The Ties That Bind - Studio Sessions


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Commercially Released: December 4, 2015
Label: Columbia
Produced by Jon Landau, Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt
Recorded by Neil Dorfsman, assisted by Dana Bisbee at The Power Station (1979 - 1980)
Mixed by Toby Scott, Bob Clearmountain and Chuck Plotkin
Mastered by Bob Ludwig

Overview

Springsteen celebrated the 35th anniversary of The River by releasing a boxed set titled The Ties That Bind: The River Collection on December 4, 2015. The set contains 52 tracks on four CDs along with four hours of video on three DVDs or two Blu-ray discs. On December 24, 2015, Springsteen released Arizona State University, Tempe 1980, a free download through the Bruce Springsteen Archives. The release contained audio of the ten missing songs from the concert video featured in the boxed set, bringing the total number discs released to seven. The tracks were mixed from the multi-track tapes by Bob Clearmountain in December 2015.

The first two CDs feature the 2014 remastered version of The River (for track details, please refer back to The River studio sessions page), and CD 3 contains the previously unreleased The River: Single Album, designated in 1979 as "The Ties That Bind", before the album release was cancelled in October. Please refer again to "The River studio sessions" page, Phase One Sessions, which describes the April thru October 1979 time period concerned. Though the contents of Disc 3 circulated for 35 years on bootlegs, this is the real thing, mixed by Bob Clearmountain in September 1979, unlike all River tracks except "Hungry Heart", which were mixed in 1980 by Toby Scott and Chuck Plotkin.

The fourth CD, The River: Outtakes, spans the entire River sessions in 1979 and 1980 and contains eleven previously-unreleased outtakes. The fifth disc (DVD or Blu-ray) contains a 60-minute documentary, The Ties That Bind, which was produced and directed by filmmaker Thom Zimny and features an interview with Springsteen as he reflects on writing and recording The River. The film transitions between Springsteen telling the stories behind the music—and illustrating them with solo acoustic guitar performances—interspersed with period concert footage and photos. The remaining disc(s) feature Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: The River Tour, Tempe 1980, a new film produced from footage professionally filmed in 1980 using four cameras and recorded in multi-track audio. The film features 23 of 33 songs performed, clocking in at 2 hours, 40 minutes on two DVDs (or one Blu-ray), from Springsteen and the E Street Band's concert on November 5, 1980 at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Also included is 20 minutes of footage from the late September 1980 River Tour rehearsals held in Lititz, Pennsylvania. The boxed set also includes a 148-page coffee table book featuring 200 rare or previously unseen photos and memorabilia, including a new essay by Mikal Gilmore. As mentioned above, the seventh disc, the missing audio tracks from the concert, was released on December 24, 2015.

On October 16, 2015, along with the announcement of the boxed set, "Meet Me in the City", one of the eleven unreleased outtakes, was released through Springsteen's website and on iTunes to promote the release of the boxed set. On November 23, 2015, "Party Lights" was released and also made available through iTunes. Much like with The Promise, Springsteen recorded new vocals for some of the outtakes in the set.

Springsteen announced details for The River Tour 2016 on December 4, 2015. The tour began in January 2016 and features a full-album performance of The River at every show, as well as other songs from Springsteen's career. As of the end of the U.S. leg on April 25, 2016, "Meet Me in the City" opened all but one show; the song previously made its live debut when Springsteen and the E Street Band performed on the December 19, 2015, episode of Saturday Night Live.

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1.1. THE TIES THAT BIND 3:29 RIVER
1.2. SHERRY DARLING 4:00 RIVER / 1981 single
1.3. JACKSON CAGE 3:02 RIVER
1.4. TWO HEARTS 2:39 RIVER
1.5. INDEPENDENCE DAY 4:39 RIVER / 1981 b-side
1.6. HUNGRY HEART 3:19 RIVER / 1980 Single
1.7. OUT IN THE STREET 4:15 RIVER
1.8. CRUSH ON YOU 3:08 RIVER
1.9. YOU CAN LOOK (BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH) 2:34 RIVER
1.10. I WANNA MARRY YOU 3:57 RIVER
1.11. THE RIVER 4:56 RIVER / 1981 single
# Song Title Running Time Release
2.1. POINT BLANK 5:59 RIVER / 1980 single
2.2. CADILLAC RANCH 3:01 RIVER / 1981 single
2.3. I'M A ROCKER 3:32 RIVER
2.4. FADE AWAY 4:36 RIVER / 1981 single
2.5. STOLEN CAR 3:50 RIVER
2.6. RAMROD 3:57 RIVER / 1980 b-side
2.7. THE PRICE YOU PAY 5:24 RIVER
2.8. DRIVE ALL NIGHT 8:22 RIVER
2.9. WRECK ON THE HIGHWAY 3:44 RIVER / 1981 b-side
# Song Title Running Time Release
3.1. THE TIES THAT BIND 3:29 RIVER: SINGLE
3.2. CINDY 2:25 RIVER: SINGLE
3.3. HUNGRY HEART 3:15 RIVER: SINGLE
3.4. STOLEN CAR 4:30 RIVER: SINGLE / TRACKS
3.5. BE TRUE 3:37 RIVER: SINGLE / TRACKS
3.6. THE RIVER 4:56 RIVER: SINGLE
3.7. YOU CAN LOOK (BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH) (Vs.1) 2:09 RIVER: SINGLE
3.8. THE PRICE YOU PAY 5:24 RIVER: SINGLE
3.9. I WANNA MARRY YOU 3:57 RIVER: SINGLE
3.10. LOOSE ENDS 4:00 RIVER: SINGLE / TRACKS
# Song Title Running Time Release
4.1. MEET ME IN THE CITY 3:35 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.2. THE MAN WHO GOT AWAY 3:31 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.3. LITTLE WHITE LIES 2:39 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.4. THE TIME THAT NEVER WAS 3:39 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.5. NIGHT FIRE 4:44 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.6. WHITETOWN 3:23 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.7. CHAIN LIGHTNING 2:49 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.8. PARTY LIGHTS 3:09 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.9. PARADISE BY THE "C" 3:10 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.10. STRAY BULLET 6:09 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.11. MR. OUTSIDE 4:14 RIVER: OUTTAKES
4.12. ROULETTE 3:49 RIVER: OUTTAKES / TRACKS
4.13. RESTLESS NIGHTS 3:41 RIVER: OUTTAKES / TRACKS
4.14. WHERE THE BANDS ARE 3:42 RIVER: OUTTAKES / TRACKS
4.15. DOLLHOUSE 3:29 RIVER: OUTTAKES / TRACKS
4.16. LIVING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD 4:14 RIVER: OUTTAKES / TRACKS
4.17. TAKE 'EM AS THEY COME 4:25 RIVER: OUTTAKES / TRACKS
4.18. RICKY WANTS A MAN OF HER OWN 2:43 RIVER: OUTTAKES / TRACKS
4.19. I WANNA BE WITH YOU 3:15 RIVER: OUTTAKES / TRACKS
4.20. MARY LOU 3:18 RIVER: OUTTAKES / TRACKS
4.21. HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN 1:13 RIVER: OUTTAKES / 1980 b-side
4.22. FROM SMALL THINGS (BIG THINGS ONE DAY COME) 2:42 RIVER: OUTTAKES

Total Running Time: 3:18:48

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Details

Tracks that were worked on during 2014-2015 are described below. For details on the rest of this collection, please
visit The River Studio Sessions page.

IN THE CITY TONIGHT - V1 4:47 LM-14
IN THE CITY TONIGHT - V2 4:14 LM-14 / OSOR
IN THE CITY TONIGHT - V3 1:37 LM-14
IN THE CITY TONIGHT - V4 4:01 LM-14
IN THE CITY TONIGHT - V5 8:41 LM-14
IN THE CITY TONIGHT - V6 3:46 LM-14
IN THE CITY TONIGHT - V7 3:19 LM-14
UNTITLED SONG #3 - V8 1:45 DROC2
DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY ALRIGHT - V9 uncirculating
MEET ME IN THE CITY - V10 3:28 RIVER: OUTTAKES / 2015 single

Note: "In The City Tonight" V1–V8 are takes from Telegraph Hill rehearsals on March 25, 1979. V8 is listed as 'Untitled Song #3' on disc two of 'The Definitive River Outtakes Collection Volume 2'. Working titles included "In The City Tonight", "In The City", and "Meet Me In The City Tonight" (the last used on Springsteen's handwritten lyric sheet). "In the City Tonight" V9 was recorded at Power Station Studios June 14, 1979, under the title "Do You Want Me To Say Alright", for reasons unknown. A modern lead vocal was used over backing tracks from 1979 for V10, "Meet Me In The City", released online on October 16, 2015 to accompany the announcement of The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, which was released on December 4, 2015.

NIGHT FIRE - V1 4:48 DROC2 / RRR
NIGHT FIRE - V2 4:43 DROC2 / RRR / MT2 / OSOR / LM-4
NIGHT FIRE - V3 0:30 DROC2
NIGHT FIRE - V4 1:36 DROC2
NIGHT FIRE - V5 uncirculating
NIGHT FIRE - V6 4:44 RIVER: OUTTAKES

Note: According to author Clinton Heylin, Springsteen adapted the music of "In The City Tonight", which the band practiced extensively on March 25, 1979. Five days later, he had composed a hard rocking song, "Night Fire". V1–V4 are from the Telegraph Hill Studios on March 30, 1979. V1 is a complete take (tape running faster than V2–4), that for some reason is listed as "Untitled Song #2" on E St Records 'Definitive River Outtakes Collection Vol 2', and "Into the Night" on 'River Refineries Revisited'. V2 is also a complete take, running at the correct speed and opening with a request to "time this baby." V3 is a partial take of an instrumental section, and on V4, Bruce and Clarence work on the saxophone solo. V5 was recorded at Power Station on June 13, 1979, slower than the rehearsals with a "Because The Night"-style piano introduction. V6 features modern vocals overdubbed in 2015 over the vintage backing. Included in an archival concept list put together by a Sony engineer in 1993, with an original River-era vocal track.

OH ANGELYNE - V1 1:35 LM-6 / DROC1 / RRR
OH ANGELYNE - V2 0:47 LM-6
OH ANGELYNE - V3 2:52 LM-6
OH ANGELYNE - V4 2:13 LM-6 / MT2
THE RIVER - V5 take 5 4:48 TTTBR / TTTBJ / RIVER: SINGLE / PYP / LEK / ATMF
THE RIVER - V6 5:01 RIVER / ESSENTIAL / GREATEST / TTTB: RIVER / CHAPTER
THE RIVER - V7 0:36 TTTB: DOCUMENTARY

Note: Springsteen kicked around the verses of "Oh Angelyne" for six months, until he received inspiration from "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" by Hank Williams (1950), and wrote the chorus in August 1979. The original inspiration had been the economic situation his sister Ginny and her husband found themselves in, during the late 1970s. Thanks to 'Lost Masters', we have four takes of a solo demo recorded by Bruce at home in February–May, 1979.

"The River" was first recorded at Power Station studios on August 26, 1979, with the completed take 5 (V5) selected for The Ties That Bind and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. Bruce changed his mind in October, and the single album fell through. But in September, he performed "The River" live twice at Madison Square Garden, New York, to great response by fans and critics, including Ginny, his special guest. The version finally released on The River double album had a number of embellishments to the single album mix. For instance, ooo-ooos by Bruce and Steve were added (possibly on January 21, 1980), and later overdubbed on either April 12 or 24, and was sequenced as the final track on the first LP of The River. 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. V7 is a brief snippet 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.

THE TIME THAT NEVER WAS 3:39 RIVER: OUTTAKES

Note: Takes were recorded at Power Station on June 27, 1979, with further work on March 16, 1980. Vintage backing track and lead vocals were used on the cut found on The Ties That Bind: The River Outtakes, but new background vocals were recorded in 2015. Not included on any Tracks shortlist. Unknown song prior to its official release.

YOU GOTTA BE KIND - V1 2:00 LM-7 / MT2
DOWN IN WHITE TOWN - V2 3:06 DROC1 / RRR / MT2 / AT
DOWN IN WHITE TOWN - V3 3:15 LM-7 / MT2
DOWN IN WHITE TOWN - V4 1:00 LM-7
DOWN IN WHITE TOWN - V5 0:50 LM-7
DOWN IN WHITE TOWN - V6 0:45 LM-7
WHITETOWN - V7 3:23 RIVER: OUTTAKES

Note: First known from rehearsals on January 11, 1980 at Telegraph Hill, a composite of home demos "You Gotta Be Kind" and "Mr. Outside". Contains some lyrics that would end up in "Jackson Cage". "Whitetown" was recorded at Power Station on March 16, 1980 and released on 2015's The River: Outtakes. At the very least the vocal track found there is modern.

PARTY LIGHTS - V1 3:22 LM-7 / MT2
PARTY LIGHTS - V2 uncirculating
PARTY LIGHTS - V3 1:05 FFOD / HNWB
PARTY LIGHTS - V4 3:09 RIVER: OUTTAKES / 2015 single

Note: Not related to the Claudine Clark song with the same title which Springsteen covered in 1975. V1 recorded as a solo demo in May 1979 at Telegraph Hill, Holmdel, New Jersey, and was found on the same demo tape that held two versions of "Jackson Cage" from the same period. Bruce uses the melody of "I Wanna Marry You". V2 recorded at Power Station on October 8, 1979; this was the take selected for The River: Outtakes disc V4, and was released as a single in November 23, 2015. The vocal on the official release is vintage, and includes lyrics also found in "Point Blank" and some which Springsteen would later use for his adaptation of Tom Waits' "Jersey Girl". V3 later recorded at Springsteen’s home in Colts Neck, NJ from late March to early April 1981 in a rockabilly style, not bearing much resemblance to the slower take from The River sessions. Springsteen asks an unidentified person if it is "time to eat?" at the end of the take.

STRAY BULLET - V1 uncirculating
STRAY BULLET - V2 6:09 RIVER: OUTTAKES

Note: Studio logs show that "Stray Bullet" was recorded at Power Station on February 24 and March 9, 1980, before mixing at Clover Studios in Los Angeles on April 10. Beautiful, brooding ballad. V2, found on The River: Outtakes, has some modern elements, but the main vocal is vintage. Included on an April 1980 shortlist for the double album. No River-era outtakes circulate for collectors to know exactly how it sounded in 1980, since the 2015 version is quite unlike anything else in Springsteen's canon.

PARADISE BY THE "C" 3:10 RIVER: OUTTAKES

Note: This song showcases Clarence Clemons, aka "C". In 2015, "Paradise By The "C"" was officially released on The Ties That Bind: The River Collection's outtakes disc, but there is no sign of "Paradise By The "C"" in any of the 1977–1980 studio documentation we have access to, and the absence of a lead vocal makes it almost impossible to identify when it was recorded. However, production notes reference the source as a 24-track tape recorded on July 8, 1978 at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona. Audio from either the soundcheck or concert could have been used, along with some 2015 overdubs and a River-era count-in.

TUCSON TRAIN - V1 uncirculating
TUCSON TRAIN - V2 3:31 WESTERN / 2019 single

Note: "Tucson Train" was recorded October 2, 2012, at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. A lyric transcription was completed for its appearance on a proposed release of Western Stars in 2015, but those plans were cancelled. The track was completed by Ron Aniello and Bruce Springsteen, and released in 2019.

SLEEPY JOE'S CAFÉ - Demo uncirculating
SLEEPY JOE'S CAFÉ 3:14 WESTERN

Note: A demo of "Sleepy Joe's Cafe" was most likely recorded 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

DRIVE FAST (THE STUNTMAN) - Demo uncirculating
DRIVE FAST (THE STUNTMAN) 4:16 WESTERN

Note: A demo of "Drive Fast (The Stuntman)" was first recorded in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

SUNDOWN - Demo uncirculating
SUNDOWN 3:17 WESTERN

Notes: A demo of "Sundown" was recorded in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

STONES - Demo uncirculating
STONES 4:44 WESTERN

Notes: A demo of "Stones" was recorded in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

THERE GOES MY MIRACLE - Demo uncirculating
THERE GOES MY MIRACLE 4:05 WESTERN / 2019 single

Note: A demo of "There Goes My Miracle" was recorded in 2010 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey. Completed by Ron Aniello and Springsteen over a period of several years, ending early 2019, as stated by Ron Aniello on his Instagram: "started in 2010… finished in 2014… finished again in 2018. Sometimes it takes a minute…"

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 otherwise, all 1979–80 dates refer to recordings made at Power Station Studios, New York City, NY.
  • The date '2015' refers to recordings made during 2015 at Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, NJ.
# Song Title Modern Element(s) Recording Date / Location
1. MEET ME IN THE CITY June 14, 1979
4. THE TIME THAT NEVER WAS background vocals and instruments, doubtful June 27, 1979 + March 16, 1980 + 2015
5. NIGHT FIRE modern lead vocals June 13, 1979 + 2015
6. WHITETOWN modern lead vocals March 16, 1980 + 2015
8. PARTY LIGHTS October 8, 1979
9. PARADISE BY THE "C" edited 2015 live or rehearsal 1978
10. STRAY BULLET vintage vocals, modern elements Feb 24 + March 9, 1980 + 2015

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