Tracks - Studio Sessions


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Tracks commercially released: November 9, 1998 / 18 Tracks commercially released: April 12, 1999
1998-99 Producers: Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin
1998-99 Technical Coordinator and Recording engineer: Toby Scott*
1998-99 Mixers: Ed Thacker, Thom Panunzio and Bob Clearmountain*

* see Brucebase session listings for the specific producers and engineers of the original recordings.

Part One - Overview

Following the completion of the solo acoustic The Ghost Of Tom Joad tour in May 1997 Springsteen kept a relatively low profile and spent the summer months in New Jersey with his family. He held a studio session in November 1997 (the first of what is now known as the Seeger Sessions) and also participated in songwriting sessions with Joe Grushecky in December 1997-January 1998. According to interview comments by Toby Scott, (Springsteen’s audio archivist and recording engineer), it was in February 1998, during solo sessions being conducted at Bruce’s NJ home studio, that Springsteen approached Scott and said “let's do the boxed set”. Scott then went to work gathering the potential material from Springsteen’s massive audio library (located, along with Sony's sound archives, in the high-tech Iron Mountain facility near Buffalo, NY). Bruce’s NJ home studio (Thrill Hill East) served as the main operational center for all Tracks project activities.

Springsteen mentioned in an early 1999 interview with journalist Patrick Humphries that 200 to 300 different songs (twelve to eighteen CDs worth) formed the large pool of recordings that he initially reviewed in the spring of 1998 as potential candidates for the boxed set. Over the course of the next few months the 200-300 was narrowed down. According to Toby Scott by late June then number was down to about 128 songs (eight CDs worth). It was then narrowed down yet again during July to about one hundred songs (a six-CD set). Although these one hundred songs were prepped for the Tracks release there was a commercial decision made later in the summer to reduce the size of the release to a four-CD (sixty six-track) package. The package was delivered to Sony in mid-September in order to facilitate the mid-November 1998 release schedule.

The primary intent of Tracks (at least insofar as it’s slimmed-down six-CD and four-CD incarnations were concerned) was to cover all of Springsteen's commercially released album sessions. However due to ongoing (and at the time still-unresolved) court proceedings involving most of Springsteen’s unreleased 1972 studio recordings, it was decided not to release any of that in-dispute session material on Tracks. Consequently unreleased songs from the Greetings album sessions, or other demo sessions from that period, were not released in the package. The four "Hammond" CBS demo session songs that are found in the box were utilized because that particular studio session and those particular songs were not part of the court proceedings. Postscript: these legal matters were finally resolved, in Springsteen's favour, in 2001 – thereby freeing up these recordings for release at any time. It is likely that a "Tracks, Vol 2" (i.e., another boxed set of similar scope), will be released sometime in the future.

Despite stellar reviews the initial sales of the Tracks boxed set were well below expectations, probably due to this pricey retrospective not being issued in the wake of a huge selling Springsteen album (as had been the case in 1986 when Live 1975-85 followed the Born In The USA album). Partly as a consequence of the slow sales it was decided in January 1999 to release an abbreviated single CD version of Tracks titled 18 Tracks. This was intended for the more casual fan, although 18 Tracks also served the purpose as a promotional tie-in for the E Street Band "Reunion" tour that was announced at the same time. 18 Tracks contained fifteen recordings already issued on Tracks, plus three previously unreleased recordings ("The Fever", "Trouble River" and "The Promise"). Sales of 18 Tracks were also disappointing, although the Reunion tour that followed was a tremendous commercial success.

Songs marked with # issued on both Tracks and 18 Tracks, ## issued only on 18 Tracks (not on Tracks).

This list corrects the date and location errors found in the Tracks booklet.
SONG TITLE RECORDING DATE LOCATION SESSION ERA
Mary Queen Of Arkansas May 03, 1972 CBS Studios, NY demo
It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City May 03, 1972 CBS Studios, NY demo
Growin' Up# May 03, 1972 CBS Studios, NY demo
Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street? May 03, 1972 CBS Studios, NY demo
Bishop Danced Jan 31, 1973 Max’s Kansas City, NY Live in concert
The Fever## May 16, 1973 914 Sound, NY WIESS
Santa Ana Jun 28, 1973 914 Sound, NY WIESS
Seaside Bar Song# Jun 28, 1973 914 Sound, NY WIESS
Thundercrack Jun 28, 1973 914 Sound, NY WIESS
Zero And Blind Terry Jun 28, 1973 914 Sound, NY WIESS
So Young And In Love Jun 01, 1974 914 Sound, NY BTR
Linda Let Me Be The One Jun 29, 1975 Record Plant, NY BTR
Don't Look Back Jul 02, 1977 Record Plant, NY DARKNESS
Hearts Of Stone# Oct 14, 1977 Record Plant, NY DARKNESS
Iceman Oct 27, 1977 Record Plant, NY DARKNESS
Give The Girl A Kiss Oct 11, 1977 Record Plant, NY DARKNESS
Roulette Apr 03, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Mary Lou May 30, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
I Wanna Be With You# May 31, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Bring On The Night Jun 13, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Ricky Wants A Man Of Her Own Jul 16, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Loose Ends# Jul 18, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Be True Jul 18, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Stolen Car Jun 20, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Dollhouse Aug 21, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Where The Bands Are# Oct 9, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Living On The Edge Of The World Dec 03, 1979 Power Station, NY RIVER
Take 'em As They Come Apr 10, 1980 Power Station, NY RIVER
Restless Nights Jan 14/Apr 11, 1980 Power Station, NY RIVER
Rendezvous# Dec 31, 1980 Nassau Coliseum, NY Live in concert
Born In The U.S.A.# Jan 03, 1982 Thrill Hill EAST, NJ NEBRASKA
Lion's Den# Jan 25, 1982 Power Station, NY BITUSA
My Love Will Not Let You Down# May 05, 1982 Power Station, NY BITUSA
A Good Man Is Hard To Find (Pittsburgh) May 05, 1982 Power Station, NY BITUSA
Wages Of Sin May 10, 1982 Power Station, NY BITUSA
This Hard Land May 11, 1982 Power Station, NY BITUSA
Frankie May 14, 1982 Power Station, NY BITUSA
Johnny Bye-Bye Jan 4?, 1983 Thrill Hill WEST, CA BITUSA
Shut Out The Light Jan 19, 1983 Thrill Hill WEST, CA BITUSA
Cynthia Jun 15, 1983 Hit Factory, NY BITUSA
Pink Cadillac# May 31, 1983 Hit Factory, NY BITUSA
Car Wash May 31, 1983 Hit Factory, NY BITUSA
TV Movie Jun 13, 1983 Hit Factory, NY BITUSA
Stand On It Jun 16, 1983 Hit Factory, NY BITUSA
Janey, Don't You Lose Heart# Jun 16, 1983 Hit Factory, NY BITUSA
Brothers Under The Bridges Sep 14, 1983 Hit Factory, NY BITUSA
Man At The Top Jan 12, 1984 Hit Factory, NY BITUSA
Rockaway The Days Jan 12, 1984 Hit Factory, NY BITUSA
When You Need Me Jan 20, 1987 Thrill Hill EAST, NJ TOL
Two For The Road Feb 00, 1987 Thrill Hill EAST, NJ TOL
The Honeymooners Feb 22, 1987 Thrill Hill EAST, NJ TOL
The Wish Feb 22, 1987 Thrill Hill EAST, NJ TOL
Lucky Man Apr 04, 1987 Thrill Hill EAST, NJ TOL
Trouble In Paradise Dec 01, 1989 Soundworks West, CA HT
Part Man, Part Monkey# Jan 00, 1990 Soundworks West, CA HT
Sad Eyes# Jan 25, 1990 Soundworks West, CA HT
Leavin' Train Feb 27, 1990 Oceanway Studios, CA HT
Trouble River## Apr 06, 1990 Soundworks West, CA HT
Seven Angels Jun 29, 1990 Oceanway Studios, CA HT
My Lover Man Dec 04, 1990 Soundworks West, CA HT
When The Lights Go Out Dec 06, 1990 Record Plant West, CA HT
Over The Rise Dec 07, 1990 Soundworks West, CA HT
Goin' Cali Jan 29, 1991 A&M Studios, CA HT
Loose Change Jan 31, 1991 Record Plant West, CA HT
Happy Jan 18, 1992 A&M Studios, CA LUCKY TOWN
Back In Your Arms Jan 12, 1995 Hit Factory, NY BB-GREATEST
Brothers Under The Bridge# May 22, 1995 Thrill Hill WEST, CA GOTJ
Gave It a Name Aug 24, 1998 Thrill Hill EAST, NJ RISING
The Promise## Feb 12, 1999 Thrill Hill EAST, NJ RISING

Note: Given their placement in the compilation both "Arnie" and "That's Okay" may be outtakes from "The River" sessions, but their absence from the studio logs is peculiar. "Angelyne" was recorded with the E Street Band in February 1980 before being donated in early 1982 to Gary U.S. Bonds.

Part Two - Details

Please go to the specific session era from which these tracks emanate for details on each track.

Part Three - 1993 Tracks concept

At some point in 1993 (presumably following the conclusion of the 1992-93 World Tour) a 25-song archival concept "album" was produced in-house, perhaps to demonstrate the quality of Springsteen's unreleased archive. It's possible that this was an early Tracks concept. Twelve of the 25 songs have been subsequently released, either on Tracks itself or other projects, ten are known outtakes, two are a mystery, and one is a live cut. Please see the relevant album recording session page for more information on each track.

SONG TITLE SESSION ERA RELEASED?
A Love So Fine BTR No
Sha La La (Live 1975-12-12) N/A N/A
New Spanish (Spanish Eyes) DARKNESS PROMISE
Hearts Of Stone DARKNESS TRACKS
Give The Girl A Kiss DARKNESS TRACKS
Dollhouse RIVER TRACKS
Night Fire RIVER TIES THAT BIND
The Man Who Got Away RIVER TIES THAT BIND
King's Highway BITUSA No
Triangle Song DARKNESS No
Do (You) Want Me To Say All Right RIVER No
Arnie see notes No
I Will Be The One RIVER No
From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come) RIVER ESSENTIAL
Take 'em As They Come RIVER TRACKS
Johnny Go Down BITUSA No
The Glory Of Love BITUSA No
Ida Rose (No One Knows) BITUSA No
Bring On The Night RIVER TRACKS
Under The Gun RIVER No
Where The Bands Are RIVER TRACKS
Loose Ends RIVER TRACKS
Living On The Edge Of The World RIVER TRACKS
Angelyne RIVER No
That's Okay see notes No

Note: Given their placement in the compilation both "Arnie" and "That's Okay" may be outtakes from "The River" sessions, but their absence from the studio logs is peculiar. "Angelyne" was recorded with the E Street Band in February 1980 before being donated in early 1982 to Gary U.S. Bonds.


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