Darkness On The Edge Of Town - Studio Sessions


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Commercial Release: June 2, 1978
Produced by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau
Recorded at Atlantic Studios, New York City (June-August 1977) and The Record Plant, New York City (July 1977-March 1978)
Recorded by Jimmy Iovine

Overview

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

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

The actual recording sessions for Darkness On The Edge Of Town were completed by early January 1978. The mixing sessions began in early January 1978 and dragged on until late March – there were a tremendous amount of different mixes considered, with Springsteen changing his mind on the mix of one song (“The Promised Land”) as late as early April. From March 1978 to the start of the Darkness Tour in late May Steve Van Zandt and Max Weinberg were very busy at nearby Secret Sound Studios with Southside Johnny’s Hearts Of Stone album (released early October 1978). Springsteen donated two non short-listed songs from the Darkness sessions to the Southside LP project.

The Darkness album mixing sessions began in early January 1978 and dragged on until late March; there were a tremendous number of different mixes considered, with Springsteen changing his mind on the mix of one song (“The Promised Land”) as late as early April. Here is some final mixing information for perspective. Candy's Room was mixed from March 3-5, 1978, with take 42 selected for Darkness on March 5, 1978. Factory mix take 28 from April 3, 1978, was pressed to a metal acetate with the title "Factory Song" on April 12, 1978. Badlands V4a, recorded February 22, 1978, was pressed to metal acetate the day after final mix 23 on April 11, 1978, though another recording from February 24 or 25 was released on the Darkness album. More information can be found in the detail records of the tracks that made the album.

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

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

The 2010 release of The Promise is somewhat of a double-edged sword. We now have a slightly better understanding of the Darkness sessions, as well as access to several tracks that were previously unknown to us such as "Save My Love" and "Breakaway". However, the wonderful notebook facsimile included in the box lists titles of many songs (see Part Four below) that are totally new to us. It is unknown how many of these songs actually exist; many may not be songs at all - just titles. Jimmy Iovine mentions in the making-of documentary that Springsteen wrote seventy songs for potential use on "Album IV". It remains a possibility that even the seventy songs referred to by Iovine is a conservative estimate of Springsteen's true output at this time. A case of three steps forward, two steps back?

1. BADLANDS 4:01 DARKNESS
2. ADAM RAISED A CAIN 4:31 DARKNESS
3. SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT 5:08 DARKNESS
4. CANDY'S ROOM 2:43 DARKNESS
5. RACING IN THE STREET 6:51 DARKNESS
6. THE PROMISED LAND 4:25 DARKNESS
7. FACTORY 2:15 DARKNESS
8. STREETS OF FIRE 4:02 DARKNESS
9. PROVE IT ALL NIGHT 3:54 DARKNESS
10. DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN 4:23 DARKNESS

Additional Recordings

DON'T LOOK BACK 2:56 TRACKS
HEARTS OF STONE 4:27 TRACKS
ICEMAN 3:13 TRACKS
GIVE THE GIRL A KISS 3:47 TRACKS
RACING IN THE STREET ('78) 6:47 PROMISE
GOTTA GET THAT FEELING 3:15 PROMISE
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN 2:16 PROMISE
SOMEDAY (WE'LL BE TOGETHER) 5:32 PROMISE
ONE WAY STREET 4:16 PROMISE
BECAUSE THE NIGHT 3:22 PROMISE
WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET 3:31 PROMISE
THE BROKENHEARTED 5:16 PROMISE
RENDEZVOUS 2:35 PROMISE
CANDY'S BOY 4:31 PROMISE
AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU 3:59 PROMISE
FIRE 4:05 PROMISE
SPANISH EYES 3:47 PROMISE
CANDY'S ROOM DEMO 1:47 PROMISE
IT'S A SHAME 3:12 PROMISE
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) 2:16 PROMISE
TALK TO ME 4:17 PROMISE
THE LITTLE THINGS (MY BABY DOES) 3:15 PROMISE
BREAKAWAY 5:26 PROMISE
THE PROMISE 5:47 PROMISE
CITY OF NIGHT 2:56 PROMISE
THE WAY 3:40 PROMISE
SAVE MY LOVE 2:39 PROMISE

Details

thanks to Clinton Heylin and his books E Street Shuffle - The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and Song By Song.

BADLANDS - V1 4:07 LM-2 / DDO / DDOC / DO-3 / AM / UP
BADLANDS - V2 3:47 LM-3 / DDO / DDOC / DO-2 / UP
BADLANDS - V3 3:40 LM-3 / UP / AM / LMEC1
BADLANDS - V4a 4:05 ODM / HOD / AM
BADLANDS - V4b 4:03 uncirculating
BADLANDS - V4c take 23 4:03 DARKNESS

Note: Unfortunately, very few outtakes circulate of Badlands, one of Springsteen's greatest songs and anthems, that he opened concerts with for years, although there must be some good stuff waiting in the vaults. Remember, title, music, lyrics, the Springsteen method of songwriting. The title came from Terrence Malick's 1973 movie, "Badlands" (he had not seen the movie). In late June, the music had been composed, and was first played by the E Street Band on June 27, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. The song's opening riff, Springsteen revealed years later, is a major-key twist on the minor-key intro to the Animals' 1965 hit "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." V1 is an instrumental backing track, recorded on June 27 and 30. Max Weinberg said his opening drum part was suggested by Steve Van Zandt, and inspired by Motown. Bruce had a routine with his engineers to create "Ruffs" tapes for him, so he could take instrumental or early recordings home and write lyrics. V2 had to be recorded in late June, or on July 11 or 13 at Atlantic Studios. Springsteen was working at Atlantic Studios on July 13, 1977, when the twenty-five-hour-long New York City blackout began; soon after, the opening line "Lights Out Tonight", came into being. New takes, with developing lyrics, were recorded on August 24 and 30, 1977, but contrary to Lost Masters liner notes and many other sources, no outtakes circulate from these sessions.

It wasn't until November 1977, that Badlands was re-written with new lines, including, "I wanna go out tonight, I wanna find out what I got" from "Iceman", about which he later honestly recalled, "That whole record was a record where I felt like I was going to have to test myself, and that was what I wanted to know, so that line ended up in a few different songs."—Los Angeles Times interview, 1998. Next, from a song by Elvis Presley from the 1962 movie, "Kid Galahad", "King Of The Whole Wide World": "A poor man wants to be a rich man, A rich man wants to be a king, But the man who can sing when he hasn't got a thing, He's the king of the whole wide world". They translated to these Verse2 lyrics: "You better get it straight, darling, Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, And a king ain't satisfied till he rules everything, I wanna go out tonight, I wanna find out what I got". Verse 3 was strengthened by, "For the ones who once had a notion, it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive" from "Break Out".

V3 was recorded on December 12, 1977 at the Record Plant, with many new pieces in place. Bruce is still yelling at 'the man on the TV', but Badlands has started to take shape. The vocals for V4, the album version, were dubbed in during a three-day mixing marathon on February 22, 24 and 25, 1978. V4A is an alternate, with less double-tracked vocals than the Darkness version, and V4b was the final mix #23 from April 11, which was pressed to acetate on April 12, 1978. However, V4c, the mix that went on the album, was from February 24 or 25, restoring one of Clarence Clemons' great sax solos. Springsteen's initial excuse was that he believed the instrument evoked the city, leaving it out of place on an album set in something more like "the heartland"; he later admitted, "[that] would have been a major error".

SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT - V1 4:35 DO-2 / DDO / UP
SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT - V2a 5:07 DO-3 / DDOC / AM
SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT - V2b 5:04 ODM / HOD / UP
SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT - V2c 5:08 DARKNESS

Note: Premiered live on August 1, 1976 and was played at 31 of 54 shows on the Lawsuit Tour 1976-1977, which gave Springsteen opportunities to revise lyrics and modify arrangements. The tour featured a full-time horn section, the Miami Horns, and they were also used in several arrangements. When the Darkness sessions began on June 1, 1977, takes of "Something In the Night" were recorded, and apparently the album take was chosen from that date. According to Sony logs, there were two subsequent recording sessions on June 14 and 16, and that was it, until mixing sessions began in 1978. Versions 2A, 2B and 2C are all the same June 1 recording, with different mixes made. There is a posibility of V1 being recorded later in June on the dates mentioned. Godfatherecords release G.R. BOX 01, The Unbroken Promise: Lighting Up The Darkness Sessions, a 6 CD compilation of outtakes from the Darkness sessions, describes in it's extensive liner notes that ”Something In The Night appears in three versions, Version 1 being recorded in June-July 1977 at Atlantic Studios and versions 2a and 2b during September-October 1977." Unfortunately, there is no evidence at all of the latter. The final notation is Mix take #42 (V2c), from February 27, 1978, was pressed to metal acetate on April 12, 1978, and became track 3 on Darkness On the Edge of Town.

DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN - V1 uncirculating
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN - V2 4:26 DO-3 / DDO / UP / DDOC
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN - V3a 4:21 ODM / HOD / UP
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN - V3b 4:23 DARKNESS

Note: V1 represents multiple takes reported at Bruce's home, Telegraph Hill, Holmdel, New Jersey, during 1976, even though the odds of recovering any material seem low at this time. Then again, few were aware that Barry Rebo had the film footage released from the Thrill Hill Vault on Blu-Ray/DVD No. 2 from The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story box set. No doubt Bruce and the E Street Band worked extensively on Rendezvous, Something In the Night, The Promise, Frankie, Candy's Boy, and Darkness. Written about six months after Born To Run was finished, was called "The Racer" for a time. V2 was one of the takes recorded on June 6, 8, 9, 20 and 23, 1977 at Atlantic Studios, according to studio logs. Work on the lyrics was needed. After putting forth such a good effort (5 days), Bruce put Darkness aside for the rest of the year. On March 8, 1978, he suddenly called his forces together, and over three days, they finished what would become the title track of the album. The March takes were cut in a studio with bare concrete walls, after the room was gutted prior to renovation. V3a and V3b are different mixes of the same basic recording. V2a (which can be identified by the addition of the word "ready" to the line "I'll be there on time ready to pay the cost") is mix take #28 from March 30, 1978, and was pressed to metal acetate on April 12, 1978.

DYING IN THE STREET - V1 5:48 DO-3 / LM-3 / UP / AM
RACING IN THE STREET - V2 6:42 LM-3 / UP
RACING IN THE STREET - V3a 6:44 ODM / HOD / UP / AM
RACING IN THE STREET - V3b 6:51 DARKNESS
RACING IN THE STREET - V4a 6:16 LM-2 / DDO / DO-2 / UP / LMEC2 / DDOC / AM
RACING IN THE STREET ('78) - V4b 6:47 PROMISE

Note: V1, "Dying In The Street", a solo piano take that contains those words, and then, "Look at me, it’s true, baby, what else can we do", was recorded July 2, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. According to the Lost Masters III liner notes, V2 was recorded in August 1977, and studio logs show takes on 8 different days at either Atlantic Studios or The Record Plant during the month. The comp. reel for the official album release V3b came on August 30, 1977. However, Bruce returned to his composition in V4a ,with a stunning alternate band arrangement with wailing harmonica and tremendous vocal, recorded between November28 and 30, 1977 at The Record Plant. The officially released V4b, titled "Racing In The Street ('78)" on The Promise CD, utilizes a different 1977 vocal take and runs longer, but otherwise is identical to v4a. David Lindley plays modern violin, as he did on "Come On", back in 1977. Work continued on December 6 and 9; studio logs also show mixing sessions at The Record Plant from March 21 thru 23, 1978. Bruce adapted the lines "summer's here and the time is right / for goin' racing in the street" from Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing In The Street".

PROVE IT ALL NIGHT - V1 3:28 LM-3 / UP / AM / LMEC2
PROVE IT ALL NIGHT - V2a 4:00 ODM / HOD / UP / AM
PROVE IT ALL NIGHT - V2b 3:54 ODM / HOD / UP / AM
PROVE IT ALL NIGHT - V2c 3:54 DARKNESS

Note: Bruce came up with the title, "Prove It All Night", and says he adapted "It's A Shame aka Jon's Jam", (which was written, recorded and dumped in June), but as usual, the lyrics were a work in progress when he arrived at the Record Plant on September 12, 1977. He later said (live as an intro to the song) that he got the idea from a cabbie, who was moanin' about having to prove it to your boss, your wife, and according to the Bruce brain filter…to the Night! The E Street Band learned the chords quickly, and to go ahead and record a take, Bruce had worked up a lyric sheet using the first verse from “Something In The Night”, which fit the music well. That was how the first take, V1, was done, and how the "Lost Masters Something In the Night version" came to be. Fortunately, "Something In the Night" was not scuttled for it's lyrics like "Candy's Boy"; on September 14, Bruce had two original verses in hand for the session, and work on the song was completed on September 16 with V2, the take used on Darkness (V2a and V2b are alternate mixes).

In May 1978, a single was needed, with the album due out next month, and "Prove It All Night" was selected. Album rock stations loved it, but it fell short as a pop hit. Oblivious to these matters, Bruce had worked up a special arrangement for the Darkness tour, a 2:00 prelude that started with Roy's piano, then his guitar, as the band built up to the main song, which rocked along until the big, dramatic break at the dynamo (which Bruce had decided was no longer needed by Candy's Boy). Like "Born To Run", "Night", and "Thunder Road", Bruce's character is armed only with his car and fantastic dreams, the will to escape to a better life, and his girl, who has to choose between her old life or going with him. Bruce has gotten better at this in three years, and tells her, "They'll never know what it means to steal, to cheat, to lie, what it's like to live and die", as Max's drum roll sneaks up on them, and now the band blasts into the final chorus. But this is not the end of the song, Bruce capitalizes on the emotion he has created, and leads the band in a two minute jam to the end, which jacks the energy level in the building through the roof, kicking the show into high gear. Every night, Racing In the Street, Thunder Road and Jungleland would follow to fill out the first set. As one, and then two months went by, the length of "Prove It" increased from five minutes to over eight minutes, and stayed that way for the rest of the tour. "Prove It All Night" became one of Bruce's great show-stoppers.

CANDY'S BOY - V1 5:03 PROMISE: VAULT
CANDY'S BOY - V2 5:22 LM-2 / DO-2 / LMEC2 / DDOC / LES / MT1 / DDO
CANDY'S BOY - V3 4:48 LM-3 / DO-3 / AM / ATEOD
CANDY'S BOY - V4 5:12 ESRR
CANDY'S BOY - V5 4:31 PROMISE

Note: "(I Will Forever Be) Candy’s Boy", or simply "Candy’s Boy", was composed shortly after the Born to Run tour concluded in 1976. V1 is a summer 1976 band rehearsal at Bruce's house in Holmdel, NJ (referred to as Telegraph Hill), and is included on the Thrill Hill Vault DVD/Blu-ray in The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story box set. V2 was recorded June 6, 1977 at Atlantic Studios, New York, and sounds complete in all respects. However, Bruce is often not satisfied with songs that conflict in some way with his personal vision, and he decided to continue working on it. V4 and V5 are both thought to be from later in June; V4 is longer, and includes an extra instrumental section. The officially released V5, released in 2010 on the The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story, adds "My Sweet Love" to his vows. V3 was recorded on August 24 at Atlantic Studios, with a slightly different melody, and a final, uncirculated take was recorded on September 2, 1977. Then, the October 1977 Album 4 sequence entitled "Badlands", which had included "Candy's Boy", was withdrawn, and "Candy's Boy" was never played again. In mid-September, a decision was made to re-organize "The Fast Song" into "Candy's Room", with the first verse of "Candy's Boy" incorporated, along with lines from "Frankie". Other elements were exported to a new composition, "Prove It All Night" (the dynamo) on September 14, and "Drive All Night" (Well there’s machines and there’s fire Waiting for us on the edge of town) also received verses.

THE FAST SONG - V1 - backing track 2:54 LM-2 / DO-3 / UP / ATEOD / AM / DDO / DDOC
THE FAST SONG - V2a 2:32 DO-3
THE FAST SONG - V2b 3:00 LM-3 / DDO / UP / GT / DO-2
THE FAST SONG - V2c 2:58 UP / AM / ODM / HOD
THE FAST SONG - V2d 3:02 UP / AM / MT1
CANDY'S ROOM DEMO - V3 1:37 PROMISE: VAULT
NEW FAST SONG (CANDY) - V4 uncirculating
CANDY'S ROOM - V5a - mix take #13 2:41 ODM / HOD / UP / AM
CANDY'S ROOM - V5b - mix take #42 2:43 DARKNESS

Note: "God's Angels", alternately named "The Fast Song", was a fast-paced melody written by Bruce around May 1977 and developed at Atlantic Studios, New York during June. Though studio logs show the first take was on June 6, evidence exists that it was recorded on June 1 at Atlantic Studios, the first day of sessions. Instrumental track V1 was worked on June 6, 9, or 10. The lyrics heard in V2a can only be found in very poor quality on Darkness Outtakes Volume 3 (The Promise), but features an incredible searing guitar solo, strangely never to be heard again. "I wish God's Angels would tear this town down, blow it into the sea, and that's okay with me because I don't care"; V2b was worked on June 13, 14, 20 and 24, and again (V2c and V2d) on August 24, September 1 and 2, 1977, and lyrics slightly change ": "I wish God's angels would tear this town down and blow it into the sea, man that's alright with me I don't care anymore". There is no ironclad proof of this chronology, it could be the other way around. All of these lines were blown into the sea on September 27. Thanks to Eddy at springsteenlyrics.com for his consultations.

The evidence is a bit confusing, but it is not hard to conclude that "Candy's Room" was around since at least May 1977, and was connected to "The Fast Song", as evidenced by the Ampex cassette jacket dated June 1, 1977. Springsteen's mind at this point was turning faster than ever with song ideas; he was nothing like the "Born to Run" Bruce. Darkness was set to be released in October 1977, but he postponed that until June 1978, because of the constant stream of new ideas flowing through his head. Nothing illustrates this better than the genesis of "Candy's Room".

In the Thrill Hill Vault DVD/Blu-ray on The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story box set, there is a short segment with Bruce and Jon Landau in the Record Plant, as Bruce plays for Jon new lyrics he has written for "Candy's Room Demo" (V3); these are entirely new, and describe a magical house at the edge of town, with Candy waiting for him in the window. One has to conclude that this took place around September 10, 1977, just before Bruce decided to re-organize "The Fast Song" into "Candy's Room", giving his obsession (Candy) the home she deserves, in one of his best musical constructs, "The Fast Song". He took the first verse of Candy's Boy, the second verse from the Fast Song, lines from "Frankie", and fresh lyrics ("we kiss", instead of "I got caught" at the start of Max's drum roll). The third verse was mainly adapted from the Fast Song. On September 27, "The New Fast Song (Candy)" V4 appeared for the first time, and over the next two days, he worked on it extensively, now calling it "Candy's Room". Studio logs show another take on December 12, 1977, and then a marathon mixing session, from March 3 to March 5, 1978, which finally concluded when take 42 (v5b) was selected for Darkness On the Edge of Town.

We don't have an outtake from September 27, but we do have Bruce's lyrics for "New Fast Song (Candy)", his interim title. The transcribed words contain several lines that did not survive to the album track "Candy's Room". "I get visions of avenging angels of eden with their white horses and flaming swords can blow this whole town into the sea" is from "God's Angels-Fast Song", and "they cant touch Candy and me, our love they cannot destroy, I will forever be Candy's boy". is still hanging on.

Craig Finn of the Hold Steady describes "Candy’s Room" as "a rocket ship that blasts out of somewhere private into the world." It has been mentioned Candy might be a prostitute, with "fancy clothes and diamond rings" and "men who give her anything she wants." In a 2010 interview with Rolling Stone, Springsteen said, "Does it really matter? I'll never tell." Bruce Springsteen is a good catholic boy, who wrote in "Atlantic City", "our love may be cold, but with you forever I'll stay"; many times he has written about endless fidelity. The closest he came to writing about prostitution was "the hard girls over on easy street" in "Incident on 57th Street". Clinton Heylin said "He took the rocking, kick ass melody of The Fast Song, replaced the first verse he had written with Candy’s Boy’s strong opening, along with the character of Candy, and developed their relationship from there." He wrote in V3 "And for me, for me, she's waiting, In the window I see her face, All the beauty that time can't erase…Tonight…"

STREETS OF FIRE - V1 3:45 LM-2 / UP
STREETS OF FIRE - V2a 3:54 LM-3 / DDO / DO-1 / UP / DDOC
STREETS OF FIRE - V2b 3:52 ODM / HOD
STREETS OF FIRE - V2c 4:02 DARKNESS

Note: V1 is apparently from Atlantic Studios in August 1977. V2 (three mixes) is from The Record Plant in December 1977. Takes recorded June 24 at Atlantic, either Atlantic or The Record Plant on August 24 and 30, plus December 6, 12 and 29, 1977 at The Record Plant. V2b is mix take #28 from April 5, 1978. It was pressed to a metal acetate on April 12, 1978.

COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V1 uncirculating
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V2 2:07 DO-3 / UP / SC
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V3 2:10 LM-3 / LMEC2 / AM / UP
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V4 2:09 DDO / DO-1 / UP / DDOC / LES
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V5 2:16 PROMISE
THE FACTORY SONG - V6a 2:20 ODM / HOD / UP
THE FACTORY SONG - V6b 2:15 AM
FACTORY - V6c 2:15 DARKNESS
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V7 - V1 2:32 FFOD / HNWB

Note: Come On (Let’s Go Tonight) was written in the Spring of 1977, and V1 was cut on June 1, 1977, complete with Vox [organ], at Atlantic Studios, on the first night of the Darkness sessions. The band picked up the rhythm quickly, but Bruce had much work to do on the lyrics. V2 is the earliest take we have in circulation, a rough workout, from either July 2 or 13 at Atlantic Studios, but further progress was needed on the lyrics. At this point, Bruce had written, "Well a man and he lost his only wife, He walks down the streets, babe, with death in his eyes, Well everybody wants heaven, but nobody wants to die, Come on, come on, lets go tonight." Two out of three verses had "death in their eyes". Come On (Let's Go Tonight) V3 represented a sudden shift; though it retained it's name (Sony logs show all sessions to the end of 1977 under this name), the lyrics were radically rewritten to the story of Douglas Springsteen, Bruce's father, who worked at a machine factory under harsh conditions. A well-known interview quote from Bruce, "I remember my old man was working in this plastics factory…and all I remember, when we used to go in that place, was him standing near ’em loud fucking machines". Now he sang "Factory takes his hearing, but he understands", but the third verse was the outcome of working under these conditions, "End of the day, factory whistle cries, Men walk through these gates with death in their eyes, And you just better believe, boy, somebody's gonna get hurt tonight, It's the working, the working, just the working life". It is possible that Bruce worked with both ideas for a while, but after September, all energies went toward the Factory Song, though it was not named this until January 2, 1978. The only thing that remained from "Come On" was "death in their eyes". The new lyrics were worked on August 23, 24 and 30, and September 8, 1977 at the Record Plant. Also starting now was Roy Bittan playing his piano Floyd Cramer style to give it a Chet Atkins produced-country feel. Danny's organ was not in the mix at this point. V4 from November 2, 7, and 8, 1977 features violin overdubs by David Lindley, a well-known musician who played with Jackson Browne. V5, released on the Promise in 2010, is the finished take of Come On (Let's Go Tonight), with 2010 overdubs of David Lindley's violin. It is not known if there is a 1977 version of "Come On" with Lindley, though it could have been done easily enough. V6 came from December 9 and 29, 1977, and overdub/mixing sessions on January 2, March 10 and 14, 1978, all at the Record Plant. The 1978 sessions were under the name "The Factory Song". Danny recorded new organ tracks which featured prominently in the final album version 6c. Bruce recorded new vocals, and changed, "Factory takes his hearing, but he understands" to "Factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life". V6c is mix take 28 from April 3, 1978, and it was pressed to metal acetate with the title "Factory Song" on April 12, 1978.

V7 started the second edition of Come On (Let's Go Tonight), when it was recorded at Springsteen’s home in Colts Neck, NJ in March 1981. A dark, foreboding arrangement using the discarded lyrics from the Darkness sessions, before "Factory" took "Come On"'s original music. Soon after the demo V1 was recorded, Springsteen would combine several lines with new verses, and the first two lines from Chuck Berry's "Bye Bye Johnny", to create "Johnny Bye-Bye" V2. When Come On #2 appeared on Nebraska bootlegs, it caused confusion, and was erroneously titled "Bye Bye Johnny". In a way, Come On (Let's Go Tonight) was also an erroneous title here.

DADDY RAISED A CAIN - V1 4:12 LM-3 / UP / AM / LMEC1
ADAM RAISED A CAIN - V2 4:34 DARKNESS

Note: Finally, in 1977, the sequel to John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" has come. It is not a book or a movie, it is a track on "Darkness On the Edge of Town" called "Adam Raised A Cain", starring Doug and Bruce Springsteen. Blowing the other song about his dad, "Factory", out of the water, "Daddy Raised A Cain" is the kind of song only rock and roll allows us to express. This song is about some dark feelings in a father-son relationship, which is not unique in itself. The third verse is the boiling point of the song, "In the Bible, Cain slew Abel but East of Eden, mama, he was cast, you're born into this life paying for the sins of somebody else's past, Daddy worked his whole life for nothing but the pain, now he walks these empty rooms looking for something to blame." This is a pretty dark picture to paint for the whole world about your father. But things can always be worse. In verse 2, things warm up when Bruce encounters his mother, "In the darkness of your room your mother calls you by your true name, you remember the faces, the places, the names". However, in the earlier versions of the song, which were watered down for the final album release, Bruce said, "in the darkness of your own room your mother calls you by your true name, She knows you didn't come back to join their little games." Not friendly at all! Then comes Verse 3, "Daddy worked his whole life for nothing but the pain, now he haunts these empty rooms rattling these chains." In Factory, "Somebody's gonna get hurt tonight", now daddy just turned into a werewolf upstairs!"

Bruce had total control over his music at the time this was recorded, and he could have used either version. He had the record company and Jon Landau giving him advice, but Bruce would never allow anyone but himself make this decision. Nobody thought Darkness was an album that Springsteen was making compromises on to increase sales. Many times in his career, lyrics were violent and emotional, then like any adult, he thought things over, and used a different combination of words to express his feelings. That's likely all that happened here.

It is said that Springsteen and the Band started working on this song as far back as August, but that rumor came from the Lost Masters III liner notes, which said tracks 1-5 were all from August 1977. Track 5, "Prove It All Night" was first cut September 12, 1977, track 3, Factory, was not even called "Factory" until 1978, and the first take of V1 "Daddy Raised A Cain", according to studio logs, was on November 9, 1977, and work was not resumed again until December 15, 1977. The Darkness album take, only separated by lyrical differences, could have been cut on the same day if Bruce had both sets of lyrics prepared, but since we are missing all the practice takes, and left with two finished products, December 15, 1977, seems like a reasonable date for the base take. Three consecutive days were spent mixing and editing, on February 15, 16 and 17, 1978, so it also seems most reasonable that Daddy Raised A Cain became Adam Raised A Cain with a few overdubs in February 1978.

THE PROMISED LAND - V1 uncirculating
THE PROMISED LAND - V2a 4:14 ODM / HOD / UP
THE PROMISED LAND - V2b 4:25 DARKNESS
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© All credits to the original photographer.

Note: One of the last songs written and recorded for the album, it's genesis was from a short trip taken by Bruce, Steve Van Zandt and photographer Eric Meola on August 17, 1977, two days after breaking from recording for a week. Their plan was to fly into Salt Lake City, Utah, rent a vintage American car, and drive to Reno, Nevada, by way of the Utah and Nevada wilderness. The fruits of their journey were "Rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert", "the dogs on Main Street howl because they understand" (based on real dogs howling on a Main Street), and Eric's photographs, which appeared throughout "The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story" box set. Upon returning, Bruce composed "The Promised Land", and introduced it to the band on September 30, 1977, with 3 takes attempted. Recording resumed on October 27 at the Record Plant, with 20 takes, including take 19, marked "long ending". Take 5 on December 1, 1977, which was later pressed to metal acetate on April 12, 1978, is V2a, the final album version without the guitar solo. At the last possible moment, Bruce decided a guitar solo by Miami Steve Van Zandt was needed, just before Clarence Clemmons' powerful sax part, which then required side two to be remastered, briefly delaying album release.

DON'T LOOK BACK - V1 3:18 LM-2 / UP
DON'T LOOK BACK - V2 2:26 DO-3 / DDO / UP / DDOC / AM
DON'T LOOK BACK - V3 3:02 DO-3 / UP / AM
DON'T LOOK BACK - V4A 3:00 ODM / HOD / DDO / DDOC
DON'T LOOK BACK - V4B 3:02 PROMISE: VAULT / AM / DLB
DON'T LOOK BACK - V4C 2:56 TRACKS

Note: "Don't Look Back" was composed early in 1977, during the time Bruce was barred from the recording studio, so he practiced it live 12 times, from March 10, 1977 at Toldeo, Ohio, to the end of the Lawsuit Tour on March 25. The lyrics varied widely, and an excellent analysis can be found at springsteenlyrics.com. The case was settled, and the E Street Band entered Atlantic Studios, New York, on June 1, 1977. That night they recorded at least ten songs; “Rendezvous,” “Because the Night,” “I Wanna Be With You” and according to critic and author Dave Marsh, "the screaming rocker, Don't Look Back". Thom Panunzio, assistant engineer, said the session was recorded and transferred to a cassette they called “the Star Wars demo tape”. “That was an album, in my opinion, that was great from beginning to end,” Panunzio said. In a 2002 interview with Mark Binelli of Rolling Stone, Springsteen said, "We had great arrangements…the band sounded really good. We recorded about ten or twelve songs in one night, and I realized they weren’t any good. It was terribly disappointing…they were centerless, they were coreless, so I went back to the drawing board…"
Sony logs show takes were recorded on June 1, 6-8, 17 and 24, 1977. It is thought V1 and V2, which are instrumental backing tracks, were recorded on June 6-8, while V3 may be the "screaming rocker" from June 1; all were definitely recorded during June 1977. V4 was recorded at Atlantic Studios on July 2, 1977, and mixed (with possible overdubs) on February 28 and March 2, 1978 at the Record Plant. V4a is a widely bootlegged version with a prominent defect in the second verse, v4b sounds like the same take, complete with Springsteen's count-in, and v4c is the officially released version with the count-in removed. Don't Look Back was on the June 1977 "Ruffs", the October 1977 "Badlands", and the January 16 album sequences, and pressed onto an eleven-track acetate on April 12, 1978, but removed at the last-minute to ensure the album was not too long; another story says it was replaced by "Darkness on the Edge of Town".

THE PROMISE - V1 5:35 DO-2 / UP / DDOC
THE PROMISE - V2 5:25 LM-2 / DDO / DO-3 / AM / UP / ATEOD
THE PROMISE - V3 7:11 DDITV / AM / UP / MT1
THE PROMISE - V4 7:25 PROMISE: VAULT
THE PROMISE - V5 uncirculating
THE PROMISE - V6 4:48 18TRACKS
THE PROMISE - V7 5:47 PROMISE

Note: Introduced August 3, 1976 at Monmouth Arts Center, Red Bank, New Jersey, with Bruce singing and playing piano without the E Street Band, with deeply personal lyrics. The Promise soon became the highlight of each show, and the major subject of discussion among Bruce's tight cult following, which would make up most of the modest crowd in those days. It would always be one of the last songs played for the night, the lights would go down, and one spotlight would be on Bruce playing piano, which he never did otherwise. Later, Roy or Danny would accompany him on glock. It was played live 22 times during the Lawsuit tour, until the first studio demo was recorded at Atlantic Studios on June 1, 1977. V1 was one of the takes recorded on June 30, July 1, 7, 8 and 13, 1977. After a break that included a trip with Steve to Utah and Nevada, Bruce came back with slightly revised lyrics, and recorded V2 on August 24 or 30 at Atlantic Studios. V3, considered the definitive version by collectors, was recorded on September 28, 1977, and first released unofficially on Deep Down In the Vaults. However, Bruce found it lacking for some reason, did not include it in the 'Badlands' album 4 sequence from October 1977, and rejected it again for Tracks in 1998. However, he liked it enough to use it as the base track for V7, officially released on The Promise in 2010, with overdubbed guitars, glock, double tracked vocals, and backing vocals by himself. The final verse, with 'backseat of a borrowed car', edited out, along with much of the ending, and a modern string arrangement is added, reducing the 7:06 running time to 5:45. Thanks to Eddy Wehbe for spotting version 3 underneath the thick layer of overdubs.

V4 is on the Thrill-Hill Blu-Ray/DVD, and was shot live in-the-studio by Barry Rebo on January 12, 1978, with the new verse, 'Well, my daddy taught me how to walk quiet and how to make my peace with the past, I learned real good to tighten up inside and I don’t say nothing unless I’m asked'. After being rejected again for Darkness, V5 was recorded on January 24, 1978, possibly without the E Street Band (who are on all the previous studio takes), which is totally unverified because the master went straight to the vault, and The Promise was deleted from the final March sequence for Darkness On the Edge of Town. When the Darkness Tour began on May 23, 1978, The Promise, with the "my daddy taught me how to walk quiet" version featured with Bruce on piano, was played 22 times. but then. for unknown reasons, after singing it on July 15, 1978 in Houston, Texas, he never played it again.

That is, until he re-recorded it on February 9-12, 1999 at Boxwood Studios at his home in Rumson, New Jersey V6, instead of using V3 on Tracks. He said to Charlie Rose, "Basically, I went back and I listened to it and we never really got a good recording of it in my opinion. It’s been a favorite song of a lot of..a lot of people mention it. It sort of was the sequel to “Thunder Road” in some fashion, it referred back to those characters. But I went back and we sort of had a very plodding, heavy-handed version of it. I couldn’t quite live with it, so maybe another time."

Springsteen said later it was ultimately rejected for Darkness due to the personal lyrics. "It was a song about defeat, and it was self-referential, which made me uncomfortable", said Springsteen in 2010. "I didn’t want it to overtake the album, which, in the end, was not my personal story. I wanted ‘Darkness’ to be completely independent of that. So I left it off. But I remember saying to myself, 'This is something I can sing later.' The distance really helps it now”. Regardless of what is said, Bruce was very upset and feeling betrayed by his first manager, Mike Appel, when he wrote the Promise. He blamed the lawsuit on himself, and wrote about a lonely, loveless, loser whose spirit had finally been broken. Many of us have had moments like this in our lives, but we are incapable of expressing them with clarity and honesty in a song, and though Bruce was just having a bad day or month, his words really hit home for some. You have to at least admire his bravery, to sing his innermost feelings in front of friends and 15,000 strangers. He re-wrote the lyrics extensively after that August 3, 1976 night, and played the new version on September 29, 1976, not calling himself a loser again until 1982, when wrote about Frank Davis in the "Losin' Kind."

There are many, including that core of fans who had him to themselves back in 1976-78, that believe "The Promise" is Bruce's greatest song. Perhaps a record was never meant to hold it.

BECAUSE THE NIGHT (Belongs To Lovers) - V1 3:17 DO-3 / UP / AM
BECAUSE THE NIGHT - V2 - fade in 2:32 LM-3 / UP / AM
BECAUSE THE NIGHT - V3 3:19 DO-2 / DDO / DDOC / ESRR
BECAUSE THE NIGHT - V4 3:22 PROMISE

Note: V1 was recorded at Atlantic Studios, New York on June 1, 1977 with the lyrics not finished. V2 was recorded July 1, 1977 at Atlantic Studios, and is less embryonic but still with some unfinished lyrics. Springsteen cut his last take on September 27, 1977 V3. It is not clear if this was a demo for Patti Smith. The transfer of the song was completely orchestrated by Jimmy Iovine, who, in his own words, “was engineering Darkness and producing Easter at the same time. Now, Bruce was very understanding and very flexible, because he realized that this was my first real break as a producer. Anyway, one night whilst we were lounging around the Hotel Navarro in New York I told Bruce I desperately wanted a hit with Patti, that she deserved one. He agreed. As he had no immediate plans to put ‘Because The Night’ on an album, I said why not give it to Patti. Bruce replied, "If she can do it, she can have it." Iovine brought Smith the September 27 demo of the song, and Smith added her own lyrics, recording it for her album Easter, and scoring her first and biggest hit single. The officially released V4 uses Smith's lyrics and is a modern vocal take.

RENDEZVOUS - V1 2:47 DDO / DO-3 / LES / MT1 / AM
RENDEZVOUS - V2 2:36 PROMISE

Note: V1 emanates from June 1-3, 8 and 17, 1977 at Atlantic. This is good take but the circulating audio is marred by vocal drop-out during the first verse. In a 1978 interview Springsteen said the song was kept off the album because it didn’t fit thematically. Bruce personally demonstrated the song to artist Greg Kihn in October 1978, who soon after recorded a cover (released in April 1979). A live version was used for Tracks, which may indicate Bruce wasn't satisfied with the available studio versions. The officially released V2 appears to have a modern vocal take which supports that position.

BREAKAWAY - V1 uncirculating
BREAKAWAY - V2 5:26 PROMISE

Note: Unknown composition until officially released on The Promise. Recorded at Atlantic Studios on June 1, 1977, but modern vocals have been added, along with some modern band elements. Features a modern horn section of Barry Danielian (trumpet), Stan Harrison (tenor sax), Dan Levine (trombone), Ed Manion (baritone sax) and Curt Ramm (trumpet) and backing vocals by the Alliance Singers (Tiffeny Andrews, Corinda Crawford, Michelle Moore, and Antoinette Savage), who contributed choir vocals on The Rising album, in addition to Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell. There is at least one copy of Breakaway recorded at Atlantic Studios during June 1977 somewhere, would be great to hear it. This hybrid version on the Promise sounds nothing like the other recordings circulating from that time period by Bruce Springsteen.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN - V1 2:25 DDO / DO-1 / LES / MT1 / AM / EC
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN - V2 2:16 PROMISE

Note: V1 recorded at Atlantic Studios on June 1, 1977. This is a very rough early take with an uneven mix and some seriously off-key harmony vocals by Van Zandt. V2 was recorded September 27, 1977 at The Record Plant, officially released (untouched) on The Promise in 2010.

I WANNA BE WITH YOU - V1 3:04 DDO / DO-1 / AM / UP / LES / GT
I WANNA BE WITH YOU - V2 3:12 uncirculated
I WANNA BE WITH YOU - V3 3:12 uncirculated
I WANNA BE WITH YOU - V4 3:12 LM-6 / ATMF
I WANNA BE WITH YOU - V5 3:15 TRACKS / RIVER:OUTTAKES

Note: Recorded at Atlantic Studios on June 1, 1977. Both V2 on July 1 (also at Atlantic), and V3 on September 12 are recorded at The Record Plant. This is complete but clearly not a final take. V4 and V5 are from the Power Station, recorded May 31, June 21 and September 24, 1979. The May 31 take was used for Tracks.

OUR LOVE WILL LAST FOREVER uncirculating

Note: Recorded at Atlantic Studios on June 1, 1977. Also known from a tape inlay image in the The Promise - The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story box set book. The lyric "Our love will last forever" does appear in "Someday (We'll Be Together)", which was recorded later in the sessions.

FRANKIE - V1 4:46 LM-3 / DDO / DO-2 / AM / UP / LES / GT / DDOC
FRANKIE - V2 5:46 DOT TAPE
FRANKIE - V3a - take 10 7:23 private cdr
FRANKIE - V3b 7:41 THLRR / MI / THLBP / UH
FRANKIE - V3c 7:39 LM-19
FRANKIE - V3d 7:22 TRACKS

Note: Frankie was composed by Bruce Springsteen in early 1976 just after the Born To Run tour. It was introduced live on April 4, 1976 st Michigan State University to overwhelming crowd response. Because of the Mike Appel lawsuit, Bruce was locked out of the recording studio for almost a year, but finally on June 3, 1977, V1 was recorded. V2 from just over a month later, July 12, 1977. Both recorded at Atlantic Studios. V3 was recorded at The Power Station on May 14, 1982. Four different mixes. V3a is take #10, and includes the saxophone overdub during the instrumental outro also found on the officially released V3d. This is absent on V3b and V3c.

CHEAP THRILLS uncirculating

Note: A lone take of "Cheap Thrills" was recorded June 14, 1977, and would not make another appearance at the sessions. Based on the theme suggested by the title, Clinton Heylin surmises it may be what would become "Darlington County", which does appear on a work-sheet from the first Atlantic sessions, as reproduced in The Promise book. Also found in the book is the familiar couplet "My eyes have seen the glory of the comin' of the Lord / He was peelin' down the alley in a black and yellow Ford", not too different than what could be found in "Darlington County", which was recorded some five years later during the Born In The USA sessions.

JON'S JAM - V1 uncirculating
IT'S A SHAME - V2 3:12 PROMISE

Note: An unknown composition before the official release of The Promise. V1, recorded June 14, 1977 at Atlantic Studios, features Jon Landau on drums, and Bob Chirmside (Bruce's road manager between '75 and '81) on bass; V2 overdubs a modern horn section of Barry Danielian (trumpet), Stan Harrison (tenor sax), Dan Levine (trombone), Ed Manion (baritone sax) and Curt Ramm (trumpet). Early working title may be "Jon's Jam", as found in the studio logs. Music later adapted for "Prove It All Night", according to Bruce. Brucebase mini-editorial: If Southside Johnny and Gary US Bonds had heard a demo of this, they would have been fighting it out in the parking lot for who got to record it.

ONE WAY STREET - V1 5:46 LM-2 / LMEC2 / AM
ONE WAY STREET - V2 4:16 PROMISE

Note: V1 Recorded at Atlantic Studios on June 17, 1977. This is a complete take but it’s clearly not a final take. V2 officially released on The Promise with what appears to be a modern vocal. It is also likely that the horns were re-recorded as well. Original alternative title may have been "Dead End".

FIRE - V1 5:14 LM-2 / DDO / DO-2 / MT1 / AM
FIRE - V2 4:05 PROMISE

Note: Written in May 1977, a few days after Bruce and Steve attended an Elvis Presley concert in Philadelphia. V1 (which is not a final take) comes from June 17, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. Introducing the song on November 20, 1978 in Champaign, IL, Bruce said "this is a song I wrote, oh, we jammed it up in the studio one night in twenty minutes". Allegedly (and this may be myth) a finished demo take was sent to Elvis Presley in July or August 1977, shortly before his death, with the hope that Elvis might cover it. Bruce ended up donating the song to Robert Gordon, who recorded his cover (with Bruce on piano) in early December 1977 (released April 1978). The Pointer Sisters then quickly covered Gordon’s released version and had the major international smash hit in early 1979. The officially released V2 is a stronger, more developed take with potentially some modern vocal elements.

BRING ON THE NIGHT - V1 2:29 ATEOD / UP / MT1 / LM-12
BRING ON THE NIGHT - V2 3:15 LM-9 / MT2
BRING ON THE NIGHT - V3 4:10 LM-9
BRING ON THE NIGHT - V4 0:31 LM-9
BRING ON THE NIGHT - V5 1:20 LM-9
BRING ON THE NIGHT - V6 1:54 LM-11
BRING ON THE NIGHT - V7 2:35 TRACKS

Note: V1 recorded at Atlantic Studios June 1977 in the Darkness sessions, obviously just composed, with title and music sounding good. Bruce put it aside, then resumed work on lyrics after the tour concluded in early 1979. V2-V5 were all band rehearsals at "Telegraph Hill Studios", the barn on his property in Holmdel, NJ, that had been equipped for basic audio recording, though "studio" in this case was only a figurative term. V6 was recorded on May 14, 1979 at Telegraph Hill Studios with the E Street Band. V7 was recorded with a full set of lyrics at The Power Station on June 13, 1979, and though it was included on a very early track listing for The River 1979 album, when it failed to make the cut, it was eventually included in the 1998 Tracks compilation.

DRIVE ALL NIGHT - V1 8:25 LM-2 / DDO / DO-1 / AM / UP / LMEC2 / GT
DRIVE ALL NIGHT - V2 4:42 LM-2 / AM / UP
DRIVE ALL NIGHT - V3 uncirculated
DRIVE ALL NIGHT - V4 0:30 LM-7
DRIVE ALL NIGHT - V5 8:22 RIVER

Note: Studio logs indicate that Springsteen worked on this song at two sessions in 1977, June 16 at Atlantic Studios and August 24 at The Record Plant. V1 is definitely from that June session, V2 is probably also from June (an image of a tape inlay dated June 17 found in the Darkness box set book lists two takes), but could be from the August session. If V2 is from June, then V3 the August 24 take does not currently circulate amongst collectors. V2 has a different opening and is shorter, lacking Clarence's saxophone solo. Note that although some bootleg CDs (such as Godfather's 'The Unbroken Promise') include two versions of the eight minute "Drive All Night", it appears that they are actually the same recording. Listed on some early vinyl boots by the title "Sad Eyes". Bruce re-recorded the vocal track during The River sessions, but apparently used the Darkness session backing music for the officially released version found on The River. V4 is from early 1980, with Springsteen singing over what sounds like a pre-recorded band backing. V5 was recorded at The Power Station on February 24, March 8 and 16, as well as April 10, 1980. Springsteen is credited with the piano on this track. The only song from The River to be recorded by Jimmy Iovine, indicating that parts of "Drive All Night" (possibly the entire backing track) were recorded in 1977 during the Darkness sessions.

SHERRY DARLING - V1 4:00 LM-3 / DO-2 / AM / UP / LMEC2
SHERRY DARLING - V2 4:51 DDO / DO-3 / ODM / HOD / AM / UP
SHERRY DARLING - V3 4:03 DROC2 / ATMF / RRR
SHERRY DARLING - V4 4:00 RIVER

Note: V1 recorded at Atlantic Studios June 1977. V2 fades in, repeats the last verse and is likely to emanate from the same time period. Takes were recorded June 24 and 27, and July 1, 1977. Premiered live during the Darkness Tour with a spoken introduction: "This was a song that we recorded live in the studio about two years ago, the beginning of the summer and it was originally gonna be on Darkness, but it was too weird so we left it off". Bruce would often refer to "two summers ago" when introducing the song in 1978, but since he wasn't recording in 1976 he was presumably referring to the summer of 1977. Re-recorded at The Power Station on May 25, 1979 and February 23, March 8 and April 12, 1980.

SPANISH EYES - V1 3:42 LM-3 / DO-2 / MT1 / AM
NEW SPANISH - V2 6:14 DDO /DO-3 / AM / DDOC
SPANISH EYES - V3 3:47 PROMISE

Note: V1 apparently dates from August 1977 at Atlantic Studios, although studio logs indicate takes were only recorded on June 30, 1977. V2 likely dates from around the same time and is more developed but still features some bluffed lyrics. The logs say a song called "New Spanish" was recorded two weeks later on July 13; one assumes that is "Spanish Eyes". The officially released V3 has a modern vocal, and potentially some modern band elements. A great song that shares several lyrics with "I'm On Fire".

TALK TO ME - V1a 3:59 LM-2 / DO-1 / ATEOD / AM
TALK TO ME - V1b 4:05 DDO / DDOC / UP
TALK TO ME - V2 4:17 PROMISE

Note: V1a and V1b are takes recorded on July 8 or 13, 1977, at Atlantic Studios, both basic backing tracks without vocals or horns, which were not added, along with the lyrics, until August. Final demo takes were recorded on October 14 of both "Talk to Me" V2 and "Hearts Of Stone", and the tapes were given to Steve Van Zandt for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes' 3rd album, which Steve was producing. 5 takes were recorded at either Atlantic Studios or The Record Plant on August 5, 9, 24, 26 and 30, before it was realized that Talk To Me would never fit the Darkness theme, and they all currently remain in the vault. The October 14 track was used for The Promise in 2010, with modern horns added featuring original Jukes/Miami Horns members Rick Gazda on trumpet, Stan Harrison on tenor sax, Ed Manion on baritone sax, Bob Muckin on trumpet, and Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg on trombone. Both songs handed to Steve that day went on the album 'Hearts Of Stone', released on October 13, 1978 by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (Epic JE 35488), which is overwhelmingly considered their best record, and ranks on several polls of best albums of the 1970s. According to Max Weinberg, who played on both "Darkness" and "Hearts of Stone", the E Street Band backing tracks included on the Steve's tape were utilized for Southside Johnny's album. Bruce has performed it with the Jukes and the E Street Band over the years to great response, and it possibly would have been a big hit if Bruce Springsteen was going for the top of the charts in 1978, but that would have to wait another 7 years.

THE WAY - V1a 3:49 URT-1 / AM / UP / GT
THE WAY - V1b 3:59 URT-1 / DO-2 / DDO / AM / UP / MT1
THE WAY - V1c 3:41 PROMISE

Note: If all three of these recordings are different mixes of same take, then The Way was recorded August 15, 1977, take 6. Takes recorded at either Atlantic or Record Plant on August 5 and 15, and at The Record Plant on September 12, 1977. Mixing was done February 10-12, 1978. V1c is slightly faster, and officially released on The Promise, albeit as a hidden bonus track. Considered and rejected for Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Tracks and The Essential.

GOTTA GET THAT FEELING - V1 3:00 LM-2 / DDO / DO-2 / MT1 / AM
GOTTA GET THAT FEELING - V2 3:21 DDITV / AM
GOTTA GET THAT FEELING - V3 3:15 PROMISE

Note: V1 recorded at Atlantic Studios in August 1977. V2 is more fully realized. Up-tempo, pop-flavored. The officially released V3 contains a modern vocal take, replacing the unfinished vocal found on the 'Deep Down In the Vaults' recording. V1 and V2 were bootlegged under the title "Get That Feeling". Takes recorded at either Atlantic or Record Plant on August 11-12 and 30, 1977.

THE LITTLE THINGS (MY BABY DOES) - V1 uncirculating
THE LITTLE THINGS (MY BABY DOES) - V2 3:15 PROMISE

Note: Unknown composition until officially released on The Promise. Possibly some modern band elements, but maybe not. The vocal is difficult to evaluate, because Bruce doesn't sing songs that require this kind of vocal range. It is hard to envision modern Bruce hitting these notes, then again he sings slowly and methodically. This was recorded on a busy day before the crew broke for a short vacation. Independence Day take 3, The Way take 6, The Little Things (My Baby Does) take 6, I Got My Eyes On You take 14, and All Night take 13 were all from August 15, 1977. There is a Ruffs tape prepared for Bruce to listen to on his trip (to Utah-Nevada, where Eric Meola shot the cover of "The Promise".

CRAZY ROCKER 5:02 DDITV / GT / MT1 / UP

Note: This is an early (but entertaining) take with bluffed lyrics and called out key changes. "Crazy Rocker" was a working title, and it has also been known under the title "It's Alright". Does not specifically appear in the studio logs, but it may be "New Rocker", recorded at either Atlantic or The Record Plant on August 9, 1977.

I GOT MY EYE ON YOU - V1 - take 14 uncirculating
I GOT MY EYE ON YOU - V2 3:45 uncirculating
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© All credits to the original photographer.

Note: V1 was recorded on August 15, 1977, and included on Side 2 of a cassette tape prepared for Bruce called "THE BOSS". The first side had takes of songs being worked August 9-10, 1977, and the cuts on Side 2 were from all from August 15's days work. "I Got My Eye On You" take 14 was written on the jacket (reproduced in The Promise book). Another session on September 14, 1977, resulted in a completed version, "I Got My Eye On You" was considered good enough to be placed on a compilation reel alongside finished takes of "The Way" and "Prove It All Night" (where it clocks in at 3:45). -Song by Song by Clinton Heylin. Not sure about all the other takes, but two are sufficiently identified.

AFTER DINNER uncirculating

Note: Uncirculated outtake from the sessions. Takes were recorded at either Atlantic or The Record Plant on August 10-11, 1977. Later mixed for Tracks but unused.

RAMROD - V1 3:58 DO-1 / AM / UP
RAMROD - V2a 3:50 DROC1
RAMROD - V2b 3:39 DROC2 / RRR / ATMF
RAMROD - V2c 0:31 DROC2
RAMROD - V2d 3:46 RO
RAMROD - V2e 3:45 RO
RAMROD - V2f 4:20 LM-5
RAMROD - V2g 4:20 LM-5
RAMROD - V2h 4:23 LM-5
RAMROD - V2i 2.53 LM-5
RAMROD - V2j 3:57 RIVER

Note: At least four takes recorded at The Record Plant on September 12, 1977 and played once on the Darkness Tour on December 28, 1978 in Pittsburgh, PA. Re-recorded for The River. A song titled "Rocker" was registered with the US Copyright Office in January 2011 but information on the copyright claim suggests this is actually "Ramrod". It was registered because a short audio snippet was included in The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town, the documentary included on the box set. It can be heard at exactly 1:00.00. All of the above are mix variations of different vocal takes over the same basic recording. There is also some variation in tape speed. V2c is an overdub of Springsteen's guitar over the instrumental ending, V2i is several variations of Clarence's overdubbed saxophone, also over the instrumental ending. Recorded at The Power Station on June 12, 1979. Further recordings or mixing sessions (possibly overdubs) took place on August 27 and September 5, 1979, as well as much later in the sessions on April 4 and 19, 1980. Selected for an August 1979 album sequence.

KING'S BIG CHANCE uncirculating

Note: Uncirculated outtake from the sessions, also known as "King's Ransom" and "The King's Revenge". Takes recorded at The Record Plant on September 1 and 8-9, 1977.

BLUE MOON uncirculating

Note: Uncirculated outtake from the sessions, recorded at The Record Plant on September 9 and October 14, 1977.

INDEPENDENCE DAY - V1 - take 3 uncirculated
INDEPENDENCE DAY - V2 6:17 LM-3 / AM / UP / LMEC2 / GT
INDEPENDENCE DAY - V3 uncirculated
INDEPENDENCE DAY - V4 uncirculated
INDEPENDENCE DAY - V5 uncirculated
INDEPENDENCE DAY - V6a - mix take #10 5:18 uncirculated
INDEPENDENCE DAY - V6b 5:27 DROC1 / RRR / ATMF
INDEPENDENCE DAY - V6c 4:39 RIVER

Note: First recorded V1 on August 15, 1977, take3, then V2 at The Record Plant on September 26-27, 1977. Bruce continued to work on this at The Record Plant V3 on November 4, V4 November 11 and V5 December 9, 1977. Short-listed for inclusion on Darkness On The Edge Of Town, and included in October 1977 "Jungleland" album cover mock-up. V6 recorded for The River at The Power Station on May 29 and October 11, 1979 and late in the sessions on April 24 and 25, 1980. V6a is mix take #10, with slight alterations to the snare drums and vocals. V6b is the complete, uncut recording with the instrumental coda that was removed from the album version V6c.

SOMEDAY (TONIGHT) - V1 4:43 LM-3 / AM
SOMEDAY (WE'LL BE TOGETHER) - V2 5:32 PROMISE

Note: V1 recorded at The Record Plant in September 1977. This is only the backing track - Bruce’s vocal is missing (assuming there was one). Takes recorded at The Record Plant on September 26 and 29-30, 1977. Bootlegged with the title "Someday Tonight". V3 is officially released on "The Promise" with a probably completely modern vocal take. The track features backing vocals by the Alliance Singers (Tiffeny Andrews, Corinda Crawford, Michelle Moore, and Antoinette Savage), who contributed choir vocals on The Rising album, in addition to Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell.

DOWN BY THE RIVER 2:15 DDO / DO-1 / AM / UP / LES

Note: The studio log for The Record Plant on September 27, 1977 lists "New Old Song" as the title of this song. Later, the working title would become"Old Sons", and also "Say Sons". Unfortunately, this is the only surviving recording of this song. Not related to Neil Young's song with the same title, which Bruce has performed live a couple of times.

WHAT'S THE MATTER LITTLE DARLIN' - V1 4:06 DDITV / MT1 / AM / DROC2
AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - V2a 4:01 PROMISE
AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - V2b 1:49 PROMISE: VAULT

Note: A song that might have first appeared in the 1990s on "Deep Down In the Vaults" as "What's The Matter Little Darling", the name it was known by for years. A recording on "The Definitive River Outtakes Collection Volume 2" with the same name, faster pitch, and inferior quality, that run 15 seconds slower, was listed as an earlier V1 here, but at best, it is a bad copy of the current V1; both are from E Street Records. In the studio logs of the Darkness sessions, there are no records of "Ain't Good Enough For You" or "What's The Matter Little Darling". Author Clinton Heylin, who is very experienced in the matters, believes takes were recorded on September 26, 1977 at the Record Plant, under the name, "First New Rocker". The first official appearance of this song was on CD2 of "The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story" as "Ain't Good Enough For You", and he makes the good point that on the accompanying Thrill Hill Vault DVD (V2b), Bruce is shown trying to add a vocal overdub to an already existing track at the Record Plant, which suggests it had been recorded earlier. V2A has more developed lyrics than V1, including "getting cool like Jimmy Iovine" (on the left in the picture with Patti and Bruce) and "Sherry Darlin" party noises. This song bears some slight resemblance to "This Little Girl", the hit song Bruce donated to Gary U.S. Bonds in 1980.

BREAK OUT - V1 2:15 LM-3 / UP
BREAK OUT - V2 2:22 DDO / DO-1 / AM / UP / LES / DDOC

Note: also known as "All Night Long". V1 is an early take from The Record Plant, with Bruce teaching the band his new song, and few lyrics are written. Takes were logged on three consecutive days, September 26, 27 and 28, 1977, but it should be noted minimal time was spent, because this was a very busy week, with several other sessions also held on these days. V2, with nearly finished lyrics, was recorded on November 4 or 7, 1977. After it was completed, the lines, "For the ones who once had a notion, a notion it was good to be alive" and "it ain't no sin to be glad you're alive" were exported to "Badlands". Conversely, phrases attributed to "Frankie" and "Prove It All Night" were borrowed from those previously written songs. Later mixed in November 1997 for the Tracks project, but not used.

HEARTS OF STONE - V1 5:22 DDO / DO-2 / LES / AM
HEARTS OF STONE - V2 4:29 TRACKS

Note: The Sony logs don't show the Hearts Of Stone story, which began before the Darkness sessions, as evidenced by a May 1977 list of "New Songs" that included "15. For Hearts Of Stone", in-between "I Wanna Be With You" and "Franky". Unlike most of the songs in the list, no evidence exists of a recording session until October 14, when a demo was cut for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and along with another of "Talk To Me", handed to Steve Van Zandt on a cassette tape tape. Steve was producing the Jukes' third album, and the two songs were Bruce's contributions to the effort.

The demo is the only surviving recording of Hearts of Stone from 1977, despite at least six months since conception, and evidence in the words and music of October 14 that "Hearts of Stone" was quite a ways along in development. Everybody knew what notes to play, and Bruce didn't have to "muff" any lyrics, because they were mostly completed. The band recorded this take live in the studio, with the sax of Clarence Clemmons the only horn present. In 1998, Bruce had the Tracks Horns (Cruz-Manion-Pender-Rosenberg-Spengler) record the sections he overdubbed to the 1977 track in V2. V1 is the Oct 1977 outtake. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes used the E Street Band base recording for the title track of their 1978 album, adding Southside's vocal and the Miami Horns to create one of their best known tracks.

ICEMAN - V1a 3:20 DDO / DO-1 / LES / AM
ICEMAN - V1b 3:15 TRACKS

Note: also known as "the New Ballad", recorded at The Record Plant on October 27, 1977, and soon forgotten in the mass of songs created during the Darkness sessions. In a 1998 interview, Bruce recalled, "it was just something that I didn’t get at the time that I did it.” The second line of Iceman "I wanna go out tonight, I wanna find out what I got" was transplanted to verse 2 of "Badlands". V1b is almost identical to V1a, with the exception of a famous drop-out at 0:56, studio noises and the count-in, which are cleaned up for the official 1998 release on Tracks.

CITY OF NIGHT - V1 3:08 DDO / DO-1 / AM / UP / LES / MT1
CITY OF NIGHT - V2 2:56 PROMISE

Note: V2 officially released on The Promise, recorded October 14, 1977 at The Record Plant; V1 is the same recording without an edit at the start. Bruce’s working title was "Taxi Driver". Also known as "Taxi Cab" and "City At Night". Shares a line with 1988's "All That Heaven Will Allow".

THE BALLAD 3:12 CAST / DO-1 / AM / UP / LES

Note: The only circulating audio was recorded on October 14, 1977, at The Record Plant, New York. An embryonic take with very unfinished lyrics and a lovely melody. No other studio takes exist for this track, and this is the only official name it was ever given. Bootleggers renamed it "Castaway", and like the character in the song, they would "not be denied"; this has become the more popular designation.

PREACHER'S DAUGHTER 5:15 DO-1 / AM / UP / LES / GT / MT1

Note: Recorded at The Record Plant on October 27, 1977. This is a completed take and one of the few that has surfaced from the sessions with the vocals mixed correctly. Also known as "New BoDo Rocker" in the studio logs. Bruce incorporated elements of the song into the middle of “She's The One” during the latter stages of the Darkness tour.

GIVE THE GIRL A KISS 3:47 TRACKS

Note: Recorded at The Record Plant on October 11, 1977. The November 10 recording date in the Tracks liner notes appears to be an error - there was no session on that day. Premiered live on March 19, 1999 in Asbury Park at a public rehearsal show before the start of the Reunion Tour.

WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET - V1 3:52 DDO / DO-2 / LES / MT1 / AM
WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET - V2 3:31 PROMISE

Note: V1 recorded at The Record Plant on October 14, 1977. This is a fully finished performance but the circulating audio is marred by the vocal being buried in the mix (a flaw in the bootleg audio source). The officially released V2 has what is most likely a modern vocal take. Originally bootlegged with the title "Endless Night". The very strange, seemingly unrelated alternative title for this was "English Sons". Parts bear resemblance to "Loose Ends".

SAVE MY LOVE V1 3:19 PROMISE: VAULT
SAVE MY LOVE V2 2:39 PROMISE

Note: V2 is a completely modern take of this song, recorded July 22, 2010 at Colts Neck, is included on The Promise. It appears it was never recorded in the studio. V1 is a summer 1976 band rehearsal filmed by Barry Rebo in Holmdel, NJ and is included on the Thrill Hill Vault DVD/Blu-ray on The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story box set.

DON'T SAY NO - V1 3:48 DDO / DO-2 / UP / LES / DDOC / EC
I WANT TO BE WILD - V2 3:32 DDITV / UP

Note: For several years, V1 circulated on bootlegs as Don't Say No, but then a nearly identical track V2 was released in the 1990s on Deep Down In the Vaults called, I Want To Be Wild. Both share the same musical backing, and are characterized by Bruce's vocals buried deep in the mix, as if Springsteen purposely wanted the music to dominate, because the lyrics were barely developed. There is one entry, under the name, "I Want To Be Wild", on the log of the Record Plant, dated November 11, 1977. It is possible both of these versions were recorded that day, though we lack the information to be sure of this. Author Clinton Heylin was sure the latter version was also called New Fast Rocker. The official name of this tune is Don't Say No, and it was registered with the US Copyright Office in November 2010, just in time to be overlooked for inclusion in The Promise.

THE BROKENHEARTED - V1 uncirculating
THE BROKENHEARTED - V2 5:16 PROMISE

Note: Recorded at the Record Plant on November 29, 1977 and officially released on The Promise. Contains a vintage vocal take with some modern parts, plus a modern horn section consisting of Barry Danielian (trumpet), Stan Harrison (tenor sax), Dan Levine (trombone), Ed Manion (baritone sax) and Curt Ramm (trumpet). Originally known from circulating audio of a Darkness tour rehearsal in May 1978.

TRIANGLE SONG uncirculating

Note: Uncirculated outtake from the sessions. Recorded at The Record Plant on December 1, 1977. A song with this title was registered with the US Copyright Office in January 2011, around the same time as other songs included on The Promise. It was registered because a short audio snippet of the song was included in The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town, the documentary included on the box set. About 30 seconds can be heard in chapter 6 at 00:39.36, played by Springsteen on piano.

(I LOVE) EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU uncirculating

Note: Uncirculated outtake from the sessions, recorded at The Record Plant very late in the sessions, on March 14, 1978.

Potential Album Sequences

1976 - Album IV
1. Darkness On The Edge Of Town
2. Franky
3. Saturday Night At The Big House
4. Soldiers Of Fortune
5. Tonight Will Last Forever / Moonthing
6. It's My Life
7. Someone Waits
8. The Wild Ones
9. There's No Livin' Without Your Lovin'
10. Little Girl Of Mine
11. Architect Angel
12. Dream Goes On Forever
13. Grey Bikers
14. Linda Will You Let Me Be The One

Other Recordings

PARADISE BY THE "C" N/A

Note: Performed live during the Darkness-tour over 50 times. This song made its live debut in May 1978 but no evidence exists of a recording during the sessions for Darkness On The Edge Of Town. However, we have never heard "Soul Rockin'", another rumored Darkness take.

ACTION IN THE STREETS N/A

Note: "A Love So Fine" lives! This song made its live debut in February 1977 at the start of the final leg of the Lawsuit tour but was not recorded during the sessions for Darkness On The Edge Of Town. After it was deleted from the setlist, "Paradise By the C" soon showed up.

LOVE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF TOWN N/A

Note: Co-written by Springsteen and Van Zandt in December 1976 during sessions for Southside Johnny’s second album (issued in May 1977). Not recorded during the sessions for Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

LITTLE GIRL SO FINE N/A

Note: Co-written by Springsteen and Van Zandt in December 1976 during sessions for Southside Johnny’s second album (issued in May 1977). Not recorded during the sessions for Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

TRAPPED AGAIN uncirculating

Note: Co-written by Southside Johnny, Springsteen and Van Zandt in early 1978 during sessions for Southside Johnny’s third album. According to Southside he predominantly wrote the song, with Bruce and Steve merely adding bits and pieces. So a Springsteen studio recording of this song is highly unlikely to exist.

SO YOUNG AND IN LOVE 3:47 TRACKS

Note: The official Tracks booklet lists the recording date as January 6, 1974 but this is clearly incorrect, given that Bruce and band were embarking on a three-night stand at Joe's Place in Cambridge, MA that day. The other production, engineering and musician credits for this recording point to it as being a Darkness session outtake, as has comments by Springsteen, who has always alluded to this recording within the context of the Darkness sessions. However, "So Young" hardly feels like a Darkness-era song and it's possible that the day/month recording date has been transposed (by Louis Lahav, an Israeli), so 1/6/74 would actually read June 1, 1974. It's therefore likely that the Tracks credits are incorrect, and "So Young" is actually a Born To Run outtake. The Darkness references probably are about "Action In the Streets", Paradise By the C" and "Soul Rockin'".

JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER

Note: Please see the detail section - you will see that several bootlegggers linked this to April 1978; but this is not true! The full band take of this song was May 1979.

Possible DOTEOT-era Songs

The following titles emanate from the 1976-78 era. The information is based on the book included in The Promise - The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story box set. It is unknown if these songs were ever recorded, or just standalone titles. 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 for the majority no evidence they were recorded during any of the Darkness sessions. If they do exist as recordings then they would most likely be either as work-in-progress home cassette recordings or from Atlantic Studios sessions. It's also possible that some of these songs are merely work-in-progress or alternative titles for other tracks that we are more familiar with.

  • AMERICAN
  • ARCHITECT ANGEL (Saga Of The Architect Angel, recorded in 1973. Springsteen may have considered resurrecting it for the new album)
  • (JERSEY / JOEY) BIKERS
  • (I WILL FOREVER BE) CANDY'S BOY (Worked on in 1976)
  • CLINT EASTWOOD THEME
  • COBRA JET
  • DARLINGTON COUNTY (Possibly recorded during the sessions as "Cheap Thrills")
  • DREAM GOES ON FOREVER
  • GOD'S ANGELS (Alternative title for "The Fast Song")
  • IS IT YOU
  • IT'S MY LIFE (The Animals. Springsteen performed this live regularly in 1976 and 1977)
  • LINDA WILL YOU LET ME BE THE ONE (Considered for Born To Run)
  • LITTLE GIRL OF MINE (Probably "This Little Girl", which Springsteen gave to Gary U.S. Bonds who recorded it in 1980)
  • NIGHT FIGHTER
  • NIGHT PATROL
  • NITE / NIGHT SHIFT
  • (THE) OUTRIDER(S)
  • PARADISE BY THE "C" (This instrumental first performed live in 1978, unclear when recorded.)
  • POWERGLIDE
  • RAMCHARGER
  • RENDEZVOUS (Worked on in 1976)
  • RIDERS ON THE RAIN
  • SOMETHING IN THE NIGHT (Worked on in 1976)
  • SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE BIG HOUSE
  • SAVE MY LOVE (Worked on in 1976)
  • SHUFFLE (Likely to be another song)
  • SO KISS ME TONIGHT
  • SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE
  • SOMEONE WAITS
  • SOUL ROCKIN'
  • SPECTOR SONG (Likely to be early title for another song)
  • SPEEDWAY
  • STREET & STRIP
  • THE WILD ONES (Also considered for album #3, i.e. Born To Run)
  • THERE'S NO LIVIN' WITHOUT YOUR LOVIN'
  • TONIGHT WILL LAST FOREVER

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