Demo - Studio Sessions - Overview


April 1972 - June 1972

There is no doubt that 1972 was a massive songwriting period for Bruce. Although some have their genesis in 1971, Springsteen wrote most of the below-mentioned songs during 1972, prior to the January 1973 release of his debut album. The vast majority of the known recordings were made during a three-four month period, from May thru August 1972. However, a few were recorded shortly beforehand and several weren't recorded until early 1973. All but one feature Springsteen completely solo, on either acoustic guitar or keyboards. The one exception features an added, but barely discernible, bass guitar. From this large pool of recordings Appel-Cretecos selected and distributed some of them during 1973-74 - most notably to the UK – European based publisher Intersong Music Ltd. Some recordings were distributed on tape, others on acetates. Most of these acetates were manufactured at Media Sound in New York City and Angel Sound in Bedford, MA. However (and this has been the source of much confusion over the years) Springsteen did NOT record at either of these locations. Intersong also pressed its own acetates for distribution within the industry. This audio gradually filtered into collector circles in the late 1970s, often under the misnomer “the London Publishing Demos”.

The audio that has circulated to date was recorded at either: a) CBS Studios, b) Mediasound Studios at West 57th Street, New York City, c) 914 Sound Studios or d) Jim Cretecos’ apartment (not sure about this location - stories contradict each other). Interestingly neither the material recorded at CBS Studios (the so-called “Hammond tapes”) nor the material recorded in Jim Cretecos’ apartment (the so-called “Cretecos Tapes”) was ever sent to publishers. The Hammond tapes leaked out into collector circles hands in the 1970s via other sources. The Cretecos apartment tapes never circulated until the early 1990s, when Jimmy Cretecos sold his private audio collection (which also included recordings from both Mediasound Studios and 914 Sound Studios) to a third party – and it was this third party (JEC Music USA) that attempted to claim copyright of the material and to release it commercially. Springsteen took the matter to court in both the UK and USA – litigation that, all totalled, spanned nearly 7 years (1994 – 2001). In the end Bruce won both the UK and USA cases convincingly – however not before much of the material had leaked out on various unauthorized and/or bootleg CD releases.

Although the general time frame and sequencing of these 1972 demo-recording sessions has become clearer, much of the finer details (i.e., exact locations, dates and times for each recording) remain unclear. The full scope of Springsteen’s songwriting catalog that was actually committed to audio tape by Bruce during this period remains a mystery. As can be seen below, nearly half of the songs that Springsteen is believed to have written have yet to surface in any audio form.

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