Monday, November 15, 2010


If dreams came true, ahhhh wouldn't that be nice? After years of playing clubs on the Jersey Shore and releasing a couple albums everything changed for the E Street Band with the release of "Born to Run." It was a certified popular hit with Springsteen combining the lyrics of Dylan with the longing of Roy Orbison and some Phil Spector Wall of Sound production. That was the plan, anyway. It was a great album. After that success, everyone expected the next record to a big soul-filling follow-up, but the car spun out of control. The wheels fell off. The gas tank exploded. There was a legal battle over the music, and there was a creative battle to wrestle some music from the wreckage. The record that followed was "Darkness on the Edge of Town."

Darkness on the Edge of Town, 1978

They're still racing out at the Trestles
But that blood it never burned in her veins
Now I hear she's got a house up in Fairview
And a style she's trying to maintain
Well if she wants to see me
You can tell her that I'm easily found
Tell her there's a spot out 'neath Abram's Bridge
And tell her there's a darkness on the edge of town

Hipsters may have never forgiven Springsteen for his mid-eighties popularity (and muscles) and they opted for college radio tunes or outright punk, and the mainstream MTV kids moved on to synthetic haircut bands and the latest pop confections, but before that a man in a snakeskin jacket had to fight his way out of a burning building like Brando in The Fugitive Kind. This music wasn't Top 40. This was dark and brooding and full of demons, not your background soundtrack for clubbing and partying or slam-dancing. Guitars slashed and burned. Hearts burst into flames. Listen to the scorching solo in "Prove it All Night" from the 1978 tour--smack dab in the middle of the darkness this thing cuts through like an acetylene torch. This was more than an album of pop songs about girls and cars, this was about heartache and redemption and loss. Like he said, Mr., I ain't a boy I'm a man. You want it, you take it, you pay the price.

Prove it All Night, 1978

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