Darkness On The Edge Of Town

disco_greetingsfromasburyparknj.jpg disco_thewildtheinnocentandtheestreetshuffle.jpg disco_borntorun.jpg disco_darknessontheedgeoftown.jpg disco_freshfishspecial.jpg disco_nonukes.jpg disco_theupescalator.jpg disco_theriver.jpg disco_inharmony2.jpg disco_donnasummer.jpg disco_nebraska.jpg disco_bornintheusa.jpg disco_wearetheworld.jpg disco_suncity.jpg disco_live197585.jpg disco_tunneloflove.jpg disco_averyspecialchristmas.jpg disco_chimesoffreedom_ep.jpg disco_folkwaysavisionshared.jpg disco_videoanthology_dvd.jpg disco_blackandwhitenightlive.jpg disco_humantouch.jpg disco_luckytown.jpg disco_plugged.jpg disco_philadelphia_ost.jpg disco_atributetocurtismayfield.jpg disco_greatesthits.jpg disco_americanbabylon.jpg disco_theghostoftomjoad.jpg disco_bloodbrothers_dvd.jpg disco_deadmanwalking_ost.jpg disco_tracks_cd.jpg disco_limbo_ost.jpg disco_theparisconcertforamnestyinternational_dvd_1.jpg disco_tilweoutnumberem.jpg disco_liveinnewyorkcity.jpg disco_therising.jpg disco_liveandrare_ep.jpg disco_theessential.jpg disco_liveinbarcelona_dvd.jpg disco_devilsanddust.jpg disco_storytellers_dvd.jpg disco_borntorun30.jpg disco_hammersmithodeonlondon75.jpg disco_thebridgeschoolconcerts25.jpg disco_weshallovercometheseegersessions.jpg disco_agoodlife.jpg disco_glitterinthegutter.jpg disco_liveindublin.jpg disco_magic.jpg disco_magictourhighlights_ep.jpg disco_greatesthits2009.jpg disco_workingonadream.jpg disco_theblueridgerangersridesagain.jpg disco_thelist.jpg disco_londoncallingliveinhydepark_dvd.jpg disco_thecollection197384.jpg disco_thepromise.jpg disco_thepromise_dvd.jpg disco_wreckingball.jpg disco_collection19732012.jpg disco_getupstanduphighlights.jpg disco_121212theconcertforsandyrelief.jpg disco_springsteenandi_dvd.jpg disco_highhopes.jpg disco_americanbeauty_ep_rsd14.jpg disco_thealbumcollectionvol119731984.jpg disco_thetiesthatbind.jpg disco_chapterandverse.jpg disco_thealbumcollectionvol219871996.jpg disco_moreyesterdaysthantomorrows.jpg disco_soulfirelive.jpg disco_springsteenonbroadway.jpg disco_westernstars.jpg disco_blindedbythelight_ost.jpg disco_westernstarssongsfromthefilm.jpg disco_blueswithfriends.jpg disco_lettertoyou.jpg disco_summerofsorcerylive.jpg disco_takethesadnessoutofsaturdaynight.jpg disco_stompingground.jpg disco_thelegendary1979nonukesconcerts.jpg disco_strictlyaoneeyedjack.jpg

Commercial Release: June 2, 1978
Label: Columbia 
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and Steven Van Zandt (assistant)
Recorded by Jimmy Iovine, Thom Panunzio, assisted by Gray Russell and Jim Ball, at Atlantic Studios
 (June - Aug 1977) and Record Plant studios, New York City (Aug 1977 - April 1978)
Mixed by Jimmy Iovine and Chuck Plotkin
Mastered by Mike Reese at The Mastering Lab, Los Angeles, CA
Photography by Frank Stefanko


Springsteen reached a final settlement in his year-long litigation with Mike Appel on May 28, 1977. Effectively this meant that for the first time in a year Springsteen was able to go into a studio and record. He wasted no time. Recording sessions for the fourth album began just four days later, on June 1, 1977 at Atlantic Studios in New York City. That first night Springsteen laid down at least eight songs, including a take of "Something In The Night" that actually made the final album. Springsteen had a considerable amount of new material – but the songs were in various stages of writing completion. Consequently, many of the songs were shaped over the course of numerous sessions spanning several months.

The sessions at Atlantic Studios were only two or three weeks old when problems surfaced. Bruce didn't like the sound he was getting from the studio (particularly the drums). On top of that, Atlantic did not offer a particularly comfortable or liveable environment for the musicians. So there was a decision taken to shift operations to the nearby Record Plant (where most of the Born To Run album had been recorded). However, they’d already made financial commitments to Atlantic Studios, plus on such short notice they were unable to find much un-booked studio time at the popular Record Plant. Consequently, the period through August into September 1977 saw Springsteen and the band recording at both studios – but mostly Atlantic. However, from mid-September thru late December all recording seems to have taken place at the Record Plant – where all but one the recordings issued on the original album emanate from.

With up to sixty songs floating around in his head and on tape, Springsteen had difficulty deciding which would end up on the album. The party songs, the pop songs and love songs were all rejected: "It was my way", he wrote in Born To Run, "I wasn't sure what I wanted but I smelled something in the air and knew when I didn't have it … I edited out anything that broke the album's mood or tension". The songs selected fit the theme, "all filled with will, resilience and resistance".

The actual recording sessions for Darkness On The Edge Of Town were completed by early January 1978. The mixing sessions began almost immediately and dragged on until late March – there were a tremendous amount of different mixes considered, with Springsteen changing his mind on the mix of "The Promised Land" as late as early April. "Candy's Room" was mixed from March 3-5, 1978, with take 42 selected for the album on March 5, 1978. "Factory" mix take 28 from April 3, 1978, was pressed to a metal acetate with the title "Factory Song" on April 12, 1978. "Badlands", recorded February 22, 1978, was pressed to metal acetate the day after final mix 23 on April 11, 1978, though another recording from February 24 or 25 was eventually issued on the Darkness album. More information can be found in the detail records of the tracks that made the album.

The final recording for Darkness On The Edge Of Town was the title track, which Bruce worked on in June 1977, then set aside for the duration of the sessions. On March 8, 1978, he suddenly called his forces together, and over three days, they re-recorded "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" from scratch and completed the album take on March 10. The Record Plant was undergoing some construction, so work was done in a studio with bare concrete walls, after the room was gutted prior to renovation. This suited Bruce fine. Final work on "Factory" also took place on March 10, and it is possible the band recorded additional parts that day. Bruce completed it on March 14. From March 1978 to the start of the Darkness Tour in late May Steve Van Zandt and Max Weinberg were very busy at nearby Secret Sound Studios with Southside Johnny’s Hearts Of Stone album (released early October 1978). Springsteen donated two non short-listed songs from the Darkness sessions to the Southside LP project.

According to comments by Darkness sessions recording engineer Jimmy Iovine, about thirty songs were recorded to a completed state and available for inclusion on the Darkness album. There were an unknown number of additional songs not fully completed. What "not fully completed" means is uncertain. At this stage, 32 songs have been officially released (the ten on the original album, four on Tracks and eighteen on The Promise), but several of these have modern vocal takes, and their 1978 state remains unknown. There is also an unknown amount of not fully finished recordings. The list below contains approximately 60 songs (several have multiple titles) from the period that likely encompass all of the thirty songs Jimmy Iovine was alluding to, as well as most of the ones never completed. 28 remain unreleased.

The audio from the Darkness sessions that has surfaced unofficially over the years has been of rather disappointing quality. During the late 1970s and 1980s most of it was of very weak quality. However, over the past twenty years lower generation audio specimens have emerged and the CD-era boots of this audio have been a noticeable improvement over their vinyl era counterparts. Yet in many cases it has become apparent that there were flaws in the way the original source individuals taped these studio sessions. There certainly appears to have been some hidden “fly-on-the-wall” type tapings. The other problem is that much of the leaked audio is of early studio workouts of these songs, rather than later, fully realized renditions. Most of the leaked studio material emanates from the June-October 1977 period, so the later November 77-January 78 sessions may include several other songs that remain undocumented, even after the release of The Promise.

The 2010 release of The Promise gives us a slightly better understanding of the Darkness sessions, as well as access to several tracks that were previously unknown to us such as "Save My Love". However, the wonderful notebook facsimile included in the box lists titles of many songs (see Part Four below) that are totally new to us. It is unknown how many of these songs actually exist; many may not be songs at all - just titles. Jimmy Iovine mentions in the making-of documentary that Springsteen wrote seventy songs for potential use on "Album IV". For more information, see the sections below, including Potential Album Sequences, and the "Darkness Sessions timeline", which can be accessed by clicking "Details" under Table of Contents; to the right you will see a second tab for "Timeline". Unlike our formal listings, this section includes unconfirmed rehearsal sessions and songs January 1976 to May 1977.


# Song Title Running Time Release

Total Running Time: 43:00

Additional Information

© All credits to the original photographer. If you want your photo to be removed, let us know, and we will remove it.

Disclaimer | © 1996 - 2022 | Brucebase

icon_facebook.png icon_twitter.png icon_youtube.png
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License