The Essential - Studio Sessions


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Commercially released: November 11, 2003
(Executive) Producer: Jon Landau*

*see Brucebase session listings for the specific producers of the original/individual recordings.

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.

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 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 Bruce Springsteen was re-issued in 2015 as a two-CD, thirty-seven track package, covering Springsteen's career from Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. to 2014's High Hopes. The set features remastered tracks not found elsewhere in Springsteen's catalogue.

Details

Song Title (Album Order) Recording Date Location Session Era
FOR YOU June 27, 1972 914 Sound, NY GREETINGS
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT September 11, 1972 914 Sound, NY GREETINGS
SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT Mid 1972 914 Sound, NY GREETINGS
4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY) August 9, 1973 914 Sound, NY WIESS
ROSALITA (COME OUT TONIGHT) September 23, 1973 914 Sound, NY WIESS
BORN TO RUN August 6, 1974 914 Sound, NY BTR
JUNGLELAND April 1975 Record Plant, NY BTR
THUNDER ROAD April 1975 Record Plant, NY BTR
BADLANDS Late 1977 Record Plant, NY DARKNESS
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN March 1978 Record Plant, NY DARKNESS
THE PROMISED LAND Late 1977 Record Plant, NY DARKNESS
THE RIVER August 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
HUNGRY HEART Mid 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
ATLANTIC CITY January 3, 1982 Thrill Hill East, NJ NEBRASKA
NEBRASKA January 3, 1982 Thrill Hill East, NJ NEBRASKA
BORN IN THE U.S.A. May 3, 1982 Power Station, NY BITUSA
GLORY DAYS May 5, 1982 Power Station, NY BITUSA
DANCING IN THE DARK February 14, 1984 HIT FACTORY, NY BITUSA
BRILLIANT DISGUISE Mid 1987 Thrill Hill East, NJ TUNNEL
TUNNEL OF LOVE Mid 1987 Thrill Hill East, NJ TUNNEL
HUMAN TOUCH Mid 1990 A&M Studios, CA HUMAN
LUCKY TOWN Mid 1991 Thrill Hill West, CA LUCKY
LIVING PROOF Late 1991 A&M Studios, CA LUCKY
STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA Mid 1993 Thrill Hill West, CA GREATEST
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD Mid 1995 Thrill Hill West, CA GOTJ
AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) 3 July 01, 2000 Madison Square Garden, NY None
LAND OF HOPE AND DREAMS 3 July 01, 2000 Madison Square Garden, NY None
THE RISING Early 2002 Southern Tracks, GA RISING
LONESOME DAY Early 2002 Southern Tracks, GA RISING
MARY'S PLACE Early 2002 Southern Tracks, GA RISING

1 Previously unreleased.
2 Previously unreleased, alternate version.
3 Previously unreleased, live version.


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