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 by Jimmy Iovine and Louis Lahav, assisted by Thom Panunzio, Ricky Delena and Corky Stasiak
 at Record Plant Studios (April–July 1975) and 914 Sound Recording Studios (January 1974–March 1975)
Mixed** by Jimmy Iovine, Louis Lahav, 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, recorded and mixed by Louis Lahav.

Overview

The Born To Run 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. The recording process was famously lengthy; Springsteen's perfectionism and frustration with the antiquated studio slowed progress to a crawl. Impatient with the grueling sessions, David Sancious left the band in August 1974 for a solo deal and took Ernest "Boom" Carter with him, leaving the band without keyboards and drums. Refusing to use session musicians, Springsteen and Appel placed a classified ad in The Village Voice for replacements, leading to the recruitment of Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan. Engineer Louis Lahav's wife Suki, a violinist and singer, joined the touring band around this time and would participate in the Born To Run sessions as well.

In March 1975, over Mike Appel's vociferous objections, Bruce invited Jon Landau to join the production team. Landau 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 also hired engineer Jimmy Iovine. In their new studio on April 18, with Landau as a producer, Springsteen and the E Street Band would record much of what became the final record. Working extensively with Roy Bittan on piano for "Thunder Road" and Clarence Clemons on saxophone for "Jungleland", Springsteen annotated exactly what he envisioned, note-for-note, to his fellow musicians. The sax solo on "Jungleland" alone took 16 hours of work, with Clemons recording eight or nine tracks before cutting and re-cutting the sound.

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". The rest of May was spent working on finishing those songs, 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 re-titled "Meeting Across the River".

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 / 1975 single
3. NIGHT 2:57 BORN TO RUN
4. BACKSTREETS 6:27 BORN TO RUN
5. BORN TO RUN 4:28 BORN TO RUN / 1975 single
6. SHE'S THE ONE 3:36 BORN TO RUN / 1975 b-side
7. MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER 3:11 BORN TO RUN / 1975 b-side
8. JUNGLELAND 9:32 BORN TO RUN

Total Running Time: 39:28

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Additional Recordings

Details

BACKSTREETS - V1a 6:44 WAR / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC / ROOI
BACKSTREETS - V1b 3:12 private cdr
BACKSTREETS - V1c 6:26 ESR / BTRS
BACKSTREETS - V2a 6:33 DDITV / BWNH / BTRS / UBTROC / ROOI
BACKSTREETS - V2b 6:02 BTRCS
BACKSTREETS - V3a 6:32 URT1 / BTRS / BTRCS
BACKSTREETS - V3b 6:42 UBTROC
BACKSTREETS - V3c 6:05 WAR / BWNH / ROOI
BACKSTREETS - V4 6:27 BORN TO RUN

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

On April 25, their second week there, V1 was recorded. The second verse starts with the line "Running in the dark" and includes mostly unwritten lyrics to the bridge, although it included the line "save yourself a new guitar string to get you around by"; however, the third verse and the ending are present. V1b is a short take, and circulates in some private CDR sources; this is the same take and mix as V1a. V1c, released on E Street Radio, has guitar overdubs. V2, the "strings version," was cut May 19 or 23. Lyric changes now include "St. Johns" in the second verse and a still-incomplete bridge, with the placeholder lyric "the heroes in the funhouse ripping off the fags." V2a and 2b are vastly different mixes, but share the same lyrics, and were probably cut on the same day. V3 was recorded May 23 or July 6; the source quality is poor (V3b is pitch correction remastered by Fanatic Records, V4c is 30 seconds short), but what stands out is the second verse lyrics are now complete. However, the bridge remained incomplete. It appears Bruce envisioned the bridge containing a confrontation of great emotional power, but the words are still not there. The strings are dropped from all future versions. The final album sequence of July 2, 1975, had "Backstreets" as the album closer, but this was revised to the current configuration (ending Side 1) on July 7. V4, which is the album take and final mix, was completed on July 18, 1975, with a vocal overdub of the bridge.

BORN TO RUN - V1a 4:24 ESR / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V1b 4:28 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V2 4:27 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3a 4:40 BIS / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3b 4:38 WAR / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3c 4:34 ETRJ / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / BIS / ROOI / WAR
BORN TO RUN - V3d 4:30 BIS / ROOI / ETRJ / ETRV / BTRS / BTRCS
BORN TO RUN - V3e 4:23 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3f 4:21 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3g 4:30 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3h 4:23 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3i 4:21 BIS / BTRCS
BORN TO RUN - V3j 4:21 BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V3k 3:20 Ktel-CBS
BORN TO RUN - V4a 4:28 BORN TO RUN / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST / CHAPTER
BORN TO RUN - V4b 4:28 ETRJ / ETRV / BTRS
BORN TO RUN - V4c 5:27 RTT
BORN TO RUN - V5 uncirculating

Note: In his 2012 biography, Bruce, Peter Ames Carlin wrote that "While on the road in the Mid-South late in 1973, Springsteen 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" and "Jungleland"." According to Springsteen, the entire writing and recording process for the song took six months, while he was living at a rented cottage at 7½ West End Court in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Though recordings from early 1974 have never surfaced, early lyric sheets of "Glory Road" contain many lines that would be used in "Born To Run", including the title.

V1a is the original backing track recorded on May 21, 1974, after rehearsal in prior sessions. V1b is from June 26, 1974, dubbing Bruce's vocal to the V1a track. Work continued, adding lyrics, overdubs, and layer upon layer of sound, at 914 Sound Studios, both in June and then after starting a week's residency at the studio on August 1, 1974. Finally, on or about August 6, 1974, "Born To Run" was completed. 72 tracks were down-mixed to 16 by engineer Louis Lahav. "We only had 16 tracks to work with and they were packed, because he had had so much going on in the songs," Lahav remembers. "I had to ping-pong between tracks all the time to get everything in. Clarence Clemons's sax solo on "Born to Run" was recorded in different parts and I had to edit them to make it a whole solo. It was a really long voyage on that song."

The core backing track is V2. The variants of V3 are numerous test mixes and arrangements, with female choir vocals, double-tracked lead vocals, strings, and hard stop organ endings. Some items listed here may have been created by AI software that separates elements like vocals from the music. V3a has a double tracked vocal, strings and hard organ stop; V3b has double tracked vocals, swirling strings, female chorus, and hard organ stop; V3c has a female chorus and delayed organ end. V3d has a female chorus that does not start until third verse, with funky dead stop. V3e is an alternative mix with only basic instrumental backing; V3f has only guitars in the instrumental backing; V3g does not have a drum track. V3h is Bruce's vocal without any backing instruments; V3i features string and enhanced high end; V3j has less overdubbing; V3k does not include the middle verse and the sax solo and was released by Ktel-CBS in Australia-only in early 1976 on a multi-artist LP called Supersounds.

In a 2006 interview, Louis Lahav described the mixing process: "Springsteen kept changing the lyrics and the song got finished only when he was pleased with the text. But we weren't working only on the vocals that entire time. We were tweaking, overdubbing and pre-mixing until the last moment. In addition to the rhythm section there were strings, glockenspiel, piano, electric guitars, brasses, about four or five acoustic guitars, there are probably thousands of parts and instruments in it. For example, the sax solo was edited from about seven different solo tracks…it took me hours punching in and out what you can do these days in seconds." The final mix chosen for release is V4a. In late October 1974, an advanced tape release of the official version (V4b) was sent to selected radio stations by Mike Appel and Springsteen. V4c is a live recording from WMMR Studios in Philadelphia on November 3, 1974, with Ed Sciaky and Bruce playing V4b on the air. The tape was broadcast by several USA radio stations from November 1974 to July 1975. There is little difference between V4a and V4b, except V4b is pre-brickwalled for radio broadcast. V5 is a studio log entry for March 17, 1975, an attempted mix session at Columbia Studios, 49 East 52nd Street, New York. Jon Landau is quoted in Down Thunder Road: "Sometime later Bruce…decided to go in and attempt to remix [the single] "Born To Run". Bruce called me and told me. He asked if I would be able to drop by. They were doing this work at CBS Studios in Manhattan." Bruce similarly wrote in his autobiography, "We took it to a New York studio one evening and in a half hour realized the impossibility of our task. We would never corral that sound again."

JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V1 6:02 US6 / EY / ATMF
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V2 4:30 uncirculating
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V3 1:34 LM-8
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V4 2:34 LM-8 / PYP
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V5 6:50 DDO / DO-1 / EC / ATMF
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER - V6 6:43 LETTER

Note: "Janey Needs A Shooter" has a long, complicated history. V1 was recorded in a solo piano arrangement at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY, on January 29, 1973, with additional takes on January 30. The lyrics were written during 1972, although the melody was culled from the mid-1971 Springsteen composition "Talking About My Baby", a recording of which exists, from a show in Richmond, VA in October 1971. "Janey Needs A Shooter" appeared on provisional lists for The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, but did not make the final cut. Also listed on the earliest known album #3 sequence, from spring 1974. Session log documents indicate that a full-band arrangement was recorded at 914 Sound Studios at some point during the Born To Run sessions, but it was bypassed for the album.

V3 and V4 are acoustic demos Bruce recorded around March–April 1979, at Telegraph Hill. V5 is a magnificent 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. "Janey Needs A Shooter" was also included on a very early tracklist for what became The River, but in all likelihood never seriously considered.

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. Bruce agreed, and 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 In Dancing School album was recorded during the summer of 1979 and released in February 1980.

V6 was the earliest track recorded for Letter To You, and was initially intended for release on Record Store Day, as Bruce confirmed during a phone call to E Street Radio on October 23, 2020.

JUNGLELAND - V1 uncirculating
JUNGLELAND - V2 uncirculating
JUNGLELAND - V3 1:33 BIS / WAR / ET / BTRS
JUNGLELAND - V4 9:43 BTRS
JUNGLELAND - V5 9:44 ESR / BTRO
JUNGLELAND - V6 9:37 DDITV / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC / WAR / URT1 / ROOI
JUNGLELAND - V7 9:14 ROOI / UBTROC
JUNGLELAND - V8 9:32 BORN TO RUN / ESSENTIAL: 2003
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Note: In his book Bruce, Peter Ames Carlin claims that from January 8, 1974 Springsteen and the band spent "a couple of days fiddling with rudimentary versions of both "Born To Run" and "Jungleland"" at 914 Studios. The accuracy of this statement is unverified, but we've included it here for reference. V1 above represents those sessions. The first circulating live performance of "Jungleland" is from the July 12, 1974 show at the Bottom Line in New York City, over seven months later. V2 is a complete take in the studio, cut August 1, 1974 and known from a Record Plant log sheet. V2 was recorded before David Sancious and Ernest Carter left the band, and took inspiration from "Zero And Blind Terry". Through 1974 and early 1975, Bruce continued to play and develop "Jungleland" on stage, and worked on it the studio; V3 is a segment of Bruce and Suki Lahav recording vocals for dubbing, and the recording captures her talking to Bruce and singing the song coda with heavy echo. Suki recorded the violin intro at some point at 914 Sound Studios, later overdubbed to the final master at Record Plant studios in 1975. During the second half of 1974 and the first half of 1975, lyrics included "there’s a crazy kind of light tonight, brighter than the one that sparkles for prophets" which were changed in July 1975 to "the midnight gang's assembled and picked a rendezvous for the night." Similarly, the 1974/early-1975 lyrics "the street's alive with tough-kid Jets in Nova-light machines, boys flash guitars like bayonets and rip holes in their jeans" later became "the street's alive as secret debts are paid, contacts made, they vanished unseen, kids flash guitars just like switchblades hustling for the record machine."

Jon Landau relocated the Born To Run sessions to the Record Plant on April 18, 1975, the studio from which all other circulating versions emanate. These sessions did not include Suki Lahav, who had returned to Israel in late March 1975, but her violin overdub survived. Much of the first day was devoted to "Jungleland", and in the first week there were more sessions on April 23 and 25. It's likely that V4 was recorded during this period, with the band laying down base tracks. V5 has the same opening as V4, but after that uses a guide vocal by Bruce, strings and no sax, which are also present in V6. According to the incomplete logs, Springsteen didn't give any more attention to "Jungleland" until July 14, with new vocal overdubs, but still lacking a lead guitar track (V7). Work was finally completed over two days from July 19, and it all 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."

LINDA LET ME BE THE ONE - V1 4:32 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 of "Linda Let Me Be the One" was probably recorded either May 8 or 19, 1975 and has a more tentative vocal and is shorter than the later takes. V2 and V3 were recorded at 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 saxophone part. Springsteen recorded two different versions, a "hard slow version" and a "ballad version." Further work was undertaken (either mixing or overdubs) on July 8. As of July 2, 1975, it was sequenced for Side 2, track 1 of Born To Run, but bumped from that slot in favor of "Born To Run", and then from the album entirely by "Meeting Across The River". It later became the sole outtake from the Born To Run sessions to be issued on Tracks. According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, the lyrics may have evolved from the early tune "Theme For The Imaginary Waitress (Fountainbleu)".

LONELY NIGHT IN THE PARK - V1 4:30 uncirculating
LONELY NIGHT IN THE PARK - V2 4:48 ESR / BWNH / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC
LONELY NIGHT IN THE PARK - V3 4:20 uncirculating

Note: This long-documented song finally surfaced in late 2005 during broadcasts by Sirius radio. The circulating version is clearly only an unfinished, early workout. This recording and additional takes on May 4 or 5 are the only mention of the song in studio logs. The song was documented on two handwritten song lists from 1974, with "Lonely Night In The Park" listed on one, and "Lonely Night At The Beach" on another, which may have been an earlier version of the song. It was in the running for the album up until July 2, 1975, before Mike Appel convinced Bruce to replace it with the title track. The fact that it was considered for the album so late in the process suggests that more work was undertaken on the song between May and July that is undocumented.

THE HEIST - V1 2:54 ESR / 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 until late April or May 1975; the working title was "The Heist", the name used 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.

THE NIGHT - V1 4:00 uncirculating
NIGHT - V2 2:55 ESR / BTRS
NIGHT - V3 2:51 WAR / VAFH / BWNH / BTRS
NIGHT - V4 - take 8 2:57 BORN TO RUN

Note: V1 of "The Night" was recorded at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY from August–October 1974, and included in a possible album sequence in late 1974. V2 has a core rhythm track, guide vocal and guitar; V3 includes double-tracked vocals. Both possibly recorded 1974–75 at 914 Sound Studio, or at the Record Plant on May 10, 1975. Take 8 of 10 recorded that day was marked 'Great - Hold,' which suggests that one was the recording used for Born To Run, as no further recordings of the song are known. The first line of the song was re-used from Springsteen's 1970 Steel Mill composition "Oh Mama".

SHE'S THE ONE - V1 6:17 BIS / WAR / ET / BTRS / BTRCS
SHE'S THE ONE - V2a 4:22 ESR / BTRS
SHE'S THE ONE - V2b 4:15 ESR
SHE'S THE ONE - V3 uncirculating
SHE'S THE ONE - V4 3:36 BORN TO RUN

Note: "She's The One" debuted at Avery Fisher Hall in New York on October 4, 1974, and the lyrics remained consistent right up to the end of the tour in March 1975. V1 was probably recorded some time between October 1974 and April 1975. In his book E Street Shuffle, The Glory Days Of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Clinton Heylin believes it was recorded October 16, 1974, but the evidence for such a claim is unknown. This take includes some lyrics that would later be used in "Backstreets", and conversely imports "French cream won't soften those boots" from "Santa Ana".

V2 was recorded some time after V1, maybe around April or May 1975 at the Record Plant, New York. This take is shorter, with only the first two verses and adds a guitar solo. Bruce then vocalizes the saxophone solo, which suggests the Big Man was off that day. After all the tracks for Born To Run had been completed, and the tour had begun, Springsteen drove back to the studio two nights in a row (July 24 and 25), to finish dubbing vocals of a new second verse and bridge for V3, "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." The new lyrics changed the song from a fight with his girlfriend to a magical love song. The track was finally completed on July 25 for the album.

A NIGHT LIKE THIS - V1 uncirculating
A LOVE SO FINE - V2 3:47 BIS / WAR / ET / BWNH / BTRS / ETRJ
SO YOUNG AND IN LOVE - V3 3:47 TRACKS / BTRCS

Note: Springsteen introduced a new song at a rehearsal show at the Main Point on September 19, 1974. By October, it would come to be known as "A Love So Fine", but in early performances the chorus was "A Night Like This" and the title was written as such on at least one contemporary setlist. On October 4, 1974, Springsteen changed the chorus, replacing the "A Night Like This" with "A Love So Fine". His musicians carried handwritten setlists that night, that still used the title, "A Night Like This".

Studio logs show that a track titled "A Night Like This" was recorded at 914 Sound Studios on October 16, 1974. While there is little doubt this was "A Love So Fine", it is not known how many takes and configurations were taped. Only an instrumental backing track of "A Love So Fine" remains from this era. It has been in heavy bootleg circulation since the late seventies, first issued on vinyl 'E Ticket', and then on many CDs from 1989 onwards, including 'Born In The Studio' and 'War And Roses'. There is evidence it was the October 16 recording. According to studio documentation, a session on that day produced a two-inch master reel that has "A Love So Fine" and "Born To Run" paired, supporting this viewpoint, and that an engineer used the old title of "A Night Like This".

It appears that Springsteen took the "A Love So Fine" backing track and the verses he had fine-tuned on stage for a year, changed the chorus for a third time, and created "So Young And In Love", which was issued on Tracks in 1998. The contradictory liner notes date the recording to 1/6/74 (January 6). Bruce was on tour in Cambridge, MA that day, and musicians Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg, also credited, did not join the band until August 1974. However, the rest of notes indicate the venue was Record Plant Studios in New York City, and Jimmy Iovine was the engineer. It is possible the correct date was January 6, 1978, during sessions for Darkness On The Edge Of Town, and that the liner notes date is simply a misprint. However, close listening reveals the backing track is the exact same track he laid down in October 1974, but now with overdubbed vocals. It is possible the vocal track was recorded in January 1978, with Bruce singing over the 1974 backing track. Springsteen has also stated in an interview with Mojo in 1998 that the cut on Tracks is from the Darkness sessions. "So Young And In Love" was mixed in 1998 by Ed Thacker and sequenced amongst Darkness-era songs.

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: Work on this song began May 5, 1975. V1 is a brief snippet of the tail section of what appears to be a unique 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 vocalizing the horn parts during the opening. V3a was recorded on July 13, 1975 at the Record Plant, featuring Randy and Michael Brecker on horns, in a last-minute arrangement by Steven Van Zandt. V3b has a cold ending (no fadeout) and includes only bass, drums, horns and vocal. A stereo fold down mono version is also available as the b-side of the white label promo 45.

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

Note: According to Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music by Charles R. Cross, a 1972 song called "Angelina" contains the first two lines of "Thunder Road". This may have been the basis of a solo recording from October 1974 at 914 Sound Studios of "Chrissie's Song" (or this was a new composition), which includes the line "Leave what you’ve lost, leave what’s grown cold, Thunder Road." Some time between November 1974 and January 1975, Bruce took "Chrissie", lyrics from "Walking In The Street", and combined them into "Angelina" V2, possibly also known as "Wings For Wheels", the bootleg title of contemporary performances. 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 "Angelina"/"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 lines "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".

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 in late March. 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 three versions of "Thunder Road", recorded over April 18–19 and 23, 1975, would later leak out on bootlegs. V3a is a full-band version, the girl is now Chrissie, and ends with the build up, instrumental outro, two refrains led by Clarence, to a full ending with no fadeout. V3b has two 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, 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." The final refrain is led by piano, with Bruce's overdubbed guitar. V6, recorded, or at least overdubbed, on July 15 or 16, and is almost ready to open Born To Run. This take opens with saxophone and Roy's piano, the latter which is featured in the first two minutes, Bruce's now awesome vocal, introduces us to Mary, and dominated by guitar. The long outro mixes guitar, sax and piano just like the album, and has seven refrains, though one variation only has five. V7 now has piano and harmonica opening without sax, glock, the talking guitar and Mary, and after twelve hours mixing and dubbing guitars, was completed on July 16, 1975, with Mike Appel on background vocals.

WALKING IN THE STREET - V1 3:56 BIS / WAR / ET / BWNH / BTRS / ETRJ
WALKING IN THE STREET - V2 uncirculating
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Note: There is very little information about "Walking In The Street", interchangeable with its other title, "Lovers In The Cold". Just the one rough, clearly unfinished bootlegged take (V1) circulates, probably recorded in the autumn of 1974 at 914 Sound Studios. Soon after, Bruce decided to export some lyrics to his work-in-progress title "Wings For Wheels", namely 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, he took the main coda of "Walking In The Street" and used it as the instrumental outro of "Wings For Wheels", now titled "Thunder Road". It seemed that there was nothing left, but "Walking In The Street" 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 with either "Walking In The Street(s)" or "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.

Springsteen later taped a rehearsal version at Monmouth Post Theater in January 1999, perhaps with a view to issuing a fresh recording of "Walking In The Street" on 18 Tracks alongside "The Promise". Springsteen commented to Mark Hagen of Mojo magazine in 1999, "There was another [track] called "Walking In The Street" which I would have liked to have put on [Tracks], 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." 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 In The Street" were recorded on May 28, 1975, designated V2 (see illustration). This could well be the reel holding the takes from that session, located at some point between 1998 and 2005. On May 28, 1975 he spent the day recording at least twenty takes of "The Heist", while there is no record of "Walking In The Street" in the notoriously incomplete studio logs.

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, some have additions written later in the sessions in 1975.

Dates from very early in the sessions, perhaps as early as the spring of 1974, maybe even earlier.

Album #3
1. Angel Baby
2. Architect Angel
3. Thundercrack
4. Vision at Fort Horn
5. Two Hearts
6. Here She Comes
7. Glory Road
8. Janey Needs A Shooter
9. Jungleland

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.

ANGEL BABY 5:30 uncirculating

Note: This track can be found on several handwritten potential sequences for Springsteen's third album. Known as "Angel Baby" and "Angel Baby (Broken Down Doll)". Could also be known as "Angel's Song" which can be found on another handwritten document, but it is possible this is a different composition. It is known to have been performed on June 2, 1974 in Toledo, OH and was possibly recorded at 914 Sound Studios sometime in 1974.

ANGEL'S BLUES uncirculating

Note: Written mid-to-late 1973. Also known by the titles "She's So Fine" and "Ride On Sweet William".

BABY AND ME (BLONDIE) uncirculating

Note: Potentially the same song as "Lonesome Town (Blondie)". No other details known. Found on listing #2 and #3.

BORN TO BE ALONE uncirculating

Note: Written as "Orbison - Born To Be Alone". Could very well be an early working title for the Orbison-influenced "Thunder Road."

BORN TO WIN uncirculating

Note: No details known.

DOWN AT THE CLUB 4:00 uncirculating

Note: Album Sequences #5 and 6 both show a timing of 4:00. Unfortunately, it was crossed out in sequence #6, never to be heard again.

DUEL / DUAL uncirculating

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

ELVIS STYLE uncirculating

Note: Could be a working title for another song.

EVERY LITTLE BIT uncirculating

Note: Title known only from this early track listing.

GLORY ROAD uncirculating

Note: During an interview with Australian journalist Ian "Molly" Meldrum in April 1995, Springsteen was asked if this was an early title for "Thunder Road"; Springsteen replied tentatively that it was possible. Two lyric sheets that have 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". Phrases later used in "Born To Run" such as "tramps like us baby we were born to run" and "let me show you love is wild, let me show you love is real" can be found in the "Glory Road" lyric sheets. 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". More information.

HERE SHE COMES WALKIN' uncirculating

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" (listing #1 and 4).

JR. WALKER GROOVE uncirculating

Note: There is a handwritten song list, probably dated late 1974, that has "Jr. Walker Groove" paired with "A Love So Fine". 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) uncirculating

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" (as speculated by Molly Meldrum in the famous 1995 interview).

LATIN SONG uncirculating

Note: No details known.

LIVIN' IN THE GHETTO (HARLEM) uncirculating

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".

LOVE AND DEFIANCE uncirculating

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.

LONESOME TOWN (BLONDIE) uncirculating

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". Found on listing #2 and as "Baby & Me (BLondie)" on #3.

MARY'S SONG uncirculating

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

NEW DELINQUENT LOVERS uncirculating

Note: No details known.

PRETTY THING uncirculating

Note: Found on listing #5.

SAINT JIMMY'S DREAM uncirculating

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

SHA LA LA uncirculating

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

SHANGHAI uncirculating

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 INTO MY ROOM (SCENE #1) uncirculating

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

SHOOTOUT IN CHINATOWN uncirculating

Note: Appears in a song/album sequence dated to August-October 1974.

SOMETIMES AT NIGHT uncirculating

Note: Known from a 1974 list of potential album titles. Previously, a song titled "Sometimes At Night" was performed by the Bruce Springsteen Band during 1971-1972, 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.

SONG TO THE ORPHANS - V1 uncirculating
SONG TO THE ORPHANS - V2 uncirculating
SONG FOR ORPHANS - V3 6:34 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / US4 / DT / ATMF
SONG FOR ORPHANS - V4 uncirculating
SONG FOR ORPHANS - V5 6:08 LETTER

Note: According to several authors, including Peter Ames Carlin (Bruce!) and Ryan White (Springsteen Album by Album), "Song To the Orphans" V1 was one of the songs Bruce Springsteen played for Mike Appel, following "Baby Doll", at their first meeting on November 4, 1971, at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY. It should also be noted neither Springsteen or Appel have confirmed or denied this in their writings to date. V2 recorded at Mediasound Studios, 311 West 57th Street, New York, NY, June–July 1972. V3 recorded at 914 Sound Studios on February 19, 1973, V4 recorded next day. Found on a proposed track-listing document for the Greetings album. First known live performance of "Song For Orphans" was on August 10, 1972 at Max's Kansas City, New York City, NY, and it was an occasional inclusion in Bruce’s opening solo segment during the first three months of the Greetings Tour. A couple of live audio performances from that period are circulating. Occasionally written as "Song To Orphans", "Song To The Orphans" and variations thereof. Although not considered for album #2, Springsteen composed several lists of songs in 1974, that were candidates for inclusion on his third album, and "Song For Orphans" made several. More information.... V5 was recorded over a five-day period in November 2019 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey, with the E Street Band.

STILL THERE uncirculating

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

STREET FIGHT uncirculating

Note: No details known.

SURRENDER AT THE CITADEL uncirculating

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.

THE STREET uncirculating

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

THE STREET GOES ON FOREVER uncirculating

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.

THEME FOR AN IMAGINARY WAITRESS (FONTAINBLEU WALTZ) uncirculating

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".

THUNDER HILL uncirculating

Note: No details known.

VIRGIN SUMMER NIGHTS uncirculating

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 uncirculating

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

WILD ANGELS uncirculating

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 uncirculating

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 uncirculating

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

WILD ONES uncirculating

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, where Springsteen's note reads: "Janey Need A Shooter to Wild One chords".

WILD ROSES uncirculating

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


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