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Saturday, 2 June 2018

40 Years Old Today: Darkness at the Edge of Town - Bruce Springsteen (1978)

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Darkness on the Edge of Town - Bruce Springsteen
Columbia/CBS
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and Steven Van Zandt
Released 2nd June 1978
US Chart #5
UK Chart #16



Side 1

Side 2

Personnel
    Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, lead guitar, harmonica

The E Street Band
    Roy Bittan – piano, backing vocals
    Clarence Clemons – saxophone, backing vocals
    Danny Federici – organ, glockenspiel
    Garry Tallent – bass guitar
    Steve Van Zandt – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
    Max Weinberg – drums


Singles from Darkness on the Edge of Town


(Yugoslavian Picture Sleeve)

Prove It All Night / Factory
Released May 1978 (USA) June 1978 (UK)

US Chart #33

(Spanish Picture Sleeve)

Badlands / Streets of Fire
Released July 1978 (USA)
US Chart #42

UK and other European Territories Single also released in July 1978 had Something In The Night as the B-Side



(Irish Picture Sleeve)

Promised Land / Streets of Fire
October 1978 (UK and Ireland)

Other Darkness Related Live Material


 Darkness at the Edge of Town - Live
Giants Stadium
2nd October 2009


 

Darkness at the Edge of Town
Live at Paramount Theater


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There are loads more links below to Full shows and to specfic songs. Click on the links to enjoy more from the Darkness era.


The Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour kicked off in Buffalo on 23rd May, followed by Albany (24th), a two night stand at The Spectrum in Philadelphia on the 26th and 27th before seeing out the month with a three night stand at The Music Hall in Boston (29th, 30th and 31st). On the actual day of release of the album he was probably playing the least rock and roll venue on the planet...the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis (his second appearance there having played 28th May 1976)!
 
Let's rewind for a few moments because three years had passed since the release of Born To Run and a lot of things had changed, namely there was no more Mike Appel in Bruce's corner due to a legal dispute that prevented the recording of new material (I'm pretty sure there's not much need to go over that ground here). With that legal battle finally sewed up it was time to get back to the studio.
 
One of the earliest songs that was demoed that did make it onto the album was Something In The Night. Springsteen had said as far back as 1976 that was going to be on the album but the version he was playing was very different to what ended up getting recorded. I actually really love the 1976 version. By 1977 it had changed to become the version we are more familiar with as this performance in February 1977 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto attests.
 
According to Clinton Heylin's book, E Street Shuffle The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, on 1st June 1977 Springsteen laid down the demos for eight songs: Our Love Will Last Forever, Breakaway, Don't Look Back, Rendezvous, Outside Looking In, Something In The Night, Because The Night, and I Wanna Be With You. Dave Marsh had been a bit fluid with the numbers when he had actually said that 20 tracks were laid down in one night!
 
More tracks would fall by the wayside between October 1977 - March 1978 but thankfully they saw the light of day in 2010 with the release of The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story Boxset and the stand alone release of The Promise album and a few tracks had already appeared on the Tracks Boxset (Don't Look Back, Hearts of Stone, Iceman and Give The Girl A Kiss). Others have remained unreleased (but thanks to the Bruceleggers can be found scattered around on various albums) and a few tracks were held back and would turn up on The River album in 1980 (Independence Day, Sherry Darling, The Ties That Bind, Drive All Night, Ramrod and Point Blank).
 
Songs like Fire, Because the Night, Hearts of Stone, Talk To Me, Don't Look Back, and Rendezvous would all find homes in the catalogues of other artists with Fire (The Pointer Sisters) and Because The Night (Patti Smith) being the most successful of the bunch.
 
It's clear that Steven Van Zandt had the opposite view with regard to accumulating songs: "Basically, the first ten good songs you write, you're supposed to put them out. Well, that process would end - forever." But Bruce had a theme in mind and therefore he chose very carefully what ten songs would make up the final released product.

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A personal word

I had actually intended to write a bit more on this but I've had a pretty crappy day with my epilepsy and have been unable to concentrate properly for long periods of time. I actually begun working on this around 10am this morning and six hours later (after taking a rest after a seizure) I'm going to finish up with some words I previously wrote a couple of years ago about the album.
 
Apologies if you were expecting something a bit more insightful! I just can't do it today! 😧

"My own thoughts about the album at the time (I was 15 years old when it came out!) was that here was a bloke who knew a thing or two about life and was able to communicate something of the desolation of being stuck somewhere you didn't want to be. I always get a bit annoyed by people who assume that because Bruce is American and he's often writing from an American perspective that he has nothing in common with those outside of the USA. But the fact is alienation, struggle, relationship issues, despair and hope etc are actually very universal themes so it's quite easy I think to find yourself in his songs even if you were growing up in London in 1978."
 
Happy 40th Anniversary, and I dedicate this post to John Kelly and all on Brucebook over on Facebook.
 
 


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