The Essential - Studio Sessions


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Commercially released: November 11, 2003 / 2011
Commercially revised and re-released: August 26, 2008 / October 16, 2015
Label: Columbia
Produced by Jon Landau, Brendan O'Brien, Bruce Springsteen, Chuck Plotkin, Jimmy Cretecos,
 Mike Appel, Roy Bittan and Steve Van Zandt
Remastered by Bob Ludwig
Design by Fusako Chubachi, Chris Austopchuk, Dave Bett
Photography by Danny Clinch, Eric Meola, Frank Stefanko, Pellington, Neal Preston, Tim White,
 Krueger and Mary Alfieri
Table of Contents

Overview

In early 2003 Sony Music approached the Springsteen camp requesting that a Springsteen release be part of its Essential series, a group of “best of - anthology” releases from major Sony and affiliate label artists that the company had been marketing (with good commercial results) for several years. Springsteen agreed to be part of the series. Unlike Greatest Hits (1995) or Tracks - 18 Tracks (1998-9), the Essential release does not appear to have involved any associated recording sessions and very little, if any, additional mixing. So Springsteen’s involvement in this project was very minimal, which is evidenced by the fact that Jon Landau is credited as Essential's sole Producer.

The Essential is, at its heart, a two-CD, thirty-track package that culls cornerstone songs from all of Springsteen's original studio albums (up through The Rising), as well as 2001's Live In New York City package. It does not include any recordings from 1986's Live 1975-85 package or 1992's Live Plugged. Essential is geared towards the new or casual Springsteen fan and offers a partially duplicated but slightly broader representation than the earlier Greatest Hits package. The third disc, only available on the regular 2003, and 2008 (3.0 Edition), encompasses an additional twelve recordings of rarities - a mixture of b-sides, charity album releases, movie soundtrack items and previously un-issued studio or live recordings. The bonus CD was not included with some overseas issues, and was also dropped when the set was re-issued in Europe in 2011. Springsteen was the first artist in the Essential series that included such a bonus disc (i.e., the list price of the package is as per a two-CD set, not a three-CD set).

The Essential was reissued on October 16, 2015, this time as a 2-disc set with a radically updated track list, compiling songs from all of Springsteen's studio albums to date plus his Greatest Hits (1995 edition) collection. Not only were tracks from recent albums like Devils & Dust, Magic, Working On A Dream, Wrecking Ball, and High Hopes added, but the set has been revised from the beginning, for instance, swapping "Blinded By the Light" out, and "Growin' Up" in. This is a thoroughly remade set, and it also features remastered tracks not found in that form on other Springsteen releases. But the most notable change from the 2003 issue is the dropping of the bonus third disc which had 12 rare and previously unreleased recordings, now "de-released"? It was described as a "limited edition" bonus disc. Springsteen's involvement in this project was very minimal, which is evidenced by the fact that Jon Landau is credited as Essential's sole Producer.

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1.1. GROWIN' UP 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.2. ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT) ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.3. 4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY) ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.4. THUNDER ROAD ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.5. BORN TO RUN ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.6. TENTH AVENUE FREEZE-OUT 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.7. BADLANDS ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.8. THE PROMISED LAND ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.9. PROVE IT ALL NIGHT 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.10. THE RIVER ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.11. HUNGRY HEART ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.12. THE TIES THAT BIND 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.13. OUT IN THE STREET 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.14. ATLANTIC CITY ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.15. JOHNNY 99 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.16. GLORY DAYS ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.17. BORN IN THE U.S.A. ESSENTIAL: 2015
1.18. DANCING IN THE DARK ESSENTIAL: 2015
# Song Title Running Time Release
2.1. TOUGHER THAN THE REST 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.2. BRILLIANT DISGUISE ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.3. ONE STEP UP 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.4. HUMAN TOUCH ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.5. BETTER DAYS 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.6. IF I SHOULD FALL BEHIND 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.7. STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.8. MURDER INCORPORATED 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.9. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.10. THE RISING ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.11. LONESOME DAY ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.12. DEVILS & DUST 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.13. LONG TIME COMIN' 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.14. RADIO NOWHERE 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.15. WORKING ON A DREAM 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.16. MY LUCKY DAY 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.17. THE WRESTLER 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.18. WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015
2.19. HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME 5 ESSENTIAL: 2015

Total Running Time: 2:34:39

1: Previously unreleased.
2: Previously unreleased, alternate version.
3: Previously unreleased, live version.
4: Removed from the 2015 release.
5: Only on the 2015 release.

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Details

4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY) - V1 5:47 US5 / BIS / ROOI / SA914 / ET / ETRJ
4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY) - V2 5:35 PS / EY / ROOI / SA914
4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY) - V3 5:31 WIESS / ESSENTIAL / CHAPTER

Note: A song destined to be special to all people of New Jersey, especially those who remember the summers of the mid-70s at the Jersey shore. First known studio take on August 9, 1973, which turned out to be the second to last session for WIESS. Recorded V1, the instrumental backing track, and V2, the original take, with "Now, Sandy, them northern angels lost their desire for us, I spoke with them last night, they won't set themselves on fire for us anymore, still, when the weather gets hot, they ride that crazy road down from heaven on their Harleys every season they come and they go, dressed like stars in all them cheap little seaside bars, they're parked with their babies out on the Kokomo…love me tonight and I promise I'll love you forever….". V3 is the album version, mostly from August 9, but with overdubs and mixing on September 23, 1973, including Bruce adding a new final verse, with "nicer" lyrics. When he played back, "I promise you I'll love you—forever?", he must have instantly decided it had to be redone…but then he did it again on the overdub! No wonder she dumped him. He changed the words in the live set at The Main Point on October 31.

Written in early 1973, per Bruce, "a good-bye to my adopted hometown and the life I'd lived there before I recorded. Sandy was a composite of some of the girls I'd known along the Shore. I used the boardwalk and the closing down of the town as a metaphor for the end of a summer romance and the changes I was experiencing in my own life". First played at Bushnell Memorial Hall, Hartford, CT, on April 23, 1973. "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" opened the set - this is the earliest confirmed performance of the song. Brucebase reader Ed was present, and says: "I know Bruce opened with "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)", but the rest of the show is just a blur. No one in the audience had ever heard Bruce before, and the crowd loved him! He ended up doing about 45 minutes of encores, and finally had to leave the stage so Richie Havens could perform. Throughout the Richie Havens show people kept calling for Bruce!"

AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) - V1 5:13 SA / 2001 promo
AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) - V2 uncirculating
AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) - V3 uncirculating
AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) - V4 7:24 HOPES

Note: Written by Springsteen during the spring of 2000 and premiered live on June 4, 2000 at a show with the E Street Band in Atlanta. It appears that this recording utilises the backing music (with a slightly altered mix) from the live version recorded on July 1, 2000 at Madison Square Garden and officially released on Live In New York City. Springsteen recorded V1 a new vocal at The Hit Factory, New York City on March 2, 2001. Produced by Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin. Released on a promotion-only single in June 2001. Studio vocals were laid over a different mix of the released live version's instrumental tracks. Producer Ron Aniello revealed in a December 2013 interview with Rolling Stone's Andy Greene that American Skin (41 Shots) V2 was cut during the Wrecking Ball-recording sessions, but ultimately was not used. "We did try a track of that", he said, "but it wasn't really an outtake". V3 was recorded in studio again in 2013 and featured Tom Morello on guitar. "His presence made a big, big difference", Springsteen said. "He obviously brings those things to great life and deepens them and deepens the characters". Prior to the March 2013 Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour, Tom Morello was sent the song to play guitar on V4. "I did that in my home studio and Bruce seemed to like that very much", He told Andy Greene in a January 2014 interview for Rolling Stone. "That song to me was the most challenging one. It was also the first one I did. Normally I'll go in there and tinker with a song a bit and try to capture inspiration and see if the world likes it or not. But that song just didn't come together for me. I went back to it a couple of times, and I'm glad that I did because at the end of the day I was really pleased with how the guitar solo and the rhythm stuff came out. But that one felt like it was work. I had to really work on that one".

  1. March 2, 2001.
  2. Wrecking Ball recording session
  3. 2013 and featured Tom Morello on guitar.
  4. Prior to the March 2013 Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour, Tom Morello was sent the song to play guitar on.

FIST FULL OF DOLLARS - V1 3:44 FFOD / HNWB / MT2
FIST FULL OF DOLLARS - V2 2:24 FFOD / HNWB
ATLANTIC CITY - V3 1:40 FFOD / HNWB
ATLANTIC CITY - V4 take 1 uncirculating
ATLANTIC CITY - V5 - take 4 4:00 LM-1
ATLANTIC CITY - V6a - take 3 3:56 NEBRASKA / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST
ATLANTIC CITY - V6b - take 3 3:43 NEBRASKA (stereo mix)
ATLANTIC CITY - V7 uncirculating
ATLANTIC CITY - V8 uncirculating
ATLANTIC CITY - V9 uncirculating
ATLANTIC CITY - V10 uncirculating

Note: Before he writes the music, and lastly the lyrics, the first thing Bruce Springsteen does is choose a title! This is how he writes many of his songs, and he chose Fistfull of Dollars from the Clint Eastwood movie. The two demos (V1 & V2) he recorded in April 1981, had the title in them, but they also had quite a few verses written, all about Atlantic City. You can hear him turning pages of his notebook as he worked on them. FFOD never went anywhere, but as for Atlantic City…..
The story continues in late 1981, still at Colts Neck, V3 lines are getting into shape; The rest is Bruce trying variations of the chorus. V4, V5 V6 were recorded on his Portastudio at Colts Neck during a two-week period, December 17 to January 3, 1982, with V6 take 3 chosen for Nebraska. Take 5 v5 is the only outtake from this session. In a letter to Jon Landau, Springsteen noted that "this song should probably be done with the whole band really rockin' out". V7 was cut at The Power Station on April 26-28, 1982, with the band during the 'Electric Nebraska' sessions. Landau insisted on releasing the solo version, "No way was it as good as what he had goin' on that demo tape". The three days working on the full-band arrangement, however, paid off handsomely for years after taking it on the road.

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT - V1a 5:03 GREETINGS / ESSENTIAL: 2003 / GH09
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT - V1b 3:58 1973 Single

Note: According to Springsteen in "Songs", both "Blinded By The Light" and "Spirit In The Night" were written to order, after Clive Davis told him in mid-August 1972, there was nothing on Greetings From Asbury Park, New Jersey which could get radio play. His response was to go home with a rhyming book, which is what he used to write "Madman’s Bummers", which he changed to "Blinded By the Light", and without delay, "Spirit" and "Blinded" were both recorded on September 11, 1972. This was much to the satisfaction of his record label, who were pleased with the songs, and even more by their new artists' response to their implied request. Unnoticed was Henry Boy', which garnered respectable attention during the August Max's Kansas City residency, but was never played again. Perhaps Bruce used most of the song in creating 'Blinded By the Light', just like he did with 'Walking In the Street' when creating 'Thunder Road'. The legendary rhyming dictionary helped him with the lyrics, but 'Henry Boy' was the instant source of the music.

After the 'Greetings' sessions were completed, and the master submitted on August 10, most of the not-yet-called The E Street Band had dispersed to other obligations; David Sancious and Danny Federici were in Virginia, and Miami Steve was playing with the Dovelles. Bruce found his drummer, Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez, special guest star Clarence Clemons, who had not played in the June sessions, and Harold Wheeler to play piano; he played the rest of the instruments. It is not known how many takes were needed to finish 'Blinded', but it was completed in one day. Before it was released as a single on February 23, 1973, coupled with "The Angel", the engineers at Columbia edited out a verse, reducing the time below four minutes. It was "given an extremely limited commercial release in the U.S.". The lyrics on the back of the 7” picture sleeve are also missing a verse. A stereo fold down mono version is available as the b-side of the white label promo 45.

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 3:57 ODM / HOD / AM
BADLANDS - V4b 3:59 uncirculating
BADLANDS - V4c 3:59 uncirculating
BADLANDS - V5 take 23 3:59 DARKNESS / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST / CHAPTER

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". Bruce translated this to these Verse 2 lines: "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. V4b is an alternate, with less double-tracked vocals than the Darkness version, and V4c was the final mix from April 11, which was pressed to acetate on April 12, 1978. V5 take 23 was a last moment dubbing, on May 5, 1978, of one of Clarence Clemons' greatest sax solos, perhaps ranking just behind Jungleland on his personal list. Springsteen's initial excuse for almost leaving it off 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". Relax Bruce, don't overthink everything, you might inadvertently make a real mistake, like deciding to delete "The Promise" at the last minute.

VIETNAM - V1 3:15 FFOD / HNWB / MT2
VIETNAM BLUES - V2 2:00 FFOD / HNWB / MT2
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V3 2:22 FFOD / HNWB / MT2
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V4 0:30 FFOD / HNWB
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V5 4:45 FFOD / HNWB
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V6 3:10 FFOD / HNWB
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V7 2:55 FFOD / HNWB
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V8 4:00 FFOD / HNWB
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V9a take 1 3:06 LM-1 / HNWB
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V9b take 1 mix 2 3:06 TRACKS
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V10 take 2 8:09 THLBB / UH / GS / BUERM / MI
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V11a take 4 mix 1 4:34 BITUSA / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST / CHAPTER
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V11b take 4 mix 2 4:52 LM-19 / THLBP
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V12 uncirculating
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V13 take 9 uncirculating
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V14a freedom mix 7:20 1984 EP
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V14b radio mix 6:10 1984 EP
BORN IN THE U.S.A. - V14c dub mix 7:36 1984 EP

“I’m a long gone daddy I don’t need you anyhow. ”
—Hank Williams 1948

Note: Writing and recording began at Springsteen's home in Colts Neck, New Jersey during October 1981 as the demo, "Vietnam" or "Vietnam Blues". V3 is now titled "Born In the U.S.A. Blues", re-titled after Jon Landau sent Springsteen a Paul Schrader script called "Born In the U.S.A.". V4 is a taken from November 1981, with the lyrics "Born baby in the USA, I believe in the American way". V5 thru V8 were recorded in December, and V9 was recorded on the portastudio Mike Batlan had setup on January 3, 1982. Bruce included it on the "Nebraska demos" cassette tape he sent to Jon Landau. In his notes to Landau, Bruce described the song as a "little ditty. should be done very hard rockin". A copy leaked to bootleggers from Batlan, then V9b was mixed in 1997 and officially released on "Tracks" in 1998. V10 and V11 were recorded in just four takes (two complete), at The Power Station with the E Street Band, on April 27, 1982. V10 is the 8 minute+ extended jam ending, where Max Weinberg takes his shot at the title, as Bruce would say. V11a (take 4) became the first song on side one of the album, "Born In the USA". V11b continues where 11a fades out, with an extended synthesizer ending; it was leaked out of the sessions, and released unofficially on the bootleg, "This Hard Land". V12 represents takes 5-8 on April 28, 1982, and V13 is take 9 on May 3, 1982. V14a thru V14c are dance remixes of V11, undertaken by Arthur Baker, and recorded at Shakedown Studio in New York City in September 1984. Toby Scott was the recording engineer for the remixes (which include additional vocals by The Latin Rascals), which were first released in December 1984.

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

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

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

BRILLIANT DISGUISE 4:12 TUNNEL / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST / CHAPTER

Note: Began life as "Is That You?", which was recorded February 5, 1987. Became "Brilliant Disguise" by the end of that month. Recorded at Thrill Hill East (Springsteen’s NJ home studio). Springsteen handles multiple instruments and his three-man backing band on this recording is Roy Bittan (keyboards), Danny Federici (organ) and Max Weinberg (percussion).

CODE OF SILENCE uncirculating

Note: Co-written by Bruce and Joe Grushecky during December 1997-January 1998. Springsteen premiered the song live on June 12, 2000 and released a live version (recorded June 29, 2000) on The Essential Bruce Springsteen in 2003. A Grushecky studio version (with Bruce on support vocals) was released on his album A Good Life in July 2006.

COUNTIN' ON A MIRACLE - V1 4:44 RISING
COUNTIN' ON A MIRACLE - V2 5:01 ESSENTIAL: BONUS

Note: Written in 2000. These are two different recordings, both emanating from Southern Tracks Studios in Atlanta in February-March, 2002. V1 is with E Street Band and the Nashville String Machine backing. V2 (which was also videoed on Super8 film) is a country-blues arrangement performed solo by Springsteen on acoustic guitar.

COUNTY FAIR - V1a 4:58 LM-17
COUNTY FAIR - V1b 4:50 ESSENTIAL: BONUS
COUNTY FAIR - V2 5:02 LM-19 / UH

Note: V1 Two slightly different mixes of the same performance, recorded March 24, 1983. Another atmospheric gem. V2 Recorded May 23, 1983. Features Ruth Jackson on background vocals. This was likely recorded at the same session as "My Hometown" (which also features Jackson). Not as atmospheric as the version recorded during the January 1983 sessions and released on The Essential.

DANCING IN THE DARK - V1a 4:31 BUERM / 1984AC
DANCING IN THE DARK - V1b 3:57 BITUSA / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST
DANCING IN THE DARK - V2a - blaster mix 6:09 1984 EP
DANCING IN THE DARK - V2b - radio mix 4:50 1984 EP
DANCING IN THE DARK - V2c - dub mix 5:30 1984 EP

Note: The last song on Born In The U.S.A. to be recorded. Written in no time at all after Jon Landau convinced Bruce that the album needed a single. According to Dave Marsh in Glory Days, Bruce was not impressed with Landau's approach. "Look", he snarled, "I've written seventy songs. You want another one, you write it." Despite this reaction, Bruce sat in his hotel room and wrote the song in a single night. It sums up his state of mind, his feeling of isolation after the success of The River, and his frustrations of trying to write a hit-single. Six takes cut on February 14, 1984 at The Hit Factory, then 58 mixes, completed on March 8. V1a contains a longer sax solo at the end that was shortened (cut) for the official album version. V2a thru V2c are dance/disco remixes done at The Power Station in April or early May 1984 by Arthur Baker. The recording engineer for the remixes was Chris Lord-Alge. These remixes were released on June 29, 1984. The 7" and 12" singles were released on May 9, 1984, and the 12" finished as the biggest selling in the U.S.A. that year.

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 4:23 ODM / HOD / UP / AM
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN - V3b 4:23 DARKNESS / ESSENTIAL: 2003 / GH09

Note: "Events often beat the humanity out of people until they just lose it all. "Darkness On The Edge of Town" was about people holding on to that humanity. I started writing it right after Born To Run." – Bruce Springsteen, 1978. Down in the Prospective Album Sequence section, you can see "Darkness" listed on the first two 1976 "dream" sequences Springsteen prepared, supporting his recollection. 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". Music and some lyrics written by February 1976, was sub-titled "The Racer" for a time. Though it is listed on the "Star Wars" demo tape of June 1, 1977, pictured below, V2 was not cut until June 6. Sony logs show takes recorded on June 8, 9, 20 and 23, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. Work on the lyrics was needed. Then, after putting forth such a good effort (5 days), Bruce put "Darkness" aside for the rest of the year. It is not included on the "Badlands" album sequence from October, or the January 16, 1978 seq. On March 8, he suddenly called his forces together, and over three days, they re-recorded "Darkness" from scratch and completed 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 recording. V3a can be identified by the addition of the word "ready" to the line "I'll be there on time ready to pay the cost". V3b is mix take #28 from March 30, 1978, and was pressed to metal acetate on April 12.

DEAD MAN WALKIN' 2:43 OST: DEADMAN / 1995 Single / ESSENTIAL: BONUS

Note: Written in spring 1995 upon request of friend-director Tim Robbins for his movie Dead Man Walking. First released on December 30, 1995 on the film's soundtrack CD and then as a single in early 1996 in some countries. Song received an Academy Award Nomination but (unlike "Streets Of Philadelphia") it didn't win. Recorded sometime April–May 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his 3-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards), Jim Hanson (bass) and Gary Mallaber (drums).

DEVILS & DUST 4:58 DEVILS / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: Song written in mid-2003 (first known from appearances at soundchecks in April 2003) and the only song on the album positively verified to have been composed after 2001. Springsteen handles vocals, guitar and keyboards. Brendan O’Brien on bass. Steve Jordan on drums. The strings (Nashville String Machine) and horns (Susan Welty and Thomas Witte) were added later. Recorded at Thrill Hill Recording, Los Angeles & New Jersey with additional recording at Southern Tracks Recording, Atlanta, GA. Strings recorded at Masterphonics, Nashville, TN, Mixed at Southern Tracks, additional Mix at Thrill Hill Recording Los Angeles.

FOR YOU - V1 uncirculating
FOR YOU - V2a 4:43 PS / EY
FOR YOU - V2b 4:40 GREETINGS / ESSENTIAL: 2003

Note: V1 was recorded on February 14, 1972 at Pocketful of Tunes, 39 West 55th Street, New York, NY, at the audition for Mike Appel and Jim Cretecos. V2a was recorded June 27, 1972 at 914 Sound Studios for Greetings. V2b was an overdub session on October 26, 1972, when Greetings track was completed.

FROM SMALL THINGS (BIG THINGS ONE DAY COME) - V1a 2:33 DROC2 / ATMF
FROM SMALL THINGS (BIG THINGS ONE DAY COME) - V1b 2:42 ESSENTIAL: BONUS / RIVER: OUTTAKES

Note: Two slightly different mixes. Recorded at The Power Station on September 2, 1979.

GLORY DAYS - V1 1:59 LM-10
GLORY DAYS - V2 4:24 private
GLORY DAYS - V3a 4:54 THLBP / THLBB
GLORY DAYS - V3b 5:18 LM-19 / UH / GS / MI / BUERM / TDB / RTT
GLORY DAYS - V3c 5:05 private cdr
GLORY DAYS - V3d 4:11 BITUSA / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST

Note: V1 is a very early demo from January-April 1982, includes the "my dad" verse that was cut from the final album version, but appears in most circulating bootlegs. V2 is a Colts Neck band rehearsal from April 1982. It seems the song was fairly well developed and rehearsed at this point. Some minor lyrical variations throughout, and it lacks the entire call-and-response ending. V3 is recorded at The Power Station on May 5, 1982; four different mixes are known. V3a only appears on This Hard Land issues and Roll The Tapes, and is unique because of the serious audio distortion that runs throughout. V3b is unedited and contains the extra verse cut from the officially released version. The wild variations in track length appear to be due to tape speed, and there are two variations in the count-in. An alternative source of V3b includes an engineer identifying the take as #11.

ELOISE (GROWIN' UP - V1) 1:05 BTF / UNE / PS / EY / EDR
GROWIN' UP - V2 uncirculating
GROWIN' UP take 1 - V3a uncirculating
GROWIN' UP take 2 - V3b 2:35 TRACKS / US3 / HDT / CHAPTER / EDR
GROWIN' UP - V4 uncirculating
GROWIN' UP - V5 3:18 PS / EY
GROWIN' UP - V6 3:05 GREETINGS / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: V1 is 'Eloise', a work-in-progress take with soon to be discarded lyrics, recorded at Mediasound Studios in April 1972. V2 was recorded in John Hammond's office on May 2, 1972, and V3 was cut the next day at Columbia Studio E for his Columbia audition tape, and V3b was officially released 26 years later on 'Tracks'. V4 was an acoustic take, recorded without the band at the first Greetings session on June 7, 1972, and does not circulate. V5 was cut on June 27, 1972, and V6, the final take from that session, was chosen for release on 'Greetings'.

HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V1 1:10 DROC1 / AT
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V2 0:15 DROC1 / SFEM / AT
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V3 5:33 LM-11
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V4 1:10 LM-11
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V5 1:15 LM-11
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V6 1:11 LM-11
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V7 1:34 LM-11
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V8 1:13 LM-11
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V9 2:00 LM-11
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V10 1:12 LM-11
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V11a 1:07 DROC1 / SFEM
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN - V11b 1:13 1980 Single / 1985 b-side / TRP / BACK / RIVER: OUTTAKES

Note: V1 and 2 are brief acoustic demos from late 1979. V3 thru V10 are rehearsal workouts at Telegraph Hill on February 22, 1980 (with Miami Steve on lead vocals on V6). V11a and V11b are different mixes of the same performance, recorded at The Power Station starting the following day, February 23 and April 1, 9, 20 and 21, 1980. Included on an April 1980 shortlist for the double-album. V11b first released as the B-side to "Hungry Heart" in 1980, re-released in 1985 on the 12" maxi single of "I'm Goin' Down", and again in 2015 on The River: Outtakes in average quality due to issues locating the studio masters. Recording found on The Essential Bruce Springsteen is a live cut, taped December 31, 1980 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY.

HUMAN TOUCH – V1a 6:41 private cdr
HUMAN TOUCH – V1b 6:28 HUMAN
HUMAN TOUCH – V1c 5:09 GREATEST / ESSENTIAL / promo cd

Note: Written in the Spring of 1990. Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his three-man backing band on this recording is Randy Jackson (bass), Roy Bittan (keyboards) and Jeff Porcaro (drums). Additional background vocal overdub by Patti Scialfa. All of the above are different mix/edits of the same core recording. V1a features an extended intro and an extra guitar break mid song. V1c is merely an edited version of V1b and was officially released as a promo single in some countries and later on the official Greatest Hits and Essential packages.

HUNGRY HEART - V1a 2:48 DROC2 / PYP
HUNGRY HEART - V1b 3:44 DROC2
HUNGRY HEART - V1c 3:26 LM-6
HUNGRY HEART - V1d 3:18 LM-6
HUNGRY HEART - V1e 3:29 LM-6 / RRR
HUNGRY HEART - V1f 3:31 private cdr
HUNGRY HEART - V1g - take 2 3:21 TTTBR / TTTBJ / RIVER: SINGLE / LEK
HUNGRY HEART - V1h 3:15 RIVER / 1980 Single / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST

Note: Apparently penned after Joey Ramone asked Bruce to write a song for the Ramones after he attended a Ramones show at The Fast Lane in Asbury Park in March 1979; this may be apocryphal. In any case, Springsteen has confirmed that it was written with the Ramones in mind, and was considering giving the song away. He played it for Jon Landau, who convinced Bruce to keep it for himself. The eight takes listed above all appear to be different mixes of the same basic performance that are also running at varying tape speeds. The version released on The River has been pitch adjusted, raising the pitch of Springsteen's vocal to achieve a more radio friendly sound. V1b is the backing track only. V1f has heavy echo added to Springsteen's vocal. Recorded at The Power Station on June 14 and 21, 1979, with dubs-mixing for the TTTB album September 5, 1979. Dubbing and mixing sessions for the River took place on March 24 and April 10, 1980. Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan of the Turtles) contributed backing vocals during one of those sessions.

HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME 4:42 HOPES / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: With Tom Morello. Produced by Brendan O'Brien, suggesting this recording dates from 2004-2008, presumably with a Morello overdub. Morello has stated in an interview that he heard O'Brien tinkering with a recording of "Hunter" in 2007 or 2008, but this doesn't necessarily prove it was recorded at that time. Musicians credited are Springsteen on vocals and guitar, Garry Tallent on bass, Max Weinberg on drums, Tom Morello on guitar and Soozie Tyrell on additional violin. Atlanta Strings: Eddie Horst provides the string arrangement and conducts. Violins by Justin Bruns, Jay Christy, Sheela Iyengar, John Meisner, William Pu, Christopher Pulgram, Olga Shpitko and Kenn Wagner. Violas by Amy Chang, Tania Maxwell Clements, Lachlan McBane. Celli by Karen Freer, Charae Krueger and Daniel Laufer.

IF I SHOULD FALL BEHIND 2:53 LUCKY / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: Recorded sometime from July to December 1991 at Thrill Hill West, (Springsteen’s Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen handles all guitars, keyboards and vocals and his 1-man backing band is Gary Mallaber (drums).

JOHNNY 99 - V1 3:50 FFOD / HNWB
JOHNNY 99 - V2 3:26 FFOD / HNWB
JOHNNY 99 - V3 uncirculating
JOHNNY 99 - V4 take 1 uncirculating
JOHNNY 99 - V5 take 3 3:30 LM-1
JOHNNY 99 - V6a take 2 3:36 NEBRASKA / ESSENTIAL: 2015
JOHNNY 99 - V6b take 2 3:36 NEBRASKA (stereo mix)
JOHNNY 99 - V7 uncirculating
JOHNNY 99 - V8 uncirculating

Note: V1 is similar to the released version, with some lyrical variations. V2 is closer still. Recorded at Springsteen's home in Colts Neck, NJ from mid-September to December 1981.
Three different, complete, recordings V4 V5 were made on January 3, 1982, but only one has surfaced (three mixes)V6. One of the recordings has a different end verse. V7 was recorded at The Power Station April 27-28 and May 3, 1982 with the band during the 'Electric Nebraska' sessions.

JUNGLELAND - V1 uncirculating
JUNGLELAND - V2 uncirculating
JUNGLELAND - V3 1:33 BIS / WAR / ET / BTRS
JUNGLELAND - V4 uncirculating
JUNGLELAND - V5 9:43 BTRS
JUNGLELAND - V6 9:44 ESRR / BTRO
JUNGLELAND - V7 9:37 DDITV / BTRS / BTRCS / UBTROC / WAR / URT1 / ROOI
JUNGLELAND - V8 9:14 ROOI / UBTROC
JUNGLELAND - V9 9:32 BORN TO RUN / ESSENTIAL: 2003
flickr:40278488542

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

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

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

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

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

LAND OF HOPE AND DREAMS - V1 uncirculating
LAND OF HOPE AND DREAMS - V2 uncirculating
LAND OF HOPE AND DREAMS - V3 6:58 WRECKING

Note: Written by Bruce sometime in 1998 or early 1999. The song was premiered live with the E Street Band on March 18, 1999 for the Reunion Tour. A later live version with the E Street Band was officially released on the Live In New York City package. Cut in 2011 and issued on the Wrecking Ball album. V3 features Springsteen, Aniello (some combination of guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion and/or loops), Charlie Giordano (piano, B-3 organ), Curt Ramm (trumpet, cornet), Clark Gayton (trombone), Stan Harrison (clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax), Ed Manion (tenor & baritone sax), Dan Levine (alto horn, euphonium), Art Baron (euphonium, tuba, sousaphone, penny whistle), Clarence Clemons (saxophone solo), Soozie Tyrell (violin & backing vocal), backing vocals from Patti Scialfa, Lisa Lowell and Michelle Moore, and the Victorious Gospel Choir. Steve Van Zandt is uncredited, but clearly audible at times.

LIFT ME UP 5:16 OST: LIMBO / ESSENTIAL: BONUS

Note: Recorded at Thrill Hill East (Bruce's NJ home studio) in March 1999. Produced by Springsteen (alone). Bruce handles vocals and all instruments. Written by Bruce specifically for the John Sayles movie "Limbo" and first released on the movie soundtrack album in June 1999.

LIVING PROOF 4:42 LUCKY / ESSENTIAL: 2003 / CHAPTER

Note: Recorded sometime from July to December 1991 at A&M Studios, Los Angeles. Springsteen handles all guitars and vocals and his 2-man backing band on this recording is Roy Bittan (keyboards) and Gary Mallaber (drums). Bittan is credited as a co-producer of this recording.

LONESOME DAY - V1a 4:08 RISING / GH09
LONESOME DAY - V1b 3:34 promo CD

Note: It remains unclear if this composition was written before or after 9/11. Recorded at Southern Tracks, Atlanta, during February-March, 2002. Soozie Tyrell contributes violin and background vocals, Larry Lemaster and Jere Flint play the cello. V1b is a shorter radio edit issued on a US-only 1-track promotional single in 2002.

LONG TIME COMIN' - V1 uncirculating
LONG TIME COMIN' - V2 4:17 DEVILS / ESSENTIAL: 2015 / CHAPTER

Note: Written by Bruce in the summer or early autumn of 1996 while on the Ghost Of Tom Joad tour and premiered live on October 16, 1996. This recording is a hybrid of two sessions quite some years apart. The basic track (Bruce, Danny Federici, Marty Rifkin, Soozie Tyrell and Patti Scialfa) emanates from 1997 or 1998, Thrill Hill West, Beverly Hills. CA. Recorded by Toby Scott and produced by Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin. The drums (Steve Jordan) and bass guitar (Brendan O’Brien)were added to the mix in 2004, at Masterphonics, Nashville, Tennessee, and Southern Tracks Recording, Atlanta, Georgia, which is the likely reason why this released version is credited as a “Springsteen-Plotkin-O’Brien” production.

LUCKY TOWN 3:21 LUCKY / ESSENTIAL: 2003

Note: Recorded sometime from July to December 1991 at Thrill Hill West, (Springsteen’s Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen handles all guitars, keyboards and vocals and his 1-man backing band is Gary Mallaber (drums).

MARY'S PLACE 6:03 RISING / ESSENTIAL: 2003

Note: It remains unclear if this composition was written before or after 9/11. Recorded at Southern Tracks, Atlanta, during February-March, 2002. Soozie Tyrell contributes violin and background vocals, Jane Scarpantoni plays the cello. The choir vocals are provided by the Alliance Singers. The horn section is Mark Pender (trumpet), Mike Spengler (trumpet), Richie Rosenberg (trombone), Jerry Vivino (tenor sax) and Ed Manion (baritone sax).

MISSING - V1a 5:06 1995 compilation
MISSING - V1b 5:06 ESSENTIAL: BONUS / DDITV

Note: Recorded in the autumn of 1994 at at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California. Produced by Springsteen (no co-producer) and recorded by Toby Scott. Bruce handles all vocals and instruments. Springsteen didn’t write "Missing" with a film in mind – he played the recording for actor/director Sean Penn in late 1994 and Penn asked if he could use it in a film he was directing, which turned out to be the November 1995 movie The Crossing Guard. First issued on the movie soundtrack in November 1995 and then as a Springsteen single in some countries in early 1996. V1a and V1b are slightly different mixes of the same recording. The versions circulated on bootlegs have about a minute total cut at the beginning and end of the track but are from an identical recording and mix to the official release.

MURDER INCORPORATED - V1a 4:05 MI / GS / MILM / LM-19 / TDB / UH
MURDER INCORPORATED - V1b 4:13 private cdr
MURDER INCORPORATED - V1c 4:22 THLBP / THLRR / RTT
MURDER INCORPORATED - V1d 4:31 THLBP / RTT
MURDER INCORPORATED - V1e 4:47 THLBB
MURDER INCORPORATED - V1f 3:57 SFEM
MURDER INCORPORATED - V1g 4:02 GREATEST / ESSENTIAL: 2015
MURDER INCORPORATED - V2 4:03 MI / GS / MILM / UH

Note: Recorded at The Power Station May 3-4, 1982. Different mix permutations of the same core recording. The recording found on track 3 of the LP 'This Hard Land' (Boss Productions) could be another different mix but runs very slow. Track 5 from the aforementioned LP is V1c, which lacks a "woo" before the opening line as well as some backing vocals. V1a deletes the saxophone solo after the second verse. The officially released V1e includes the saxophone solo but fades out earlier than the outtakes, explaining the ten second difference in track length V2 is a mix so different it gets it's own version number. Different instruments and sound.

MY LUCKY DAY 4:01 DREAM / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: Written during the mixing stages of Magic. One of two songs, along with "Born To Run", that was made available as downloadable content for the video game Guitar Hero World Tour on January 29, 2009.

STARKWEATHER - V1 1:09 LM-1 / HNWB
STARKWEATHER - V2 1:05 LM-1 / HNWB
STARKWEATHER - V3 take 1 uncirculating
STARKWEATHER - V4 take 2 uncirculating
STARKWEATHER - V5 take 3 uncirculating
STARKWEATHER - V6a take 4 m 4:25 LM-1
NEBRASKA - V6b take 4 mix 1 4:25 NEBRASKA / ESSENTIAL: 2003
NEBRASKA - V6c take 4 mix2 early fade 4:25 uncirculating
NEBRASKA - V6d take 4 mix 3 bad harp 4:25 uncirculating
NEBRASKA - V6e take 4 mix 4 glock 4:25 uncirculating
NEBRASKA - V6f 4:16 NEBRASKA (stereo mix)
NEBRASKA - V7 uncirculating
NEBRASKA - V8 uncirculating
NEBRASKA - V9 uncirculating

Note: The first song recorded, and the first song on the album. V1-V2 are takes of the introduction and first two lines, recorded in late 1981 at Springsteen's home in Colts Neck, NJ. Six takes were recorded on January 3, 1982, including V6b take 4, the title track of the album. V6 above are alternate mixes. Mix #1 is complete, with a 12-string guitar. #2 fades early, #3 is noted as "bad harp no good". Take #4 is with glock. Listed as "Starkweather" in an early song lineup, the song is about the Charles Starkweather murder spree in the 1950s. V7 recorded with the band at The Power Station on April 27-28 and 30, 1982, during the 'Electric Nebraska' sessions.

NONE BUT THE BRAVE - V1a 5:24 BUERM / UH / MAT / MILM / RTT
NONE BUT THE BRAVE - V1b 5:13 SO / GT
NONE BUT THE BRAVE - V1c 5:29 ESSENTIAL: BONUS

Note: Four different mixes of the same basic recording, from June 6, 13 and 27, 1983. V1c has different vocal. Recording features Steve Van Zandt.

ONE STEP UP 4:16 TUNNEL / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: Recorded sometime between May and August 1987 at A&M Studios (Los Angeles). Springsteen solo on multiple instruments. Patti Scialfa provides backing vocals.

I’M GONNA BE THERE TONIGHT - V1 2:13 DROC2
I’M GONNA BE THERE TONIGHT - V2 3:27 DROC2 / RRR
OUT IN THE STREET - V3a 4:13 DROC2 / ATMF
OUT IN THE STREET - V3b 4:14 DROC2 / RRR
OUT IN THE STREET - V3c 4:15 RIVER / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: V1 and V2 are both Telegraph Hill band rehearsals from January 11, 1980. By March, Bruce had completed the lyrics to "Out In the Street", and on March 21, 1980 at The Power Station, the Band was ready to finish the song. The V3 takes were all recorded that night, as sessions were drawing to a close.

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 / ESSENTIAL: 2015

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). V2c mix take 49 went on Darkness.

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.

RADIO NOWHERE 3:18 MAGIC / ESSENTIAL: 2015 / GH09

Note: Released as a single August 28, 2007.

ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT) - V1 7:17 US5 / ET / ETRJ / ROOI / SA914
ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT) - V2 7:00 WIESS / ESSENTIAL / GH09

Note According to Diane Lozito, Bruce's girlfriend 1971-1975, "he wrote 'Rosalita' in bits and pieces and didn't have a title for it," she says. "My mom is Rita Lozito. Then he met my grandma. So I assume that's where he put it together." Her grandmother's full name was "Rose Lozito"; In that part of Jersey, it's pronounced Lazita, so "Rose Lazita". Apparently, the derivation of the sub-title "(Come Out Tonight)" is by an unrelated and unknown process. Also according to Diane, and confirmed independently by her sister, Carol Lisa Lozito, though the song name came from her grandmother, the song was about Diane. Carol also said her sister was 'Crazey Janey" in "Spirit In the Night", "Sandy" in "4th of July, Asbury Park", "Terry" in "Backstreets", and the girl in "Thundercrack". This has never been refuted by Springsteen. In an interview for Mojo magazine published in January 1999, Springsteen told Mark Hagen that he wrote "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" as a live showstopper, just as he had written "Thundercrack" before it.

Rosie was performed for the first time on February 14, 1973 at Richmond, Virginia, fully-formed musically, with plenty of lyrics too, though some were unfamiliar "with her chiffon reigns" and "soft sweet samurai tongue". It was performed live at least four more times, until it was recorded V2 on September 23, 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, NY. Other than an instrumental backing track V1 from the same day, no other outtakes or alternates are known to exist.

SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT - V1 uncirculating
SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT - V2 4:57 GREETINGS / 1973 Single / ESSENTIAL: 2003

Note: Written August 20, 1972 (give or take a few days) in response to Clive Davis’s request for some radio material, "Spirit In The Night" was issued as a single, backed with "For You", hard on the heels of "Blinded By The Light’, on May 11, 1973, produced by Bruce Springsteen, Mike Appel, and Jim Cretecos. Springsteen tried using the music for "The Fever", but quickly thought otherwise, and composed a fresh melody, starring Wild Billy, Hazy Davy, Crazy Janey, Killer Joe, G-Man and himself? V1 was recorded on September 11, 1972 at 910 Sound Studios, Blauvelt, New York. The Greetings take, with only Springsteen, Clemons and Lopez, had Bruce playing multiple instruments. Session man Harold Wheeler provided additional piano. Final dubs and mixing were completed on October 26, 1972. A stereo fold down mono version is available as the b-side of the white label promo 45. It was first played live at Max’s Kansas City, New York, NY on January 31, 1973, after which it became a staple in the show.

STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA - V1a uncirculating
STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA - V1b 4:11 BACK / OST: PHILADELHPIA / 1994 single
STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA - V1c 3:17 GREATEST / ESSENTIAL
STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA - V1d 2:53 DDITV / 1994 b-side
STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA - V1e 4:13 promo-only cd
STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA - V1f 3:43 TOTP video mix
STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA - V2 uncirculating

Note: Written in mid-1993 and first registered at the US Copyright office on August 27. 1993. First issued on December 30, 1993 as part of the Philadelphia soundtrack CD, then issued as a single in February 1994. However, this is a song with a complex recording and release history. All recordings were co-produced by Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin. V1a was recorded during August 1993 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California, and features only Springsteen – on vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizer and drum machine. V1b, the “hit” version that appeared on the album soundtrack and the single, is the exact same as V1a except that there are added background vocals by Tommy Sims. To complicate matters the V1b version was issued in slightly shorter running time lengths on some versions of the single in some countries (done by shortening either the intro or outro). V1c is a significantly edited version of V1b that was released on the Greatest Hits album. V1d is the version used for the commercially released video – it is the same base recording as V1b except that it features an alternate (“live”) Springsteen vocal. V1e was released as a promotion-only single in the UK and Austria and this is allegedly yet another slightly different mix of V1b. V1f is the audio released as part of a black & white video shot in early 1994 at CBS TV Soundstage studios in New York and originally broadcast on the UK TV show ‘Top Of The Pops’. It is alleged this is yet another slight, but unique, mix variation. V2 is a different recording of the song made in October 1993, apparently at A&M Studios in Los Angeles. It features Bruce on lead vocal, instrumentation provided by Springsteen and jazz virtuoso Ornette Coleman, bass and background vocals by Tommy Sims and additional background vocals by Little Jimmy Scott. V2 was allegedly scheduled to be the officially released version up to early December 1993, when it was nixed at the last second, even after the song’s video (which featured Little Jimmy extensively) was shot. The video had to be re-shot. A brief snippet of V2 (including the tell-tale vocals of Little Jimmy Scott) is actually heard about halfway through the movie (but it’s V1b that is heard in the opening sequence of the movie).

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

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

THE BIG PAYBACK - V1 1:56 MT2
THE BIG PAYBACK - V2 1:55 1982 b-side / ESSENTIAL: BONUS / BACK / HNWB

Note: Two different recordings were 'cut at home shortly after the Nebraska album', according to Springsteen's Essential notes. Only one has surfaced. Likely recorded January-April 1982, the exact date is not listed in the studio logs.

THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V1 4:20 JOAD / ESSENTIAL / CHAPTER
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V2 2007 compilation
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V3 7:34 HOPES

Note: Written as a rock song for the Greatest Hits project, but abandoned when Springsteen couldn't find an arrangement. Re-imagined as an acoustic song, and recorded May 23, 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California. Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his four-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards), Garry Tallent (bass), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel, dobro) and Gary Mallaber (drums). The rock arrangement was premiered live on April 7, 2008 in Anaheim, CA, performed with Tom Morello sharing lead vocals. V2 is an entirely re-recorded version, but was not recorded during any of the three Seeger Sessions. It was recorded at various stages and studio locations during the mid-late 2006 period. Bruce’s parts (vocal, harmonica) were recorded at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey in August 2006. Pete Seeger’s vocals were recorded at Seeger’s cabin in Beacon, NY on July 4, 2006. The backing band’s individual parts were recorded at various locations around the USA during mid-late 2006 and then everything was mixed together at Shelter Island Sound Studios in NYC by David Seitz. The additional musicians are Mark Dann (acoustic guitar), David Hamburger (dobro), Mike Visceglia (bass), Tim Carbone (fiddle) and Ken Lovelett (percussion). Produced by Springsteen, Jim Musselman and David Seitz. The recording was first released on September 11, 2007 on the Various Artists charity compilation Sowing The Seeds (Appleseed). V3 was recorded in March 2013 in Los Angeles, the day before a flight to Australia for the Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour. Produced by Ron Aniello and Springsteen. Musician credits are Springsteen (lead vocal, guitar), Roy Bittan (piano), Nils Lofgren (pedal steel, mandolin), Max Weinberg (drums), Tom Morello (lead vocal, guitar), Soozie Tyrell (violin), Charlie Giordano (accordion) and Ron Aniello (bass, synth).

THE PROMISED LAND - V1 uncirculating
THE PROMISED LAND - V2a 4:14 ODM / HOD / UP
THE PROMISED LAND - V2b 4:25 DARKNESS / ESSENTIAL
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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 Clemons's powerful sax part, which then required side two to be remastered, briefly delaying album release.

THE RISING 4:50 RISING / ESSENTIAL / GH09 / CHAPTER

Note: Song composed post 9/11, November 2001 - 2002. Recorded at Southern Tracks, Atlanta, during February-March, 2002. Soozie Tyrell contributes violin and background vocals, Jane Scarpantoni plays the cello.

OH ANGELYNE - V1 1:35 LM-6 / DROC1 / RRR
OH ANGELYNE - V2 0:49 LM-6
OH ANGELYNE - V3 2:59 LM-6
OH ANGELYNE - V4 2:20 LM-6 / MT2
THE RIVER - V5 uncirculating
THE RIVER - V6 take 5 4:45 TTTBR / TTTBJ / RIVER: SINGLE / PYP / LEK / ATMF
THE RIVER - V7 uncirculating
THE RIVER - V8 uncirculating
THE RIVER - V9 4:56 RIVER / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST / CHAPTER
THE RIVER - V10 0:36 TTTB: DOCUMENTARY

Note: Evolved from the demo "Oh Angelyne", which he started working on after the Darkness tour ended on January 1, 1979. Thanks to Lost Masters, and Batlan keeping Bruce's garbage, instead of throwing it away, we have four takes of a solo demo recorded by Bruce at home February-May, 1979. V5, now known as "The River", was recorded at The Power Station on August 26, 1979, and V6 was the completed take 5 from August 29, 1979, set to go on "The Ties That Bind" album. Bruce reconsidered and that plan fell through. As the new plan, the River double album, proceeded, Springsteen, for unknown reasons, changed each of tracks chosen for the 1979 TTTB album, some drastically, such as "The Price You Pay", which lost a critical verse, or "Stolen Car", which received a total overhaul. "To Be True" and "Cindy" were removed completely, but the other tracks, including "The River", were changed in subtle ways. For instance, ooo-ooos by Bruce and Steve were recorded on January 21, 1980 V7, and later overdubbed on either April 12 V8 or April 24 V9, and this went on the final track of Disc 1 of the River double album. Studio logs give us those three dates in 1980, but don't specify what was done. In an interview, engineer Neil Dorfsman says he recalls cutting several versions of the song, trying out different tempos and a more embellished rock 'n' roll arrangement. None of these alternative arrangements circulate, and it is not known whether they exist in the vaults. V10 are brief snippets of an acoustic demo heard in Thom Zimny's documentary about the making of The River, included in the The Ties That Bind (The River Collection) box set, and including some well-known verses, like "is a dream a lie that don't come true, or is it something worse".

THE TIES THAT BIND - V1 3:39 URT-1M
THE TIES THAT BIND - V2 2:24 PSC
THE TIES THAT BIND - V3 3:30 US6 / URT-1M / RRR
THE TIES THAT BIND - V4 3:38 URT-1M / US6 / DROC1
THE TIES THAT BIND - V5 0:45 URT-1M
THE TIES THAT BIND - V6 4:02 LM-14
THE TIES THAT BIND - V7 3:40 private
THE TIES THAT BIND - V8a take 8 3:25 LM-6
THE TIES THAT BIND - V8b take 8 3:29 TTTBR / TTTBJ / DROC2 / PYP / RIVER: SINGLE / LEK
THE TIES THAT BIND - V8c take 8 3:29 RIVER / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: V1 was played before the show on Wednesday, September 20, 1978, day 2 of one of the most memorable three-day stands in Springsteen history. Though it was referred to as a "sound check", the content and behavior of Bruce and the band has led many to recognize this as a studio recording session (click for bigger picture-Recordings tab). There was no crowd, the entire session was professionally recorded and filmed, and the material covered included new songs that needed studio work, which this session was meant to simulate. Bruce conducted the E Street Band in the same manner as at the Record Plant, constantly calling out chord changes and arrangements. "Go Away (Come Close)", "Wedding Bells" by Hank Williams, "Point Blank" and the debut of "The Ties That Bind" are the highlights, and all were worked on extensively.

Unlike many of his new songs, "The Ties That Bind" was developed musically and lyrically, so Bruce spent extra time teaching it to the band, who were obviously extremely unfamiliar with it. It seems like Garry and Roy can pick up a tune almost immediately, with Max right behind, and the core of this song is the rhythm section and Bruce's dominating guitar. It should be mentioned that while his guitar playing gets no mention, he once again uses it to convey pictures and feelings to the minds of his listeners. Springsteen uses all of the tools at his disposal to do this on every song, that is his method of writing and performing, and his band follows his lead. This first incarnation of TTTB is a blues driven hard rock song, dominated by Bruce in a manner not often seen. V2 is an alternate take featuring Clarence Clemmons on saxophone, and a different arrangement. The only copy discovered starts half way through the song, which explains it's 2:24 clocking, and claims to be from September 19, 1978. We are looking into it.

Though it sounds different than the River version, this is the original idea by Springsteen of TTTB, which he extensively revised by October 26, 1978, when V3-V5 were recorded at Telegraph Hill Studios. It was also worked on extensively in concert, during November and December on the Darkness tour. The band picked it back up in late March 1979 (V6) and V7, the latter still needeing work on verses 2 and 3. In April, work comenced at The Power Station on album #5, to be called, "The Ties That Bind". V8 take 8 was recorded on April 10-11, 1979. V8a needed some vocal overdubs and remixing before it was ready for release. V8b was mixed and ready for the album, but then Springsteen injured his leg in an off-terrain vehicle accident a few days later, which delayed further studio sessions until the middle of May. After the new album came back from mastering in October 1979, Bruce called a halt to the release, and resumed writing songs and recording. Jon Landau helped to sell him on the double album idea, and "the River" was released in 1980. The first track on side one was TTTB V8c. V8b was remixed into V8c on April 10, 1980. All the songs on the "The Ties That Bind" album that were released on "The River" were remixed or changed, the major victims being "Stolen Car", which was re-written, and bears little resembelance to it's earlier self, and "The Price You Pay", which had a great verse chopped off.

THE WRESTLER - V1a 3:50 DREAM / ESSENTIAL: 2015
THE WRESTLER - V1b 5:20 promo CD

Note: Features Springsteen on all instruments. V1a is the version included on the Working On A Dream album. V1b is on a US-only 1-track promotional CDR in slimline jewel case without artwork, issued exclusively to Academy Award voters by film distributors "Fox Searchlight Pictures" for consideration of "The Wrestler" in the "Best Original Song" category. This rare disc exclusively contains the full, unedited 5:20 version with longer intro and intact piano coda, which was omitted for the song’s widespread release as a "bonus track" on the album. Some copies feature a misprint of "For Your Consiceration".

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

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

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

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

TOUGHER THAN THE REST 4:32 TUNNEL / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: Recorded sometime between January and May 1987 at Thrill Hill East (Springsteen’s NJ home studio). Springsteen handles multiple instruments and his two-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (organ) and Max Weinberg (percussion). Originally written as a rockabilly song.

TRAPPED uncirculating

Note: While on the European leg of The River Tour in Spring 1981, Springsteen purchased a cassette tape of Jimmy Cliff music in the Amsterdam Airport, heard his 1972 recording of "Trapped", produced by Cat Stevens, and decided to incorporate it into his act. The band arrangement was rock, not reggae. Springsteen's take on the song was first performed on May 29, 1981 at Wembley Arena, London, UK; he played it the next two nights too. Perhaps the best early version was recorded on August 20, 1981 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA. "Trapped" remained in Springsteen's setlist for years, including at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey on August 6, 1984, when it was recorded, and later released on April 23, 1985 on the album, "We Are the World". The album sold four million copies, and "Trapped" 1984 gained considerable airplay, the most of any of the tracks on the album other than the title song. Though it wasn't released as a single, it peaked at number one on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart. In 2003 the same version was added to the Bonus disc of The Essential Bruce Springsteen.

Regarding Springsteen's version of the song, Cliff commented in 1988, "I look at it as a compliment. He's an artist in his own right and he's written a lot of good songs, too". This was during the time that Springsteen released seven top 10 singles from Born In the USA, and under different circumstances, "Trapped" could have easily been number eight. No studio version has surfaced.

TUNNEL OF LOVE 5:06 TUNNEL / ESSENTIAL: 2003

Note: Recorded sometime between January and May 1987 at Thrill Hill East (Springsteen’s NJ home studio). Springsteen’s four-man backing band on this recording is Nils Lofgren (lead guitar), Roy Bittan (synthesizers), Max Weinberg (percussion) and Patti Scialfa (vocals). The Schiffer family of Point Pleasant, NJ provided the roller coaster vocals. Despite its use as the album title, "Tunnel Of Love" nearly wasn't included on the album, with "Lucky Man" occupying its slot on an early track listing.

VIVA LAS VEGAS – V1a 3:11 1990 compilation
VIVA LAS VEGAS – V1b 3:03 ESSENTIAL: BONUS / BACK

Note: Recorded September 13-14, 1989 at One On One Studio, North Hollywood. Bruce handles guitar and vocals and his three-man backing band on this recording is Bob Glaub (bass), Ian McLagan (keyboards) and Jeff Porcaro (drums). First released in the UK in February 1990 on the Last Temptation Of Elvis charity album. Both above are the same recording. V1a is the charity album version and includes some brief Presley dialog prior to the start of the song. V1b deletes that dialog.

WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN 3:53 WRECKING / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: the first song written for the album and the first single from the album, released digitally on January 19th 2012. Features Springsteen on vocals, guitars, banjo, piano, organ, drums, percussion and loops and Ron Aniello on some combination of guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, drums and/or loops. Soozie Tyrell, Patti Scialfa and Lisa Lowell provide backing vocals. The New York Chamber Consort contribute strings.

WORKING ON A DREAM 3:30 DREAM / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: Premiered in November 2008 in Cleveland, OH at a Barack Obama election rally.


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