The Promise


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Commercially Released: November 16, 2010
Label: Columbia
Produced by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau
Recorded by Jimmy Iovine and Toby Scott, assisted by Rob Lebret, Thom Panunzio
Recorded at Atlantic Studios (1977), Record Plant Studios (1977–78), and Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, NJ July 12–26, 2010
Mixed by Jimmy Iovine, Chuck Plotkin (1978) and Bob Clearmountain, assisted by Brandon Duncan at Mix This! (2010)
Mastered by Mike Reese, Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering, Portland, ME
Archive Research, Retrieval & Restoration by Donna Kloepfer, Matt Kelly, Sean Brennan, Tim Sturgis, Toby Scott

Overview

The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story is the long-anticipated boxset finally released by Columbia Records. It was expected for the June 2, 2008 30th anniversary of the release of Darkness, but that didn't happen, possibly due to Springsteen's touring schedule, but probably because he was fussing over it's contents, just like he fussed over Darkness, thus creating the vast surplus of material we are anxious to hear. The box set was finally announced on August 26, 2010.

Disc 1 is "Darkness On The Edge Of Town", digitally remastered by Bob Ludwig on June 2, 2010, which comes in a paper sleeve housed inside a cardboard sleeve.

Disc 2 and disc 3 are "The Promise", a two-CD album, a collection of unreleased songs from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town recording sessions (described by one hypster as "unearthed material"). It features photographs taken by Eric Meola on August 17-20, 1977, on a trip to Utah & Nevada with Bruce and Steve Van Zandt. It was also released separately, and it came in a 4-panel cardboard sleeve.

Disc 4 is the Blu-Ray/DVD "The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town", a documentary directed by Grammy- and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Thom Zimny, which comes in a paper sleeve housed inside a cardboard sleeve. The ninety-minute film combines never-before-seen footage of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band shot between 1976 and 1978, including home rehearsals and studio sessions, with new interviews with Springsteen, E Street Band members, manager Jon Landau, former manager Mike Appel, and others closely involved in the making of the record. Stephen Whitty For Inside Jersey reported from the Toronto Film Festival on September 13, 2010, that "Darkness" is now also "The Promise: The Making of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'", a documentary that shows the building of that album, track by track, song by song. It will be shown on HBO on Oct. 7, and released by Columbia Records as part of a mammoth 3-CD, 3-DVD boxed set on November 16. On Tuesday evening (Sept 14), the hour-and-a-half film gets its first open-to-the-public showing at the Toronto Film Festival. Hear Bruce admit, "More than rich, more than famous, more than happy – I wanted to be great." It was released separately on May 3, 2011, in both DVD and Blu-Ray formats, with some bonus features.

Disc 5 "Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Paramount Theater, Asbury Park 2009" and "Thrill Hill Vault 1976-1978", comes in a paper sleeve housed inside a cardboard sleeve.. The former is a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band's live performance of the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album in its entirety, shot in HD on 13 Dec 2009 at Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ, without an audience. Thrill Hill Vault 1976-1978 is a collection of archival footage from Springsteen's personal vault It consists of an about-an-hour's worth (it clocks at about 56 minutes) of home rehearsals footage from 1976, studio sessions footage from 1978, and live in concert footage from 1978. It was produced and edited by Emmy- and Grammy-winner Thom Zimny and the audio for the live 1978 footage and some of the 1978 studio footage was mixed by Bob Ludwig. Zimny re-edited the 1978 concert footage making use of previously unseen camera angles. The home rehearsals and studio session footage was originally produced and directed by Barry Rebo, while the live in concert footage was originally directed by Arnold Levine.

Disc 6 is "Thrill Hill Vault Houston '78 Bootleg: House Cut", comes in a paper sleeve housed inside a cardboard sleeve. a video of the complete December 8, 1978 concert at The Summit in Houston, TX. The footage was taken from the in-house video screen at The Summit, which was one of the first arenas in the United States to have this system at the time. This gave the release its title "Houston '78 Bootleg: House Cut". Considering that it was taken from the mono soundboard, the sound is only available in PCM stereo and not in 5.1 surround. The video was produced by Emmy- and Grammy-winner Thom Zimny and the audio was mastered by Bob Ludwig. It clocks at around 176 minutes.

The five cardboard sleeves are placed in the pockets of an 80-page spiral-bound reproduction of Springsteen's original notebooks called the "Promise notebook" (of greatest interest to hardcore fans), with facsimiles of Bruce's original handwritten lyrics, production notes, song ideas, recording details, and many album sequencing lists, in addition to a new essay by Springsteen on the album and never-before-seen photographs. The set is housed inside a hard cardboard outer slipcase. The box set won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package.

The album features one of the last appearances of Clarence Clemons before his death in June 2011. Clemons is featured on the song "Save My Love", which was the only song on the album completely re-recorded by Springsteen and the E Street Band for the project.

This boxset was under development for years, which was why so few Darkness outtakes were included in Tracks. Difficult choices were made, and finally the master tapes from 1977-78 were assembled. Unfortunately, Bruce still felt that many of the tracks were incomplete, and required re-recording or overdubbing. Recording sessions were held in the Summer of 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, at Springsteen's home in Colts Neck, NJ. For reference, we have produced a table below that lists known modern elements in the songs. However, it is extremely likely that other modern elements exist that have not yet been identified. Tracks that appear untouched from 1977 include "Candy's Boy", "City of Night" and "The Way". Please contact Brucebase if your perception differs, we want to hear your thoughts, and we have changed this table on occasion, based on good arguments or convincing information. Let's get to the truth.

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1.1. RACING IN THE STREET ('78) 6:50 PROMISE
1.2. GOTTA GET THAT FEELING 3:20 PROMISE
1.3. OUTSIDE LOOKING IN 2:19 PROMISE
1.4. SOMEDAY (WE'LL BE TOGETHER) 5:39 PROMISE
1.5. ONE WAY STREET 4:21 PROMISE
1.6. BECAUSE THE NIGHT 3:25 PROMISE
1.7. WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET 3:37 PROMISE
1.8. THE BROKENHEARTED 5:20 PROMISE
1.9. RENDEZVOUS 2:40 PROMISE
1.10. CANDY'S BOY 4:39 PROMISE
# Song Title Running Time Release
2.1. SAVE MY LOVE 2:39 PROMISE
2.2. AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU 4:03 PROMISE
2.3. FIRE 4:10 PROMISE
2.4. SPANISH EYES 3:51 PROMISE
2.5. IT'S A SHAME 3:16 PROMISE
2.6. COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) 2:20 PROMISE
2.7. TALK TO ME 4:22 PROMISE
2.8. THE LITTLE THINGS (MY BABY DOES) 3:19 PROMISE
2.9. BREAKAWAY 5:33 PROMISE
2.10. THE PROMISE 5:54 PROMISE
2.11. CITY OF NIGHT 2:58 PROMISE
2.12. THE WAY 1 3:47 PROMISE

Total Running Time: 1:28:44

1: Hidden in the previous track.

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Details

RACING IN THE STREET - V1 5:48 DO-3 / LM-3 / UP / AM
RACING IN THE STREET - V2a 6:42 LM-3 / UP
RACING IN THE STREET - V2b 6:44 ODM / HOD / UP / AM
RACING IN THE STREET - V2c 6:51 DARKNESS
RACING IN THE STREET - V3a 6:22 LM-2 / DDO / DO-2 / DDOC / O711S
RACING IN THE STREET ('78) - V3b 6:47 PROMISE

Note: Springsteen started writing "Racing In The Street" in 1976, and working titles included "'32 Ford" (found in a document titled "New Songs", reproduced in The Promise facsimile book) and "Dying In The Street", according to author Clinton Heylin. The latter phrase appears twice in the earliest known circulating recording (V1), a slow solo piano arrangement from July 2, 1977 at Atlantic Studios, verified in Sony's studio logs. This take uses an incomplete version of the alternate "Got a '32 Ford, she's a 318…" lyrics, and is also missing verse three, perhaps not yet written, alongside the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album melody. Efforts resumed on August 1, with four consecutive days working on the song. Which arrangements were worked in this period is unclear. V2a was likely from one of these sessions, as indicated in the 'Lost Masters III' liner notes, and this take would eventually be utilized for Darkness On The Edge Of Town (V2c), with a vocal overdub in the second verse. Heylin recounts its "transfer to a 'comp.' reel at August's end," which, according to studio logs, was August 30, 1977.

V3, sometimes known as the 'alternative' "Racing In The Street", with wailing harmonica and tremendous vocal, was recorded on August 10, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. Bruce has also referred to this as "the rock version." This arrangement still features the '32 Ford, and perhaps comes from before Springsteen refined the lyrics and settled on the Darkness album arrangement by month's end. There was more work undertaken on August 12. The officially released V3b, titled "Racing In The Street ('78)" on The Promise, uses the same 1977 vocal take from V3a, apart from a small overdub, replacing a slurred line in the third verse (that ends "…just to make it alright") with a modern vocal. David Lindley plays violin; there is a reference in Sony's documentation to January 2, 1978 for "Racing In The Street" and "The Factory Song" and is possibly the day Lindley recorded his violin tracks for both songs, but that is not yet confirmed.

There is little doubt that more work was done on this song than any other during the sessions, except perhaps "The Promise". Assistant engineer Thom Panunzio kept a detailed record of the tape reels, the various mixes and takes, with alternate lyrics, with or without the band, or certain instruments. Eight days were spent during August, until completed masters were transferred to a reel on August 30. But Springsteen returned to "Racing In The Street" on November 28, 29, 30 and December 6 and 9, 1977. As of December 9, two more completed masters were transferred to a stereo rough mix reel; one is a mix of take 16 of reel 5 recorded November 29, 1977, the other is a mix of take 12 of reel 5 recorded November 30. It is unknown which arrangement is on this reel. Mixing and overdub sessions were held, with Chuck Plotkin, on March 21–23, 1978, and mix take 46 went on Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

Bruce adapted the lines "summer's here and the time is right / for goin' racing in the street" from Martha and the Vandellas' 1964 hit "Dancing In The Street", as well as The Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man". He has also acknowledged the Beach Boys' 1964 "Don't Worry Baby", and it has been said the instrumental break is a tribute to that song.

GOTTA GET THAT FEELING - V1 3:21 DDITV / AM / UP
GOTTA GET THAT FEELING - V2 3:07 LM-2 / DDO / DO-2 / MT1 / AM / UP
GOTTA GET THAT FEELING - V3 3:15 PROMISE

Note: Studio documentation indicate takes were recorded at Atlantic Studios or Record Plant studios on August 9, 11, and 12, 1977. A recording from August 9 was transferred to a cassette, and a reproduction of the tape inlay can be found in the facsimile book included with The Promise box set. In V1 Bruce is teaching the song to the band, probably on the first day, and V2 was recorded on August 12. Logs show another date, August 30, 1977, which was either a final session, or transfer of the master to comp. reel. V1 has a "baby just come dry your eyes" theme, which is gone by V2. The officially released V3 contains a modern vocal take and horns, recorded on July 12, 2010, along with elements of the V2 recording. First two versions were bootlegged for years under the title "Get That Feeling".

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

Note: V1 was recorded at Atlantic Studios on June 1, 1977, a year before the Buddy Holly Story came out. This is a very rough early take with an uneven mix, but the scheme of Springsteen singing a line, then muttering under his breath, is unique. V2 was recorded on September 27, 1977 at the Record Plant, with revised lyrics. It did not circulate until it was released (said to be untouched) on The Promise in 2010. Springsteen is angry, "You've got all the answers, you and your friends, I'm on the outside looking in". Performed live once, in December 2010, in a small gig to promote The Promise.

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

Note: V1 is an instrumental backing track that was bootlegged under the title "Someday, Tonight". Since there are no vocals, it has been assumed that the creators of the 'Lost Masters' CDs took the title from a cassette tape label, and maybe they did, but it appears on the studio logs as "Someday (Tonight)". According to the logs, Springsteen worked on the song over three days at the Record Plant on September 26 and 29–30, 1977. This backing track circulated for fifteen years until V2 was released on The Promise box set in 2010 as "Someday (We'll Be Together)". The backing tracks from September 29 were used, with a modern vocal take alongside backing vocals by the Alliance Singers (Tiffeny Andrews, Corinda Carford, Michelle Moore, and Antoinette Savage), who contributed choir vocals on The Rising, in addition to Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell.

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

Note: "One Way Street" was recorded at Atlantic Studios on June 17, 1977. V2 was officially released on The Promise in 2010, with modern vocals and horns over a 1977 base track. Original alternative title may have been "Dead End".

BECAUSE THE NIGHT (Belongs To Lovers) - V1 3:17 DO-3 / UP / AM
BECAUSE THE NIGHT - V2 - fade in 2:32 LM-3 / UP / AM
BECAUSE THE NIGHT - V3 3:19 DO-2 / DDO / DDOC / ESR / O711S
BECAUSE THE NIGHT - V4 3:22 PROMISE / 2010 SINGLE

Note: First appeared on pre-Darkness sessions song list as "The Night Belongs To Lovers". V1, "Because The Night (Belongs To Lovers)", was recorded at Atlantic Studios, New York on June 1, 1977 with the lyrics not finished. The instrumental backing tracks were used on V4. V2 was recorded July 1, 1977 at Atlantic Studios, and is less embryonic but still with some unfinished lyrics. Springsteen cut his last take on September 27, 1977, V3. It is not clear if this was a demo for Patti Smith. The transfer of the song was orchestrated by Jimmy Iovine, who, in his own words, "was engineering Darkness and producing Easter at the same time. This is confirmed by Assistant Engineer Thom Panunzio, who sincerely claims that he was an assistant only on rare occasions, which is well known by Bruce, Jon and the band. According to Iovine, "Bruce was understanding and flexible, because he realized this was my first real break as a producer. Anyway, one night whilst we were lounging around the Hotel Navarro in New York, I told Bruce I desperately wanted a hit with Patti, that she deserved one. He agreed. As he had no immediate plans to put 'Because The Night' on an album, I said why not give it to Patti. Bruce replied, If she can do it, she can have it." Iovine brought Smith the September 27 demo of the song, and Patti added her own lyrics, recording it at the Record Plant for her album Easter, and scoring her first and biggest hit single. On December 30, 1977 at CBGB Second Avenue Theatre, New York City, NY, Patti Smith premiered her new song, with Bruce Springsteen on guitar and background vocals. With his own lyrics, Bruce played the song almost every night of the 1978 Darkness Tour. The officially released V4 uses Smith's lyrics, the June 1977 backing tracks, and a new vocal take, recorded June 25, 2010 in the Record Plant Studio truck parked on his Colts Neck, NJ property.

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

Note: V1 was recorded at the Record Plant on October 14, 1977 under the working title "English Song" (the tape label was misread by bootleggers as "English Sons"). According to studio documentation, another working title was "First New Song". Of the three takes tried, at least one fully finished performance survived, but the circulating audio, first released on 'Son You May Kiss The Bride', where it was named "Endless Night", has the vocal buried in the mix. The officially released V2 was titled "Wrong Side Of The Street", and features a July 2010 vocal track dubbed over the backing tracks from 1977.

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

Note: "The Brokenhearted" was originally recorded at the Record Plant on November 29, 1977, and officially released on The Promise 2010. Contains a vintage vocal take with some modern parts, plus a modern horn section, recorded July 16, 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, and overdubbed later that month. The horn section consists of Barry Danielian (trumpet), Stan Harrison (tenor sax), Dan Levine (trombone), Ed Manion (baritone sax) and Curt Ramm (trumpet). Originally known from circulating audio of a Darkness tour rehearsal in May 1978.

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

Note: The same night Springsteen introduced "Something In the Night" at the Monmouth County Arts Center, Red Bank, NJ, he also played "Rendezvous" for the first time. The song remained a regular in the setlist throughout the remainder of the 1976–77 tour. When the Darkness sessions began on June 1, it was one of the ten songs recorded that evening, and additional takes were logged on June 2, 3, 8, and 17, 1977, all at Atlantic Studios. One of these was V1, an otherwise good take, but the audio is marred by a vocal drop-out during the first verse. V2 was recorded on September 29, 1977 at Record Plant Studios, and officially released on The Promise in 2010. In a 1978 interview, Springsteen said the song was kept off Darkness On The Edge Of Town because it didn't fit thematically. Bruce personally taught the song to The Knack's drummer Bruce Gary in October, 1978, but it would be Greg Kihn who first recorded a cover (released in April, 1979). A live version recorded December 31, 1980, at Nassau Coliseum, was used for Tracks, which may indicate Bruce wasn't satisfied with the available studio versions at the time (1998).

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

Note: "(I Will Forever Be) Candy's Boy", or simply "Candy's Boy", was composed in 1976, though lyrics were not completed until 1977. V1 is a summer 1976 band rehearsal at Bruce's house in Holmdel, NJ (referred to as Telegraph Hill), and is included on the Thrill Hill Vault DVD/Blu-ray in The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story box set. V2 was recorded in June 1977 at Atlantic Studios, New York, and sounds complete in all respects; several alternate takes or mixes exist, with different vocal tracks and lyrics. V3 and V4 are also thought to be from June. The officially released V5 was recorded on September 2, 1977, and released in 2010 on the The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story, adding "my sweet love" to his vows. In October 1977, an album #4 sequence entitled 'Badlands' was delivered to Columbia Records, and artwork was drawn up. The project, which had included "Candy's Boy", was withdrawn by Springsteen, but it would not be unreasonable to think complete versions of "Candy's Boy", "Independence Day", "The Promised Land" and "Badlands" were ready at the time. In mid-September, a decision was made to re-organize "The Fast Song" into the "New Fast Song", which later became "Candy's Room", with the first verse of "Candy's Boy" incorporated, along with lines from "Frankie". Other elements were exported to "Prove It All Night" (the dynamo) and "Drive All Night" ("Well there's machines and there's fire waiting for us on the edge of town").

SAVE MY LOVE - V1 3:19 PROMISE: DELUXE
SAVE MY LOVE - V2 2:39 PROMISE / 2010 SINGLE

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

AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - V1a 3:49 DROC2 / RRR
AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - V1b 4:06 DDITV / MT1 / AM / DROC2
AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - V2a 4:01 uncirculating
AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - V2b 4:01 PROMISE
AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - V2c 1:49 PROMISE: DELUXE

Note: V1a is a recording on 'The Definitive River Outtakes Collection Volume 2' under the title "What's The Matter Little Darling", which is how this song was known until 2010. It is not in fact a River outtake, but was most likely recorded July–August 1977. V1b first appeared in the 1990s on 'Deep Down In the Vaults', which was released by the same bootleg label as V1a, and may be the same recording, with the speed corrected. It was officially released on the second disc of "The Promise" as "Ain't Good Enough For You" (V2b). This completed version was recorded on September 14, 1977 (V2a), and unknown overdubs were added in 2010. It is not currently known if this was also the date of the film clip on the accompanying Thrill Hill Vault DVD (V2c), where Bruce is shown trying to add a vocal overdub to the same backing track.

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

Note: Written in May 1977, a few days after Bruce and Steve attended an Elvis Presley concert in Philadelphia. V1 (which is not a final take) comes from June 17, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. Introducing the song on November 20, 1978 in Champaign, IL, Bruce said "This is a song I wrote, oh, we jammed it up in the studio one night in twenty minutes." Allegedly (and this may be myth) a finished demo take was sent to Elvis Presley in July or August 1977, shortly before his death, with the hope that Elvis might cover it. Bruce ended up donating the song to Robert Gordon, who recorded his cover (with Bruce on piano) in early December 1977 (released April 1978). The Pointer Sisters then quickly covered Gordon's released version and had a major international hit in early 1979. The officially released V2 was partly recorded in 1977, and partly recorded in 2010.

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

Note: "Spanish Eyes" V1 was recorded on June 30, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. V2, under the name "New Spanish", was recorded on July 13, 1977. The officially released V3 has a modern vocal, and potentially some modern band elements, recorded 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Shares several lyrics with "I'm On Fire".

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

Note: An unknown composition until it was officially released as "It's A Shame" on The Promise in 2010. V1, titled "Jon's Jam", was recorded June 14, 1977 at Atlantic Studios, featuring Jon Landau on drums, and Bob Chirmside (Bruce's road manager between '75 and '81) on bass. V2 overdubs a modern horn section of Barry Danielian (trumpet), Stan Harrison (tenor sax), Dan Levine (trombone), Ed Manion (baritone sax) and Curt Ramm (trumpet). Music later adapted for "Prove It All Night", according to Bruce.

COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V1 uncirculating
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V2 2:07 DO-3 / UP / SC / LUTHER
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V3 2:12 LM-3 / LMEC2 / AM / UP
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V4 2:09 DDO / DO-1 / UP / DDOC / LES
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V5 uncirculating
THE FACTORY SONG - V6a 2:15 ODM / HOD / UP / AM
FACTORY - V6b 2:15 DARKNESS
COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) - V7 2:16 PROMISE

Note: "Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)" was written in the Spring of 1977, and V1 was cut on June 1, 1977, complete with Vox [organ], at Atlantic Studios, on the first night of the Darkness sessions. V2 is the earliest take in circulation, a rough workout, probably from either July 2 or 13 at Atlantic Studios, but further progress was needed on the lyrics. At this point, Bruce had written, "Everybody wants heaven, but nobody wants to die, Come on, come on, let's go tonight." Two out of three verses had "death in their eyes." V3 represented a sudden shift as the song began its metamorphosis into "Factory"; though it retained its original name (Sony logs show all sessions to the end of 1977 under this name), the lyrics were radically rewritten to the story of Douglas Springsteen, Bruce's father, who worked at a machine factory under harsh conditions. An interview quoted Bruce: "I remember my old man was working in this plastics factory… and all I remember, when we used to go in that place, was him standing near 'em loud fucking machines." It is possible that Bruce worked with both ideas for a while, but after September, all energies went toward "The Factory Song", though it was not named this until January 2, 1978.

Sessions took place on August 23, 24 and 30, and September 8, 1977 at the Record Plant. Roy Bittan played his piano Floyd Cramer-style to give it a Chet Atkins-produced country feel, and an organ was not in the mix at this point. Further work was undertaken on November 2, 7, and 8, and December 9, 27, 1977 - a violin overdub by David Lindley was added, possibly on December 9. V7, released on the The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story box set in 2010, is the finished take of "Come On (Let's Go Tonight)". The vocal is vintage, but the recording date has not been determined. V6 was the result of overdub/mixing sessions on March 10 and 14, 1978, all at the Record Plant. The 1978 sessions were under the name "The Factory Song". Danny recorded new organ tracks, which featured prominently in the final album V6b. Bruce recorded new vocals over the "Come On (Let's Go Tonight) backing track and changed "Factory takes his hearing, but he understands" to "Factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life." V6c is mix take 28 from April 3, 1978, and it was pressed to metal acetate with the title "Factory Song" on April 12, 1978. By the time the album was released however, the title was simply "Factory".

What ever happened to "Come On (Let's Go Tonight)"? In March 1981, Bruce wrote new music and recorded a demo at his home in Colts Neck, NJ with the original name. However, he decided to rearrange it once more, combining several lines with new verses, and the first two lines from Chuck Berry's "Bye Bye Johnny", to create "Johnny Bye-Bye".

TALK TO ME - V1a 3:59 LM-2 / DO-1 / ATEOD / AM
TALK TO ME - V1b 4:05 DDO / DDOC / UP
TALK TO ME - V2 uncirculating
TALK TO ME - V3 4:17 PROMISE
TALK TO ME - V4 uncirculating

Note: V1a and V1b of "Talk To Me" were recorded on July 8 or 13, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. Both are basic backing tracks without vocals or horns, which were not added, along with the lyrics, until August. On August 5, one take (V2) was labeled as "Bruce's original master." This version was officially released on The Promise in 2010, with modern horns added, featuring original Jukes/Miami Horns members Rick Gazda on trumpet, Stan Harrison on tenor sax, Ed Manion on baritone sax, Bob Muckin on trumpet, and Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg on trombone (V3).

Additional sessions at either Atlantic Studios or The Record Plant (details unknown) occurred on August 9, 24, 26, and 30. After a final session on October 14, 1977, engineer Thom Panunzio dubbed "Hearts Of Stone" and "Talk To Me" to cassette for Steve Van Zandt, producer of Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes' third album. A note written by Panunzio is reproduced in 2010's The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story. During 1978 sessions at Secret Sound Studios, Van Zandt combined the base rhythm track from the tape with Southside's vocals, brass by the Miami Horns, and his own lead guitar.

note_song_heartsofstone-talktome.jpg

Hearts Of Stone by Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes (Epic JE 35488), released October 13, 1978, ranks on several polls, including Rolling Stone's, as one of the best albums of the 1970s. According to Max Weinberg, who played on both Darkness On The Edge Of Town and Hearts Of Stone, the E Street Band backing tracks included on Steve's tape were utilized for Southside Johnny's album.

THE LITTLE THINGS (MY BABY DOES) - V1 uncirculating
THE LITTLE THINGS (MY BABY DOES) - V2 uncirculating
THE LITTLE THINGS (MY BABY DOES) - V3 3:15 PROMISE

Note: V1 of "The Little Things (My Baby Does)" was recorded at Atlantic Studios or the Record Plant, in six takes, on August 15, 1977. It was dubbed to a Ruffs compilation tape by engineer Thom Panunzio, joining other tracks successfully recorded that month, for Bruce to listen to on his trip to Utah and Nevada (where Eric Meola shot what would become the cover of The Promise). The V2 master was completed and transferred to comp. reel on September 15, 1977. Thematically incompatible with the Darkness concept, it remained in the vaults until 2010, when it was selected for inclusion on The Promise. Modern band elements and vocals were recorded in July 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey, and overdubbed to the V2 master, then mixed by Bob Clearmountain in August.

BREAK AWAY - V1 uncirculating
BREAKAWAY - V2 5:26 PROMISE

Note: "Break Away" (how it was spelled) was recorded the first night of the Darkness sessions, June 1, 1977, but not worked on again. That is, until June 21, 2010, when a new vocal track was recorded over the vintage backing. A modern horn section and modern backing vocals were added for release on The Promise.

THE PROMISE - V1 5:32 DO-2 / UP / SOTE / LUTHER
THE PROMISE - V2 5:27 LM-2 / DDO / DO-3 / AM / SC / O711S
THE PROMISE - V3 7:11 DDITV / AM / UP / MT1
THE PROMISE - V4 7:24 PROMISE: DELUXE
THE PROMISE (strings-full harmony) - V5 uncirculating
THE PROMISE (solo) - V6 uncirculating
THE PROMISE - V7 uncirculating
THE PROMISE - V8 uncirculating
THE PROMISE - V9 4:41 18TRACKS
THE PROMISE - V10 5:49 PROMISE
recording_19780217-ruffs-mixs-tape.jpg

Note: Debuted live on August 3, 1976 at the Monmouth Performing Arts Center in Red Bank, New Jersey, featuring Bruce solo on the piano, and deeply personal lyrics. Later live versions would continue to feature Bruce on piano, with Roy or Danny accompanying him on glockenspiel. The song was played regularly during the 1976–1977 Lawsuit Tour, but according to studio documentation it was not recorded in the studio until late June 1977. V1 was most likely recorded during sessions on June 30, 1977, though further work was done on July 1, 7, 8 and 13. The June take master was transfered to comp. reel and ruffs tape, and was used in V10, mixed in 2010. Unlike his live versions, all of the Darkness studio recordings in circulation include the E Street Band, though solo takes were also attempted. After a break that included a trip with Steve to Utah and Nevada, Bruce came back to the studio with slightly revised lyrics, and recorded V2 on August 24 or 30, 1977, which was on the tracklist for the aborted 'Badlands' release (see artwork). However, Bruce was back on September 28 and 30, 1977, recording V3 at the Record Plant, which some collectors and hardcore fans consider the definitive version. Over 7 minutes long, and sporting an arrangement for the full E Street Band, it was first released unofficially on 'Deep Down In the Vaults' in the mid-1990s. This version was barely in the can when a Rolling Stone reporter suggested that the song was about his now-settled lawsuit with Mike Appel, which Bruce sternly denied, and has denied ever since (he wrote the music and the first set of lyrics before the lawsuit was filed in 1976). Nevertheless, Springsteen soon re-wrote the first two lines of verse 3, with "Well, my daddy taught me how to walk quiet and how to make my peace with the past, I learned real good to tighten up inside and I don’t say nothing unless I’m asked" replacing "I won big once and I hit the coast, oh but somehow I paid the big cost." Landau agreed with solidifying the narrative, and when recording concluded in January, and a ten-song track sequence for Album #4 was prepared, "The Promise" was the last song on side two.

On January 12, 1978, V4, with revised lyrics, was recorded with the band, and also filmed live in-the-studio by Barry Rebo, later released with the The Promise:The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story. It is confirmed that strings were recorded and dubbed to the January 12 master (Landau confirmed this, and a mix tape exists with three versions; V3 "old verse", V4 "new verse", and V5 "strings and full harmony" (see illustration). But on January 24, 1978, without the E Street Band, Springsteen sat down at the piano and recorded V6 by himself, just as he did for 22 shows while locked out of the recording studio. A total of ten sessions were held from January 17 to March 7 (a seven-week period). Meanwhile, he finished "Candy's Room", "The Factory Song" and "Darkness On the Edge of Town" in early March, and decided to not include "The Promise". He has said he could not get a recording he was happy with, and that he "felt too close to it." In 2010, Springsteen noted that "It was a song about defeat, and it was self-referential, which made me uncomfortable. I didn't want it to overtake the album, which in the end, was not my personal story. I wanted Darkness to be completely independent of that, so I left it off. But I remember saying to myself, this is something I can sing later; the distance helps it now."

During a Darkness Tour rehearsal in Asbury Park on May 19, 1978, a full band version (including the "Daddy taught me how to walk quiet" lyric) was rehearsed, and full band version was performed on the tour's opening night in Buffalo. The next night, Bruce reverted to the solo piano version, which was played regularly during the early part of the tour. When Tracks was released in 1998, both "The Fever" and "The Promise" were absent from the 66-song tracklist. Both were later included on 18 Tracks, in part due to fan demand. Instead of releasing the existing V3 or V5 versions, Springsteen re-recorded "The Promise" from scratch (V9) on February 9 and 12, 1999 at Boxwood Studios, Colts Neck, New Jersey, in a solo piano version that many felt paled in comparison to the 1976–78 versions. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Springsteen stated, "Basically, I went back and I listened to it and we never really got a good recording of it in my opinion. It's been a favorite song of a lot of people … It sort of was the sequel to "Thunder Road" in some fashion, it referred back to those characters. But I went back and we sort of had a very plodding, heavy-handed version of it. I couldn't quite live with it, so maybe another time."

V1 and V3 were used as the base tracks for V10, the version on The Promise outtake album, with overdubbed strings, guitars, glockenspiel, and double tracked vocals. Two lines of verse three were removed ("I followed that dream through the southwestern tracks, the dead ends and the two-bit bars / When the promise was broken I was far away from home, sleeping in the backseat of a borrowed car") and a modern string arrangement by Ken Ascher was recorded in July 2010.

TAXI CAB aka TAXI CAB DRIVER - V1 3:04 DDO / DO-1 / AM / UP / LES / SYMKB
CITY OF NIGHT - V2 2:56 PROMISE

Note: On October 14, 1977 at the Record Plant, six takes of "Taxi Cab" were recorded, and transferred to reel 3. Then two additional takes of "Taxi Cab Driver" were completed and transferred to reel 4. A mixed version of one or more of these takes was released by bootleggers on 'Son You May Kiss The Bride'. V2, officially released on The Promise in 2010 and titled "City At Night", changes the intro to two repetitions instead of the original four, adds organ in the third verse, and turns up the sax at the fade-out (still vintage). Both of these versions were sourced from one or more of the 1977 takes.

THE WAY - V1a 3:47 URT-1 / AM / RN / ROU
THE WAY - V1b take 49 3:53 URT-1 / DO-2 / DDO / AM / UP / GT
THE WAY - V1c 3:41 PROMISE

Note: According to studio documentation, "The Way" was first recorded on August 5, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. On August 15, six takes were recorded. Additional takes were recorded at Record Plant Studios on September 12 and 14, 1977, the latter marked "complete." As of January 16, 1978, "The Way" was sequenced on album #4 as track three on side two, between "Adam Raised A Cain" and "Prove It All Night". Vocal overdubs and mixing took place over three days, February 10–12, 1978, culminating in some 66 mix takes. It was not officially eliminated from Darkness until April 18, 1978. After being passed up for Tracks and The Essential, V4c was included as a hidden track on The Promise in 2010.

Modern Elements

Modern Elements

This section was created to describe archived tracks with modern overdubs such as vocals and strings. The chart only concerns material released on compilations like The Promise, The Ties That Bind (The River Collection), Tracks, The Essential, Greatest Hits, etc. Many songs included on these collections may not have been completed to Springsteen's satisfaction during their respective recording sessions, so require modern additions. Unfortunately, the work undertaken on these tracks is not described in liner notes, so we try to get the information for our readers.

Though this information has been researched and reviewed for accuracy, there may remain elements of subjectivity or opinion. Please don't hesitate to inform us, so we can make this as factual as possible.

  • Unless specified, all 1977–78 dates refer to recordings made at Record Plant Studios, New York City, NY.
  • The place 'Atlantic' refers to Atlantic Studios, New York City, NY.
  • The date 2010 refers to recordings made during June & July 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, NJ.
# Song Title Modern Element(s) Recording Date / Location
1.1. RACING IN THE STREET ('78) vocal - one line only Aug 10, 1977 Atlantic + 2010
1.2. GOTTA GET THAT FEELING lead vocal / Mexican horns/ undetermined overdubs Aug 12, 1977 + July 12, 2010
1.3. OUTSIDE LOOKING IN no modern overdubs per producers September 27, 1977
1.4. SOMEDAY (WE'LL BE TOGETHER) lead vocal / guitar / choir vocals Sept 29, 1977 + 2010
1.5. ONE WAY STREET horns, undetermined overdubs June 17, 1977 Atlantic + 2010
1.6. BECAUSE THE NIGHT lead vocal June 1, 1977 + June 25, 2010
1.7. WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET lead vocal Oct 14, 1977 + 2010
1.8. THE BROKENHEARTED some lead vocal / horns Nov 29, 1977 + 2010
1.9. RENDEZVOUS undetermined overdubs September 29, 1977 + 2010
1.10. CANDY'S BOY September 2, 1977
2.1. SAVE MY LOVE new recording July 2010
2.2. AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU undetermined overdubs Sept 14, 1977
2.3. FIRE June 17, 1977 Atlantic
2.4. SPANISH EYES lead vocal July 13, 1977 Atlantic + 2010
2.5. IT'S A SHAME horns, background vocals June 14, 1977 Atlantic + 2010
2.6. COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT) Aug 24, 1977 + Lindley overdub 1977
2.7. TALK TO ME horns, undetermined overdubs Aug 5, 1977 Atlantic + 2010
2.8. THE LITTLE THINGS (MY BABY DOES) undetermined overdubs Sept 15, 1977 + 2010
2.9. BREAKAWAY Modern lead vocal / horns / backing vocals June 1, 1977 Atlantic + June 21, 2010
2.10. THE PROMISE strings, guitars, glock, backing vocals, 2 lines of last verse edited out June 30 & Sept 30, 1977 + July 2010
2.11. CITY OF NIGHT Intro two reps instead of four, organ 3rd verse (possible 1977 or modern) Oct 14, 1977 + 2010
2.12. THE WAY September 14, 1977

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