New Springsteen “Darkness” Reissue Contains Intriguing Additions

Though grounded in a rock and roll, with a healthy R&B/60’s Soul tradition chromosome, Bruce Springsteen was signed as a folk guy (at least that’s what Columbia Records thought they were getting). As successfully as any artist in modern music, has been able go from folk to rock to soul to pop without losing his ability to write insightful lyrics and embrace rock music.

But the record that has proven to be the strongest, most timeless work is 1978’s Darkness on the Edge of Town album.   It gets a newly remastered treatment (The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story, a 6 CD/DVD set, due out November 14) with a package that includes two CD’s of unreleased, new/old songs from the original recording sessions; a live concert video from 1978; and a making-of documentary – one that debuts at the Toronto Film Festival September 14, and on HBO in August.

I have the orginal CD in my car.  It’s a favorite on my iPod.  I can still remember the day in 1984 , going to the used record store in Hillsdale, Michigan, and coming out with a used vinyl version.  I still have it.

It a record that has some of Bruce’s meanest guitar playing, down-but still-hopeful lyrics and a core set of songs (“Badlands”, “Prove It All Night”, The Promised Land”) that form the heart of most of the band’s live shows.

He had to wait two years following the release of Born to Run before he could even get into the studio to record the album, because of the lawsuit with his management, and a judge’s injunction against recording with his new manager Jon Landau while the court case dragged on. 

He was writing, but not recording.  He was ready but not allowed.  He went on the road out of necessity (it was his only way to earn money with his music) and made his band great.

The unreleased songs from the original sessions are reportedly part of a group of 70 or more songs recorded but not used.  I have Sirius/XM and listen to the E Street Channel, so I wasn’t expecting as many nice surprises in those 21 songs.  Not many have been played on that satellite radio station, which consistently proves itself as the best place to hear previously unheard Bruce music.

Here’s a cut (via youtube) of “Save My Love”.  

The wild card is the DVD of a 1978 Houston show, taken from the original house video feed, and I’m hoping is a best-yet opportunity to see what a high percentage of Springsteen fans think is one of his best tours.  Also on this DVD is a 2009, no audience, full album, live take on Darkness on the Edge of Town by the current E St. Band (wow! – didn’t see that one coming) and video outtakes/more songs (from the studio and live) of seven songs, plus five songs from the Phoenix ’78 show that was the source for his old live “Rosalita” video – from the early MTV days.

In a press release, Springsteen wrote that the “lost album” reflects the thought that one “could have/should have been released after Born to Run and before the collection of songs that Darkness on the Edge of Town became.”


The Promise Disc 1
Racing in the Street (’78 rock version)
Gotta Get That Feeling
Outside Looking In
Someday (We’ll Be Together)
One Way Street
Because the Night (original studio recording)
Wrong Side of the Street
The Brokenhearted
Rendezvous (original studio recording)
Candy’s Boy

The Promise Disc 2
Save My Love (Listen now at
Ain’t Good Enough For You
Fire (original studio recording)
Spanish Eyes
It’s a Shame
Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)
Talk to Me (given to Southside Johnny)
The Little Things (My Baby Does)
The Promise
City of Night

Darkness on the Edge of Town (Paramount Theater, Asbury Park, NJ, 2009)
A performance of the album in its entirety, shot in HD without an audience

Thrill Hill Vault, 1976-1978
From studio rehearsals to live performances –  clips include Phoenix footage, re-edited by Thom Zimny.
Save My Love (Holmdel, NJ 76)
Candy’s Boy (Holmdel, NJ 76)
Something in the Night (Red Bank, NJ 76)
Don’t Look Back (NYC 78)
Ain’t Good Enough For You (NYC 78)
The Promise (NYC 78)
Candy’s Room Demo (NYC 78)
Badlands (Phoenix 78)
The Promised Land (Phoenix 78)
Prove It All Night (Phoenix 78)
Born To Run (Phoenix 78)
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (Phoenix 78)

DVD: Houston ’78 Bootleg: December 8, 1978, at the Summit in Houston, TX
Streets of Fire
It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City
Darkness on The Edge of Town
Spirit in the Night
Independence Day
The Promised Land
Prove It All Night
Racing in the Street
Thunder Road
The Ties That Bind
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
The Fever
Candy’s Room
Because the Night
Point Blank
She’s the One
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
Born to Run
Detroit Medley
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
You Can’t Sit Down
Quarter to Three

One thought on “New Springsteen “Darkness” Reissue Contains Intriguing Additions

  1. Bruce gave us a wonderful example of a creative person not letting circumstances stop/damage his creativity. Most people would never have written something during those frustrating years, would have lost their belief in themselves, their drive to succeed. But he didn’t, he did what he could and he did it well, like he’s still doing today.

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