Who’s the Boss? – Darkness on the Edge of Town

Who's The Boss?
Hi Everybody! We are back with a new album for “Who’s the Boss?” If you are new, or missed the previous “Who’s the Boss?” articles, you can go ahead and see what this is all about. Kristin, from Rock Out Loud, had suggested that I start my Bruce Springsteen journey with the Live 1975/85 album. This was a stroke of genius on her part. A lot of songs from that album were also on the Born to Run album as well as today’s album, Darkness on the Edge of Town. I feel that if I had just jumped right into these studio albums first, I wouldn’t have appreciated the songs as much. Bruce’s storytelling and the emotions, that he poured into the live versions of these songs, got me warmed up and ready for the studio versions.

Now let’s get into the next album of the “Who’s the Boss?” series – Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Darkness on the Edge of Town was Bruce Springsteen’s fourth studio album. It was the follow-up to Bruce’s big breakthrough album, Born to Run. Darkness on the Edge of Town was released in 1978 – three years after Born to Run. It took so long because Springsteen got into a legal battle with his former manager and producer, Mike Appel. Without getting bogged down into too much detail, basically Springsteen was young and naive when he first signed on with Mike Appel. It turns out that Bruce was getting a raw deal on royalties, and he did not have the publishing rights to his own songs. While Bruce was getting out of that contract, he signed with a new producer, Jon Landau. Appel filed an injunction that prevented Bruce from entering a recording studio. The matter was finally settled out of court. To get more details about this, and to see the recording process of this album, I highly recommend watching the awesome documentary, The Promise: The Darkness On the Edge of Town Story – Bruce Springsteen.
Although this album did not have any high charting singles, it is one of Springsteen’s most beloved albums. It actually stayed on the charts for nearly two years and is certified triple-platinum.

So, let’s see what everybody is raving about. You can click on the song title to listen to the song/watch the video.

 


Side One

1. “Badlands”

Love! I first heard this song on Live 1975/85. The music and vocals are great. So far, I really enjoy the songs where Bruce’s voice is at a deeper tone. And of course the lyrics are awesome. Here is a perfect example,

Talk about a dream
try to make it real
You wake up in the night
with a fear so real
Spend your life waiting
for a moment that just don’t come
Well, don’t waste your time waiting

2. “Adam Raised a Cain”

I know this song from Live 1975/85. I like this song. It rocks. But, I prefer the live version. So far in this series, I kind of liked the live versions and the studio versions of songs equally. But, this is one of those instances that the live version is far superior.

3. “Something in the Night”

Time to slow things down a bit. We have another winner here. The music itself really brings me back to the late ’70s. This is angsty Bruce, who I’m beginning to like more and more.

4. “Candy’s Room”

Here is another one that I discovered on Live 1975/85. I liked that performance, and I love this studio version as well. It is a great rocker. The drumming on this one is incredible.

5. “Racing in the Street”

Another song that is on Live 1975/85. If I started the series with this album, I would be bored with this song. But as I become more educated, I know to pay special close attention to the lyrics on these slow songs. Bruce really paints a picture in his storytelling.

Side Two

1. “The Promised Land”

Not to sound like a broken records, but this is another one that I first heard on Live 1975/85. This is another classic Bruce song with incredible lyrics.

Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain’t got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted

2. “Factory”

This is Bruce being Bruce, hammering into your head that he speaks for the working man. Putting my facetiousness aside, I do like this song. I’m finding that not too many people, if any, can tell a story in song better than Bruce.

3. “Streets of Fire”

I’ve come to accept the fact that anytime there is a Springsteen song with the word “Fire” in the title, it is going to be a slower paced song.

4. “Prove It All Night”

This is a new one for me. I like this song a lot. It kind of feels like a Jackson Browne song. I love the sax solo and then how it goes into a guitar solo. I think this is my favorite of the songs that were new to me on this album.

5. “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

This song became an instant classic to me. This song is always popping up in my heat, perhaps more than any other Springsteen tune. I can’t explain it other than it is a great song.

Fun Facts

Fun Facts. Woo-ooo-ooo. Say it proud and Geek Out Loud, it’s fun facts

I have gotten all of these facts from 100.7 WZLX (a Boston classic rock station)

The album cover was shot at the photographer’s home in New Jersey.
After doing photography for Patti Smith and notable early punk rockers, photographer Frank Stefanko was given the task of shooting the album cover and inner photos for Darkness. The two met through Patti as a mutual connection. Bruce drove down to Stefanko’s house in Haddonfield, New Jersey with just a change of clothes and shot both inside the house and on surrounding streets. The cover for Darkness was shot in Stefanko’s bedroom, while a photo from the same shoot was later used for The River.

Bruce wrote 70+ songs for the album
According to Jimmy Iovine, Springsteen wrote at least 70 songs to be chosen for final inclusion on Darkness, and over 50 of them were at least partially recorded but not completed. Bruce ultimately wanted to retain the themes present in the album’s main tracks and avoid “singles” that may not have fit the narrative. But some of those songs eventually saw the light of day…

Unreleased tracks like “Because the Night” were re-purposed or given to other artists
Springsteen’s compilation The Promise contains 21 unreleased tracks that were recorded mostly from 1976-1978, many of which from the Darkness sessions. Most notable is “Because the Night”, which Bruce gave to Patti Smith and became one of the latter’s signature songs.

At least 16 songs remain unreleased
Despite the dozens of recordings that eventually saw release on the River or subsequent compilation albums, there are at least 16 known recordings that are circulating as bootlegs but have never been given an official release. These songs include “Preacher’s Daughter”, “Down By the River”, “Castaway”, “Cheap Thrills”, and “Blue Moon”.


Does anybody else like this album or have any memories you would like to share? And don’t forget, please check out my friends Steve and Kristin on the Rock Out Loud podcast. It is a lot of fun, and it is a great place to rock out and enjoy music that you may not hear on any other podcast.

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2 thoughts on “Who’s the Boss? – Darkness on the Edge of Town”

  1. “Prove It All Night” was the only song I knew before today. It’s also one of the few Bruce songs where I can understand what he’s saying without needing the lyrics…

    I *may* have heard “Badlands” before, but other than that, this album’s new to me. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I really like “Prove It All Night”. I had never heard that one before. I think the next album is going to be good too. I never even knew that this next one was a double album, so I am totally in the dark with it. Should be interesting!

      Like

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