Born To Run - Studio Sessions


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Commercially Released*: August 25, 1975
Label: Columbia
Produced** by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and Mike Appel
Recorded Jimmy Iovine and Louis Lahav, assisted by Thom Panunzio, Ricky Delena and Corky Stasiak
 at The Record Plant and 914 Sound Studios (January 1974 - July 1975)
Mixed by Jimmy Iovine, assisted by Thom Panunzio, Dave Thoener, Andy Abrams and Corky Stasiak 
Mastered by Greg Calbi
Design by John Berg and Andy Engel
Photography by Eric Meola

* A small quantity of blank label, advanced promo copies (called "Script Covers") were issued to VIPs about August 12, 1975. Normal promo copies were sent to radio stations on or about August 24.
** The track "Born To Run" was produced by Springsteen-Appel.

Overview

Born To Run was many more things than just the making of a great rock and roll record. It was the time in which Bruce Springsteen came to terms with his employer (Columbia Records, now Sony) and his management (Mike Appel going out, Jon Landau coming in). His music, studio management, and band leader skills all continued to progress, but to get this record done, his troubled relationship with his record company needed to be healed.

The Born To Run album sessions can be traced as far back as January 8, 1974 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, New York, with the first rehearsals of Born To Run and Jungleland, and concluded on July 20, 1975 at the Record Plant, though final mixing continued after the band went on tour. Wings For Wheels, the official documentary film on the making of the album, fails to delve into depth about the sessions. It took Springsteen six months to perfect the song "Born to Run" in the studio. One of Springsteen's inspirations for the production of "Born to Run" was Phil Spector, whose Wall of Sound recording style was behind countless hits of the 60s. He made numerous alterations that didn't all stick, including a backing chorus and various string arrangements. The first documented live performance of "Born to Run" took place at Harvard Square Theater on May 9, 1974. Springsteen's future manager Jon Landau was in the audience, and his review of that show featured this iconic line: "I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen." Landau's Real Paper review, appearing at exactly the right moment, transformed the manner in which Springsteen was perceived at the record label. In receiving the most enthusiastic accolades imaginable from perhaps the most influential rock critic alive, Springsteen was no longer under pressure merely to make a profit; now he had to be a prophet.

The "Born to Run" single was finally finished on August 6, 1974, but sessions ground to a halt when David Sancious and Ernest "Boom" Carter left the band. Springsteen and Appel placed a classified ad in The Village Voice for replacements: "Drummer (No Jr. Ginger Bakers) Piano (Classical to Jerry Lee Lewis) Trumpet (Jazz, R&B & Latin) Violin. All must sing." According to Springsteen's and Gary Tallent's recollections, the band auditioned 60 musicians, playing a half hour with each one. Among the group of applicants were drummer Max Weinberg and pianist Roy Bittan. Weinberg's experience ranged from rock bands to the Broadway pit, and Bittan had played with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Engineer Louis Lahav's wife Suki, who could play violin and sing, began performing with the band on "New York City Serenade", "Jungleland" and "I Want You".

Over Appel's vociferous objection, Bruce invited his new friend Jon Landau, who had produced undistinguished albums for the MC5 and Livingston Taylor, to join the production team in April 1975, and the now ex-critic managed to wring some progress from the proceedings. Perhaps most important, he convinced Springsteen to move from Blauvelt to the more expensive Record Plant in Times Square, where at least the pedal on the piano would not be audible in the sound mix. Landau promptly hired engineer Jimmy Iovine (veteran of Lennon's Spector-produced Rock 'n' Roll ). Another was that, as from April 13, 1975, he officially took a cut of the action, 2 per cent of Born's retail sales. Landau's share came half from CBS and half from Appel. In their new studio on April 18, with Landau as a producer, Springsteen and the E Street Band could focus on the album without distraction. Working extensively with Roy Bittan on piano for "Thunder Road," and Clarence "Big Man" Clemons on saxophone for "Jungleland," Springsteen annotated exactly what he envisioned, note-for-note, to his fellow

"Thunder Road" just got it's name in March, when Bruce decided to dismantle most of "Walking In the Street", a song the band had worked on the previous fall. "Wings For Wheels", which had great verses, needed a great ending, and after two months of frustration, Bruce took the main coda of "Walking In the Street", and made it the instrumental outro of "Thunder Road". Three days each were spent on Thunder Road and Jungleland during April, recording base tracks, vocals, instruments, leaving mixing, dubbing of vocals for July, near the end of the sessions. After "Jungleland" was done on April 25, takes were cut for Backstreets. Sessions resumed on May 4 with "She's the One" and "Lonely Night In the Park". It was obvious there were lyric problems with "Backstreets" and "She's the One"; both had great build-ups to the bridge, where neither had any lyrics. The rest of May was spent working on finishing the prior mentioned, along with "Night", "Linda Let Me Be the One" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out". Two days were spent on "Backstreets", which was now finished except for a missing bridge. On the final day, May 28, the only song worked on was a new composition, "The Heist", later changed to "Meeting Across the River".

Steve Van Zandt officially joined the E Street Band a week later on July 20, the opening night of the Born To Run tour.

Photographer Eric Meola, who captured the iconic "Born to Run" cover image, took nearly 600 photos in this album's two-hour cover shoot. Springsteen was only looking directly at Clemons in two of those photos. Springsteen and the E Street Band played 10 concerts at New York's Bottom Line to build hype before the album was released. October 20 Springsteen appears on the covers of Time and Newsweek on the same day.

Read more about the history of the Born to Run record……

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1. THUNDER ROAD 4:44 BORN TO RUN
2. TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT 3:08 BORN TO RUN
3. NIGHT 2:57 BORN TO RUN
4. BACKSTREETS 6:27 BORN TO RUN
5. BORN TO RUN 4:28 BORN TO RUN
6. SHE'S THE ONE 3:36 BORN TO RUN
7. MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER 3:11 BORN TO RUN
8. JUNGLELAND 9:32 BORN TO RUN

Total Running Time: 39:28

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Additional Recordings

Details

BORN TO RUN - V1 uncirculating
BORN TO RUN - V2a 4:24 ESRR / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V2b 4:28 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3 4:27 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4a 4:40 BIS / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4b 4:38 WAR / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4c 4:34 ETRJ / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / BIS / ROOI / WAR
BORN TO RUN - V4d 4:30 BIS / ROOI / ETRJ / ETRV / BTRS / BTRCS
BORN TO RUN - V4e 4:23 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4f 4:21 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4g 4:30 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4h 4:23 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4i 4:21 BIS / BTRCS
BORN TO RUN - V4j 4:21 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4k 3:20 Ktel-CBS
BORN TO RUN - V5a 4:28 BORN TO RUN / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST / CHAPTER
BORN TO RUN - V5b 4:28 ETRJ / ETRV / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V5c 5:27 RTT
BORN TO RUN - V6 uncirculating
BORN TO RUN - V7 uncirculating

Note: On the road in the Mid-South late in 1973, he awoke suddenly one morning, grabbed his notebook, and inked in the title BORN TO RUN. A few weeks later, "Bruce, the band, and Appel got back to work at the 914 Sound Studios on January 8, 1974, spending a couple of days fiddling with rudimentary versions of both Born to Run V1 and Jungleland V1."-Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin. According to Bruce, the entire writing and recording process took six months while he was living at a rented cottage at 7½ West End Court in West Long Branch, which suggests it began in late 1973. V2a is the original backing track recorded at 914 Sound Studios on May 21, 1974, after obviously being rehearsed and practiced in prior days. V2b from June 26, 1974 dubs in Bruce's vocals to the V2a track. Bruce continued work on the song, adding lyrics and overdubs, at 914 Sound Studios, both in June and then starting a week's residency on August 1, 1974. Finally, on August 6, 1974. the final version was mixed down from seventy-two tracks to the sixteen available at 914 Studios, including strings, more than one dozen guitar tracks, sax, drums, glockenspiel, bass, multiple keyboards and a variety of voices. The core backing track V3 was mixed, along with numerous test arrangements V4x, with backing vocals, double-tracked vocals and strings, and finally the one chosen for release V5a. An advanced tape release of the official version V5b, first aired on WMMR in Philadelphia on November 3, 1974 (V5c), and subsequently broadcast by several USA radio stations during November 74-July 75. There is little difference between these versions.

Sifting through all the information and "fake news" on 'Born To Run' is agony; it is obvious many records of studio takes, dubbing and mixing work are missing. V6 was an unreleased tape from October 16 cancelled by Columbia. There is a studio log entry on March 17, 1975, which was not a dub or mix session. We will mark that V7. Over the years, more than ten alternative mixes of Born To Run have leaked out, and this a short list and description of those we could identify. V4a has a double tracked vocal and strings; V4b has double tracked vocals. strings, and a female chorus; V4c also has a female chorus. V4d has a female chorus that doesn't kick in until the 3rd verse; V4e is an alternative mix with only basic instrumental backing; V4f has only guitars in the instrumental backing; V4g does not have a drum track. V4h is Bruce's vocal without any backing instruments; V4i features string and enhanced high end; v4j has less overdubbing; V4k does not include the middle verse and the sax solo; this was released by Ktel-CBS in Australia-only in early 1976 on a multi-artist LP called Supersounds.

JUNGLELAND - V1 uncirculating
JUNGLELAND - V2 uncirculating
JUNGLELAND - V3 1:33 BIS / WAR / ET / BTRS
JUNGLELAND - V4 uncirculating
JUNGLELAND - V5 9:43 BTRS
JUNGLELAND - V6 9:44 ESRR / BTRO
JUNGLELAND - V7 9:37 DDITV / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC / WAR / URT1 / ROOI
JUNGLELAND - V8 9:14 ROOI / UBTROC
JUNGLELAND - V9 9:32 BORN TO RUN / ESSENTIAL: 2003
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Note: The first circulating live performance of "Jungleland" is from July 12, 1974, although the May 9 show at the Harvard Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA may be the actual debut. There is a good quality soundboard from the July 12 show, a test recording stopped by Mike Appel after 'Kitty's Back' and 'Jungleland' were complete. The song at this juncture is confused, sounding like a mini jazz opera, and David Sancious has still got Bruce under his 'New York City Serenade' spell. The song resolves itself quite differently, "the girls cry … in Port Authority halls, In the tunnel of machines they’ll hear the screams drowned out by the roarin’ train…The Rat reappears on Flamingo Lane, Then an angel rises from the sands and disappears down in Jungleland". Fortunately, the peyote wore off, Sancious and drummer Boom Carter gave their notice and moved on. But on August 1, before David and Ernest left, this is the version 2 that the E Street Band set out to record. However, he has already starting playing with that final verse, evidently unhappy with it. So the coloured girls are now jungle girls, and the Magic Rat reappears just in time to save the barefoot girl "from the edge of an on-coming train". The take borders on ridiculous, but Springsteen would use the same modus operandi when recording 'Backstreets', using meaningless lines where the lyrics were still unwritten. These lines were gone by the end of October.

V1 of the studio record was from January 8, 1974, a rehearsal session at 914 Sound Studios, Blauevelt, New York. At present, no audio or lyric sheets exist for this session. On August 1, 1974, V2 is a complete take (described above), known to exist from this session (see illustration), but audio has yet to be released. Bruce continued to play Jungleland live, and in the studio; V4 was attempted on October 17, along with V3, the famous 1:33 segment of Bruce and Suki Lahav recording vocals for dubbing, has been dated to 1974 because of the presence of Suki, who left United States permanently in March 1975. Here she is talking live to Bruce and singing the song coda with heavy echo. Roy Bittan also plays piano. This is the last known circulating studio audio, until sessions resumed at the Record Plant on April 18, 1975. Peter Knobler’s 1975 Crawdaddy profile describes one evening at 914 when ‘they spent until 4 a.m. playing “Jungleland” … fourteen times straight through. Inevitably, someone would blow a line and the entire take would be shot.’ After the October 17 studio take, the original final verse, described above, was largely rewritten, now looking much like the final album track. He would not keep the jazz solo or the section, "hear the animals sing oh oh oh"; the chimes would last until March 1975, but they were gone by the Record Plant sessions.

For the second half of 1974 and the first half of 1975, second verse lines like, "there’s a crazy kind of light tonight, brighter than the one that sparkles for prophets" survived, until they were changed in July 1975 to, "The midnight gang's assembled and picked a rendezvous for the night". Another, that had the exact same life span, was "The streets alive with tough-kid Jets in Nova-light machines, boys flash guitars like bayonets and rip holes in their jeans", until it became, "The street's alive as secret debts are paid, contacts made, they vanished unseen, Kids flash guitars just like switch-blades hustling for the record machine". He also changed the bridge and the final verse, "In the tunnel of machines you’ll hear the screams drowned out by the trains"; by late October 1974, it became "In the tunnel of machines the magic Rat chases his dreams", and finally Bruce got brave at the Record Plant, "In the tunnels uptown, the Rat's own dream guns him down", killed by the runaway American dream. After Sancious left, the three new members, Roy Bittan, Max Weinberg and Suki Lahav, quickly asserted themselves into Jungleland, joining Bruce, Clarence, Garry and Danny seemlessly, bringing the song to new heights. Bruce obviously devoted major blocks of time arranging Jungleland, utilizing his new players. The E Street Band lost it's jazz sound, and became a solid rock and roll band.

Jon Landau moved the BTR sessions to the Record Plant on April 18, 1975, where the other circulating outtakes emanate from. Sessions resumed without Suki, who had returned to Israel after her last show in March, with her husband, engineer Louis Lahav, who was replaced by Jimmy Iovine. Suki would appear on "Born To Run" by overdubs of her violin and background vocals. Much of the first day was devoted to Jungleland, heard in V5, and with the band recording base tracks. V6 has the same opening as v5, but after that uses the guide vocal by Bruce, strings and no sax, also in V7. Studio logs show V5-7 were all recorded between April 18 and April 25, 1975. V8 is the final version being overdubbed on July 14, lacking a lead guitar track, with different vocals, but the lyrics are now done. Final takes for V9, the album track, came down to the last minute on July 20, according to Bruce, "Clarence and I finishing the “Jungleland” sax solo, phrase by phrase, in one (room), while we mixed “Thunder Road” in another, singing “Backstreets” in a third as the band rehearsed (for the Tour that was to begin that evening) in a spare room upstairs".

This is the song where Springsteen shows he has learned how to paint a scene lyrically and musically, and situate the listener at the heart of it. It took him sixteen months to write, refine, and record it. He went through take after take, saying “again,” “again,” “again,” as he sought something he found only by experimenting with various musical styles. He will never again write a song this long, this character-laden, or this operatic. It begins with violin by Suki Lahav, dubbed from 914 Sound Studios, which sets the elegiac tone for the song. Then a tinkling piano carries us to the first verse. In the second verse, the organ joins in at “churches to the jails.” Springsteen's writing technique uses dualism to paint the landscape, "hungry and hunted"; "what’s flesh and what’s fantasy". He places us into the heart of the action, when "we take our stand down in Jungleland". In the third verse, Springsteen turns the scene into a rock ’n’ roll West Side Story, “An opera out on the Turnpike, a ballet being fought out in the alley.” “Jungleland” is a “real death waltz" where "Kids flash guitars just like switch-blades" Musically, this is where there is a key shift in the song as Springsteen shouts rather than sings “The hungry and the hunted explode into rock’n’roll bands." Then "They face off against each other out in the street down in Jungleland" leads us into a guitar solo by Bruce, refined by a year of performances. The he pans out for the bridge, four lines that describe other parts of the movie for us, and leads us into the non-verbal part of the tale, where we are carried away by a sax solo by Clarence Clemmons, the high point of his career, that lasts more than two minutes. When we return to earth, the rat and the barefoot girl are in bed, and their "two hearts beat", just as Spanish Johnny and Puerto Rican Jane's had in another great song. Finally "In the tunnels uptown, the Rat's own dream guns him down", but that is not the end. Springsteen pans out again, changing chords and keys, "Outside the street’s on fire in a real death waltz", but then switching up to a piano-and-violin chord that fades into silence, as the poets "try to make an honest stand", but they "wind up wounded, not even dead tonight in Jungleland". With cries like a wolf howling, accompanied by piano and violin, “Jungleland” comes to a close. The howls were improvised (he never did this in all the live performances), but Landau recalls that when he heard them he knew that had to be how the record ended.

CHRISSIE'S SONG - V1 uncirculating
WINGS FOR WHEELS - V2 uncirculating
THUNDER ROAD - V3a 4:39 BIS / WAR / ET / BWNH / BTRCS / UBTROC
THUNDER ROAD - V3b 5:12 BTRS / BTRO
THUNDER ROAD - V4 4:35 BIS / WAR / ET / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC
THUNDER ROAD - V5 5:03 ESRR / BTRS
THUNDER ROAD - V6 5:22 WAR / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC
THUNDER ROAD - V7 4:45 BORN TO RUN / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST

Note: Started out as a 1972 song called "Angelina", then after further development, Bruce did V1, a solo recording in October 1974 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt NY of "Chrissie’s Song", including the line "Leave what you’ve lost, leave what’s grown cold, Thunder Road". Sometime between November 1974 and January 1975, Bruce took 'Chrissie' and the following lyrics from "Walking In the Street", and combined them into a composition he now called "Wings For Wheels" V2, recorded in February. The line, "they case the promised land" and verse, "Oh baby I can't lay the stars at your feet, but I think we could take it all, just you and me, Oh come on and see there's a lot of room, For you baby in this front seat". On February 5, 1975 at the Main Point, Bryn Mawr, PA, with Angelina his new girl in the song, Ed Sciaky introduced the radio broadcast that included 'Born To Run', 'She's the One', 'Jungleland', and 'Wings For Wheels'. A memorable moment, not preserved for album #3, was Suki Lahav’s violin behind Bruce: "Now the season's over and I feel it getting cold, Well, I wish I could take you to some sandy beach, where we'd never grow old, ah, but baby, you know that's just jive, tonight's bustin' open and I'm alive, Oh, do what you can do to make me feel like a man". But "Wings" had a horrible jazz ending ("snake charmer's song with a beat"), and sometime after March 9 (the last time "Wings" appeared on a set list), Bruce took the music he had written for "Walking In the Street", and patched it on to the end of "Wings for Wheels"; now his new lyric "this is a town for losers, I'm pulling out of here to win" was followed by the new instrumentral outro. "The night's bustin' open, these two lanes will take us anywhere", and a poster for a 1958 Robert Mitchum movie in the lobby of a movie theater, provided the final ingredients for "Thunder Road".

The exact mechanics behind moving "Walking In the Street" to "Wings For Wheels" is not known, but besides being mostly ignored, there seems to be no end of alternate explanations for the magic that suddenly came to "Thunder Road". While the contributions of people like Landau, Roy Bittan, and Max Weinberg cannot be overlooked, nothing came close to the new instrumental ending. According to the 2005 documentary, "Wings For Wheels the Making of Born to Run", Landau says he helped restructure some songs. Meanwhile, the film shows the band performing the old Wings for Wheels outro on February 6, 1975 at Widener College, Chester, Pennsylvania; then it cuts to the now familiar instrumental ending of "Thunder Road", implying Landau was the person who made the change, or you be the judge. Bruce has never breathed a word about this, which worked out quite well, except he claims to have lost the completed tape of "Walking In the Street", recorded May 28, 1975, which is also why it could not go on "Tracks". Another point of view is that most of "Walking In the Street" was incorporated into "Thunder Road", which brings up the question, what was recorded in two takes on May 28 at the Record Plant?

April 13, 1975 was the day Jon Landau officially joined the album #3 production team. Louis Lahav, chief engineer, and his wife Suki, the violin player, quit and returned to their native Israel at the end of February (this is often misreported as months later, which is incorrect, and the story that she and Bruce were in love, and that the Lahavs left to save their marriage, has nothing to do with "Thunder Road"). Jimmy Iovine reported to work at the Record Plant on April 18, after Landau was instructed to find better accommodations. Thunder Road and Jungleland were the first two songs recorded that day, and a total of three versions of "Thunder Road" would be recorded over April 18-19 and 23, 1975. V3a is a full-band version, the girl is now Chrissie, and ends with the build up, instrumental outro, 2 refrains led by Clarence, to a quick, full ending (no fadeout). V3b has 2 extra refrains for an extra long ending. The lyrics are getting there, but the guitar is not yet talking, and "Leave what you’ve lost, leave what’s grown cold, Thunder Road" from "Chrissie's Song" is still there. V4 is a haunting acoustic solo version, one of Bruce’s greatest studio performances; the girl is now Christina, but otherwise no lyrical changes. V5, released on E Street Radio, is from April 23, starts with Roy Bittan's piano, base rhythm and Bruce's vocal and guitar (no organ or sax). "Leave what you’ve lost, leave what’s grown cold" now replaced with "Sit tight, take hold", a major change. The final refrain is led by piano, with Bruce's overdubbed guitar. V6, recorded, or at least overdubbed, on July 15 or 16, and we are almost ready to open "Born To Run". This take opens with saxophone and Roy's piano, which dominates the first 2 minutes with Bruce's now awesome vocal, introduces us to Mary, and rocks all the way through, dominated by guitar. The long outro mixes guitar, sax and piano just like the album, and has 7 refrains, though one variation only has 5. V7 now has piano and harmonica opening without sax, glock, the talking guitar and Mary, and after 12 hours mixing and dubbing guitars, was completed on July 16, 1975, with Mike Appel on background vocals.

BACKSTREETS - V1 uncirculating
BACKSTREETS - V2a 6:44 WAR / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC / ROOI
BACKSTREETS - V2b 3:12 private cdr
BACKSTREETS - V2c 6:26 ESRR / 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: Much is made about how it took 6 months to finish the song, "Born To Run". However, Jungleland, Thunder Road, and Backstreets all probably took longer. Bruce Springsteen was determined to create a masterpiece, and he held off the record company and his managers until it was made, and even then his team had to convince him that it was done, to get him to stop. The musical tracks to these songs seemed to come together much more quickly than the lyrics, Backstreets being a prime example. The circulating outtakes are organized mainly by the progression of the lyrics, which are described below. The bridge was finally completed with the album in July 1975, months after all the music was in place. Some of these takes feature lavish overdubs of guitars and strings, but when the composition was finally complete, the experimentation was dropped, and the album version was Bruce's powerful vocal in front of the E Street Band.

Early drafts of Backstreets from 1974 go by "Hidin’ On The River". After Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg joined the E Street Band in August 1974, "the new band went to [914 Sound Studios] Blauvelt…made stabs at "Backstreets" V1 (a late-night betrayal song)" per Clinton Heylin, who reports this occurred on October 17, 1974. Apparently, these sessions did not go well, and after several months of slow progress, Bruce asked Jon Landau to come aboard in March 1975, and one of his first moves was to move the album #3 sessions to the Record Plant. On April 25, their second week there, Bruce opened his book to his latest lyrics for "Backstreets" (which was about 2 verses), and V2a was recorded; it can be identified because the 2nd verse starts with "Running in the dark"; also, the bridge is mostly unwritten, with, "Save yourself a new guitar string to get you around by", not one of his best lines. But by the 3rd verse, and on to the end, Backstreets is taking shape, with the band working hard, led by Roy's majestic piano, Danny's organ, Max and Garry. They have just learned Backstreets, and though sloppy, they are already playing like the machine they are. V2b is a short 3:12 take, and circulates in some private CDR sources; this is the same take and mix as V2a. Version 2c, released on E Street Radio, almost got it's own version, which would have been called "the guitar version", and the end actually sounds different, but that is Bruce guitar dominating this mix.

Version 3, the "strings Backstreets", was cut May 19 or 23, and now has "St. Johns" in the 2nd verse; the bridge needs work, in fact the bridge is so bad, that instead of "the heroes in the funhouse ripping off the __", two guitar solos would have been preferable. But a great piece of rock and roll music is starting to rise. v3a and 3b are vastly different mixes; the only reason they are not separate versions is they share the same lyrics, and were probably cut on the same day. Version 4 had to be cut on May 23 or July 6; the source quality is poor (version 4b is pitch correction remastered by Fanatic Records, V4c is 30 seconds short), but what stands out is the second verse is complete. However, the bridge remains incomplete; the writer envisions a confrontation of great emotional power, but the words are still not there. The strings do not make the song, and when they go away, they are not missed. Bruce and the band have conquered the end of the song. The final album sequence of July 2, 1975, had Backstreets as the album closer, but this was revised to the current configuration on July 7. Version 5, which is the album take and final mix, was completed on July 18, 1975, with a vocal overdub of the bridge, which makes Backstreets the classic powerhouse that it is, one of Bruce's finest compositions. Nobody who listens to this song can come away without being impressed by the musicianship of Roy Bittan; Backstreets remains his finest hour. It would be hard to pull off a song that projects this kind of power, without a roomful of fantastic musicians, and a vocalist equal to the task. When critics were raving about Bruce Springsteen in the fall of 1975, Thunder Road, Jungleland and Backstreets were the best of the best; their reaction was from being blown away multiple times by the same album.

The story only started here. Soon after the band took Born To Run on the road, Bruce and especially Roy started performing Backstreets with another segment added after the third verse and chorus, refusing to let all the built up emotion go to waste. Bruce developed "Sad Eyes" and "Drive All Night" during these interludes, with his voice and the piano dictating the pace of emotions, eventually joined by Max pounding his drums to add to the build up, which would finally go back to Backstreets and finish the song. This went on for years, through many tours, becoming a regular part of the show, with nobody quite knowing what to expect each night.

NIGHT - V1 2:55 ESRR / BTRS
NIGHT - V2 2:51 WAR / VAFH / BWNH / BTRS
NIGHT - V3 - take 8 2:57 BORN TO RUN

Note: Ten takes recorded at the Record Plant on May 10, 1975. Take 8 was marked 'Great - Hold', which suggest this one was the recording used for Born To Run. The three recordings above are all different performances. V1 is core rhythm track with guide vocal and guitar, recorded at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY in early August 1974. V2 includes double tracked vocals, and was recorded at the Record Plant in April 1975. Included in a possible album sequence of late-autumn 1974. First line of the song was re-used from Springsteen's Steel Mill composition "Oh Mama", from 1970.

SHE'S THE ONE - V1 6:17 BIS / WAR / ET / BTRS / BTRCS
SHE'S THE ONE - V2 4:22 ESRR / BTRS
SHE'S THE ONE - V3 3:36 BORN TO RUN

Note: The earliest audio-circulating live performance was at Avery Fisher Hall in New York on October 4, 1974. V1 was recorded on October 16, 1974 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, New York. Acording to studio logs, the next take (V2) was recorded on May 4, 1975 at the Record Plant, New York, which was shorter and added lyrics in the final verse that were eventually used in "Backstreets". Conversely, Springsteen imported Contessa's beauty secrets from "Santa Ana"; "French cream won’t soften those boots, baby French kisses will not break your heart". On July 19, after all the tracks for Born to Run had been completed, Springsteen brought in a new 2nd verse and bridge, "and just one kiss she fills them long summer nights with her tenderness, that secret pact you made, back when her love could save you from the bitterness", completely changing the song from a fight with his girlfriend to a magical love song. Springsteen's vocal was added to complete the track V3 on July 25 for the album.

THE HEIST - V1 2:54 ESRR / BTRS
THE HEIST - V2 - take 14 0:13 BTRCS
THE HEIST - V3 - take 15 0:33 BTRCS
THE HEIST - V4 - take 16 3:11 WAR / ROU / BWNH / BTRCS
THE HEIST - V5 - take 18 0:11 BTRS / BTRCS
THE HEIST - V6 - take 19 3:16 WAR / ROU / BTRCS
MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER - V7 4:21 BORN TO RUN

Note: Not written by Bruce until late April or May 1975; the working title was "The Heist", and that was utilized even on test pressing of the album. V1 contains just piano and vocal, features some different words and may be Bruce’s original guide demo. V2 (take 14), V3 (take 15) and V5 (take 18) are short, aborted takes. V4 (take 16) and V6 (take 19) are work-in-progress versions with alternate horn arrangements. All were recorded on May 28, 1975 as "The Heist" with top session musician Randy Brecker on trumpet. Included on July 2 final and July 7 revised-final album sequences, thanks to Mike Appel, who fought tooth and nail to keep it on the album; Bruce wanted Linda Let Me Be the One. The final album mixing sessions were on July 18, 1975.

TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT - V1 0:34 private cdr
TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT - V2 3:25 BTRS
TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT - V3a 3:08 BORN TO RUN / ESSENTIAL: 2015
TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT - V3b 3:18 private

Note: On May 5, 1975, Springsteen brought in a new song, "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out", to work with him. V1 is a brief snippet of the tail section of what appears to be a different performance. V2 is an early, complete take that was originally broadcast on E Street Radio in late 2005; this take has some considerable lyrical differences to the released version and has Springsteen phrasing the horn parts during the opening. A stereo fold down mono version is also available as the b-side of the white label promo 45. v3a was recorded on July 13, 1975 at the Record Plant, but not without difficulty. The Brecker Brothers, top session horn players, had been hired to play on Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, but the charts Springsteen and Roy Bittan had prepared, and Bruce's instructions, were not producing the sound needed. Landau and Bruce told Steve Van Zandt, who was with them in the control room, to take charge and instruct the horn players. They both knew he was playing guitar and managing Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, who had the sound they were looking for. Miami Steve "sang each horn player his part, with the lines, the timing and the inflection all perfect. The sessionmen obediently played their parts, and the horns were recorded. When they’d finished, Springsteen turned to Mike Appel, “Okay”, he said. “It’s time to put the boy on the payroll. I’ve been meaning to tell you—he’s the new guitar player.” - Two Hearts by Dave Marsh. Steve officially joined the E Street Band a week later on July 20, the opening night of the Born To Run tour. On July 13, 1975 Randy Brecker, of The Brecker Brothers, the jazz trumpeter hired to play on the song, told Christopher Sandford how he came in to remedy matters as the sessions for the tune started to break down. "We were the New York pros", the horn player explained, "and this wild-looking gypsy guy tears up the charts and sings the lick. From then on, things took off." v3b has cold ending (no fadeout), no guitar, keyboards, sax, but it does have a horn track; in other words, on this track there is only bass, drums, horns and vocal. different vocal track, with Bruce saying "I'm all alone, I'm all alone, I'm all alone, And, kid you better get the picture, I'm On My own and "You can't go home", singing Clarence's part too.

LINDA LET ME BE THE ONE - V1 4:32 BIS / WAR / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / VAFH
LINDA LET ME BE THE ONE - V2 uncirculating
LINDA LET ME BE THE ONE - V3 4:27 TRACKS / BTRCS

Note: V1 recorded either May 8 or 19, 1975 has a more tentative vocal and is shorter than the later takes. V2 and V3 were recorded at The Record Plant on June 29, 1975 (not June 28, as found in the Tracks liner notes) and feature a much stronger vocal, a different intro and a different sax part. Further work undertaken (either mixing or overdubs) on July 8. Springsteen recorded two different versions on June 29, a 'hard slow version' and a 'ballad version'. As of July 2, 1975, sequenced for Side 2, track 1, but bumped in favor of…"Born To Run". See history section below for details.

LONELY NIGHT AT THE BEACH - V1 uncirculating
LONELY NIGHT IN THE PARK - V2 4:48 ESRR / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC
LONELY NIGHT IN THE PARK - V3 uncirculating

Note: V2 was recorded at The Record Plant on May 4, 1975. This long-documented song finally surfaced (along with other previously uncirculating Born To Run studio session audio) in late 2005 during broadcasts by Sirius radio. The version that has surfaced is clearly only an unfinished, early workout. This early May recording and takes on May 5 V3 are the only mention of the song in studio logs. V1 Lonely Night At the Beach is from 1974, when many records from 914 Sound Studios are missing, including any early takes of this song. However, it was included in album sequences from 1974 up to July 2, 1975, after which it was removed to make room for the title track. Included under both titles in track sequences for the album, showing this song was taken very seriously. For more details and lyrics, check out Lonely Night's page at springsteenlyrics.com.

SO YOUNG AND IN LOVE - V1 3:47 TRACKS / BTRCS
A LOVE SO FINE - V2 3:47 BIS / WAR / ET / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / ETRJ
A LOVE SO FINE - V3 3:47 uncirculating
ACTION IN THE STREETS - V4 3:47 uncirculating
PARADISE BY THE "C" - V5 3:10 RIVER: OUTTAKES

Note: It really doesn't matter what we call this song, it is Bruce Springsteen's Junior Walker soul groove, composed in the summer of 1974, and it permeated the live show for years under a variety of titles and choruses. At the same time, "Shotgun", Jr. Walker and the Allstars' biggest hit from 1966, was interpolated into "Rosalita" for some additional soul. V1 in surprising quality was released on 1998's Tracks as "So Young and In Love", with confusing notes dating it to 1/6/74. European listeners knew that meant June 1, 1974, but Tracks has a lot of bad dates. The Record Plant is listed as the recording venue, which is dead wrong, it was 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY, the only studio engineer Louis Lahav worked at for Bruce.Other reports that say "So Young And In Love" was recorded in late May 1974 are not possible, the band was working on "Born to Run" during this time period, and was in and out of the studio doing live gigs, but the biggest indicator is the drummer and keyboard player; if they are Weinberg and Bittan, the date must be after they joined the band in August 1974. Therefore, the cut on Tracks appears to be recorded on October 16, 1974, even though neither 'So Young and In Love V1' or 'A Love So Fine V2' is on the logs. There was a session on that day which produced a two-inch master reel that has ‘A Love So Fine’ and ‘Born To Run’ paired, suggesting this might be the master for an aborted ‘Born To Run’ single, which was rejected by Columbia. To add fuel to this speculative fire, an instrumental backing track of ‘A Love So Fine’ has been in circulation since the late seventies, and it is the same backing track as ‘So Young And In Love’ on Tracks. No studio vocal of ‘A Love So Fine’ version circulates. Thanks to author Clinton Heylin for trying to make sense of this incoherent mess. We will continue to work on it.

When the new E Street Band took the stage on September 19, 1974 for a special rehearsal at the Main Point, featuring their new drummer and keyboard player, Bruce was using the chorus "A Night Like This", the title of another song he was working on, confirmed by a local newspaper review. This incarnation lasted another show (September 22), but by October 4 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York, the title and chorus was now "A Love So Fine", which he would stick with through the Born to Run tour. On October 16, 1974 at 914 Sound Studios, a take of 'So Young And In Love' V1 was recorded for the BTR single, but the one that leaked to bootleggers was the backing track V2, which can be found on many "Born to Run" period bootlegs. Bruce performed the song live almost nightly through August 1975, after which it was dropped from the set. Later, it was reborn at the end of the 1977 Lawsuit Tour as "Action In the Streets" V4, with only lyrical changes. After emerging from the studio in May 1978, the band had a new Junior Walker riff called "Paradise By The C" V5, staring Clarence Clemmons, an instrumental which opened the second set at 57 Darkness tour shows. It was officially (and suprisingly) released on Ties That Bind, The River: Outtakes in 2015, but there is no sign of "Paradise By The C" on the 1977-81 studio logs. The lack of recording information in the box leads one to conclude there is none. One theory is that a rehearsal or soundcheck take from the 1978 tour was included on TTTB Outtakes because the Big Man had passed away in 2011 RIP.

WALKING IN THE STREET - V1 uncirculating
WALKING IN THE STREET - V2 3:56 BIS / WAR / ET / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / ETRJ
WALKING IN THE STREET - V3 uncirculating
flickr:48716576412

Note: "Lovers In The Cold", interchangeable with it's other title, "Walking In the Street" (Walking) was first worked on V1 around August 10, 1974, and then a rough, clearly unfinished V2 was recorded on October 16-17, 1974 at 914 Sound Studios. In January 1975, Bruce decided to move the following lyrics to another composition called "Wings For Wheels"; the line, "they case the promised land" and the verse, "Oh baby I can't lay the stars at your feet, but I think we could take it all, just you and me, Oh come on and see there's a lot of room, For you baby in this front seat". Then in March, he took the main coda of Walking, and used it as the instrumental outro of "Wings for Wheels", which became "Thunder Road". It seemed that there was nothing left, but Walking refused to die. It first appeared on one of the earliest Springsteen studio bootlegs, "E Ticket" by Ruthless Rhymes Records, described as "a totally unreleased song from the Born to Run sessions". This was the first of an almost endless stream of bootlegs it appeared on as both "Walking In the Street(s)" and "Lovers In the Cold", such as "Born In the Studio", "War And Roses - The Definitive Born To Run Outtakes Collection", and "Running Out Of Innocence" by Godfatherecords.

The Wings For Wheels documentary (at about 40:55) shows a Record Plant reel with a label that indicates that at least two complete takes of Walking were recorded on May 28, 1975 V3 (see illustration). This could well be the missing reel, but we can't be certain. Springsteen later taped a rehearsal at Monmouth Post Theater in January 1999, perhaps with a view to issuing a fresh recording of Walking on 18 Tracks alongside "The Promise". Springsteen commented to Mark Hagen of Mojo magazine in 1999, "There was another one called 'Walking In The Street' which I would have liked to have put on, but I couldn't find the master. We searched and searched. It might have been simply recorded over, because in those days, if something wasn't going to make it, you're going to need that tape so you recorded something else over the top."

If you want to hear Walking, turn on "Thunder Road". The instrumental outro was the coda of Walking, and he is still "casing the promised land" with his greatest song, depending on which poll you read. Bruce has no desire to hear or play part of Thunder Road in another song that was obsolete in 1975, with only a few lines like, "Standing on the corner with a gun underneath his coat" remaining. He did not authorize Walking to appear in 100 bootlegs, and has not made one thin dime from it. The May 28 two takes at the Record Plant story, on the day he spent doing at least 20 takes of his new song, "The Heist", was a mistake, as were the other comments. Here is another Bruce quote about another song he does NOT want to play, but he played it on the Darkness tour in many cities because, “people would jump onstage and grab me by the head and scream, ‘Bruce! Fever!’" Bruce still wakes up in a cold sweat, after a fan in his dream grabs him by the head and screams, "Bruce! Walking In the Street! Lovers In the Cold!!" Just kidding Bruce, relax; being the greatest sure ended up involving a lot of pressure and trauma to your brain and spirit, but you still played "The Fever" 24 times on the Darkness tour, because despite it all, you are still the same nice guy you have always been. So don't worry about Walking, it lives on in "Thunder Road", a song you do like playing. "Tonight we're lovers on that road, running past the graveyards in the snow, and now we all know Walking in the Street never had anywhere to go, oh oh oh…"

A NIGHT LIKE THIS uncirculating

Note: Recorded at 914 Sound Studios on October 16, 1974. There is only one live performances known, which happens to exists as an audio recording: the acoustic opener in Toledo on June 2, 1974, with Bruce introducing it as a “new song” but not mentioning the title. Known among collectors by the titles “Angel Baby” or “Dance On Little Angel”. Core elements of the lyrics (though not the melody) of this song were later incorporated into “Lonely Night In The Park”, a track recorded May 1975 at The Record Plant. "A Night Like This" was a song written at a time when he still wanted the whole record to feel "like it could all be taking place in the course of one evening, at all these different locations". The setting of the song, was a topless bar at the Coral Inn, from where the stripper and her lover run "off in the night, You catch up with her, you take her hand, You lay your jacket down on the sand, And she tries to make it alright". The sleazier aspects of boardwalk life – a constant source of fascination for our onetime altar boy – are never far away. ‘The fags come in to drink and dance ’ at the Shady Bell, while the ‘lost boys hide beneath the pier, getting hard, drinking beer ’. Finally, the song pans back to reveal this is the night to end all nights: "Because night after endless night, up and down the boardwalk we search for romance/ But on a night like this, with one last kiss, we die".

ANGEL'S BLUES uncirculating

Note: Written mid to late 1973. There is only one known live performance, during the Wild & Innocent tour, at Houston’s Liberty Hall on March 10, 1974. More commonly known by fans under that live
performance’s bootlegged titles of either “She's So Fine” or “Ride On Sweet William”.

JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V1 6:02 US6 / EY / ATMF
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V2 uncirculating
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V3 uncirculating
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V4a 6:50 DDO / DO-1 / EC / ATMF
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V4b 6:50 uncirculating
JEANNIE NEEDS A SHOOTER - V5 1:34 LM-8
JEANNIE NEEDS A SHOOTER - V6 2:34 LM-8 / PYP

Note: V1 recorded in a solo piano arrangement at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY, on January 29-30, 1973. The lyrics were written during 1972, although the melody was culled from a 1971 Springsteen composition, performed by the Bruce Springsteen Band called “Talking About My Baby”. After 1973 studio take, it appeared on provisional lists for The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle album, but did not make the final cut. Listed on the earliest known album #3 sequence, from spring 1974. Session log documents indicate that a Spanish-flavored, full-band arrangement was recorded at 914 Sound Studios in October 1974 (V2), and again in February 1975 (V3), but again was bypassed for Born To Run. V4 is a full band recording originally attributed to the Darkness On The Edge Of Town sessions, and later to the October 1978 rehearsal session at Telegraph Hill, Holmdel, NJ. Given the evidence (including audio not circulating), we can confirm it is a Telegraph Hill rehearsal from May 1979. The quality of the private audio is far superior to that found on the 'Definitive Darkness Outtakes' or 'Iceman' CDs, and includes the count-in and runs at the correct speed. Included on a very early tracklist for the upcoming album, 'The River'. Warren Zevon has said that he became obsessed with the title line after Jon Landau mentioned it along with other songs that Springsteen was intending to record. Zevon pestered Bruce, pleading to hear the song. He ended up working on his own version of the song, his interpretation of "Jeannie Needs A Shooter" (he had misheard the name), and played an incomplete version to Bruce sometime in the Spring of 1979. Springsteen loved the arrangement, and they wrote the remainder of "Jeannie Needs A Shooter" together. The Zevon/Springsteen version is "a romantic saga of an outlaw pursuing a maiden while her father tries to gun him down," the opposite of Springsteen's original. Zevon's studio take of "Jeannie Needs A Shooter" from the Bad Luck Streak album was recorded during the summer of '79. V5 and V6 are acoustic demos Bruce recorded during March - April 1979, at Telegraph Hill.

Potential Album Sequences

Some of the songs listed below are included on early draft listings of what Springsteen imagined "Album #3" (i.e, Born To Run) might look like. Bruce noted song timings for several of these tracks, so presumably recordings of some kind existed. Some of these lists are known, all apparently composed at some point in 1974.

Listings #2 and #3 appear to be composed on the same sheet of paper. It is unknown whether the two lists are contemporary, or if Springsteen returned to the same page some time later to add a second track list. Source for these two lists is a display at the From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen exhibition, a typed version of which is reproduced in issue 89 of Backstreets magazine. A sixth draft listing includes the songs "Angel Baby", [Saga of the] "Architect Angel", "Thundercrack", "Vision (sic) at Fort Horn", "Two Hearts" [In True Waltz Time], "Here She Comes", "Glory Road", "Janey Needs A Shooter", and "Jungleland". This particular listing dates from very early in the sessions, perhaps as early as the spring of 1974.

1. Angel Baby
2. Saga of the Architect Angel
3. Thundercrack
4. Vision at Fort Horn
5. Two Hearts In True Waltz Time
6. Here She Comes
7. Glory Road
8. Janey Needs A Shooter

History

Born To Run was many more things than just the making of a great rock and roll record. It was the time in which Bruce Springsteen came to terms with his employer (Columbia Records, now Sony) and his management (Mike Appel going out, Jon Landau coming in). His music, studio management, and band leader skills all continued to progress, but to get this record done, his troubled relationship with his record company needed to be healed.

In 1972, Bruce was signed to a contract with Columbia Records by Clive Davis and John Hammond, but both were gone within a year. The new management and Springsteen did not see eye to eye, and according to Bruce, "I think when The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle came out, it wasn’t particularly promoted, and I always remember going to radio stations where they didn’t know I had a second record out". He recounted an incident that occurred on June 22, 1974, at Fat City, Seaside Heights, NJ, "We played a club, Fat City on Long Island. The top echelon of the record company marched in to see an opening act they were thinking of signing, then marched out en masse just as we came on, adding insult to injury. Mike stood at the door, pen and pad in hand, writing down the names of the traitors as they left, for his hit list and future retribution." (note: Though Bruce has recounted this story as happening at Fat City or My Father's Place, we arrived at this date and place by eliminating other possibilities.) In his book, Born to Run, Bruce completed the story, "So the atmosphere was very, very combative. There had been great disagreement over The Wild and the Innocent, and I was asked to record the entire album over again with studio musicians. And I said I wouldn’t do it, and they basically said, “Well hey, look, it’s going to go in the trash can.” That’s the record business, you know."

Only a few loyal disc jockeys, usually at FM stations that allowed the deejays to pick a portion of their own music, bothered with Springsteen’s second album. In New York, WNEW virtually ignored it, at least at the onset, despite the fact that “New York City Serenade” was a natural for its hometown listeners. KILT in Houston, WBCN in Boston and, above all, Ed Sciaky at WMMR in Philadelphia, Cerph Caldwell at WHFS in Washington D.C., and, later, Kid Leo at WMMS in Cleveland did play Springsteen, partly because they liked the music, partly because the Springsteen cult was growing to substantial proportions—through live shows in those cities.

For Mike Appel, who had all of his savings tied up in Springsteen, the lack of airplay was infuriating. Appel began to badger Columbia for more support, something many a manager might do, but with Appel’s tendency for verbal abuse, the tactic proved self-destructive, and the company was unresponsive. Appel was not concerned with how he came off; his dedication to Springsteen, in whom he had both believed and invested, was complete. Appel is said to have sent letters containing torn-up $10 bills (according to another version, photocopied twenties) to stations that he considered the worst offenders, and implied programmers were taking payola. He also phoned and berated them. At Christmas, he sent bags of coal to everyone he felt was hurting Springsteen’s career. Appel denies that he sent the shredded or photocopied bills. But he admits the rest, contending that the coal was meant as a gag. The radio programmers went berserk, but what was worse, Appel’s audacity hurt Springsteen with the record company. Columbia, like any other label, cannot afford to offend radio stations; unintentional slights require immediate fence-mending. From the company’s point of view, there’s always another album to promote, which requires the programmer’s continuing cooperation. The coal outraged CBS executives. Appel had left a lot of programmer feathers to smooth—more, many executives felt, than either he or his act were worth. Word came down from near the top: The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle was a dead issue. What little promotion there was dried up. Rumors began to hit the street that CBS was even thinking of releasing Springsteen from his contract. Following the commercial failure of both Greetings and Wild, the disastrous 1974 tour opening for Chicago, and the departure of Clive Davis from CBS, Springsteen’s future at Columbia hung by a slender thread.

The Born To Run album sessions can be traced as far back as January 8, 1974 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, New York, with the first rehearsals of Born To Run and Jungleland, and concluded on July 20, 1975 at the Record Plant, though final mixing continued after the band went on tour. Wings For Wheels, the official documentary film on the making of the album, fails to delve into depth about the sessions. It took Springsteen six months to perfect the song “Born to Run” in the studio. One of Springsteen’s inspirations for the production of “Born to Run” was Phil Spector, whose Wall of Sound recording style was behind countless hits of the 60s. He made numerous alterations that didn’t all stick, including a backing chorus and various string arrangements. The first documented live performance of “Born to Run” took place at Harvard Square Theater on May 9, 1974. Springsteen’s future manager Jon Landau was in the audience, and his review of that show featured this iconic line: “I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” Landau’s Real Paper review, appearing at exactly the right moment, transformed the manner in which Springsteen was perceived at the record label. In receiving the most enthusiastic accolades imaginable from perhaps the most influential rock critic alive, Springsteen was no longer under pressure merely to make a profit; now he had to be a prophet.

Strapped for cash, Springsteen was still doggedly trucking between club, bar and festival gigs to pay the bills. His agency, Williams Morris, foolishly booked him to play the Schaffer Music Festival in Central Park, opening for a mismatched Anne Murray on August 3, 1974. Reportedly, Appel told Murray’s managers that Murray would be better off opening, but her managers refused. After Springsteen delivered a crazed performance, complete with encore, Murray was all but booed or "Broooced" off-stage.

The “Born to Run” single was finally finished on August 6, 1974, but after Mike Appel convinced Irwin Segelstein, president of the domestic division of CBS Records, to take another listen to it, and another look at Bruce, he still refused Mike's request to release it.
At nearly four-and-a-half minutes long, “Born to Run” was substantially shorter than “Rosalita” but still too long for AM radio, where the Top 40 hierarchy was shaped by the short-and-sweet format that held listeners’ attentions and allowed for more ads in between. Attempts to trim the record’s length proved futile. The record’s mix was so complicated that editing it proved all but impossible. one aide reportedly dubbed it “Born to Crawl.” CBS would not release a single, no matter how good, unless there was an album ready to launch right behind it. Already viewing the recording sessions as a money pit, Columbia cut off funding. Springsteen and the E Street Band headed back on the road.

Back in the studio, though, sessions ground to a halt when David Sancious and Ernest "Boom" Carter left the band just after "Born to Run" was completed in August. Springsteen and Appel placed a classified ad in The Village Voice for replacements: “Drummer (No Jr. Ginger Bakers) Piano (Classical to Jerry Lee Lewis) Trumpet (Jazz, R&B & Latin) Violin. All must sing.” According to Springsteen’s and Gary Tallent’s recollections, the band auditioned 60 musicians, playing a half hour with each one. Among the group of applicants were drummer Max Weinberg and pianist Roy Bittan. Weinberg’s experience ranged from rock bands to the Broadway pit, and Bittan had played with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Engineer Louis Lahav's wife Suki, who could play violin and sing, began performing with the band on "New York City Serenade", "Jungleland" and "I Want You".

Tracks being worked on by October 1974 were "Jungleland", "A Love So Fine", "Chrissie's Song", and new compositions "She's the One", "Backstreets", "Walking In the Street", "Night", "A Night Like This" and "Lonely Night On the Beach".

To try to keep Columbia’s interest from flagging and the faithful from forgetting, Appel had been sneaking bootleg tapes of unreleased songs to sympathetic deejays. The May 1973 demo of “The Fever”, unreleased and forgotten, filled the airwaves in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Houston, Austin, and Phoenix, thanks to Appel. The song especially became an underground hit throughout the seventies. He says he was forced to play it in many cities because, “people would jump onstage, grab me by the head and scream, ‘Bruce! Fever!’”

According to Appel, "How was I ever going to move this monstrous record label, whose support was still solidly behind acts like Chicago, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, and now even Aerosmith, but certainly not Bruce Springsteen." It was at this point that he hatched what may have been his most brilliant pushy scheme ever. Appel made forty cassette copies of the recording, now two generations down from the normal broadcast quality, but it didn’t seem to matter. This amazing song, which ultimately showcases approximately a dozen guitar tracks, a massive sax solo, a glockenspiel, a fancy string arrangement, and numerous keyboard tracks, along with the requisite bass guitar and drums, created a considerable commotion wherever it was heard. Over the next month, Appel and Springsteen distributed copies of the song to Scott Muni in New York and Maxanne Sartori in Boston. Most also got a home pressing of ‘Jungleland’ or ‘A Love So Fine’. They got a copy to Kid Leo, and by Thanksgiving the song was the most played record on the radio in Cleveland, Leo playing it every Friday at five fifty-five P.M. on WMMS-FM in Cleveland to “officially launch the weekend.” “Born to Run” went to number one in Cleveland immediately, based solely on airplay. Then, in early November, when Bruce was appearing on his new friend Ed Sciaky’s show on WMMR in Philadelphia with Tallent, Weinberg, and Bittan, Bruce gave him a copy of the tape. After the first of the year, they sent out another twenty copies of the recording, all to FM DJs in major markets. All across America, rock-buying consumers were frustrated that they couldn’t purchase the record, and rival radio stations in all those markets were wondering why CBS wouldn’t give them copies, too. From the record company’s point of view, what Appel had done was totally insane. Springsteen’s record might be attracting interest on all those stations, but the only ones who were making money off it were the people who owned the stations, not CBS and not Springsteen or Appel. When Bruce attended a Billy Joel concert at Rutgers in mid-December, Joel dedicated his current no. 34 single, “The Entertainer,” to his less successful labelmate, making some of the song’s lines even more resonant.

By the time Bruce and his band played a benefit for the Main Point in early February 1975, many of those in the audience had the still unreleased “Born to Run” committed to memory. That was mostly thanks to Sciaky, who introduced the show, and on whose station, WMMR, the concert was broadcast later that night. At this point, the band’s shows lasted two and a half hours, but they weren’t self-indulgent. This new incarnation of the band was ready to turn on a dime. At the Main Point, the band did much the same stage show that it had been doing for the last month or two, particularly numbers like “Incident on 57th Street,” “Jungleland,” and Bob Dylan’s “I Want You”, all of which allowed Springsteen to notably interact with Suki Lahav onstage.

Appel: "Now people were coming into the stores, in Cleveland, Dallas, Boston, all over, looking for the new Springsteen album, which didn’t exist. In effect, I’d bootlegged Bruce’s music to get it to his audience! And CBS was anything but pleased. In fact, things might have gotten very difficult if not for an incredible stroke of luck."

The stroke of luck was an article J.Garrett Andrews had written on May 1, 1974 for The Brown Daily Herald, the school newspaper of Brown University, Rhode Island. In his interview of Springsteen, he asked "When you were signed Clive Davis was still at Columbia. Have things gone downhill since he left?" Bruce: “Oh yeah, big difference. Clive and I got along, he came down, he still came down after he got ousted to see how we were doing. He was interested. Now I'm a pain in the ass to them is all and, you know, they want to make somebody else famous, I don't know who the hell it is, this month or next month, somebody.”

Little did anybody know that Irwin Segelstein’s son was a Senior at Brown and happened to read that interview in the Brown University college paper. It became embarrassing, because all his college friends were devoted Springsteen fans. Per Mike Appel, “When he heard that his own father had been standing in the way of his idol, he called him and must have read his father the riot act, because next thing I know, Irwin gets me on the phone and starts giving me the third degree about “some interview Bruce did at Brown University.” I didn’t know what he was talking about. I tried to make light of it, and Irwin wound up by inviting me to have lunch with him. Good idea, I told him, because Bruce was scheduled to do an interview with Rolling Stone, and that was when he was really going to do a number on CBS. “Don’t, don’t, I don’t want to hear that kind of talk,” Irwin shouted back to me. “Let’s just meet for lunch and bring Bruce with you.”

So Irwin, Bruce, and Appel had lunch at Mercurio’s, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan. Per Bruce, Segelstein said, “Gee, let’s bury the hatchet.” That was a turning point, the moment CBS began to change its attitude toward Springsteen. They agreed that day to finance the rest of the album at The Record Plant, no hassles, whatever it takes to get the next record out. Three years into his contract, CBS finally figured out who Springsteen’s target audience was not people his own age, but college students up to a decade younger, whose bookings had been keeping him so busy on weekends for the last year. CBS rekindled some of its pro-Springsteen fire. The tag-line was Landau’s blurb, "I SAW ROCK AND ROLL FUTURE", in a bold, block-capital ad in Rolling Stone magazine.

Over Appel’s vociferous objection, Bruce invited his new friend Jon Landau, who had produced undistinguished albums for the MC5 and Livingston Taylor, to join the production team in April 1975, and the now ex-critic managed to wring some progress from the proceedings. Perhaps most important, he convinced Springsteen to move from Blauvelt to the more expensive Record Plant in Times Square, where at least the pedal on the piano would not be audible in the sound mix. Landau promptly hired engineer Jimmy Iovine (veteran of Lennon’s Spector-produced Rock ’n’ Roll ). Another was that, as from April 13, 1975, he officially took a cut of the action, 2 per cent of Born’s retail sales. Landau’s share came half from CBS and half from Appel. In their new studio on April 18, with Landau as a producer, Springsteen and the E Street Band could focus on the album without distraction. Working extensively with Roy Bittan on piano for "Thunder Road," and Clarence "Big Man" Clemons on saxophone for "Jungleland," Springsteen annotated exactly what he envisioned, note-for-note, to his fellow musicians. For the sax solo on "Jungleland," Springsteen spent 16 hours working with Clemons, recording eight or nine tracks before cutting and re-cutting the sound. He was at the Record Plant from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day, cutting the album.

"Thunder Road" just got it's name in March, when Bruce decided to dismantle most of "Walking In the Street", a song the band had worked on the previous fall. "Wings For Wheels", which had great verses, needed a great ending, and after two months of frustration, Bruce took the main coda of "Walking In the Street", and made it the instrumental outro of "Thunder Road". Three days each were spent on Thunder Road and Jungleland during April, recording base tracks, vocals, instruments, leaving mixing, dubbing of vocals for July, near the end of the sessions. After "Jungleland" was done on April 25, takes were cut for Backstreets. Sessions resumed on May 4 with "She's the One" and "Lonely Night In the Park". It was obvious there were lyric problems with "Backstreets" and "She's the One"; both had great build-ups to the bridge, where neither had any lyrics. The rest of May was spent working on finishing the prior mentioned, along with "Night", "Linda Let Me Be the One" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out". Two days were spent on "Backstreets", which was now finished except for a missing bridge. On the final day, May 28, the only song worked on was a new composition, "The Heist", later changed to "Meeting Across the River".

On July 2, 1975, it finally came time to sequence the record. Mike Appel says "I fought like heck, but two of the songs that they wanted to be in there, "Lonely Night In The Park" and “Linda Let Me Be The One", I thought that neither was up to his standards, and I fought against them." But the sequence they arrived at included both songs; the one song cut was the title track. The album would have run as follows:

Side One: Thunder Road - Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out - Lonely Night In The Park - Jungleland - Night
Side Two: Linda Let Me Be The One - Meeting Across The River - She’s The One - Backstreets

Never happy with how it had come out, Springsteen was seriously planning to leave off "Born To Run". Sometime during that weekend, Appel received a call from Jimmy Iovine, who told him "Mike, this is a disaster. Bruce is drifting into darkness. No one can talk to him, and he won’t answer me when I try." The following Monday, when Appel entered his office, Springsteen was waiting for him. Getting him to restore "Born To Run", retain "Meeting Across The River" and drop the two lesser songs would become Appel’s last major contribution.

"Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" was completed on July 13, 1975 at the Record Plant, but not without difficulty. The Brecker Brothers, top New York session horn players, had been hired to play, but the charts Springsteen and Roy Bittan had prepared were not producing the sound needed. Landau and Bruce told Steve Van Zandt to take charge and instruct the horn players. Miami Steve "sang each horn player his part, with the lines, the timing and the inflection all perfect. The sessionmen obediently played their parts, and the horns were recorded. When they’d finished, Springsteen turned to Mike Appel, “It’s time to put the boy on the payroll, he’s the new guitar player.” Randy Brecker, one of The Brecker Brothers, later told Christopher Sandford, “We were the New York pros, and then this wild-looking gypsy guy tears up the charts and sings the lick. From then on, things took off." Steve officially joined the E Street Band a week later on July 20, the opening night of the Born To Run tour.

Now the label and the mass market were behind Springsteen. All he had to do was finish the album. This year at least, the band had been good about not canceling live dates because of studio commitments, but no matter what CBS thought, Bruce continued to record, mix, and refine his tracks, even if it meant twice postponing scheduled performance in Geneva, New York. Even the songs that had been around for close to a year proved, to his ears, elusive in the studio until almost the last possible moment. On 19 July, Bruce laid down vocals on “She’s the One,” as a satisfactory mix of the epic “Jungleland” was finally produced in another room at the Record Plant. Then at three o’clock on Saturday afternoon, a little more than a day before Sunday night booking at the Palace in Providence that they simply couldn’t reschedule, the band finally began to rehearse for its upcoming tour. The musicians hadn’t played live in close to three months, and repeatedly laying down overdubs is not a good way to keep in the habit of listening and reacting to your fellow musicians. They practiced straight through for nineteen hours until ten in the morning on Sunday, until Bruce was satisfied. Then they left for the gig, at the Palace Theatre in Providence.

In the second week of August, Springsteen and his band played a five-night stand, two shows a night, at the Bottom Line in Manhattan. The band was now back up to seven members, with Steve Van Zandt having been added in the spring as an additional guitarist, vocalist, and all-around musical guru. At the early show on the second night, Springsteen told a long, exaggerated version of the story of the night he met Clemons, as an introduction to very slow version of “The E Street Shuffle” rather than the show-opening “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.”

The preorders on Born to Run were double the 350,000 units that the label had been expecting, more than twice as many for this third album as the company had sold to date of the first two albums combined. The moment the singer had been dreading for two years had finally arrived: he had to start playing bigger halls, often to three thousand people a night.

On August 25, 1975, the album was released.

A gig at the Roxy in Los Angeles in October was attended by Hollywood royalty: Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, Wolfman Jack, and Neil Diamond, as well as fellow Monmouth County transplant Jack Nicholson. Within two weeks of its release, Born to Run entered the Billboard album chart and almost immediately went to no. 1 in some markets. It would remain on that chart for over two years and ultimately sell million copies. Mightily helped by its AM airplay, “Born to Run” entered the Hot 100 singles chart, only climbing as high as no. 23 but staying on the chart for the next three months.

All of this enthusiasm crested in what was then and may still be an unprecedented media event. In late October, Springsteen imultaneously appeared on the covers of both Time and Newsweek.

To date, Born to Run has sold over nine million units worldwide.

Possible BTR-era Songs

The following titles emanate from the late 1973 to early 1975 period. All the titles below are based on information garnered from completed lyric sheets, partially completed lyric sheets or documents in Bruce’s handwriting containing song titles (but no lyrics). Springsteen often creates song titles first and then attempts to write words and music around it - so the existence of a song title is no guarantee that a song was ever created. There is as yet no evidence these were completed songs (words and music) and no evidence they were recorded during any of the Born To Run sessions. If they do exist as recordings then they would most likely be either as work-in-progress home cassette recordings or from the little known about 1974 sessions at 914 Sound Studios. It's also possible that some of these songs are merely work-in-progress titles for other tracks that we are more familiar with.

ANGELS SONG listing #6

Note: It is not certain which song Springsteen is referring to - it could potentially be "A Night Like This" (aka "Angel Baby") or "Angel('s) Blues (aka "Ride On Sweet William"). The former is known to have been performed on June 2, 1974 in Toledo, OH and was certainly recorded at 914 Studios in October 1974 (see above). The latter was performed live on March 10, 1974 in Houston, TX. No studio recording of this song is known.

BABY & ME (BLONDIE) listing #2, #3 and #4

Note: Potentially the same song. No other details known.

BORN TO BE ALONE listing #4

Note: Written as "Orbison - Born To Be Alone". Could very well be an early working title for the Orbison-influenced "Thunder Road", even before it was called "Glory Road".

BORN TO WIN listing #4

Note: No details known.

DOWN AT THE CLUB listing #6

Note: With a running time of 4:00. No other details known.

DUEL / DUAL listing #5

Note: Written as "Dual", but given the tone of other titles from the same era, we think Springsteen meant "Duel".

ELVIS STYLE listing #2

Note: Could be a working title for another song.

EVERY LITTLE BIT listing #2

Note: Title known only from this early track listing.

GLORY ROAD listing #1, 2, 3, 5 & 6

Note: During an interview with Australian journalist Ian "Molly" Meldrum in April 1995, Springsteen was asked: "was Thunder Road originally called Glory Road?" Springsteen: "That title sounds familiar. That sounds right." He goes on to say that he is "…not sure if that song started out as Glory Road or not but the title came out of the [Robert] Mitchum picture". A lyric sheet that has emerged since the Meldrum interview suggests that "Glory Road" may actually have been a title or phrase used by Springsteen while he was in the process of composing "Born To Run". However, since "Glory Road" and "Born To Run" both appear on listings #1 and #4, it seems possible that they were individual songs at some point before they were combined to form the final version of "Born To Run".

HERE SHE COMES WALKIN' listing #1 and 5

Note: Also known as "Here She Comes". Apparently resurrected in 1980 during The River Tour as introduction to "I Wanna Marry You". The title would crop up once again in 1988 during the introduction to "All That Heaven Will Allow". Title also found on a circa 1975 worksheet, and appears to be contemporary with songs such as "Lonely Night In The Park", "Janey Needs A Shooter" and "Thunder Road".

HIDIN' ON THE RIVER N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. No other details known.

JR. WALKER GROOVE - A LOVE SO FINE listing #4

Note: Another title of "So Young And In Love", "A Love So Fine", and later "Action In the Streets". Junior Walker was a saxophonist, whose group Junior Walker & the All Stars played for the Motown label in the 1960s, with many hits like "Shotgun" and "What Does It Take". In early 1974, Springsteen regularly incorporated "Shotgun" into performances of "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)".

KILLERS PARADISE (THE VIOLENT ONES) listing N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. Possibly one of a number of songs that evolved into "Born To Run". During an interview with Australian journalist Ian "Molly" Meldrum in April 1995, Springsteen was asked "When you are writing do you take parts of different songs and combine them into a single song? Because “Born To Run” itself seemed to have parts of “The Violent Ones” in it". Springsteen seems surprised by the question, and responds "I don't remember it but I would like to hear it because it's a good title".

LATIN SONG listing #5

Note: No details known.

LIVIN' IN THE GHETTO (HARLEM) listing #2 and #3

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, and found as track ten on listing #2 as "Harlem".

LONESOME TOWN (BLONDIE) listing #2, #3 and #4

Note: Possibly the same song as "Baby & Me (Blondie)", listed above. Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, but apparently misread and listed as "Lonesome Train".

LOVE AND DEFIANCE N/A.

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. A handwritten lyric sheet was sold at auction in June 2014. "Of Love & Defiance" can also be found in a handwritten list of potential titles for album #3.

MARY'S SONG N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross.

NEW DELINQUENT LOVERS listing #5

Note: No details known.

THEME FOR AN IMAGINARY WAITRESS (FONTAINBLEU WALTZ) listing #6

Note: Also known as "Portrait Of An Imaginary Waitress (Fountainableu)", as found in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. Cross notes that this song may have evolved into "Linda Let Me Be The One". Easily the most curious song title from this era.

PRETTY THING listing #6

Note: No details known.

SAINT JIMMY'S DREAM N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross.

SHA LA LA N/A

Note: The Shirelles. Played live during the Born To Run Tour. Also could be a Springsteen original that shares the same title.

SHANGHAI listing #3

Note: Also known as "Tokyo" and "And The Band Played". Performed live as late as June 1974 and apparently considered for several albums before disappearing.

SHE COMES UNTO MY ROOM (SCENE #1) N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross.

SHOOTOUT IN CHINATOWN listing #4

Note: No details known.

SOMETIMES AT NIGHT N/A

Note: Known from a 1974 list of potential album titles. Previously, a song titled "Sometimes At Night" was performed by the Bruce Springsteen Band in 1972, and a handwritten lyric sheet was displayed at the Brussels Hard Rock Cafe in 2013. It seems unlikely that Springsteen was considering using "Sometimes At Night" for the album, but instead appropriated the title.

SONG FOR ORPHANS listing #2, #3, #4 and #5

Note: Also known as "Song To Orphans". Also as "Wild Billy's Song To Orphans" (although this could potentially be a different song altogether) and as "A Song For Orphans". Clearly a strong candidate for inclusion on album #3 during the early days of the sessions. Recorded at 914 Sound Studios in February 1973.

STILL THERE N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross.

STREET FIGHT listing #4 and #5

Note: No details known.

THE STREET N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross.

THE STREET GOES ON FOREVER N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. May not be a song, since "The Street Goes On Forever" can also be found in a handwritten list of potential titles for album #3.

SURRENDER AT THE CITADEL N/A.

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. May not be a song, since "Surrender At The Citadel" can also be found in a handwritten list of potential titles for album #3.

THUNDER HILL listing #5

Note: No details known.

VIRGIN SUMMER NIGHTS N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross. According to Louis P. Masur's 2009 book Runaway Dream: Born To Run And Bruce Springsteen's American Vision, "She's The One" was originally titled "Virgin Summer Nights". It's more plausible that "Virgin Summer Nights" was a different song that later evolved into "She's The One".

WAR ROSES listing #3

Note: Also known as "War And Roses". May have been considered for the title of album #3.

WILD ANGELS N/A

Note: Probably not a song title - handwritten lyrics for an early draft version of "Born To Run" include the phrase "Wild Angels" in the margin.

WILD BILLY'S LULLABY listing #3

Note: Written by Springsteen as "Wild Billy's Lullabye or (Dream)". We can't be certain what Bruce means here, but "Wild Billy's Dream" may be an alternative title for "Wild Billy's Lullaby". May be a sequel to "Wild Billy's Circus Story". Also of interest is track six of listing #3, "Wild Billy's Song To Orphans". There appears to be a connection, but the nature of the relationship between "Song To Orphans" and "Wild Billy" is a mystery.

WILD FIRE N/A

Note: Or "Wildfire". Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross.

WILD ONES listing #6

Note: Also known as "Wild One". Springsteen may have taken the title from the 1953 Marlon Brando movie The Wild One. Indeed, the leather motorcycle jacket worn by Brando in the movie is very similar to that sported by Springsteen on the Born To Run album sleeve. Title also seen on another handwritten document, Springsteen's note reads "Janey Need A Shooter to Wild One chords".

WILD ROSES N/A

Note: Title printed in the second edition of Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross.


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