The Promise


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Commercially Released: November 16, 2010
Produced by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau
Recorded at The Record Plant (New York City) and at Thrill Hill Recording (Stone Hill Studio)
Recording Engineers: Jimmy Iovine (Record Plant) and Toby Scott (Stone Hill)
Assistant Engineers – Rob Lebret, Thom Panunzio
Mixed By Chuck Plotkin, Bob Clearmountain, Brandon Duncan [Assistant] at Mix This!
Mastered By – Mike Reese, Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering, Portland, ME
Research [Archive Research, Retrieval & Restoration] – 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 box set finally released on November 16, 2010 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 box set 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.

For full details on the box release, go to The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story.

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

Details

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

Note: V1, "Dying In The Street", a solo piano take that contains those words, and then, "Look at me, it’s true, baby, what else can we do", was recorded July 2, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. According to the Lost Masters III liner notes, V2 was recorded in August 1977, and studio logs show takes on 8 different days at either Atlantic Studios or The Record Plant during the month. The comp. reel for the official album release V3b came on August 30, 1977. However, Bruce returned to his composition in V4a ,with a stunning alternate band arrangement with wailing harmonica and tremendous vocal, recorded between November28 and 30, 1977 at The Record Plant. The officially released V4b, titled "Racing In The Street ('78)" on The Promise CD, utilizes a different 1977 vocal take and runs longer, but otherwise is identical to v4a. David Lindley plays modern violin, as he did on "Come On", back in 1977. Work continued on December 6 and 9; studio logs also show mixing sessions at The Record Plant from March 21 thru 23, 1978. Mix take 46 went on Darkness. Bruce adapted the lines "summer's here and the time is right / for goin' racing in the street" from Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing In The Street".

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

Note: V1 recorded at Atlantic Studios on August 12, 1977. V2 is more fully realized. Up-tempo, pop-flavored, recorded at either Atlantic or Record Plant on August 30, 1977. The officially released V3 contains a modern vocal take, replacing the unfinished vocal found on the V2 'Deep Down In the Vaults' recording. First two versions 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 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 and pretty good if you listen to it enough. "So now (the times that we had), I ain't sorry (feeling just too mad), You walk real pretty and you talk real fine, but night after night we're on the line, my life's the same story, again and again, I'm on the outside looking in". V2 is more produced, the lyrics re-written and some of the magic gone, but still packs a punch. Recorded September 27, 1977 at The Record Plant, it did not circulate until it was released (said to be untouched) on "The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story" in 2010. Springsteen is pissed, "You've got all the answers, you and your friends, I'm on the outside looking in", and the final verse, "Those pretty eyes that they all adore, but baby not me, not anymore, I do what I want to, I'll be what I am, I'm on the outside looking in". Performed live once, in December 2010, when "The Promise" was released. Why? Everybody knows the song by now, it has been bootlegged numerous times for over thirty years; who knows, the crowd might sing along.

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

Note: V1, bootlegged with the title "Someday Tonight", and recorded on September 26 or 29-30, 1977 at The Record Plant. This backing track circulated for 15 years, until V2 was released on "The Promise" box set in 2010. This is not a Darkness outtake, because nothing or very little was recorded in 1977. Modern vocal take, backing vocals by the Alliance Singers (Tiffeny Andrews, Corinda Crawford, Michelle Moore, and Antoinette Savage), who contributed choir vocals on The Rising album, in addition to Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RENDEZVOUS - V1 2:47 DDO / DO-3 / LES / MT1 / AM
RENDEZVOUS - V2 uncirculating
RENDEZVOUS - V3 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. He played it 50 times from that August 1, 1976 night to the end of the Lawsuit Tour on March 25, 1977. 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. "Rendezvous" was not played again during the sessions, and not included on the album. In a 1978 interview, Springsteen said the song was kept off because it didn’t fit thematically. Bruce personally demonstrated the song to artist Greg Kihn in October 1978, who soon after recorded a cover (released in April 1979). A live version was used for Tracks, which may indicate Bruce wasn't satisfied with the available studio versions. The officially released V3 appears to have a modern vocal take which supports that position.

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

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

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

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

WHAT'S THE MATTER LITTLE DARLIN' - V1 3:49 DROC2 / RRR
WHAT'S THE MATTER LITTLE DARLIN' - V2 4:06 DDITV / MT1 / AM / DROC2
AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - V3a 4:01 PROMISE
AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - V3b 1:49 PROMISE: VAULT

Note: V2 might have first appeared in the 1990s on "Deep Down In the Vaults" as "What's The Matter Little Darling", the name it was known by for years. V1, a recording on "The Definitive River Outtakes Collection Volume 2" with the same name, faster pitch, and inferior quality, that run 15 seconds slower. In the studio logs of the Darkness sessions, there are no records of "Ain't Good Enough For You" or "What's The Matter Little Darling". Author Clinton Heylin, who is very experienced in the matters, believes takes were recorded on September 26, 1977 at the Record Plant, under the name, "First New Rocker". The first official appearance of this song was on CD2 of "The Promise: The Making Of Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story" as "Ain't Good Enough For You", and he makes the good point that on the accompanying Thrill Hill Vault DVD (V3b), Bruce is shown trying to add a vocal overdub to an already existing track at the Record Plant, which suggests it had been recorded earlier. V3A has more developed lyrics than V2, including "getting cool like Jimmy Iovine" (on the left in the picture with Patti and Bruce) and "Sherry Darlin" party noises. This song bears some slight resemblance to "This Little Girl", the hit song Bruce donated to Gary U.S. Bonds in 1980.

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

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

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

Note: V1 studio logs indicate takes were recorded on June 30, 1977 at Atlantic Studios. V2 is more developed, but still needs work on lyrics. The logs say a song called "New Spanish" was recorded on July 13, 1977; one assumes that is "Spanish Eyes". The officially released V3 has a modern vocal, and potentially some modern band elements. A great song that shares several lyrics with "I'm On Fire".

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

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

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

Note: "Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)" was written in the Spring of 1977, and V1 was cut on June 1, 1977, complete with Vox [organ], at Atlantic Studios, on the first night of the Darkness sessions. The band picked up the rhythm quickly, but Bruce had much work to do on the lyrics. V2 is the earliest take we have in circulation, a rough workout, from either July 2 or 13 at Atlantic Studios, but further progress was needed on the lyrics. At this point, Bruce had written, "Well a man and he lost his only wife, He walks down the streets, babe, with death in his eyes, Well everybody wants heaven, but nobody wants to die, Come on, come on, lets go tonight." Two out of three verses had "death in their eyes". "Come On (Let's Go Tonight)" V3 represented a sudden shift; though it retained it's name (Sony logs show all sessions to the end of 1977 under this name), the lyrics were radically rewritten to the story of Douglas Springsteen, Bruce's father, who worked at a machine factory under harsh conditions. A well-known interview quote from Bruce, "I remember my old man was working in this plastics factory…and all I remember, when we used to go in that place, was him standing near ’em loud fucking machines". Now he sang "Factory takes his hearing, but he understands", but the third verse was the outcome of working under these conditions, "End of the day, factory whistle cries, Men walk through these gates with death in their eyes, And you just better believe, boy, somebody's gonna get hurt tonight, It's the working, the working, just the working life". It is possible that Bruce worked with both ideas for a while, but after September, all energies went toward "the Factory Song", though it was not named this until January 2, 1978. The only thing that remained from "Come On" was "death in their eyes". The new lyrics were worked on August 23, 24 and 30, and September 8, 1977 at the Record Plant. Also starting now was Roy Bittan playing his piano Floyd Cramer style to give it a Chet Atkins produced-country feel. Danny's organ was not in the mix at this point. V4 from November 2, 7, and 8, 1977 features violin overdubs by David Lindley, a well-known musician who played with Jackson Browne. V5, released on the "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)", with 2010 overdubs of David Lindley's violin. It is not known if there is a 1977 version of "Come On" with Lindley, though it could have been done easily enough, and it is not confirmed that V5 was completed in 1977. It still has it's first verse, modified by two words, "Put on your black dress baby, and put your hair up right, there's a party way down in factory town tonight, I'll be going down there if you need a ride, Come on, come on, let's go tonight", and adds the part about Elvis died (August 16, 1977), which had not been on any 1977 outtakes, until now. It is otherwise stripped of it's original lyrics, which went to "Factory", along with it's music, which is borrowed for the Promise take. The vocal is vintage, but the recording date has not been determined. The other parts of the song could easily have been assembled from existing tracks. V6 came from December 9 and 29, 1977, and overdub/mixing sessions on January 2, March 10 and 14, 1978, all at the Record Plant. The 1978 sessions were under the name "The Factory Song". Danny recorded new organ tracks which featured prominently in the final album version 6c. Bruce recorded new vocals, and changed, "Factory takes his hearing, but he understands" to "Factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life". V6c is mix take 28 from April 3, 1978, and it was pressed to metal acetate with the title "Factory Song" on April 12, 1978.

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, that can be found on Nebraska bootlegs, "Fistfull of Dollars" and "How Nebraska Was Born" under the incorrect name, "Bye Bye Johnny". A dark, foreboding arrangement used the discarded lyrics, including the part about Elvis dying, and became a Nebraska-style song, "Come On (Let's Go Tonight) II" V1. However, Springsteen decided to dump it once more, combining several lines, the Elvis part, 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 4:17 PROMISE

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

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

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

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, and never worked on again. No idea if any part of this take was used in the Promise release, because modern vocals, modern horns and modern singers have completely smothered any evidence. Features a modern horn section of Barry Danielian (trumpet), Stan Harrison (tenor sax), Dan Levine (trombone), Ed Manion (baritone sax) and Curt Ramm (trumpet) and backing vocals by the Alliance Singers (Tiffeny Andrews, Corinda Crawford, Michelle Moore, and Antoinette Savage), who contributed choir vocals on The Rising album, in addition to Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell. There is at least one copy of Breakaway recorded at Atlantic Studios June 1977 somewhere, would be great to hear it. This hybrid version on the Promise sounds nothing like the other recordings circulating from that time period by Bruce Springsteen. This is NOT an outtake.

THE PROMISE - V1 5:35 DO-2 / UP / DDOC
THE PROMISE - V2 5:25 LM-2 / DDO / DO-3 / AM / UP / ATEOD
THE PROMISE - V3 7:11 DDITV / AM / UP / MT1
THE PROMISE - V4 7:25 PROMISE: VAULT
THE PROMISE - V5 uncirculating
THE PROMISE - V6 4:48 18TRACKS
THE PROMISE - V7 5:47 PROMISE
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Note: Introduced August 3, 1976 at Monmouth Arts Center, Red Bank, New Jersey, with Bruce singing and playing piano without the E Street Band, with deeply personal lyrics. The Promise soon became the highlight of each show, and the major subject of discussion among Bruce's tight cult following, which would make up most of the modest crowd in those days. It would always be one of the last songs played for the night, the lights would go down, and one spotlight would be on Bruce playing piano, which he never did otherwise. Later, Roy or Danny would accompany him on glock. It was played live 22 times during the Lawsuit tour, until the first studio demo was recorded at Atlantic Studios on June 1, 1977. V1 was one of the takes recorded on June 30, July 1, 7, 8 and 13, 1977. After a break that included a trip with Steve to Utah and Nevada, Bruce came back with slightly revised lyrics, and recorded V2 on August 24 or 30 at Atlantic Studios. V3, considered the definitive version by collectors, was recorded on September 28, 1977, and first released unofficially on Deep Down In the Vaults. However, Bruce found it lacking for some reason. He wrote a new verse, 'Well, my daddy taught me how to walk quiet and how to make my peace with the past, I learned real good to tighten up inside and I don’t say nothing unless I’m asked'. V4 is on the Thrill-Hill Blu-Ray/DVD, and was shot live in-the-studio by Barry Rebo on January 12, 1978, with the new verse, After being rejected again for Darkness, V5 was recorded on January 24, 1978, without the E Street Band (who are on all the previous studio takes). Just like his 22 live performances from August 1976 - March 1977, he recorded "The Promise" singing alone at the piano. He didn't approve the recording, which was placed in the vault, and the Promise was deleted from the final March sequence for Darkness On the Edge of Town. But when the Darkness tour started in Buffalo on May 23, Bruce played the "daddy taught me how to walk quiet" version of "The Promise" 22 out of 33 shows, but then, for unknown reasons, after singing it on July 15, 1978 in Houston, Texas, he never played it again.

That is, until he re-recorded it on February 9-12, 1999 at Boxwood Studios at his home in Rumson, New Jersey V6, instead of using V3 on Tracks. He said to Charlie Rose, "Basically, I went back and I listened to it and we never really got a good recording of it in my opinion. It’s been a favorite song of a lot of..a lot of people mention it. It sort of was the sequel to “Thunder Road” in some fashion, it referred back to those characters. But I went back and we sort of had a very plodding, heavy-handed version of it. I couldn’t quite live with it, so maybe another time." However, he liked it enough to use it as the base track for V7, officially released on The Promise in 2010, with overdubbed guitars, glock, double tracked vocals, and backing vocals by himself. The final verse, with 'backseat of a borrowed car', edited out, along with much of the ending, and a modern string arrangement added, reducing the 7:06 running time to 5:45. This version, along with other 1977 songs on "The Promise" desecrated with overproduction, Mexican horns, choirs of background singers, modern vocals, and assorted instruments, created an uproar on message boards that continued for years. Thanks to Eddy Wehbe for spotting version 3 underneath the thick layer of overdubs.

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

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

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

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

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

Note: If all three of these recordings are different mixes of same take, then The Way was recorded August 15, 1977, take 6. Takes recorded at either Atlantic or Record Plant on August 5 and 15, and at The Record Plant on September 12, 1977. Mixing for the album was done February 10-12, 1978, but never used for Darkness. V1c is slightly faster, and officially released on The Promise, albeit as a hidden bonus track. Considered and rejected for Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Tracks and The Essential.

Modern Elements

Brucebase Modern Elements Identification System

Even though we attempt to inject some humor into the situation, modern overdubs are no laughing matter.

For now, this is our system, and remember, all evaluations are subject to change. Though we reserve the last word on all matters on our website, this is no easy task, and this is an issue that concerns all of us. Whether you send an email or go ranting on one of the message boards, we are listening carefully. If you find an obscure interview by Garry W. Tallent with some details about modern glockenspiels, please send us a copy or a link, or the best description you can. If you send us some shaky story that we don't hear, and can't verify, you are wasting everybody's time. Also, if you disagree with any detail expressed here, please try to describe it as best you can, write until there is nothing left in your head (on the subject).

This is becoming a global problem with archived material, mostly concerning compilations like The Promise, TTTB River Outtakes, Tracks, Essential, GH, Live 1975-85, etc. The most overt example is a previously released track (official or unofficial) that has plainly been altered. Sometimes there is a valid reason, but it is still good to discuss it, and have a place for anybody with a question to go for information. Then there is previously unreleased material with obvious modern elements. Remember, overdubbing is a normal part of creating music, and sometimes it is just of interest. When an artist releases archived material, advertising "unreleased tracks" from "so-and-so", and we find that any portion of the material is not from "so-and-so", and there are no liner notes or media discussions, then some people get upset, usually the most loyal, hardcore fans, who feel betrayed, or at the very least, disappointed that they are still without what they thought they were getting.

There are reasons why Bruce does not release all his outtakes the way we would like it. If he didn't modify some of these tracks, then he would not release them at all, and we would have a fraction of what we have now. He appreciates his fans and followers very much, but he doesn't want incomplete and rehearsal materials released, because he only wants us to have his best, a professional, polished product, not him humming or la-la ing. He finds it embarrassing and upsetting that what he thought was private, is being listened to by thousands or millions. Unfortunately, his 1979 voice and his 2010 voice are different, and listening to the official outtake of "Night Fire" is…a shock to the system.

# Song Title (in Album Order) Modern Element(s) Recording Date / Location
1.1. RACING IN THE STREET ('78)4 violin Nov 28-30, 1977 + 2010
1.2. GOTTA GET THAT FEELING4 lead vocal / Mexican horns/backing vocals-unidentified males August 30, 1977 the Record Plant + 2010
1.3. OUTSIDE LOOKING IN3 poss guitar, organ, backing vocals-unidentified males September 27, 1977
1.4. SOMEDAY (We'll Be Together)5 lead vocal / guitar / Mormon Tabernacle Choir 2010 overproduction drowns anything else out
1.5. ONE WAY STREET lead vocal / horns June 17, 1977 Atlantic Studios + mostly 2010
1.6. BECAUSE THE NIGHT5 lead vocal September 27, 1977 + mostly 2010
1.7. WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET lead vocal October 14, 1977 + 2010
1.8. THE BROKENHEARTED some lead vocal / horns November 29, 1977 + mostly 2010
1.9. RENDEZVOUS4 background vocals. other instruments, poss roy piano overdub June 8 or 17, 1977 + 2010
1.10. CANDY'S BOY1 June 27, 1977
2.1. SAVE MY LOVE5 all July 22, 2010
2.2. AIN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU1 gettin cool just like Jimmy Iovine-IT'S REAL! sometime after September 26, 1977 at The Record Plant
2.3. FIRE lead vocal June 17, 1977 Atlantic Studios + 2010
2.4. SPANISH EYES lead vocal July 13, 1977 Atlantic Studios + 2010
2.5. IT'S A SHAME horns, Southside? June 14, 1977 Atlantic Studios + 2010
2.6. COME ON (LET'S GO TONIGHT)4 violin December 9 and 29, 1977 + 2010
2.7. TALK TO ME horns, vintage Bruce with Southside at the end October 14, 1977 + 2010
2.8. THE LITTLE THINGS (MY BABY DOES)2 sounds like doubletracked vocals-modern and vintage Bruce-prob both modern August 15, 1977
2.9. BREAKAWAY5 lead vocal / horns / backing vocals June 1, 1977 + 2010
2.10. THE PROMISE5 modern string arrangement Ken Asher, overdubbed guitars, glock, double tracked vocals, and backing vocals by himself. The final verse, with 'backseat of a borrowed car', edited out, September 28, 1977 + 2010
2.11. CITY OF NIGHT1 first note is unfamiliar, delete it and this is high def studio version from 1977 without alteration October 14, 1977
2.12. THE WAY1 August 15, 1977

1 Sounds untouched, we pray that we didn't miss anything.
2 Possibly clean vintage, but not sure; we have awoken in the night in a cold sweat at least once.
3 Possibly clean vintage, the artist or the liner notes say it is, but not sure; we have awoken in the night in a cold sweat at least once.
4 A Category 4 Overdub is severely tinkered with, but not unredeemable. Examples are Racing In the Streets '78, where David Lindley's violin was added, or Come On (Let's Go Tonight), where modern violin again was added. Modern vocals never qualify for this rating.
5 A Category 5 Overdub means track has been modified beyond recognition, or has been partly or completely recorded in the present, which is not an outtake at all, it is a new recording.


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