Racing In The Street

RACING IN THE STREET - V1 5:48 DO-3 / LM-3 / UP / AM
RACING IN THE STREET - V2a 6:42 LM-3 / UP
RACING IN THE STREET - V2b 6:44 ODM / HOD / UP / AM
RACING IN THE STREET - V2c 6:51 DARKNESS
RACING IN THE STREET - V3a 6:22 LM-2 / DDO / DO-2 / DDOC / O711S
RACING IN THE STREET ('78) - V3b 6:47 PROMISE

Note: Springsteen started writing "Racing In The Street" in 1976, and working titles included "'32 Ford" (found in a document titled "New Songs", reproduced in The Promise facsimile book) and "Dying In The Street", according to author Clinton Heylin. The latter phrase appears twice in the earliest known circulating recording (V1), a slow solo piano arrangement from July 2, 1977 at Atlantic Studios, verified in Sony's studio logs. This take uses an incomplete version of the alternate "Got a '32 Ford, she's a 318…" lyrics, and is also missing verse three, perhaps not yet written, alongside the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album melody. Efforts resumed on August 1, with four consecutive days working on the song. Which arrangements were worked in this period is unclear. V2a was likely from one of these sessions, as indicated in the 'Lost Masters III' liner notes, and this take would eventually be utilized for Darkness On The Edge Of Town (V2c), with a vocal overdub in the second verse. Heylin recounts its "transfer to a 'comp.' reel at August's end," which, according to studio logs, was August 30, 1977.

V3, sometimes known as the 'alternative' "Racing In The Street", with wailing harmonica and tremendous vocal, was recorded on August 10, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. Bruce has also referred to this as "the rock version." This arrangement still features the '32 Ford, and perhaps comes from before Springsteen refined the lyrics and settled on the Darkness album arrangement by month's end. There was more work undertaken on August 12. The officially released V3b, titled "Racing In The Street ('78)" on The Promise, uses the same 1977 vocal take from V3a, apart from a small overdub, replacing a slurred line in the third verse (that ends "…just to make it alright") with a modern vocal. David Lindley plays violin; there is a reference in Sony's documentation to January 2, 1978 for "Racing In The Street" and "The Factory Song" and is possibly the day Lindley recorded his violin tracks for both songs, but that is not yet confirmed.

There is little doubt that more work was done on this song than any other during the sessions, except perhaps "The Promise". Assistant engineer Thom Panunzio kept a detailed record of the tape reels, the various mixes and takes, with alternate lyrics, with or without the band, or certain instruments. Eight days were spent during August, until completed masters were transferred to a reel on August 30. But Springsteen returned to "Racing In The Street" on November 28, 29, 30 and December 6 and 9, 1977. As of December 9, two more completed masters were transferred to a stereo rough mix reel; one is a mix of take 16 of reel 5 recorded November 29, 1977, the other is a mix of take 12 of reel 5 recorded November 30. It is unknown which arrangement is on this reel. Mixing and overdub sessions were held, with Chuck Plotkin, on March 21–23, 1978, and mix take 46 went on Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

Bruce adapted the lines "summer's here and the time is right / for goin' racing in the street" from Martha and the Vandellas' 1964 hit "Dancing In The Street", as well as The Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man". He has also acknowledged the Beach Boys' 1964 "Don't Worry Baby", and it has been said the instrumental break is a tribute to that song.

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