Backstreets

HIDIN' ON THE RIVER - V1 uncirculating
BACKSTREETS - V2a 6:44 WAR / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC / ROOI
BACKSTREETS - V2b 3:12 private cdr
BACKSTREETS - V2c 6:26 ESR / BTRS
BACKSTREETS - V3a 6:33 DDITV / BWNH / BTRS / UBTROC / ROOI
BACKSTREETS - V3b 6:02 BTRCS
BACKSTREETS - V4a 6:32 URT1 / BTRS / BTRCS
BACKSTREETS - V4b 6:42 UBTROC
BACKSTREETS - V4c 6:05 WAR / BWNH / ROOI
BACKSTREETS - V5 6:27 BORN TO RUN

Note: The story that the song 'Born to Run' took six months to complete is well known, but "Jungleland", "Thunder Road", and "Backstreets" all took longer. Early drafts of "Backstreets" from 1974 were called 'Hidin’ On The River'. After Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg joined the E Street Band in August 1974, the new version of the band attempted to record the song at 914 Sound Studios. Clinton Heylin reports that they "made stabs at" the "late-night betrayal song" on October 17, 1974. These sessions did not go well, and after several months of slow progress, Bruce asked Jon Landau to come aboard in March 1975. One of Landau's first moves was to relocate the sessions to the Record Plant.

On April 25, their second week there, V2 was recorded. The second verse starts with the line "Running in the dark" and includes mostly-unwritten lyrics to the bridge, although it included the line "save yourself a new guitar string to get you around by", however, the third verse and the ending are present. V2b is a short take, and circulates in some private CDR sources; this is the same take and mix as V2a. Version 2c, released on E Street Radio, has guitar overdubs. V3, the "strings version", was cut May 19 or 23. Lyric changes now include "St. Johns" in the second verse and a still-incomplete bridge, with the placeholder lyric "the heroes in the funhouse ripping off the fags". V3a and 3b are vastly different mixes, but share the same lyrics, and were probably cut on the same day. V4 was recorded May 23 or July 6; the source quality is poor (V4b is pitch correction remastered by Fanatic Records, V4c is 30 seconds short), but what stands out is the second verse lyrics are now complete. However, the bridge remained incomplete. It appears Bruce envisioned the bridge containing a confrontation of great emotional power, but the words are still not there. The strings are dropped from all future versions. The final album sequence of July 2, 1975, had "Backstreets" as the album closer, but this was revised to the current configuration (ending Side 1) on July 7. V5, which is the album take and final mix, was completed on July 18, 1975, with a vocal overdub of the bridge.

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