Bruce Springsteen Gift Guide for Black Friday and beyond…

(Updated and edited version of the original post.)
by Pete Chianca

If you’re anything like me, right about now you’re so stuffed with gravy that the thought of heading out for a Black Friday shopping spree is about as appealing as … well, anything other than just continuing to sit here, watching football with your belt undone. But gifts must be got at some point, and if there’s a Springsteen fan on your list, you could do a lot worse than any of the items listed below:


Bruce Springsteen hasn’t released anything new since Wrecking Ball,(but he has released some old(er) material, Dream Baby Dream, video version, and we can expect High Hopes in January, so you may want to grab a copy of Long Distance Salvation, the Nebraska tribute album featuring acts like Joe Pug, Spirit Family Reunion, David Wax and Kingsley Flood. For 15 bucks you get the limited-edition colored vinyl(sorry, sold out) and, since all proceeds benefit Project Bread, a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Five bucks will get you the mp3. And for another option, there’s also Nils Lofgren’s exquisite recent disc, Old School — which, given the title, would be appropriately purchased on vinyl.


No Springsteen fan worth his or her salt would be caught without Bruce, the much-heralded bio from Peter Ames Carlin — that’s a no-brainer this holiday season for the Bruce Tramp on your list, if they don’t have it already. But there are plenty of other Bruce book options, including Marc Dolan’s Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which features some hearty analysis of the various phases of Springsteen’s career; Springsteen FAQ by John D. Luerssen, a veritable Springsteen encyclopedia that covers his life and career in short, digestable chunks (much like your Thanksgiving dinner) and The Light in Darkness, Lawrence Kirsch’s collection of fan tributes and amazing photos from the Darkness era, which only has a few copies left available in its limited run.(Save on Shipping Here: The Light in Darkness) And we of course recommend our very own Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums — granted it’s hard to wrap because it’s an eBook, but you can always get it as a $2.99 treat yourself.


You can’t go wrong with a Springsteen painting. Or maybe you can. But we prefer photographic imagery for our walls, visit, featuring some of the best Springsteen concert shots this side of the Mississippi.


At $600-$700, a ’50s-era Fender Telecaster guitar like Bruce’s most famous axe might be a bit pricey unless you really, really like the person. But if you only kind of like the person, for $37 you can pick him or her up a Hohner 1896 Marine Band Harmonica like the one Springsteen’s been known to pull out of his back pocket from time to time.

Good luck everyone and Happy Shopping!

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“Darkness” the Book – The Perfect Holiday Gift For the Springsteen Fan on Your List

“The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story” is a killer 3 CD/3 DVD package that includes a remastered CD of Springsteen’s 1978 masterwork, two albums of previously unreleased tracks, six hours of studio and concert footage, plus an 80-page facsimile copy of the songwriter’s personal notebooks from the time, filled with handwritten lyrics and more. Probably the Springsteen fan on your holiday list already has that set, or you’re not ready to spring the cash.
Or maybe you just want to take your favorite Springsteen fan by surprise with something else. In that case, check out “The Light in Darkness,” a large format paperback book of great photos and concert reminiscences that covers the next chapter in that particularly fertile period of Springsteen history.
As seen in the boxed set’s documentary film about the creation of the “Darkness…” album, it was a prolonged and sometimes painful process as Springsteen wrote and rewrote dozens of songs while in the midst of a lawsuit that placed him in self-imposed studio exile. Once the 70+ songs were whittled down to the 10 that Springsteen felt best served his artistic vision and then released to the world, the sense of release and triumph that he and the E Street Band felt upon hitting the road again resulted in a tour that many fans (this DAME among them) consider as one of the best and most energetic of Springsteen’s entire career.
The band was on fire and, although the dramatic and sometimes angry songs of the “Darkness” album were on the set list, the sense of celebration and exhilaration that had always fueled Springsteen’s concerts was at full power in epic, three-plus hour shows.

“The Light in Darkness” is a great fan-focused souvenir of that Springsteen tour, which ran from May 1978 through January 1979. Publisher Lawrence Kirsch, who’s clearly as much a fan as a business man, solicited stories from the fans in the crowd and then combined their impassioned tales with over 200+ classic photographs from the tour, showing Springsteen and the band in all their intense and sometimes goofy glory, proving it all night, every night.
As Kirsch put it, “The connection and bond made between performer and audience during this tour set the stage for all future albums and tours to come…The book will give readers at least a small perspective of what we experienced in 1978.”
It’s a beautiful book that will bring back fond memories to those who were there, and maybe elicit a little envy from those who missed out.
The book is only available on-line for purchase(Not sold in stores), where you’ll also find a treasure trove of Springsteen material, including a photo gallery that gives a taste of the book’s great shots.

Marianne Meyer, Digital Music Examiner

Celebrate the 2014 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 for Free Shipping! Less than 100 copies remain.

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Bruce Springsteen ‘For You’ Book Raffle

Win Bruce Springsteen For You Book!

In support of the Montreal General Hospital’s Fall 2013 fundraising campaign, Lawrence Kirsch, publisher of “For You, Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s Legendary Fans” and “The Light in Darkness,” is holding a raffle with a chance to win a brand new signed copy of “For You,” which has been sold out since December 2008.

The generosity of donors, volunteers and auxiliaries has made the MUHC what it is today…these precious funds are used for the benefit of current and future patients at the MGH. This year we are collecting funds to benefit two MGH departments, the Emergency/Trauma, and the Gastroenterology Department.

To help raise funds we are raffling off a brand new signed copy (by the publisher) of For You: Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen’s LegendaryFans.

If you missed your chance to purchase a copy of this limited-edition book, or even if you just want a second copy to keep as a collector’s item, now is your opportunity. First edition copies of “For You” often sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay, when you can find a copy.

Each $10 ticket you purchase gives you one chance to win and a $15 ticket gives you three chances to win the book. The contest is open to everyone and tickets can be bought from October 11-21, 2013. Tickets can be purchased at The Light in Darkness and For You Bruce, where the winner will be announced October 25, 2013.

Participants can enter the contest as many times as they wish and all proceeds go to the Montreal General Hospital. The book, autographed by the publisher, will be shipped to the winner free of charge anywhere in the world, so everyone is encouraged to enter.

You can help the fund raising efforts for the 2013 campaign by participating in the raffle for a copy of For You. All monies collected will be donated to the Montreal General Hospital.

The Montreal General Hospital, founded in 1821, enjoys a distinguished world reputation, as well as an impressive history of community service. The Montreal General Hospital, a pioneer hospital in North America, introduced teaching at the bedside and founded the first medical school in Canada — the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University.

The hospital has remained allied as a teaching hospital for the century and a half of the Faculty’s existence. The Montreal General Hospital is dedicated to patient care through diagnosis, treatment, research and teaching.

“Through the years, I’ve read almost every book written about Springsteen. Some are great and many are not. Over time, I’ve even become cynical when I hear about new books. In the last few years, there have been a plethora of coffee table book releases in the Springsteen world. Each one in itself is a gorgeous work of art that will glisten on your polished coffee table. However, chances are you are still missing the ultimate Bruce Springsteen keepsake: For You. When I heard about this book a year ago, I dismissed it thinking I didn’t really need yet another glorified coffee table book. I was wrong, dead wrong. For You takes the reader on a magical, mystical and poignant journey through forty years of Bruce Springsteen’s life. It’s a time machine to the past where tickets were once $7, the E Street Band was a boy’s only club, Steve Van Zandt looked like a member of Jimmy Buffet’s band and most of the members of the E Street Band could have begun their own television show – ‘Stashin.’ I wasn’t impressed with the book, I was bowled over.

Anthony Kuzminski

“In reading For You, at first it’s hard to believe that one performer could possibly have touched this many people this deeply – lifted them from depression, kept them from suicide, helped them through divorce or the death of a parent, or worse, a child. But story after story reveals just how much Springsteen’s music and his almost superhuman presence on the concert stage have penetrated people’s lives and, in as much as it is possible for music to do so, made them whole.

In fact, there’s a running theme of these reminiscences, one that is sure to warm any Bruce fan’s heart: that you are not crazy. Not crazy for seeing dozens or even hundreds of concerts; not crazy for feeling that Springsteen’s songs and lyrics have actually helped carry you through some of life’s toughest moments; not crazy to think that this man whom you’ve never met has and continues to fill some kind of void in your life.”

Peter Chianca
Excerpt from Blogness on the Edge of Town

Please help spread the news on your Facebook page and Twitter.


Good Luck!

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Secret Confessions Of A Springsteen Fan

This week marked the delightful Bruce Springsteen’s 64th birthday, so it seems only right that we here at A Message 2 Pretty celebrate it for your leisurely read.

The truth is, the voice coming to you from our London contingent is a HUGE, unadulterated, lifetime fan of The Boss. I’ve taken many a ribbing for it, but this heart won’t be turned. But…. before you reckon to yourself that if you’re not a Bruce fan, this article isn’t for you and start the great scroll of the Internet ether, it could come in useful yet, stick with us. You see, the likelihood is, that (whether you know it or not,) in your midst there is a huge Bruce fan – Be it a relative, friend, colleague, even partner, or quite possibly ex, who too will not be convinced otherwise, so here’s a few things you may find handy –

1. Bruce fans, across all ages and from all backgrounds are not as rare as you may believe. The older end of the scale tend to have had an epiphany moment many years ago, when they first came across him that has informed them ever since. The younger end of the bunch are generally the product of the aforementioned epiphany-dwellers and were raised on this man (as in my case.) Springsteen is pretty much in their blood and connected to memories for as long back as their memory will take them. Then of course there’s the converts, who weren’t around in the early years, neither were they raised with him, but my, do they make up for lost time – You’re not going to convince Bruce fans otherwise.

2. Directly connected to point 1, Springsteen fans are a loyal bunch, and we’re not just loyal to The Boss but to each and every member of the mind blowing E Street Band; a rich bunch of unbelievably talented and charismatic musicians. Bruce has always ensured that, despite his magnetism as the ultimate frontman, the band members have each been recognised for their individuality, their character and their talent. Not just that, Bruce fans are loyal to each other! It seems hard to believe for such a huge act, but the camaraderie between fans of The Boss is a powerful one. Fans at Bruce gigs are unlike the crowds at any other gig you could go to, (and I’ve been to many a gig.) When Springsteen pulls a fan up on to the stage, they become the crowd’s ambassador. And… there’s nothing better than getting chatting to someone in a bar and finding out they too are a fan – Instant guarantee that this is going to be a long night! – You’re not going to convince Bruce fans otherwise.

And then… Here comes the crux of it:
3. Any references you make to bandanas, tight jeans, glorification of the US or cheesiness (I’ll return to these latter two points later, ) or indeed, any other thing you wish to throw at it, will only serve to prove to a fan that you’re just not familiar enough with his material, or that your knowledge is outdated and reflects the work from 30 odd years ago. Or dare I say it, what they may be thinking is you fundamentally missed the point. This will particularly be the case if your argument falls in to the latter two categories of ‘glorification of the US’ or ‘cheesiness’, which invariably tends to be rooted in a (sorry folks,) misreading of ‘Born in the USA’ – That this is thought to be a patriotic number is comparative to when the authorities figured Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land’ (which incidentally, Bruce does an incredible version of) would make a cracking National Anthem.
If this is resonating, feast your eyes and ears on this stripped-back rendition of Born in the USA and keep your ear tight to the words –

Fortunately for us fans, the remedy to these conditions (yes, we probably would consider them an affliction of some sort,) is in listening to more of his material and luckily enough, we can play a role in this, with a plethora of recommendations – You’re not going to convince Bruce fans otherwise.

4. A derogatory comment about Bruce Springsteen’s age and references to ‘Dad dancing’, ‘Old men’ etc. etc. (which, I have to admit, I find disappointing that such ageist attitudes still occur in our society, though are hopefully decreasing) will only serve to heighten a Springsteen fan’s admiration for his zest for life, boundless energy, endless creativity, incredible abilities, and let’s face it, impressive physique – Seriously, you’re really not going to convince Bruce fans otherwise!

So, what is it about Bruce that encourages such a devout following? Well, and this is by no means an attempt at converting you if you’re not a fan (though if it does I’ll be the first to admit that would be a happy by-product.)

Let’s take a closer look –
Bruce has, in his 40 year career, consistently pulled out incredible music – Banging rock ‘n’ roll beats and stirring ballads among many forms, influenced by a whole host of inspirational artists; from Bob Dylan to Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie to Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry to The Band, to name but a few. His Poetic lyrics tell the plight of the working man, the working struggles, love, loss, laughter – it’s all there.

In 1978 Springsteen sited ’I grew up in a small town called Freehold, New Jersey. And I didn’t really move to Asbury Park ’til I was about 18, after my folks left me, but I sorta grew up, I guess as most kids do, on the wrong side of their father I guess. And he was 45 years old and he packed up everything in his car and took my Mother and little sister to California when they didn’t have no job, they didn’t have nothing, and I thought it took a lot of guts and I wrote this song for him’ –

Critics have argued that Springsteen sings of the working man’s struggles and yet, isn’t a working man – Fair call, but couldn’t the same argument be used on Dylan and look at that man’s genius. Also, take a look at it his background, as a Jersey boy, the eldest of three, and son of Dutch- Irish Father, Douglas, who was a Bus Driver amongst many other jobs and times of unemployment and Mother (of Italian ancestry) Adele, who worked as a Legal Secretary. Now skip down the decades to his current working life and, baring in mind they are already a well-established, hugely renowned act, we’re talking about a band who have relentlessly toured since 2002, pulling out 3 and a half /4 hour gigs all over the world, (many of which Bruce speaks in the native tongue at) on a nigh-on daily basis. Not just that, but they’ve written a plethora of tracks on the road, and have in those years nipped into the studio just long enough, and often enough, to produce six albums, before taking to the road again. Add to this the additional work duties of the band members – Take the example of the incredible Steve Van Zandt who, as well as playing mandolin, guitar and our heart strings in the E Street Band, has managed to fit in DJing, hosting, and a string of acting roles, including none other than Silvio Dante in the incredible Sopranos and currently, as Frank Tagliano, in the dark comedy (or as we’ve come to refer to it in my neck of the woods, Goodfellas meets Fargo) – Lilyhammer.

Another staggering example of working man’s spirit in the band, is the spellbinding guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, Nils Lofgren, who has found time to offer guitar lessons to the local learners when he’s homeward bound, at a mere snip of a price of around 20 dollars a lesson. Now, that’s a fair working ethic for a man in such a huge band.

Check out Nils’ solo in their song ‘Because The Night’; famously recorded by Patti Smith after (so the story goes,) Springsteen passed on the track to her when they were recording in the same studio.

Then, there’s the gigs! Whether you’re a fan or not, if you ever get the opportunity to see Bruce and the E Street Band play live, do it! Their gigs aren’t an evening out, they’re a rites of passage with the ‘house rocking, earth quaking, booty- shaking, Viagra-taking, love-making E Street Band’ (as Bruce refers to them) leading you through every step of the way. Personally speaking, in recent years, no Summer has been complete without heading to see them and often a little trip abroad to see them again, as once is nowhere near enough. In fact, the only thing you can possibly compare a Bruce gig to is … You guessed it, another Bruce gig.

Every member of the band brings something vital and unique to the whole and their individual part is celebrated more than any other band I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. So, in more recent years, the tragic loss of Danny Federici in 2008 and our beloved Big Man himself, Clarence Clemons in 2011 , has been truly felt by the fans. Yet their great work is still ever-present in the gigs, through projections, mentions, stories, and even, the finest tribute there could ever be, Clarence’s nephew; the incredibly talented Jake Clemons now in the band playing his Uncle’s parts beautifully in a way that does them both proud. Let’s take it back a bit to when ‘the change was made up town and the Big Man joined the band’ and enjoy some classic Clarence Clemons –

But perhaps there’s something more, and a little deeper to Springsteen and the devotion of his followers. For me, I think it’s that there is something deeply human about Bruce and the E Street Band, and a strikingly deep affinity that they have with people.

– I’ve stood in a crowd of 80,000 people and could’ve sworn he was singing for me, slung on their records, and could’ve sworn songs were written for me – As have millions of others.

And this personal touch makes it way to the collective. In the recent recession, when we were searching for a voice, who came out with it but Bruce? His mighty album ‘Wrecking Ball’ with insightful, searing lyrics proves a difficult one to pick just one track from, but perhaps ‘Death To My Hometown’; containing excerpts from ‘The Last Words of Copernicus’ is a good place to start –

When 9/11 hit, and we were struggling for words, who gave us them? Well, there he emerged with the album ‘The Rising’ – A potent piece written both before and after that day.

Who reacquainted us with the great heroes of the Dustbowl era, like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, John Steinbeck? Well, Bruce walked directly in the footsteps of Guthrie in his solo work ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’; an entire album based on Steinbeck’s mighty ‘Grapes of Wrath’.

Later, Bruce teamed up with some incredible musicians for the Seeger Sessions; a rousing, raucous, celebratory ode to the work of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie among others.

Not only that but he intimately acquaints us with the cyclical nature of our social landscape and draws direct parallels with the works of our Dustbowl heroes and reminds us we’re walking in their shadows in our current context. He has even gone so far as widely supporting an (until then,) relatively obscure journalism piece by Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson who have dedicated their careers for the past 25 years or so, to documenting ‘the saga of the new underclass’, telling the tales of the people affected by 1980s ‘Rustbowl’ and ensuing homelessness. Springsteen has leant his voice to their campaign, written prologues to their work and his track Youngstown vividly shares their story.

Even more recently, when the fan- based film ‘Springsteen and I’ was produced, Bruce ensured that he met the main contributors in person. The list is positively endless and so is the love.

So, if you happen to be reading this, and wondering why Bruce fans are so dedicated, there’s just a few reasons to start with. And maybe, just maybe, if you can’t beat us join us. He ain’t called The Boss for nothing!

Kirstin Maguire

Limited edition Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness, less than 120 copies left.
Focusing on Springsteen’s Darkness on The Edge of Town 1978 album and tour.
Save on Shipping- October-December
CLICK HERE TO SAVE NOW- The Light in Darkness
*The Light in Darkness book is not sold in stores.

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Top 10 Albums From 1978

Rock ‘n’ roll was fighting for its life in 1978. In addition to the usual pop and R&B songs battling for listeners’ ears, both punk and disco were making strong cases for rock’s irrelevance. With so many of the music’s key artists approaching 40 (whatever happened to that whole “Hope I die before I get old” mentality?), it seemed like way too many of them were banking on their past glories to get through this latest onslaught. So it was up to the new generation to keep kicking and screaming. Almost half of the records on our list of the Top 10 Albums From 1978 are either first or second LPs. And only two come from bands that ruled the airwaves only a decade before. This what rock ‘n’ roll sounded like at the end of the decade.

The Who Who Are You

The original band’s final album occasionally sounds like a last gasp. Coming three long years after its predecessor (an eternity back in the ’70s, when artists released new records every year), ‘Who Are You’ pushes forward but often with minimal energy. Still, John Entwistle’s three songs are among his best, and that killer title track ranks among the group’s all-time greatest singles.
Listen to: ‘Who Are You’

Cheap Trick Heaven Tonight

Sandwiched between Cheap Trick’s best record, ‘In Color,’ and their breakthrough live album, ‘Heaven Tonight’ captures a band at the brink of stardom. The riffs are big and plentiful; the playing is dynamic throughout. And the songs — especially the anthem-sized ‘Surrender’ — ring with power-pop brightness and raging confidence.
Listen to: ‘Surrender’

Warren Zevon Excitable Boy

Zevon’s breakthrough album is filled with the same sharp songwriting and expertly played L.A. rock that made his 1976 self-titled LP a hit with insiders. It’s just sharper and better played here. And the songs — ‘Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,’ ‘Werewolves of London,’ ‘Lawyers, Guns and Money’ — make ‘Excitable Boy’ a veritable greatest hits.
Listen to: ‘Werewolves of London’

Billy Joel 52nd Street

Joel got tougher and jazzier on his follow-up to 1977’s mega-selling ‘The Stranger,’ which finally made him a star after five stiff albums. ’52nd Street’ takes a more street-savvy approach to the music, boosting it with gritty guitars and lonesome horns. It’s also the most meticulously produced record on our list of the Top 10 Albums From 1978.
Listen to: ‘Big Shot’

Police Outlandos d’Amour

Nobody was really sure how to label the Police’s debut album when it came out in 1978. Was it punk? New Wave? Reggae? Rock? It was a little of each, with a sprinkle of something that belonged totally to them thrown in there too. The trio played like a prog-rock group, laying down complicated grooves with expert timing. But they also shoved back like snotty punks whose only opinion they valued was their own.
Listen to: ‘Roxanne’

Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food

Like the Police (see No. 6 on our list of the Top 10 Albums From 1978), Talking Heads were somewhere between punk, New Wave and rock. But they were definitely artsier and tighter tied to the post-punk scene than Sting’s band. Their second album expands even more, topping out with their funky Top 40 cover of Al Green’s ‘Take Me to the River,’ a sign of things to come.
Listen to: ‘Take Me to the River’

The Cars

Here we go again (see Nos. 5 and 6 on our list of the Top 10 Albums From 1978). What kind of music exactly were the Cars playing? Many of the songs on their debut album are fueled by fat, springy keyboards that don’t sound all that rock ‘n’ roll. But the riffs come from classic rock sources. Either way, it’s a great record.
Listen to: ‘Just What I Needed’

Van Halen
‘Van Halen’

First and foremost, Van Halen’s debut album introduced the world to the most innovative and exciting guitarist since Jimi Hendrix. But Eddie Van Halen’s wicked guitar lines wouldn’t carry nearly as much weight without his equally adept bandmates offering support. From the monster rhythm section to David Lee Roth’s oily rock-star huckster poses, ‘Van Halen’ brims with heavy.
Listen to: ‘Runnin’ With the Devil’

Rolling Stones Some Girls

Rebounding after a few lackluster albums, the Stones injected ‘Some Girls’ with healthy doses of their music’s main competition. Disco and punk grooves roll throughout the record, giving the band the shot of kick-ass it needed after resting (and getting fat and lazy) on all those World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band laurels.
Listen to: ‘Miss You’

Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town

‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’
Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen waited three years to release the follow-up to his breakthrough ‘Born to Run’ album. And it’s a monumental return, a continuation of the story he started on ‘Born to Run.’ Only now, the hope is gone, and the dreams are crushed. Springsteen’s characters walk through a wasteland of despair. ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ is angry, soulful, drained and ultimately resigned to the fact that its fate rests somewhere between hell and purgatory.
Listen to: Badlands

by Michael Gallucci

Limited edition Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness, less than 120 copies left.
Focusing on Springsteen’s Darkness on The Edge of Town 1978 album and tour.
NOW FREE Shipping During the month of September 2013
CLICK HERE TO SAVE NOW- The Light in Darkness
*The Light in Darkness book is not sold in stores.

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