1972-05-02 CBS Records, New York City, NY

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Local Start Time ~10:30 / End Time ??:??

Info & Setlist | Venue

Corporate Offices of Columbia/CBS Records, known as "Black Rock", and the first meeting with John Hammond, truly legendary A&R Executive, best known for discovering Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, and now, in the twilight of his career, Bruce Springsteen. Mike Appel, who will later be accused of signing his client to a "slave contract", performs brilliantly, using his infinitely obnoxious personality to get his client meetings, auditions and ultimately, a recording contract with the best record company in the world, which is still in effect to this day, and will not come up for re-negotiation until it is in it's 55th year. One (informal) private audition that took place in front of an audience of two (John Hammond and Mike Appel) around 10:30am, upstairs on the 12th floor, in Hammond's office in the A & R Department of Columbia Records. The listed setlist is culled from the scattered, collective recollections of the attendees. All songs were performed on an acoustic guitar with a cracked neck borrowed from Springsteen's Castiles bandmate Vinnie Manniello. This performance was not recorded. It lasted 30-40 minutes, so one or two additional songs were probably played but those titles have never been articulated. Bruce's "set" began with "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City", after which Hammond said, "You've got to be on Columbia Records". In a 1980 interview Hammond mentioned he wasn't all that enamored with "Mary Queen Of Arkansas", but that he loved all the other songs Bruce performed that morning. Springsteen played "If I Was The Priest" only after a probing Hammond requested that Bruce sing something he wouldn't otherwise play live. Springsteen has since mentioned that "If I Was The Priest" was written in late 1970 or early 1971 and that he'd performed it live during his late 1971 residency at The Student Prince. When Bruce was finished with this audition Hammond mentioned that he would need to see how Bruce interacted in front of a live audience, so Appel immediately went about organizing a local club performance for that evening. These are the earliest known performance of "Growin' Up" and "Mary Queen Of Arkansas", although they had surely been played before.

Private CBS Audition

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