complètement KO, ayant toujours été un grand fan de Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels. Bruce est debout sur un haut-parleur et déchire sa chemise. Je suis totalement assommé. Quelle énergie après plus de 3 heures de spectacle ! Pour moi le moment le plus fort vient de se produire. Tout le monde est exténué. D’où leur vient toute cette énergie ?

Springsteen_Clarence_Montreal

Bruce Springsteen, Montreal 1978
© Jean Garon

Une dernière chanson “Quarter to Three “. On ne peut en demander plus. Le concert dure depuis presque 3 1/2 heures, mais toute bonne chose a une fin comme on dit … Personne ne peut se frotter à Bruce Springsteen sur scène ! PERSONNE !
Je suis sorti du concert presque sourd pour les trois jours à venir, mais combien heureux ! J’étais en état de grâce. Ma copine , qui préférait depuis toujours le Jazz et l’Opéra au Rock, était totalement emballée.
Je ne pouvais être plus heureux.
Merci Bruce et merci le E Street Band pour cette soirée mémorable.

Jean Garon

P.S. Je ne suis ni un journaliste professionnel ni un photographe professionnel, alors je requiers de votre part un peu d’indulgence pour cet article et pour les photos l’accompagnant.

Springsteen_ticket

Montreal Forum Springsteen Ticket: November 8, 1978

 
Springsteen_Montreal_Forum

Bruce Springsteen, Montreal 1978
© Jean Garon

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My First Bruce Springsteen Concert

My first Springsteen show was September 12, 1978 in Syracuse, NY, at the Onondaga County War Memorial. I remember times were tough. I was working for $4/hour, with a college degree. I had a chance to buy front row tickets, and didn’t, I regretted it the next day, and ever since. The next day I was still thinking about Springsteen’s frenetic energy, and the way Jungleland and my other favorites at the time,
seemed even better than on the “Born To Run” record album.
Being a new and excited Bruce Springsteen fan was a big deal. I kind of had this feeling I was gonna meet this guy that felt about a lot of things the same way I did.
I was still playing a lot of tracks like 10 times a day. The Darkness album was something I held a little closer than the other records; it seemed more personal.
My friends kind of huddled together in little groups of pre-concert parties, myself included. When I got to the show, things started moving real fast. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the concert and was wishing I could get replays. I was excited. I wish my mind had been practicing to be like a recording machine so that I could remember the whole show in all it’s details.
One of my friends got front row. Bruce was climbing up on a speaker that looked like a high climb to get to the top. He gave a glance like he might need some help.
My friend got up on stage and helped Bruce get to the top of the speaker. How cool was that?!
Rob Wagner

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Meet the Old Boss: Bruce Springsteen Revisits Darkness

Peter Birkenhead

On May 26th, 1978, Resorts International opened the first legal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town was released one week later.

No, Bruce and the E Street Band hadn’t planned to punctuate the dawning of a new era with their record. They probably never noticed the coincidence. But in the new documentary The Promise: the Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, you can see that the album was an attempt to articulate a confrontation with what Springsteen called “the dark heart of a dream,” the rot that was already capturing, and about to eat away at, the promise of America.

Filmmaker Thom Zimny has unearthed and assembled long-forgotten footage of rehearsals and recording sessions shot in the studio from 1976-1978, and cut it together with commentary from Springsteen and his band mates to create an experience that is intimate in perspective and bracingly expansive in scope.

In the film, Springsteen talks about “the promise of rock and roll” and the sense it can provide of “the never-ending now.” He’s talking about the heightened, sometimes transcendent immediacy a good three minute song can deliver, but he could also be talking about the experience of making, or listening to, or watching him make, Darkness on the Edge of Town, a record in the most literal sense, of a personal actualization and a pivotal American moment.

“More than rich, more than famous, more than happy, I wanted to be great,” Springsteen says, and his record bears him out. The Promise provides a fly-on-the-wall look at the creative process of a possessed, controlling, almost excessively talented artist at the most decisive point in his career. A three-year song-writing bender unfolds before our eyes. We see Bruce pull a seemingly endless supply of ideas, rough drafts and fragments from his ratty old notebooks. We cringe as he shouts at the band to “shut the fuck up!”, laugh as Steve Van Zandt and Roy Bittan place bets on how many takes the Boss will insist on at the next day’s session, and in one particularly revealing scene, watch slack-jawed as Springsteen barks the word “Stick!” over and over, and an obviously spent Max Weinberg repeatedly lifts and drops a drumstick, trying to hit his snare in a way that will satisfy his deranged taskmaster’s demand for the perfect, “stickless” drum sound. “Drum sounds were always bigger in my head,” the now smiling and much healthier-looking Springsteen says in commentary.

But it’s the songs, more than anything, that make the film so arresting. A quiet, powerful sense of their emotional authenticity, thematic unity, and wider resonance slowly accrues over the course of the documentary, just as it does on the record. It was on the following album, The River, that Springsteen would articulate the question, “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?” but he begins to ask it on Darkness. Born to Run’s grand, “wall of sound” canvas was perfect for a kid with big dreams, but Darkness was made by a grown up asking new questions, and it has a much more stripped-down, grounded sound that is somehow hugely cinematic. No other records were speaking its language or asking its questions in 1978. Saturday Night Fever was all over the radio. And Grease. And a bunch of good records from Elvis Costello and Warren Zevon and Talking Heads. But London Calling was still a year away, and until it arrived, Springsteen was pretty much on his own, creatively. The United States was in the midst of a recession, an energy crisis, and what President Jimmy Carter would call a “crisis of confidence” in what came to be known as his “malaise” speech, although he never uttered the word.

And just around the corner lurked Ronald Reagan, voodoo economics, lots more casinos in Atlantic City, a far more devastating recession, collective national delusion and thirty years of the kind of darkening of the American consciousness Springsteen was inveighing against on his record. In his speech, Carter said:

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One … leads to fragmentation and self-interest … a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others … one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility … All the promises of our future point to another path … of common purpose. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves.

The “true freedom” Carter was talking about, the freedom afforded by a capacity for honest self-refection and an awakened consciousness, was the subject of Darkness on the Edge of Town, released a year before the President’s speech. In 1978, American culture was just beginning a tentative examination, through the prisms of Vietnam and Watergate, of the country’s myriad mid-century sins. The question in the air was whether we’d have the courage to keep looking.

Springsteen was only 27 when he made Darkness. He was still a scrawny, hyper-kinetic manchild, playing four sweaty hours a night. But he had already begun to write about the freedoms, limitations and responsibilities of adulthood on Born to Run, already declared to the world that “I’m no hero, that’s understood.” And Born to Run brought him the kind of success that can stop a career dead in its tracks. Soon after critic Jon Landau (his future manager) famously anointed him “The Future of Rock and Roll,” Springsteen was caught up in a protracted legal battle over publishing rights with his manager, Mike Appel, which kept him from recording or releasing any music for the next three years. And he was wrestling with his own demons, many of them products of his stormy relationship with his father, a volatile, tragic but inscrutable figure in his life. So it made sense that this young, scruffy boardwalk rat might be called “Boss” before his time, and, once he was allowed back in the studio, make a record that was a fierce, clear-but-bleary-eyed look at the hard truths of modern American adulthood.

He spent those years touring and rehearsing with the E Street Band, (one of the many pleasures of re-listening to Darkness is discovering the ferocious musical command they developed during this period) and writing song after song about “how to carry our sins,”– the sins of our fathers, the burden of guilt, the temptations of living the kind of unconscious life “where no one asks any questions, or looks too long in your face,” and the desperate necessity of “heading straight into the storm,” defying the darkness and honoring, as he says in the film, “Life. The breath in your lungs:”

For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside / That it aint no sin to be glad you’re alive. / I wanna find one face that aint looking through me / I wanna find one place, I wanna spit in the face of these / Badlands.

The album is beautifully haunted, full of rage against the broken promises of America life, but it’s also full of hope, as each song’s narrator invariably reclaims those promises for himself:

I’ve done my best to live the right way / I get up every morning and go to work each day / But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold / Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode… / The dogs on main street howl, / ’cause they understand, / If I could take one / moment into my hands / Mister, I ain’t a boy, no, I’m a man, / And I believe in a promised land.

In the film, Springsteen talks about wanting to write songs that were “angry, rebellious, but adult.” About the sense of loneliness he wanted to evoke, the sense of something more, “something in the night,” within himself and in the world, that seemed to require something essential from him. As we watch his commitment towards that force deepen, a sense of what’s happening in the world just outside the studio seeps in to the film, and it becomes clear that Darkness on the Edge of Town is a record of American reckoning, an accounting of the steep, dreadful costs of unconsciousness and the fulsome, liberating rewards of opening our eyes.

Springsteen never stopped writing during his forced hiatus. By the time the album was released he had written and recorded five times more songs than he ended up using on the record. (Twenty-one of those tracks were released by Columbia as a two-CD set, as “The Promise.”)

Most of the film is made up of footage shot in the 70′s by Barry Reebo, a friend of the band’s who used to follow them around the New Jersey club scene. Reebo apparently had a particular talent for making himself invisible while hanging around the studio during the Darkness sessions. Throughout the film, Springsteen and the band members seem entirely unself-conscious, clearly oblivious to Rebo’s presence, and completely immersed in the work at hand.

The record comes alive in a whole new way in the film, as the personalities of the band members, musical and otherwise, reveal themselves. Max Weinberg’s drumming is a massive, martial heartbeat, booming against the ribs of the songs in fear and defiance.

The interplay between Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt lives up to the legend of their friendship, in scenes like one in which they crack each other up as Bruce bangs out an elusive riff (which would later become “Sherry Darling,” from The River) on a piano while Miami Steve yelps adlibbed lyrics and drums accompaniment on a rolled up carpet.

And keyboardist Danny Federici, who died five years ago, speaks with short breath and visible love for his friends and their work. He contributed the film’s, and the album’s, most indelible musical moment: the plaintive solo at the end of “Racing in the Street,” a customarily swirling, keening wail made of equal parts lonesome calliope, funeral dirge and call to the faithful. It’s an incongruously light moment in a dark song, one that lifts it to a whole new place and magnifies the compassion with which Springsteen renders its narrator.

Darkness on the Edge of Town is full of that kind of light. Streetlamp light, early morning porch light, the dim, hot, cigarette light of vigil, lonely rage and yearning.

Rock & roll too often condescends to, ignores or sentimentalizes the everyday life of the people who move in and out of that light, who populate the highways, bars, and factories of these songs. But on Darkness on the Edge of Town they have their eyes wide open, bravely looking a hard life right in the face. And now as we listen to this haunted record again they haunt us. As we look back through the dark haze of thirty five years, and see them daring America to live up to its promise, it’s hard to escape the feeling that they’re somehow daring us to do the same.

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Bruce Springsteen: Five-star Flashback ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’

Bruce Springsteen: Five-star flashback ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’

The “Listen Again” series went over well enough here in the Los Angeles area that your favorite rockin’ record reviewer decided to follow the lead of some L.A. TV execs and do a spin-off. In this series we once more examine previously-released albums but the platters we shall peruse in this particular series will be Rolling Stone magazine five-star albums. In this edition we discuss Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town.

For those of you not up on your rock history, Bruce (Frederick Joseph) Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949. Springsteen, nicknamed “The Boss,” is an American singer-songwriter. He often works with the E Street Band and is best known for his heartland rock signature sound and his Americana monologues about growing up in his birthplace of New Jersey.

His work to date has included commercially successful rock recordings as well as folk-oriented albums. One of his most critically-acclaimed studio albums was his fourth album Darkness on the Edge of Town. In October of 1977 Springsteen (lead vocals, lead guitar and harmonica) stepped into the recording studio. He was backed by The E Street Band then comprised of :Roy Bittan (piano and vocals), Clarence Clemons (saxophone and vocals), Danny Federici (organ and glockenspiel), Garry Tallent (bass), Steve Van Zandt (rhythm guitar and vocals) and Max Weinberg (drums).

When the dust settled Springsteen had again employed his now famous “four corners” approach starting both sides of the platter with tunes focused on overcoming circumstances and closing each side with sad songs of hopeless situations. Side one opens on “Badlands”. This, like all the other cuts, is a Springsteen original. This one focuses on a man who is down and out and looking for a better life.

The second selection is the slightly biblical bit and keynote cut “Adam Raised a Cain”. It’s followed by the lengthier “Something in the Night” and the perhaps all too brief “Candy’s Room”. The side ends on the longest track on the entire project “Racing in the Street” which is a dead end job dirge that some consider Springsteen’s best song. Here he also pays tribute to the Martha & the Vandellas tune “Dancing in the Street” with the line “Summer’s here and the time is right for racing in the street,” much like the Rolling Stones’ appropriation of the line in their song “Street Fightin’ Man”.

The flip side opens on “The Promised Land”. This being one of the “corner cuts” it focuses on trying to make things better and also serves as a tuneful tip of the hat to Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land”. Also included on this side are the oft’times neglected “Factory” and fan favorite “Streets of Fire”.

The next number is “Prove It All Night”. This is perhaps the penultimate song here. In the tradition of rock and roll Springsteen equates the surrendering of a gal’s virtue to love and vows to “prove it all night”. (It would be chosen to be the first single off the LP as well.)

The closing cut is the titular track “Darkness on the Edge of Town”. It serves as the final corner to Springsteen’s standard album layout at this point. It’s another sad dirge-like song about a situation that seems hopeless. Another Springsteen move here involves his use of the first-person perspective and the recurring themes of darkness, driving and cars, things that can influence one in a negative fashion and birth or love.

Released in March of 1978 on the Columbia label, the finished work had a running time of almost 43 minutes. The two singles off the album–”Prove It All Night” and “Badlands”—would make it to number 33 and 43 respectively. The LP itself climbed to number 5 on the Billboard Pop Album chart. (It would remain on the charts for 97 weeks and eventually go triple-platinum.)

It would be re-released in 1985 and make it up to 167 on the Billboard 200 chart. Darkness remained through the new millennium as it would be slotted in at number 151 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time in 2003.

2010 witnessed the release of a reissue box set which had been planned for prior release in 2008 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original record’s release. Apparently it had been delayed a couple years due to Springsteen’s numerous other projects. It reached number 16 on the Billboard 200.

While the critics praised it a bit less than Born to Run, they all remained positive. Darkness on the Edge of Town rejected the different production embellishments used on Born to Run in favor of a more hard-nosed sound fueled by Springsteen’s raw vocals and furious guitar. The band can truly be heard here as they first prove their worth as one of the genre’s greatest supporting groups.

More importantly though is that the words and music here demonstrate a comparative maturity in Springsteen’s writing. This release has a bite that almost makes the Spector-like Born to Run sound a little soft as Springsteen begins to assert himself as a guitarist in the same spirit as Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. The song lyrics also demonstrate more compassion than his previous fantasies of living the sweet life.

He notes both the ache of hope against hope and the pain of lost innocence. There has for decades now been a messianic element to Springsteen criticism that is probably present mainly because to his fans he embodies the fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of rock ‘n’ roll as handed down from Elvis Presley. Once an unquestionable major force in this development, Springsteen best reveals this in now classic recordings such as Darkness on the Edge of Town/Col. JC-35318.

William Phoenix LA Music Examiner

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Killer Classic – Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

Bruce Springsteen’s album, Darkness on the Edge of Town marked the end of a three-year gap between albums brought on by contractual obligations and legal battling with former manager Mike Appel. Although the album did not produce high charting singles it nevertheless remained on the charts for 97 weeks. A steady seller in Springsteen’s catalogue, it has been certified triple-platinum by the RIAA.

Although slightly less enthusiastic than for Springsteen’s previous album Born to Run, reviews for Darkness on the Edge of Town were unanimously positive. Critics notably praised the maturity of the album’s themes and lyrics. It remains one of Springsteen’s most highly regarded records by both fans and critics and several of its songs are staples at Springsteen concerts.
In September 2010 a documentary film chronicling the making of Darkness was first shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. Quoting Springsteen as saying “More than rich, more than famous, more than happy – I wanted to be great”, reviewer Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger commented: “For many fans, that long journey pulled onto the Turnpike here.” Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it at 150 on their list of the greatest albums of all time.
The cover shot and inner sleeve photo were taken by photographer Frank Stefanko inside Stefanko’s Haddonfield, New Jersey, home. Springsteen says, “When I saw the picture I said, ‘That’s the guy in the songs.’ I wanted the part of me that’s still that guy to be on the cover. Frank stripped away all your celebrity and left you with your essence. That’s what that record was about.”

A reissue box set was released in November 2010. This had initially been planned for 2008, to mark the 30th anniversary of the original album’s release, but was delayed, presumably due to Springsteen’s numerous other 2008 projects. By January 2009, Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, was saying the project was still in the works: “When we can find six weeks to sit down and finish it I’m sure we will.”
A documentary entitled “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town” was produced for the box set. The documentary premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in the fall of 2010 and aired on HBO on October 7, 2010.

During the Darkness sessions, Springsteen wrote or recorded many songs that he ended up not using on the album. This was to keep the album’s thematic feel intact, even at the expense of not having hits on it. According to Jimmy Iovine, Springsteen wrote at least 70 songs during the sessions and 52 of those songs were recorded with some not fully completed. As of 2011, 33 of those songs have been officially released.
Some of the unused material became hits for other artists, such as “Because the Night” for Patti Smith, “Fire” for Robert Gordon and The Pointer Sisters, “Rendezvous” for Greg Kihn, “This Little Girl” for Gary U.S. Bonds, and several tracks for Southside Johnny (including much of the Asbury Jukes’ Hearts of Stone album). Other songs such as “Independence Day”, “Point Blank”, “The Ties That Bind”, and “Sherry Darling” would turn up on Springsteen’s next album, The River, while still others became bootleg classics until surfacing on Springsteen’s compilations Tracks, 18 Tracks and The Promise. The Promise features 22 tracks from the Darkness sessions, many with modern vocal takes and added instruments and was released in November 2010 compilation (and also included in a box set). Some of these Darkness outtakes were performed by Springsteen in concert during his 1978 tour and later.

Track listing
All songs written by Bruce Springsteen.
Side one
1. “Badlands” – 4:01
2. “Adam Raised a Cain” – 4:32
3. “Something in the Night” – 5:11
4. “Candy’s Room” – 2:51
5. “Racing in the Street” – 6:53
Side two
1. “The Promised Land” – 4:33
2. “Factory” – 2:17
3. “Streets of Fire” – 4:09
4. “Prove It All Night” – 3:56
5. “Darkness on the Edge of Town” – 4:30

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“Double Shot” Darkness Tour Notre Dame University, IN

Double Shot
Darkness Tour
Notre Dame University, IN
September 9, 1978

One of my friends in college had purchased a block of tickets for the show during the summer. When we arrived on campus, he began trying to sell them. I wasn’t all that familiar with Springsteen at the time despite Born to Run. I remembered the Time Magazine article about him being the new Dylan who I was not a big fan of at the time. My friend basically made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He offered to give me the ticket and if I didn’t think the show was great I wouldn’t owe him anything. It was a Saturday night. Notre Dame was the defending National Champs and had lost to Missouri that afternoon in a shocking upset. Only about 3000 people showed up for the concert (the ACC held about 11,000.) A group of eight of us went to the concert. The show opened and I was blown away. The amount of energy Springsteen put forward was incredible. Jumping up on the piano. Playing off the Big Man and Miami Steve, the energy was amazing. I passed over the price of the ticket during his cover of We Got to Get Out of This Place. He singled out two guys in the front row that had been following him all summer. He launched into a song “that this is the only place in the known Universe we have ever played it” It was Double Shot of My Baby’s Love. The song broke down during the intro. He just laughed and they started over. The crowd was singing the choruses at the end. He then launched into Louie, Louie, after hearing a request from the audience. “Don’t tempt me!” before deciding to play the song. Candy’s Room was a song that really stood out for me at the time as did Adam Raised a Cain. I was taken back by his stories and the acting that went with them. He told a song about a gypsy woman who appeared before them and transformed them into their various personas. For Bruce, nothing happened. “I was still a bum!” I think he introduced For You with that song. After three plus hours of playing and an intermission, the concert ended with endless encores. The lights went up and we waited but reluctantly headed for the exits. We were almost out of the ACC when we heard a roar and headed running back to our seats. With the house lights on, the band came out and played Twist and Shout with the crowd handling the harmonies. A food fight broke out with the roadies. It was the most incredible concert experience I had or would ever have. On that Monday, I headed to the bookstore to buy the four albums that we’re out at the time. I was a complete convert. Two weeks later,Yes came to the ACC and I remember how bored we were with the entire concert. Springsteen returned in 1981 to Notre Dame and sold out the venue. Before, he played Double Shot he told the audience this is the only place in the known universe we play this song. From different areas of the arena came cries of Double Shot!

Frank Moffitt
Fredericksburg,Virginia

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Signs Taken From the ‘Boss’ The Red Sox manager was inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s classic about the edge of town

The manager on how the song “Darkness of the Edge Town” taught him on how to play the game of life.

I first heard Bruce Springsteen‘s “Darkness on the Edge of Town” in the summer of 1978, when I was 15. I grew up in Monmouth Beach, N.J., with my brother and four sisters, so one of them always had the album and song playing. Today, “Darkness” reminds me of where I came from and helps me think through big decisions.

Until I was in my mid-20s, I was a pleaser. Whether it was to win my dad’s acceptance or the attention of high school and college coaches, I was preoccupied with approval. But in my 20s, I realized that being a pleaser would only keep me from taking necessary risks and going my own way.

Springsteen’s lyrics in the second verse of “Darkness” helped: “Everybody’s got a secret, sonny / Something that they just can’t face…Till someday they just cut it loose / Cut it loose or let it drag ‘em down.” As a pitcher in school and the majors, I identified with the third verse, too: “Tonight I’ll be on that hill ’cause I can’t stop / I’ll be on that hill with everything I got.”

Those who get to play pro sports confront more personal challenges sooner than most people. Pro athletes have accelerated careers and hit a midlife crisis in their 30s. So the song’s third verse hits home. But it’s more than just words. The E Street Band’s music reflects the athlete’s struggle against time. There’s a loping pace to the song that bottoms out and picks up with wall-shattering energy.

Having grown up in a blue-collar family, I wasn’t born into a good life. But I’m thankful I’ve had to work hard, which makes what I do more rewarding. I’ve also been fortunate in my career to be presented with great professional opportunities. Those moments have forced me to figure out whether to stay with the status quo or change. Without a doubt, “Darkness” has come to mind in those situations.

Back in the early 2000s, I met Springsteen briefly in Cleveland, when I worked in the Indians’ front office. I had backstage access to his concert at what was then Jacobs Field, so it was just a quick shake of the hand. “Darkness” is more than a song for me, so even a fast handclasp was pretty electrifying.

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Bruce Springsteen Performs Full Album, “Darkness on the Edge of Town” London, June 15 2013

Despite excellent renditions of individual songs, notably Lost In The Flood, the most stunning aspect of the show is, of course, the complete performance of Springsteen’s masterpiece, Darkness on The Edge of Town. “We can, er, keep taking requests,” we hear Springsteen say to the audience, “or we can play Darkness on the Edge of Town from start to finish.” ”A simple proposition,” writes Michael Stutts on the Backstreets website, ”but one that defined this show.”
Reviewers and commentators were clearly overwhelmed by the performance of Darkness. Hann writes:
“The centrepiece of tonight’s show is a complete performance of the 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town, an album Springsteen describes as being ‘at the heart of what we do,’ which deals with themes barely suited to this mass act of communion: doubt and identity, and lives being torn apart. It’s undoubtedly one of rock’s most profound and ambiguous albums, and its performance is a triumph. As the coda of Racing In The Street ebbs and flows across the 71,000 people in the stadium, the silence is absolute, as if everyone has their own shattered dream to remember. Only Candy’s Room, so dependent on precision for its build and release of tension, suffers a little with stadium sound, but it’s a tiny gripe.”
Like Hann, Hearn found Racing In The Street particularly affecting, writing:
“The standout was a heartbreaking ‘Racing in the Street.’ Everybody stood around me was in tears. Each time Bruce extended the instrumental outro he seemed to be getting more and more emotional himself. Moments like that don’t come very often and it is something I will never forget.”
Manzoor comments:
“It was the first time a British audience has been treated to Springsteen performing an entire album and from the fiery intensity of Adam Raised a Cain to Max Weinberg’s menacing drums on Something in the Night to Nils Lofgren spinning
on one foot while playing the guitar solo during Prove it all Night with his teeth it was breathtaking.
The audience were about as jubilant as it was possible to be considering they were hearing 10 songs streaked with anger, despair and desperation.”
Enjoli Liston, reviewing the show for The Independent, states:
“From ‘Badlands’ to the album’s final track and namesake, the performance is a thing of real and rare brilliance, leaving the crowd silently awed and euphoric in equal measure throughout it.”
At greater length, Daniel Paton, gives the following view on the music OMH website:
“Tonight, London is lucky enough to get Darkness On The Edge Of Town, perhaps Springsteen’s greatest long form achievement, an album on which he drew deep from the well of human experience and sadness. It’s not exactly the obvious choice for a stadium show…but Springsteen’s return to his back catalogue is never about mere nostalgia. It is more a celebration of the timelessness and undiminished authority of these songs – and these songs of darkness and defiance are among his very best.
Tonight, the band perform these songs with a sense of dignity and responsibility. Badlands remains an audience participation favourite, in spite of its rather different context in this show, but Adam Raised A Cain raises the intensity levels to fever point, with Bruce taking an explosive guitar solo and singing in impressively gutsy style. Something In The Night is beautiful and greatly enhanced by the presence of the E Street Horns…whilst Candy’s Room retains all of its lusty drive. A moment of genuine poignance [sic] comes with Racing In The Streets [sic], its glorious extended coda (on which Roy Bittan stretches out brilliantly on piano) perfectly encapsulating the E Street sound…
…Factory is melancholy and controlled, whilst Streets Of Fire has an urgency and power. Then there is the inevitable double whammy of two of his best songs – a typically storming Prove It All Night (sadly played without the ’78 intro), on which Nils Lofgren is allowed his one moment of show-stopping virtuosity, an excoriating solo complete with teeth and 360 degree spins. The album’s brilliant title track concludes things with convincing soul and fire.”
These accounts might be hyperbolic, with a certain amount of artistic license (a couple commenting on Hann’s review point out that people could clearly be heard chatting during the coda of Racing In The Street, for example), but, overall, they convey the thorough-going excellence of the performance.

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Bruce Springsteen Darkness 1978

Bruce Springsteen New York, Darkness 1978

Springsteen Darkness Picture Disc Album

Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town

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Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour, Capital Centre, Landover, MD 1978

I grew up in a Maryland suburb called Kettering, about two miles from the Capital Centre in Landover. It had opened in 1973, a few years after my young parents bought a house in which we lived until the early 1980s: 109 Weymouth Street. Some controversy had surrounded the arena’s construction, but I don’t know what.

My father was (and is) a sports fanatic, and he was thrilled to have such a state-of-the-art sports arena so close to home. The Washington Bullets played there, and it was, for many years, Dad’s heaven. When I was 13, Dad took me to the Cap Centre to see my first-ever concert: John Denver.

In subsequent years, he and my mother would pack the four kids into a VW bus and haul us around America so we could see places they never had. In preparation, my mom had a new-fangled device installed in the bus: an 8-track tape player. All those hours driving, my father cruised with his favorite music full-blast. To this day, I can sing whole albums by the likes of Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot, and Fleetwood Mac. God save me from The Starland Vocal Band.

By the late 1970s, disco had just about robbed music of its soul, but my girlfriends and I didn’t know that. We spent hours together in one bedroom or another, making up line dances that (we thought) rivaled the Hustle.

Spring 1978 I was 15 and in love with a boy named Marty Campbell, who brought me into his musical world, which revolved around Jimi Hendrix and playing guitar. Soon, he had me listening to Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell, CSN&Y, and anyone else he deemed worthy. By the end of summer, our relationship was done and my heart broken.

At about the same time, my sister, Michele, had a boyfriend, who liked to work on cars. And somehow, he heard about a guy named Bruce Springsteen, whose sound he loved. He owned an 8-track player in his little yellow TR7, and the two of them would sit in that car, and listen. My sister, an equally compliant girlfriend where music was concerned, agreed with her boyfriend: Bruce was something special. I didn’t get it….even so, when the boy showed up with tickets to see Bruce at the Capital Centre, the two of them took me along.

I wish I had a more particular kind of memory, one that would reveal details about that night’s show—but those are lost to me. The sense of it, though, remains. Bruce Springsteen was some kind of crazy man who owned not just the physical space, but the crowd with it. The sheer energy of the man stunned me—he played that guitar as if it were his own heart.

There was nothing cool about him, as far as I could see. He was about my parents’ age—all of 29 or 30, and they were old. But that music went right through me: All that heartache and longing, all the wished-for escapes, all the anguish, all over the place.

The guy talked so much; he had so many stories to tell. There was nothing polished about him, and he sure as hell wasn’t John Denver or Jimi Hendrix.

I doubt that I had ever heard a saxophone before, much less seen one. Except for basketball games, I had probably never seen such a huge man in person before—but I knew that whatever that man was doing, I wanted to live inside it.

All through that dark arena, with its ever-floating smoky haze of cigarettes and pot, thousands of people were feeling the same way. We were one body, moving with and through Bruce. The only other thing that had ever felt so good had been kissing Marty in the woods the summer before. Prove it all Night? I wanted a boy to feel that way for me, prove it all night for my love.

At home, things were on rough footing, and I was one sad, lonely girl. That arena, that night, someone sang a pain I could not express, and didn’t know others shared.

In my memory, that night went on forever. It couldn’t have gone on long enough.

Michele and I were in big trouble when we finally got home, hours past our curfew. Our mother rejected our excuse: The singer wouldn’t quit. Who knows what punishment we received? By then, we’d have done anything for Bruce.

Thirty-five years later, we still would. We saw Bruce a few more times at the Cap Centre. Once at RFK, the old football stadium in DC. The Verizon Center (formerly the MCI Center) downtown, FedEx Field in Largo, Nats Stadium last fall. Michele says I missed the best show ever, a few years ago when Bruce played the Mariner Arena in Baltimore, his first show in that city. Dad was sick with cancer and I was away for work. Adulthood is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Along the way, Dad became a fan, too, and he comes to every show with us. Nothing feels better, now that I am 50, than standing in an arena with my Dad, cruising toward what we know is going to be the end of the show, when the lights come up and we are all 16, just born to run.

We know every word to every song, and we sing as hard as we can. That night in 1978 in Landover, Bruce thought he was talking about the Darkness on the Edge of Town. Really? There was magic in that air.

Janice Lynch Schuster
Riva, Maryland

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Springsteen Darkness Tour, Largo MD 1978

Springsteen Darkness Tour, Largo MD 1978

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Behind The Scenes of Darkness on the Edge of Town with Dick Wingate

With the much-anticipated release of the commemorative box set for Darkness on the Edge of Town slated for this November, Bruce Springsteen’s classic record is getting renewed attention in the music world.Fans are surely hungry for all the historic material they can get from the 1978 recording sessions and subsequent tour.For our own preview of what’s to come, we contacted Dick Wingate, who was intimately involved in the launch and marketing of the album and tour. He offers an insider’s view of what the Darkness era meant to Bruce and the band, while painting an often-humorous behind-the-scenes account of some of the tour’s highlights.

Enjoy, and be certain to check out the book The Light in Darkness, which one fan said, “… would make a great companion piece to the commemorative Darkness box set…”

I first met Bruce right after Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. was released. Columbia Records brought him to WBRU-FM in Providence, R.I., where I was music director, and later program director, and we were one of the first stations in the country to play Bruce.

He was very shy and clearly not used these sorts of situations. This was shortly after the first album had come out and he looked just like he did on the cover of The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle cover, rail thin, wearing a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers. It was mostly a quick meet and greet and we didn’t go on the air.

I’ve always wished I’d seen him play before I had met him. Later that night he played a gig at Brown University with the original lineup of the E Street Band and I was hooked for life.

Bruce’s performance at Brown was so incredibly dynamic compared to every other new act I’d seen at the time, and he really fed off his interactions with the band. He also made eye contact with many of the several hundred students in the crowd while performing, which made it feel so personal and powerful.

I fondly remember Suki Lahav coming out to play violin on “New York City Serenade” and it just floored me that this was the same group that had been playing bar band songs and David Sancious’ jazzy licks.

Two years later I became Bruce’s product manager at Columbia Records, a job which entailed coordinating all the marketing, packaging and advertising efforts and eventually, in 1978, writing the original marketing plan, which I still have, for Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Click on image to enlarge.Original marketing plan for Darkness on The Edge of Town album, with Picture Disc (top right) and In-store poster display (bottom right).

Bruce and Steve outside New York recording studio The Record Plant, October 1977. Notice Bruce is holding a cassette tape of the Darkness demos.Ross Gadye©

The album was held up because of the legal dispute between Bruce and his former manager, creating a three-year wait between Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town. Everyone at Columbia believed that no matter how many years between albums, Bruce Springsteen was one of the most important artists on the label. Evidence of this was shown when the label continued to support the pre-Darkness tours after sales of Born to Run had settled down, even when no new album was scheduled.

In the months leading up to its release I met with Bruce and Jon Landau several times to discuss the marketing approach. Jon was involved with nearly every detail and he instantly made me feel part of a special team. By this point of course nothing happened without Bruce’s ultimate approval. Bruce said to me that if it were up to him he would just have the album appear in the stores one day without any notice. He was adamant about not hyping it. He consciously moved away from the Born to Run album hysteria. No “future of rock and roll” type headlines. No hype, no beard, no earring, no sneakers. This was Bruce’s first album about adult themes.

I was not at any of the recording sessions. However, I was asked to come to the Record Plant to hear the album in its entirety upon its completion by Jon Landau. The only other people in the room besides Jon and myself were Jimmy Iovine and Mickey Eichner from Columbia A&R. At that point I don’t think any other people at Columbia had heard the album and I was thrilled to be invited.
It was obviously darker and that framed our approach to the advertising. So we agreed that the copy in all print, radio and TV advertising would be simply: “Bruce Springsteen. The new album: Darkness on the Edge of Town. In stores June 2nd.”

Bruce’s TV spot ran on Saturday Night Live the Saturday before and after release of the album. The TV spot was very simple, as this was the way Bruce wanted it. The Darkness tour was the key to generating the excitement with the press, the media and fans and that is why we did broadcasts on leading FM stations, which allowed millions of fans to hear Bruce live for the first time. AM radio was not supporting the album very much. We did a lot of local and national print advertising as well, and he did cover stories in Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, Musician, Creem and all the major publications of the day.

While we would have hoped for more top 40 radio airplay, everyone was extremely pleased with the results. We were very proud to have Bruce’s first double platinum album.

The original album cover, an extraordinary sepia-tone photo by Born to Run photographer Eric Meola, showed Bruce driving straight toward the viewer in the badlands under threatening skies in a convertible; but this was scrapped in favor of a simple portrait taken by Frank Stefanko in Bruce’s house.

Unfortunately the original image did not reproduce as well as we would have liked, and slight color differences in the proofs would alternately make Bruce either look sunburned or jaundiced! So Bruce requested to actually go to the printing press when the first covers were being printed to approve it. No artist had ever gone to the printer before, and this indicates the level of attention Bruce gave to absolutely everything.

Doug Yule©

The photo taken of Bruce and I at the printer, which appeared in Dave Marsh’s book Born to Run, was taken by Doug Yule, a former member of The Velvet Underground who was working at the printer at that time and just happened to have a camera!

As part of the marketing plan we purchased a billboard on LA’s Sunset Strip, and wouldn’t you know it, Bruce and the band actually defaced their own billboard one night with spray paint. I have to agree it wasn’t the best looking billboard.

Before and after photos of the infamous Los Angeles Sunset Strip billboard. Bottom billboard: Robert Landau ©

This was in July 1978 when Bruce did an unforgettable performance at The Roxy, where he debuted “Point Blank” and “Independence Day” on the same night. It was one of only a handful of clubs he did that tour and was broadcast live on KMET in Los Angeles.

A few days later we went to Phoenix to shoot Bruce’s first ever music video, live performances of “Badlands,” “Prove it All Night”, “Born to Run” and “Rosalita.” Only “Rosie” was seen fit for release by Bruce, and I was able to have it debut on ABC as the closing video in a two-hour special on the history of rock and roll. The girls who jumped on stage in Phoenix during “Rosie” and knocked him down were not scripted or encouraged, it was real, and the video helped expose the

Dave Marsh and Dick Wingate on the set of the Phoenix video shoot, July 1978

Springsteen aura to the many who had never seen him play. But we didn’t get a video to help promote the Darkness album itself. I think Bruce felt the other performances were good but not great, and in looking at them again now, 30-plus years later, “Badlands” and “Prove it All Night” didn’t feature the other band members all that much in the editing. Still, I hope they are released as part of the Darkness box set.

I accompanied Bruce and the band on many key dates on the Darkness tour and have many great memories. I was at opening night in Buffalo, Philly, Boston, Nassau Coliseum (where Bruce asked me to intro the band on stage!), Los Angeles (The Forum and Roxy), Phoenix, Miami, New York’s Madison Square Garden, New Haven, New Jersey’s Capitol Theater, Cleveland’s Agora, Princeton (where I brought Elvis Costello with me), and New York’s Palladium.

Dick, Bruce and Mike Pillot, backstage at Madison Garden, New York, August 1978

In Miami, we took the band to Joe’s Stone Crab, one of the most famous seafood restaurants in the city. We had to wait like everyone else because they didn’t take reservations. After a long time we sat down at the table, looked at the enormous menu of seafood and Bruce simply asked, “Do you think I could get a hamburger?” It just seemed funny after the extended wait and everyone had a good laugh.

Shortly before the tour, Bruce’s agent Barry Bell and I brought Robin Williams and his wife to Bruce’s house one afternoon, while Robin was in New York recording his first album at the Copacabana. Robin had not met Bruce and was really looking forward to it. Barry hired a limo for the four of us, and when we arrived Bruce was on a three-wheel ATV far away in the yard. He caught his leg between the bike and a tree and when he came back to the house he was limping. As the day went on, Robin and Bruce naturally got along great — after all they were the best performers in their respective fields — and I remember we had a meal cooked for us. Bruce kept his leg raised as much as possible to reduce the swelling, but he must have been in more pain than any of us realized or he admitted. The next day Jon Landau told me that as soon as we left he went to the local hospital for treatment and if I remember correctly he had to stay off his feet for a few days.


One of my favorite memories was a trip to Yankee Stadium with Bruce and Little Steven prior to the release of the new album. Bruce had been out of the public eye for a long time and had recently shaved his beard. We took the subway to Yankee Stadium and not a single person recognized him, or Steven for that matter. During the game a guy behind us walked over and asked, “Is that Bruce Springsteen?” And that was it for the whole day. It was quite astounding, and I realized that the images from Born to Run — the sneakers, the beard, the earring, the cap — were gone now and the image of Bruce we were forming for the Darkness campaign would be tougher, cleaner and more adult. Incidentally, even though Bruce and Steven ate just about every kind of junk food you could get at the stadium, they still wanted to stop for pizza on the way out.

Having seen Bruce play for nearly 40 years, I am convinced that the 1978 tour was the tightest, most aggressive and emotional tour that Bruce and the E Street Band ever did. It was the young adult becoming a man, just as the album was. It was the bar band taking arena-size stages for the first time and conquering America. We attended a party at Bill Graham’s house after the Winterland show, my last on that tour — a concert so good I had tears in my eyes.

Dick Wingate
February 23, 2010

Dick Wingate was the product manager at Columbia Records from 1976 to 1978 and was instrumental in launching Bruce Springsteen’s fourth album, Darkness on The Edge of Town. He was a pioneer indigital music while head of content at Liquid Audio, and is currently a digital entertainment consultant with TAG Strategic.

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Bruce Springsteen – Rockin Houston on the Darkness Tour

Springsteen played Houston twice on the Darkness tour: the first show was July 15, 1978, in the Sam Houston Coliseum, and the second show was December 8, 1978, at The Summit. The first show was less than one week before the Rolling Stones were to play the Coliseum on their Some Girls tour so it was one heck of a week for Houston concert fans.

It took some time to get used to his cleaned up image since it had been three years since Springsteen last played Houston next door at the Music Hall. There was some concern that as he changed his look maybe he had also changed his style of performance. But when he came onstage with the words “Gimme some lights. Houston long time, no see”, all doubt was gone. The show rocked — it was a classic multi hour show.

When he returned to Houston less than 6 months later playing to a much large crowd at the Summit, it felt as if the world was getting in on the secret. As a side note, a large billboard was erected over one of Houston’s freeways. Allegedly, Bruce and a few others scaled it in the middle of the night and added their own art work.

Bruce Kessler
rockinhouston.com


Bruce Springsteen 1978 - SAM HOUSTON COLISEUM, HOUSTON, TX

Bruce Springsteen SAM HOUSTON COLISEUM

July 15, 1978- SAM HOUSTON COLISEUM, HOUSTON, TX
Set list

Bruce Springsteen ticket 1978 - SAM HOUSTON COLISEUM, HOUSTON, TX

  1. BADLANDS
  2. NIGHT
  3. SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
  4. DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN
  5. FOR YOU
  6. THE FEVER
  7. THE PROMISED LAND
  8. PROVE IT ALL NIGHT
  9. RACING IN THE STREET
  10. THUNDER ROAD
  11. JUNGLELAND
  12. PARADISE BY THE “C”
  13. FIRE
  14. CANDY’S ROOM
  15. ADAM RAISED A CAIN
  16. NOT FADE AWAY – SHE’S THE ONE
  17. GROWIN’ UP
  18. BACKSTREETS
  19. ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)
  20. THE PROMISE
  21. BORN TO RUN
  22. BECAUSE THE NIGHT
  23. QUARTER TO THREE

Bruce Springsteen - July 15, 1978 - SAM HOUSTON COLISEUM, HOUSTON, TX


December 8, 1978 – THE SUMMIT, HOUSTON, TX
December 8, 1978 – THE SUMMIT, HOUSTON, TX
December 8, 1978 – THE SUMMIT, HOUSTON, TX
Set list

December 8, 1978 – THE SUMMIT, HOUSTON, TX

  1. BADLANDS
  2. STREETS OF FIRE
  3. IT’S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY
  4. DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN
  5. SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT
  6.  INDEPENDENCE DAY
  7. THE PROMISED LAND
  8. PROVE IT ALL NIGHT
  9. RACING IN THE STREET
  10. THUNDER ROAD
  11. JUNGLELAND
  12. THE TIES THAT BIND
  13. SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN
  14. THE FEVER
  15. FIRE
  16. CANDY’S ROOM
  17. BECAUSE THE NIGHT
  18. POINT BLANK
  19. MONA
  20. PREACHER’S DAUGHTER
  21. SHE’S THE ONE
  22. I GET MAD
  23. BACKSTREETS
  24. ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT)
  25. BORN TO RUN
  26. DETROIT MEDLEY
  27. TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT
  28. YOU CAN’T SIT DOWN
  29. QUARTER TO THREE

December 8, 1978 – THE SUMMIT, HOUSTON, TXDecember 8, 1978 – THE SUMMIT, HOUSTON, TX


Discover the limited edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.
The Light In Darkness is a collector’s edition, we are almost sold out. Less than 200 copies remain. A great companion piece to The Promise box set, it focuses on the 1978 Darkness on The Edge of Town album and tour.
Read about the iconic concerts from fans who were there – the Agora, Winterland, Roxy, MSG, Capitol Theatre, Boston Music Hall, The Spectrum and over seventy more!
Click Here to Order Now and Save on Shipping: During the Wrecking Ball Tour 2013:The Light in Darkness

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Counterbalance No. 112: Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’

Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger
PopMatters: The Magazine of Global Culture

Klinger: For nearly 40 years, Bruce Springsteen has given countless rock critics a reason to get out of bed in the morning. His sincere sound is fully rooted in rock traditions, and his lyrics are usually reaching for Big Statements (except when they’re not, in which case they’re considered knowing riffs on party rockery). In fact, Springsteen is such a darling of the criterati that it’s more than a little surprising to me that it’s taken The Great List this long to get back around to one of his albums. The mathematical vagaries could have delivered us to the mega-hit Born in the U.S.A. or the grim, acoustic Nebraska (the Springsteen album that’s OK for indie types to like), but somehow we landed on 1978’s Darkness on the Edge of Town, Springsteen’s hard-earned follow-up to Born to Run.

I’m inclined to say that this choice seems about right. Darkness on the Edge of Town to me sounds like Springsteen in quintessence, what we talk about when we talk about Bruce Springsteen. The twinkly piano of Roy Bittan playing off the golden-toned organ sounds of Danny Federici, the lyrics chronicling the travails of blue-collar life, and the comfort we take in knowing that there’s a Clarence Clemons saxophone solo just around every corner. And epic conceptual pieces like “Jungleland” were given the old heave-ho. For years, when anyone did a Springsteen parody, loving homage, or blatant rip-off, this is the sound they drew from. So having said all that, Mendelsohn, your past experience with Bruce left you cold, but that was a long time ago and I’m sure you’ve grown considerably since then. Are you on the trolley this time around?

Mendelsohn: I can’t find my ticket. Well, that’s not entirely true. I just didn’t buy one. I spent all of my money on candy and whiskey. So . . . I’m just going to drunkenly chase the trolley down the street, jump on the back, and hope no one notices while I hang off the platform and wash down the rest of these Pixie Sticks with whatever is left in this bottle.

My appreciation for the Boss has increased since our last go around over two years ago. And while I have enjoyed my time with Darkness on the Edge of Town, I found myself going back and forth between real exuberance for this record and something registering slightly above complete apathy. What it really came down to was what song was playing at the time. I think I only really like certain things the Boss does while I can’t stand other aspects of Springsteen’s songwriting nature. I have a hard time taking Springsteen as a whole. I’m much more apt to really enjoy the raw energy of “Adam Raised a Cain” as opposed to the soaring melodrama of “Something in the Night”. In between those two aspects of Springsteen I find something like “Badlands”, and I’m trying to figure out if it’s the Springsteen I like or the Springsteen I could do without. Why do I have such a problem seeing the Bruce from the Springsteens?

Klinger: OK, let’s start out by saying “Badlands” is the Springsteen you like. Trust me.

But I think I see what you’re saying. Darkness on the Edge of Town marked the point where Springsteen started moving away from romanticizing his experience (and the experiences of the people he grew up with) and began more actively chronicling it. Born to Run was all mythology and the notions of a young man who was breaking free. And there are still some vestigial elements of that here on this album—“Something in the Night”, which you mentioned, “Streets of Fire”, maybe the title track.

Those numbers that are lyrically unvarnished are, I agree, the strongest, though, and that may be a function of the process by which this album came into being. After the success of Born to Run, Springsteen ended up embroiled in a protracted legal battle with his manager, Mike Appel. As a result, he was effectively barred from recording, and that artistic (and financial) frustration had to have taken a toll on him just as he was surely hoping to take a victory lap. There’s nothing romantic about endless contractual disputes, and that dismal drabbery had to be informing his approach.

Mendelsohn: Darkness on the Edge of Town is indeed a much bleaker album than Born to Run. I think that’s what I like about this record. Born to Run was too glossy in its over-romanticization of suburban escapism. The escapism is still present in Darkness on the Edge of Town, but it has taken on a much darker tone as the harsh truths of reality start to creep in around the seams. I find it sad in a way that real life beat the untarnished, optimistic escapism out of most of his songs. But those songs that move away from the mythology into the darker side of real life feel much more true to my ears. “Candy’s Room” is one of those songs that cuts closer to the truth, as Bruce details a young man’s naive love of the damaged Candy.

For me though, the true masterpiece on this album is “Factory”. There is something Dylan-esque about Springsteen’s take on the working life, and like all good Dylan songs, there is a twist at the end of “Factory”, that hits me every time I hear it. I like that dose of realism, I like the fact that Springsteen has muddied his escapism with the sadness and desperation of reality. Like real life there are the high and lows, the desperation and redemption. I know that’s what Springsteen was ultimately trying to achieve, and I like it much more than I thought I would.

Klinger: Well, good. For a long time I had been worried that younger generations were having trouble seeing past Springsteen’s baggage (the terrible ‘80s videos, the fact that people seem to want to call him “the Boss”). But Darkness on the Edge of Town might actually be a pretty good point of entry for the uninitiated. For one thing, Bruce made a conscious decision to favor guitar solos on this album—he felt they were less in your face than sax solos, and it also helps dispel some people’s preconceptions.

I must disagree with you, though, and state for the record that the album’s defining moment is in fact “Racing in the Street”. I’ve been listening to this album for going on 30 years, and it’s only recently hit me how powerfully constructed that song is. It’s a straightforward enough drag racing ballad at first, but then at 2:37 (right after the Martha and the Vandellas drop), there’s a joyous little interlude. Then thirty seconds later, it’s gone and we’re in a tale of a sad young couple—two people who bought into the beautiful sucker myth of “Thunder Road”. Suddenly the same Martha and the Vandellas reference at 4:43 takes us into a mournful build-up as these people solemnly make their way toward some form of redemption. And it’s all the sadder because you kind of know they aren’t going to make it. Springsteen and the E Street Band create those little moments throughout the album (the constant escalation of tensions in the first part of “Candy’s Room” is a great example), but I was taken aback by the subtlety on “Racing in the Street”. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m a little choked up right now.

Mendelsohn: Dry your eyes, Klinger. Seeing a grown man weep at the beauty of rock ‘n’ roll makes me feel weird.

It’s not that I don’t agree with your interpretation of “Racing in the Street”—I do, I agree wholeheartedly. “Racing in the Street” is the song that anchors this album. As the last song on side one, it will leave you thinking as you pull yourself from the chair to flip the record, questioning whether or not you want to continue living in Bruce Springsteen’s world (even if there is much less saxophone). But then all of that sadness seems like a distant memory as Springsteen tears into the optimistic “The Promised Land” (and its sweet, sweet guitar solo—followed by the obligatory sax solo—followed by a surprising harmonica solo).

I will maintain, however, that the song “Factory” remains the true emotional centerpiece on this album. After the uplifting “The Promised Land”, “Factory” starts off with what sounds like an ode to steady employment, but ends with the realization that the monotony of such jobs can be soul crushing while breeding disdain, desolation, and violence. And if you want to talk about a great little moment created by Springsteen and the E Street Band, I would direct your attention to the last verse of “Factory” when Springsteen sings, “And you just better believe, boy, somebody’s gonna get hurt tonight”. On the word “hurt” Max Weinberg hits the crash cymbals to add just enough extra emphasis to send shivers down my spine. Every time I hear it, Klinger, every time.

Klinger: Well with all the shivering and welling up, this has turned into a curiously emotional Counterbalance. But that’s not surprising, I reckon. The 1978 Springsteen was a raw nerve, coping with the frustrations that arise when romantic dreams become day-to-day realities. That’s what comes through on Darkness on the Edge of Town—that realization that even when you do get what you want, you still got to live it every day.

Discover the limited edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.
The Light In Darkness is a collector’s edition, we are almost sold out. Less than 200 copies remain.
A great companion piece to The Promise box set, it focuses on the 1978 Darkness on The Edge of Town album and tour.
Read about the iconic concerts from fans who were there – the Agora, Winterland, Roxy, MSG, Capitol Theatre, Boston Music Hall, The Spectrum and over seventy more!
Click Here to Order Now and Save on Shipping:
The Light in Darkness

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John Gorman on … Springsteen at the Agora, August 9, 1978

On Aug. 9, 1978, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band played the Agora in a performance broadcast live on WMMS. It has since become the most famous Springsteen bootleg of all time. The show was part of a free small-club tour Columbia Records hoped would revive The Boss’ fame, after it began to fade following Born to Run. The man who made WMMS into an FM rock giant, John Gorman, brought Springsteen to town for that show and was in the audience.

The Agora was the best rock club in America. I’ve been to rock clubs in a lot of cities during the same period of time and nothing compared to what we had at East 24th Street.

Cleveland was in chaos at the time. City services were falling apart, the crime rate, everything. … 1978 was the best of times and the worst of times. But the one thing that was happening — the most positive thing in Cleveland — was rock ‘n’ roll. If you were young, you knew you were living in the hotbed of rock ‘n’ roll.

Springsteen played much longer than he was supposed to. You can always tell a person who was really at that show because they get so passionate they’ll talk your ear off. I’ve seen many, many, many concerts over the decades, and nothing compares to the electricity I saw that night. It was one of those things where the audience and the band were in a mind meld. Watching that show, it was just like one high after another. It just kept building and building, and building and building. … Max Weinberg, the drummer, said it was the best concert they’d ever done in their life.

The only thing that went wrong that night is Springsteen did a second encore, which was “Twist and Shout,” that did not get broadcast originally. Luckily, they ran tape on it. If you listen to the bootlegs, you’ll hear that it’s slightly different fidelity than the rest of it.

In those days, radio ratings were different. … We were only rated for 16 weeks out of the year and this Springsteen concert happened outside of ratings. I remember it being a hot, sticky, rainy, kind of terrible August evening. So, people weren’t outdoors. They were inside. Those radios had to be cranking everywhere.
We were already calling ourselves the rock ‘n’ roll capital of the world. But that night with that Agora concert, we proved it. The only thing I could say after that concert was: “What are we going to do next? How do we top this thing?”

— as told to Jim Vickers
Clevelandmagazine.com

Discover the limited edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness.
The Light In Darkness is a collector’s edition, we are almost sold out. Less than 200 copies remain.
A great companion piece to The Promise box set, it focuses on the 1978 Darkness on The Edge of Town album and tour.
Read about the iconic concerts from fans who were there – the Agora, Winterland, Roxy, MSG, Capitol Theatre, Boston Music Hall, The Spectrum and over seventy more!
Click Here to Order Now and Save on Shipping:
The Light in Darkness

Link to this post | Leave a comment