Sunday, June 2, 2013

darkness on the edge of town

Bruce Springsteen fought for the heart, the soul, and the control to produce this document of defiance in the face of broken promises.  After the release of his landmark 'Born to Run' album, Springsteen became embroiled in a legal battle with his  former manager Mike Appel  over the rights to his music.  He was unable to record with his new manager and producer Jon Landau for over a year until the court ruled in his favor.  In the meantime, he had amassed more than seventy songs.  'Darkness on the Edge of Town' was recorded at the Record Plant Studios in New York with Bruce Springsteen on lead vocals, lead guitar, and harmonica; Roy Bittan on piano and vocals; Clarence Clemons on saxophone and vocals; Danny Federici on organ and glockenspiel; Garry Tallent on bass guitar; Steve Van Zandt on rhythm guitar and vocals; and Max Weinberg on drums.  Springsteen and Landau produced the sessions with assistance from Van Zandt.  

Springsteen reveals:     "The whole force of 'Darkness'...was a survival thing.  After 'Born to Run', I had a reaction to my good fortune. With success, it felt like a lot of people who'd come before me lost some essential part of themselves. My greatest fear was that success was going to change or diminish that part of myself...People thought we were gone. Finished. They just thought 'Born to Run' had been a record company creation. We had to reprove our viability on a nightly basis, by playing, and it took many years. You had to be very committed. One thing we did well after 'Born to Run' was, I said: 'Woah.' I got on Time and Newsweek because I decided to be. But I was very frightened at the train and how fast it was going when we got on. In a funny way, the lawsuit was not such a bad thing. Everything stopped and we had to build it up again in a different place...The record was of its time.  We had the late-70s recession, punk music had just come out, times were tough for a lot of the people I knew. And so I veered away from great bar band music or great singles music and veered towards music that I felt would speak of people's life experiences...I was never a visionary like Dylan, I wasn't a revolutionary, but I had the idea of a long arc: where you could take the job that I did and create this long emotional arc that found its own kind of richness ... Some of the greatest blues music is some of the darkest music you've ever heard. And I had maps. Obviously, Dylan had come when I was 15, and obviously I listened to his music first, and his music contained a lot — I used to say when I heard 'Highway 61' , I was hearing the first true picture of how I felt and how my country felt. And that was exhilarating. Because I think 1960s small-town America was very Lynchian. Everything was there, but underneath, everything was rumbling. ... I think what Dylan did, was he took all that dark stuff that was rumbling underneath, and I think he pushed it to the surface with irony and humor, but also tremendous courage to go places where people hadn't gone previously. So when I heard that, I knew I liked that, and I was very ambitious, also...I think 'Darkness' came out of a place where I was afraid of losing myself. I had the first taste of success [with 'Born to Run'] , so you realize it's possible for your talent to be co-opted and for your identity to be moved and shifted in ways that you may not have been prepared for. I was the only person I'd ever met who had a record contract. None of the E Street Band, as far as I know, had been on an airplane until Columbia sent us to Los Angeles. ... It was a smaller, smaller world. And we were provincial guys with no money. So there was this whole little street life in Asbury Park, and New York was a million miles away. Localism, as a movement, hadn't occurred yet in music. So there was nobody saying, 'I need to see what those bands in New Jersey are doing.' It was a very different time. But the good part about it was you were very, very connected to place and you had a real sense of place. And it was unique, the place where you lived and where you grew up...No one knows anyone else who has any money. They only know you. And at the time, even though we're making a lot of records, we're not making much money, because we didn't know how to make records, or because I signed a lot of bad deals and it all went away. My desire to not get disconnected from my parents and their history and a lot of the people I cared about; I said, 'These things aren't being written about that much. I'm not sure. And those were the topics I decided to take on for that particular record, not so much out of any social consciousness, but as a way of survival of my own inner life and soul."

'Darkness on the Edge of Town' went to number seventy-five in Ireland, sixteen in the UK, twelve in Norway, eleven in New Zealand, nine in Australia and Sweden, seven in Canada, five in the US, and four in the Netherlands.  

'Darkness on the Edge of Town' 

full album:

"Badlands" – 4:01
"Adam Raised a Cain" – 4:32
"Something in the Night" – 5:11
"Candy's Room" – 2:51
"Racing in the Street" – 6:53
"The Promised Land" – 4:33
"Factory" – 2:17
"Streets of Fire" – 4:09
"Prove It All Night" – 3:56
"Darkness on the Edge of Town" – 4:30

'The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town' 
part one

part two

part three

A box set of outtakes from the sessions was released in 2010.
  'The Promise'

"Racing in the Street" ('78) – 6:49
"Gotta Get That Feeling" – 3:17
"Outside Looking In" – 2:16
"Someday (We'll Be Together)" – 5:35
"One Way Street" – 4:19
"Because the Night" – 3:25
"Wrong Side of the Street" – 3:34
"The Brokenhearted" – 5:19
"Rendezvous" – 2:37
"Candy's Boy" – 4:38
"Save My Love" – 2:36
"Ain't Good Enough for You" – 4:01
"Fire" – 4:08
"Spanish Eyes" – 3:50
"It's a Shame" – 3:14
"Come On (Let's Go Tonight)" – 2:18
"Talk to Me" – 4:20
"The Little Things (My Baby Does)" – 3:17
"Breakaway" – 5:30
"The Promise" – 5:52
"City of Night"
"The Way" (hidden track) – 7:08

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