Zero And Blind Terry

PHANTOMS - V2 backing track#2 5:44 US5 / ROOI / SA914
PHANTOMS - V3 5:37 uncirculating
PHANTOMS - V5 5:37 DDITV / MT1 / ROOI / SA914

Note: "Phantoms", also known by the titles, "Over The Hills Of St George" and "Over The Hills Of St Croix", was written during early 1973, and apparently performed live several times during May and June, of note the recorded performance on June 13 at Binghampton, NY. Sony logs during the Wild, Innocent sessions show Phantoms worked on June 22 and 26, V1, the backing track of both final studio tracks of "Phantoms" and "Zero And Blind Terry", also dubbed "Wild Zero and Blind Terry" out in bootleg world later on. V2, an alternate and unreleased instrumental take, was recorded on one, or both of these dates. Up until June 28, these takes were referred to as "Phantoms"; at that session, vocal tracks and instrumentation were added to V1 for both "Phantoms" V3, and "Zero and Blind Terry" V4, completing each. But on July 1, 1973, Bruce added additional dubs to Phantoms V3, making V5 the final take. So it looks like while he was singing "To be free is to be lonely", Bruce had been writing another song with the Phantoms backing track, "Zero and Blind Terry", with lyrics about "the kid they just call Zero", and a wild love story ("Pack your bags baby and together they ran like reindeer through the streets"). This was an E Street version of "West Side Story", the kind of music that would vanish with "Jungleland", followed by his bitter lawsuit with Mike Appel in 1976; of course, Bruce denies everything. Zero and Blind Terry was first played live on July 18, 1973, at Max's Kansas City, New York, NY. Sony studio logs only mention "Zero" on June 28 and August 7, 1973. V1, the unreleased backing track sometimes called "Wild Zero" by bootleggers, but NEVER called Phantoms, except in the Official Sony logs we rely on. Along with V2, a shorter, alternate backing track that was not used, it is reasonable to assume one or both were recorded June 22 and June 26, 1973, any number of times, under the name "Phantoms" only. The first take of "Zero and Blind Terry" did not occur until June 28, the rock on which these statements are made. Then the studio logs list one or more takes of both of our titles on June 28, 1973, which we designate as the never heard V3 (Phantoms), and the standard version of "Zero" V4. beloved for years until 1998. It was pressed to acetate, used as the publishing demo, but not included on album #2. It has circulated on various boots for many years, much loved by collectors and hardcore fans.

According to the Tracks session data, V6, the version on the 1998 set comes from the June 28 session. That is like saying the tracks on "The Promise" 2010 all come from 1977. We would be overlooking the significant time and energy applied in 2010, overdubbing most of the 1977 tracks with strings, violins, horns, angelic voices and so on. The logs show the June 28 version was referenced on November 5, 1997, but we could not identify the source and dates of the overdubs applied to the version on Tracks. Sancious’s piano was certainly not recorded on June 28, nor were the backing vocals by Suki Lahav. The June 28 basic track was sent out as a publishing demo, in an early mix from June 28 or earlier. An overdubbed flute that had been removed by June 28 was still there. Most, and possibly all of the overdubs described here were done by and included in the August 7 session, mixed and stored away with the invisible title of V6, never circulating until being released on Tracks. Suki Lahav is also not credited in the Tracks booklet, which may indicate some bitterness remains, based on her husband Louis whisking her away after the final March 1975 E Street Band gig, on a one-way El-Al flight to Tel-Aviv, never to return. According to Mike Appel, "Quite simply, Bruce fell in love with Suki and she with him. She then had to get out to try and save the marriage." This was presumably the fraught situation that prompted Louis to comment in 2010, "I prefer not to say [why I left the States] … [but] I felt a Mack truck might have run me over if I'd stayed one more day." The Lahavs have been interviewed about this ad nauseum, over the years, in Israeli newspapers, for further information. We not aware of a comment by Bruce, or perhaps his memory of this is confused with many others in his legendary love life. Remember he told Sandy, "I promise to love you forever?" in both versions of 4th of July. Not a perfect person, but honest to the end.

All the statements referring to "Phantoms" as an early or work-in-progress version of "Zero" are incorrect. These are two different songs, with no overlapping lyrics. Who could confuse, "oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-ohhh oh", and "those phantoms still fly in strict formation over the hills of Saint George" with "If you look hard enough, if you try, you'll catch Zero and Terry and all the Pythons oh just hiking the streets up in the sky". Hey Zero! Lyrics courtesy of

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