News Updated December 11, 2018

This beautiful print of Southside Johnny Lyon, Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven Van Zandt photographed backstage by Danny Clinch (and signed by the photographer) is up for bid, along with many other cool items, as part of The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation's online Charitybuzz auction. Auction proceeds will benefit the ongoing work of the Foundation, which was established by Little Steven to provide curriculum, professional development and other cost-free resources/support to teachers using the Foundation's developed, fully funded TeachRock curriculum. Click here for details on the auction, each of its available items, and how to place your bids.
- December 11, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting


Paramount Theatre, December 9, 2018

A sold-out house was ready for a holiday party Sunday night at Asbury Park's Paramount Theatre. While some of that ticket demand may have been due to visions of a special guest appearance or two, no one seemed particularly disappointed when the evening's lineup did not deviate from what had been announced. Convention Hall was gaily decked out for the city's annual holiday bazaar, the Paramount Stage was lit by Christmas tree and menorah lights, and many in the crowd were themselves decked out in holiday attire. In short, the proverbial stage had been set for a festive evening, and the 50-odd musicians participating in "A Very Asbury Holiday Show" did not disappoint.

Local hero Bobby Bandiera - photograph by A.M. Saddler

The event was presented by the Asbury Park Music Foundation, benefiting that organization along with several other local charities. The evening's lineup, which ran the gamut from Jersey Shore music scene veterans like Joel Krauss, Lance Larson, Bobby Bandiera and Glen Burtnick to The Blue Tones, a group of high school students studying at the Lake House Music Academy, was loaded with talent. Perusing the program, one might legitimately wonder if it was perhaps too much of a good thing, but with former Stone Pony DJ Lee Mrowicki emceeing the proceedings, the show was in good hands.

Lance Larson, left, with Remember Jones and one hell of a holiday suit - photograph by A.M. Saddler

The massive house band, led by musical director Tony Perruso, was laid out in standard big band format, boasting a lineup that included ex-Jukes, current Kings of Suburbia (Jon Bon Jovi's backing band for his solo gigs), and an assortment of local guitarists, keyboardists and guest vocalists. The horn section was anchored the legendary Joey Stann, while the rhythm section — which was augmented by an extra drum kit — benefited from the talents of Graham Maby (Marshall Crenshaw, Elvis Costello) on bass, Rich Scannella on drums, and Joe Belia on percussion.

Bandleader Tony Perruso and saxman Joey Stann bring some Jukes flavor - photograph by A.M. Saddler

Local cover band favorites like Mike Dalton, JoBonanno, Brian Kirk, and Pat Roddy expertly brought the audience to its feet several times throughout the night, and unusual guest artists like Anthony Krizan of the Spin Doctors (whose rendition of "Stand By My Woman," co-written with Lenny Kravitz, was a highlight of the evening) along with vocal powerhouses Remember Jones, J.T. Bowen, Layonne Holmes, and Deseree Spinks, country duo Williams Honor, and vocalists like CC Coletti and Mackenzie Brown kept the energy level high throughout the night. There were so many fine performances, in fact, that it was almost too much.

The duration of the event, along with a surprising lack of holiday material, made the "Very Asbury" show both a bit disappointing and slightly overwhelming (as the show zoomed past the four-hour mark, folks definitely began to sidle toward the exits). However, with Bruce Springsteen's legendary and standard-setting holiday shows of the early 2000s but a memory and Bandiera's series of holiday Hope shows in their final year, a new Jersey Shore holiday tradition is certainly most welcome. Happily, since organizers stated several times that it was only the first of what they promised would be annual events, there will be plenty of opportunity to fine-tune the somewhat sprawling event.

J.T. Bowen fronting the house band - photograph by A.M. Saddler

Among the many highlights: a show-opening performance by the house band of Steven Van Zandt's classic "All Alone on Christmas"; Shore blues guitar legend Billy Hector's lively rendition of "Barefootin''; The Weeklings' power pop gems "Little Elvis" and "In the Moment"; Joel Krauss leading the band through a rousing "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher"; the nattily attired J.T. Bowen prowling the stage as he belted "A Woman's Got the Power"; an insanely addictive rendition of Bryan Adams '80s hit "It's Only Love" by Mike Dalton and Deseree Spinks; and a set-closing "Santa Claus is Comin' To Town" performed in full Springsteen-esque fashion by Brian Kirk and the entire crew. See you next year!
- December 11, 2018 - Lisa Iannucci reporting - photographs by A.M. Saddler


Live archive series returns to the Roxy for a Born to Run-era showcase
When Bruce Springsteen, one of rock 'n' roll's greatest performers, finally released a live album in 1986, the opening track — the first song that your average music fan was presented with as an initial impression — would be a bare-bones version of "Thunder Road." With just Springsteen on vocals and Roy Bittan on piano, the track was sourced from the early show at the Roxy on October 18, 1975. It was widely believed that the entire set was professionally recorded, but there was no proof of that… until today.
The Born to Run tour began on July 20, 1975, and would run for 116 shows through May of 1976. Bruce and the E Street Band pulled into the City of Angels early on for a four-night, six-show stand at the legendary Roxy Theater. Because the band had been in the studio much longer than anyone anticipated (the tour kicked off literally the day after the band completed mixing Born to Run), tour rehearsals took place in a marathon 20-hour session before they left for the first date in Providence, RI. They still had to teach the new guy — none other than Miami Steve Van Zandt — all the songs.
The band had only a few weeks to get into fighting trim before the main event: a now-legendary five-night, ten-show run at New York City's Bottom Line. So it's not surprising that Springsteen would lean heavily on the tried-and-true road favorites for as long as possible, waiting until those Bottom Line shows to kick the set off with, hey, a song from the actual album we're touring for. Bruce would continue to toy with the setlist as the band worked their way across the country, playing both existing strongholds (Detroit, Texas) as well as new markets (Wisconsin, Iowa).

Springsteen had tried out "Thunder Road" as an opener at the Bottom Line but didn't venture to try it again until Los Angeles. It was a bold choice to open Live/1975-85, and it was a "go large or go home" choice in the moment: a show in Los Angeles by default means an audience full of critics, industry honchos, and other musicians (as well as whatever fans can get themselves through that filter).

The show we're hearing, presented in the live archive series as The Roxy 1975, is the first from night three (and the fourth overall). Most fans are well familiar with the 10/17 early show, as it was broadcast on KWEST-FM and became one of the earliest live Springsteen bootlegs: Ain't Nobody Here From Billboard Tonight would run you a cool $75 at Bleecker Bob's at the MacDougal Street location a few years later.

But there's a slightly different quality to 10/18, possibly because he was past the pressure of night one (which Columbia filled with industry insiders, resulting in a lackluster audience which upset Bruce on multiple levels) and on the other side of the live broadcast. It might be your imagination, but this set sounds just a tad looser, and you can just about feel what it's like to see Bruce Springsteen in a 500-person club.

Then there are all the small '75-era hallmarks we know and love: Miami Steve's guitar flourishes — the chicken scratch guitar at the start of "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" will never get old — and in the era when "All Must Sing" (to quote the Village Voice ad that recruited Max and Roy), the full-throated choruses on "She's the One" and "Kitty's Back" are just delightful.
"E Street Shuffle" doesn't drive; it's slower and more languorous than its studio arrangement, and it segues briefly into "Havin' a Party" — it's such a contrast to the tone of "Spirit in the Night," which is as buoyant and youthful as it ever was and continued to be. "4th of July, Asbury Park" invokes angels and not waitresses, and when Bruce sings, "Well, he ain't my boss no more," it's less defiant than matter of fact. There are easily dozens of these small observations throughout the show, and every fan will have their favorites or an element they care about the most. But the impact of this show isn't going to be song-by-song; as always, it's the performance as a whole, the experience and emotions created and sustained.

"When You Walk in the Room" in the cleanup spot seems curious, but it's interesting to compare it to the presence of "Goin' Back" at the end of the set. "Goin' Back" is a Goffin-King original, first recorded by Dusty Springfield, and then later by the Byrds. It's obvious that this particular selection had significance to Springsteen, as "Goin' Back" appeared in each set at the Roxy. While Springsteen mentions both King and the Byrds in his introduction, his delivery is closer to Springfield's: it's meant to be a vocal performance. Same with "When You Walk in the Room": this isn't a guitar showcase or a complex musical composition, but it requires focus and intensity in the lyrical delivery, or you might as well not bother. Bruce never trivialized any of the pop songs he covered in his career, and he delivers this Searchers classic with the enthusiasm of a cover band in a crowded bar on a Saturday night.
The segue from "When You Walk in the Room" into "She's the One" might not make sense at first, but a few bars into the intro, the harmonica riffing on "Not Fade Away" underscored by warm, harmonic chords before that organ riff ripples in — you get it. They are directly connected: it's the bridge from teenage lust into adult desire, and if you think I'm wrong, just wait for the band to chime in on the chorus, again, and then again. It's a very rhythmic, guitar-driven "She's the One," and even if you never saw Clarence Clemons in a white suit standing stage right, shaking the maracas, this version of "She's the One" will make you feel like you have, and you will want a cigarette by the time they're done.
A big change for more recent fans, and for those who aren't avid collectors, is having "Born to Run" in the middle of the set, at the apex of the narrative arc. There's palpable excitement from the crowd when the intro is played — It's the new song! It's the big hit! — but it's not an anthem yet: it's an important song, to be sure, but it's not yet what it would become. The band is excited to play it as well: the album was released at the end of August and, by the time of the Roxy shows, had just peaked at #3 on the Billboard album charts.
Not many bands with a #3 album on the Billboard charts are going to stack a 17-minute free-jazz exploration in the back half of their set. (Note: it's kind of crazy, when you look at that back half, "Backstreets" and "Kitty's Back" are half an hour, and that's before "Jungleland" and "Rosalita," the last of which hits the band intros five minutes in, leaving another seven minutes for hijinks). There's a good few minutes between the end of "Backstreets" and "Kitty's Back" that is either for tuning or equipment problems — we hear a Chuck Berry riff, we hear the audience yelling requests — but then two notes later, and YOW. We're back to the Jersey Shore beach rat telling tall tales about Catlong and Kitty.
Seventeen minutes does not guarantee that a song will be epic. Seventeen minutes could be a lot of pointless messing around, especially in 1975. But this is particularly… insane. Danny Federici begins the keyboard interlude with some low rumblings that wouldn't have been out of place on an Emerson, Lake & Palmer LP, before pulling up into a brighter, jazzier mode that gently bubbles under the surface. Garry Tallent anchors everything together with a minimal, elegant refrain, Max alongside in a straight 2-2 beat. There's specific applause at the end of Danny's run and a slight break before the Professor takes his turn, pulling his melody more directly from the body of the tune, with a brisker pace. Max and Garry shift seamlessly to support him, and Roy ratchets up the pace a few measures before Clarence comes in briefly, and then we cut to the guitar solo. (Did I mention that this was 17 minutes long?) Here she comes, Bruce yells, and the audience claps along. Then, in a stage whisper — and on the extant bootleg of this show, amazingly the only thing you hear is the audience clapping enthusiastically along before the call and response begins — Here she comes / HERE SHE COMES. The audience eventually takes over as the tension builds, and then: "Kitty's back in town!'
At the end is a goofy and exuberant "Carol," and you can hear the relief in Bruce's voice just a little. There's some righteous guitar, Roy gets a piano solo, Clarence is on the baritone sax, Bruce breaks things down on the bridge and turns the joint into a dance party on the Chuck Berry number before bringing the whole thing home, drums crashing, audience cheering. You can see the smiles and the sweat and feel the heat. I'm gonna learn to dance if it takes me all night and day.
Two weeks later, Bruce would be on the covers of both Time and Newsweek, and playing 500-seat clubs would be in the rear-view mirror.

Also read: "Thinking Young and Growing Older is No Sin," by Erik Flannigan

- December 7, 2018 - Caryn Rose reporting



This year, we're guaranteeing pre-Christmas arrival for all orders (and pre-orders) placed by December 10 that are shipping to U.S. destinations. So if you're still in need of some Boss holiday gifts from Backstreet Records, next Monday is the "Standard Shipping" deadline. (We can't guarantee arrival times outside of the U.S., due to customs, but we'll be working hard to ship orders out to everyone as quickly as possible.)

If you wind up ordering later and need something prior to Christmas, you can always select "Expedited Shipping" to have it in one or two days within the U.S... but ordering by midnight Monday will save you some serious dough on postage.

Plus, order by that date and you get you one of our brand new keychains, too! A FREE gift from us with any merch totalling $25 or more, now through December 10.

We're currently taking orders for the Springsteen on Broadway CD due next week, plus officially licensed T-shirts from Springsteen on Broadway and more, and official Springsteen calendars for 2019 from Thrill Hill. There are new Boss books, CDs, records and more in our Latest Additions section... some cool Stocking Stuffers... plus many more categories to peruse:

Concert ShirtsConcert SouvenirsSigned Items
CDs - SpringsteenCDs - Covers/TributesCDs - Other Artists
VinylDVD/Blu-rayPosters & PrintsCalendars
BooksSongbooks / Sheet MusicPromo / Other
MagazinesBackstreets Back IssuesBackstreets Merch

We're often asked around this time of year if we have anything special, a bigger-ticket item for an important gift — sometimes for a loved one, sometimes for a Bruce-loving boss.

This year we'll point you to something extremely cool and extremely rare: a stunning fine art print by the late, great David Gahr, specially offered by his estate exclusively for Backstreets. This limited edition print comes in a package with a hardcover retrospective of Gahr's Springsteen photography, signed by editor Chris Murray.

Purchase the book + print set here — these won't be available for much longer.

To read more about David Gahr and his Springsteen photography, and the book Bruce Springsteen: From Asbury Park, to Born to Run, to Born in the USA, read The Backstreets Interview with editor Chris Murray.

Thanks for supporting Backstreets and shopping with us!
- December 5, 2018

Double exposures from George Lange are pure serendipity

Accidents will happen, as a fine bloke once sang, and happy accidents can result in great art. Take photographer George Lange, who began shooting Springsteen concerts more 40 years ago, starting with Boston Music Hall in 1977. At the 12/28/78 Pittsburgh concert at the Stanley Theater, he made a goof that might be familiar to many photographers who've been around long enough to use actual film... he shot twice on the same roll.

"It was totally accidental," Lange tells Backstreets. "I shot the roll once in the balcony, then snuck downstairs and shot closeup — running the film through again by accident."

It happens. Especially if you're excited and in the moment. It's typically the facepalmy kind of thing that soon goes in the trash, and that's that. In this case.... well, take a look. There was magic in the night.

A couple of frames from this double-exposed roll were previously shared in Lawrence Kirsch's Light in Darkness book, but the other images from that roll were never printed or even looked at until this fall.

"No one had ever seen them — including me!" George laughs. "When I first put my loupe to the film in October, I was so blown away that these had been hiding in a folder for 40 years. And when I made some large prints, I was really taken back. There is such poetry in these images that I never saw before we made these new prints."

Lange has selected seven of these double exposure images to offer as signed art prints on archival rag paper, in two sizes, either 13 x 9 or the large 17 x 22 he references above. You can view all seven images online in his Bruce Springsteen Collection, where you can order signed prints with a letter of authentication.

George tells us he priced these "to get prints in as many hands as possible," thinking of Backstreets readers. "I really want people at the fan level to be able to afford these prints — they are really stunning." Additionally, to that end...

Use coupon code BACKSTREETS at
to get 10% off

"I remember the show being very raw, very passionate," Lange says of that Pittsburgh show, 40 years ago this month, "and feeling like Bruce was almost turning himself inside out to connect with the audience. This was not a 'fun' show. The man was on a mission. It seemed like he was spending every ounce of his soul trying to prove that he was real — and that proof meant everything."

Lange is clearly "one of us" — he's attended numerous shows around the world since, from Pittsburgh's Civic Arena stop on the Born in the U.S.A. tour to this millenium's legendary San Siro show in Milan, the night of the lightning storm. He recalls a night at the Staples Center in L.A., "a show I found really 'off' and almost left, until Bruce sat down at the piano and played 'The Promise,' which totally turned the night around. Kind of like the Devils & Dust solo show at the Beacon that was received in relative quiet until he said, 'This is what I have been trying to say all night,' and lit into 'The Promised Land' — blowing the place away."

But throughout the years, this kind of serendipity doesn't strike often. "I have been taking pictures every day since the age of seven, and still that search for the magic is real. That is my job, being a professional photographer. Sometimes it happens by design — you set up your lights, you create a space for your subjects to play — sometimes you just take a ride on the momentum your create.

"I am sure at first when I unspooled this roll to dry in the darkroom I was heartbroken. I had such amazing shots of Bruce close up that were all messed up by double exposing the film. Then, years later, I discover that this 'mistake' was the purest magic of all. From the time I took them in 1978, to the discovery of a couple frames maybe ten years ago, then really examining the whole roll this past October — to last week, making my first big art prints — it's been thrilling."
- December 4, 2018 - Christopher Phillips reporting - photographs by George Lange

Southside at 30, from Frank Stefanko's NYC shooting session for Hearts of Stone in 1978

Big birthday wishes to Southside Johnny, born this day in 1948
One of our favorite artists clocks up 70 years on the planet today, 43 of them as leader of the the band that bears his name: Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Born in Neptune, NJ, in 1948, the young John Lyon grew up in Ocean Grove in the only house where the police were called to ask his parents to turn their music down. As a teenager, he began hanging out in Asbury Park and was a regular at the Upstage Club, where he met Steven Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen.

After a spell in Richmond, VA, in the early '70s, he returned to Asbury and hooked up with the Blackberry Booze Band. That outfit morphed into the Asbury Jukes in March 1975, after Miami Steve came onboard and eventually landed a deal with Epic.

Southside with frequent partner-in-crime Stevie Van Zandt - photograph by Mike Saunders

Thousands of shows and more than four decades down the road, Southside can justifiably look back with pride on a career in music that has taken him around the United States and Europe more times than he can remember, up to the Arctic Circle and beyond to Japan and North Africa.

Southside's career has also included the release of several classic albums — we'd put I Don't Want to Go Home, This Time It's For Real, Hearts of Stone and Better Days all in that category — as well as more recent albums that maintain a high bar: Going to Jukesville, Pills And Ammo, and Soultime, plus Grapefruit Moon and Detour Ahead, his heartfelt tributes to Tom Waits and Billie Holliday. Not content with his regular touring schedule with the Asbury Jukes, he also plays with his alternative outfit, the Poor Fools.

And the road goes on forever: Following his annual New Years Eve gig at the Count Basie in Red Bank, Southside will be taking the Asbury Jukes to the U.K. next March, on the 42nd anniversary of his first tour there with Graham Parker and the Rumour, in the days when the band wore three-piece suits and Gerald Ford was president.

It's often been a rocky road, with many setbacks and disappointments, but Southside has endured. He has a legend to maintain and a mission to entertain. Long may he run. Wherever you are tonight, raise a glass of Jack Daniels in his honor.
- December 4, 2018 - Mike Saunders reporting

Anyone who was at New York's Tribeca Grill last year for New Year's Eve can tell you: it was quite a Session. With a band put together by Sam Bardfeld, including a slew of players very familiar to Backstreets readers, New Year's revelers were treated to, as Sam described to us, "American roots and soul music from about 1945-1970, with a special nod to music from New Orleans and Memphis... from zydeco, rockabilly, Irma Thomas, Big Mama Thornton and Louis Jordan up through Dusty Springfield, Tina/Ike Turner and The Band."

This year, they're doing it again.

The Big Band, as it's known, will be returning on December 31 for another evening of dining and dancing at Tribeca Grill, 375 Greenwich Street. Seven out of the nine musicians are Springsteen associates and Sessions Band members: in additional to Bardfeld on fiddle, there's Cindy Mizelle (vocals); Mark 'Loveman' Pender (trumpet/vocals); Lisa Lowell (vocals); Charlie Giordano (accordion); Jeremy Chatzky (bass); Larry Eagle (drums). Those Sessions Band players will be joined by Arno Hecht on tenor sax (Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, etc.) and Gene Casey (The Lone Sharks) on guitar and vocals.

Bardfeld tells Backstreets, "Last year’s gig was epic — raucous merriment ensued! Getting to see Cindy front a band of her own is worth the price of admission alone. Lisa is soulful and fabulous as always. Everyone knows Mark is a superlative trumpet player, but I had forgotten what a great frontman/vocalist he is, and Gene is a hidden NYC gem. The backing band with Charlie, Larry, Jeremy, Arno and myself is pretty decent, too. We're all really looking forward to doing this again!"

The five-course dinner along with the evening's entertainment is priced at $195 per guest (exclusive of beverages, tax & gratuity), or $180 if you book by this Friday, December 7. Reservations can be made online, or by phone at (212) 941-3900, and you can see the menu here.
- December 4, 2018


Fifty years ago today, on the evening of December 3, 1968, NBC aired the one-hour television special Singer presents ELVIS, now known more commonly as "the ’68 Comeback Special." In less than an hour (not counting the commercials for sewing machines), Elvis Presley re-established himself as an artist to be reckoned with in contemporary music.

The television special launched a revival of Presley's musical career with a new streak of artistically and commercially successful recordings, as well as a series of concert appearances in Las Vegas and elsewhere that would feature many of his greatest performances. It was a major, hopeful triumph after years of increasingly disappointing recordings and films, and it arrived at the end of a year filled with violence and hopelessness, including the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, which Presley addressed head-on in the special's closing gospel-inspired performance, "If I Can Dream."

"I remember I waited for weeks for the '68 Special...I knew it was coming. I can remember exactly where our TV was set up in the dining room, the exact place I was sitting. I mean, it’s one of those things that's imprinted on my memory forever, but you weren’t sure if he had the ability to focus and gather it all together one more time to create musical explosiveness."
— Bruce Springsteen, as interviewed for Elvis Presley: The Searcher

 "There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home. Last December, on an hour television special, Elvis Presley found his way back, back to the role he plays best — 'A Swinging Little Guitar Man.' He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect from rock 'n' roll singers. He moved his body with a lack of pretension and effort that must have made Jim Morrison green with envy. And while most of the songs were ten or twelve years old, he performed them as though they were written yesterday."
— Jon Landau, "Eye on Records" column, Eye Magazine vol. 2, no. 4 (April 1969), p. 14

"That show was one thousand percent Elvis. His fingerprint was on the first frame to the last frame. He was a man on a mission."
— Jon Landau, as interviewed for Elvis Presley: The Searcher

Sony Legacy Recordings has just released Elvis Presley: ’68 Comeback Special (50th Anniversary Edition), a 5CD/2Blu-ray disc box-set containing "all previously released and newly restored video from the taping of the special" in one set, including outtakes and alternate versions.

The video restoration was overseen by Thom Zimny, and the box set also contains an 80-page book with photos and an oral history of the Comeback Special derived from Zimny's interviews conducted for his 2018 documentary Elvis Presley: The Searcher, including comments on the special from Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau.

In celebration of today’s anniversary, Backstreets is pleased to share a digital reproduction of Jon Landau's complete essay on the ’68 Comeback Special (and its accompanying soundtrack album), which originally appeared in Landau's 1969 "Eye on Records" column for the now-defunct EYE Magazine.

Excerpts from Landau's essay have been quoted often over the years in many books, articles, and even on the walls of Graceland exhibits. This appearance, however, marks the first time that Landau's essay has been properly cited in full, after our own Shawn Poole conducted extensive research and tracked down an original copy of the magazine where the essay first appeared. Shawn plans to donate the copy he found to The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music. Check out Shawn's Facebook post for more information.
- December 3, 2018

11/30/18, Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO

The band hit the stage at 8:04pm Friday night with a vengeance I haven't seen since... well, my last Bruce show. Go figure. And the energy just kept building with each song!

They tore into "Sweet Soul Music," the Arthur Conley classic. Stevie quickly checked in with the crowd, doing his "I think you can bring more" routine, while the band paused behind him until the crowd reached an appropriate pitch of fervor. Then... "Do you like good music?!..." and we were off again. A rockin' "Soulfire" followed, and we were on a non-stop two-and-a-half hour ride on the Disciples' carousel of soul, blues and rock.

I hadn't seen a Stevie show before, so while I expected to have my face rocked off and get my dollar's worth (and what a deal at $40!) I somehow expected the setlist to be the same as the live album, maybe because of all those musicians in tow. Wrong! The performance deviated from that set, notably dropping the reggae-tinged trio of "Solidarity," "Leonard Peltier," and "I am a Patriot."

Particular favorites of mine were numbers off the new album, Etta James' "Blues is my Business," "Standing in the Line of Fire" (with a nice nod to Gary "U.S." Bonds and Ennio Morricone), and "Down in Out in New York City," which stretched out to around 12 minutes, letting this incredibly talented band stretch and flex its muscle.

There were also several Southside collaborations in there, with Stevie giving him a nod for helping keep his music alive while he was off for all those years "trying to be a gangster," he joked.

I was just blown away by this show! I can't believe this tour is not getting more attention and press. You just don't see this anymore. It felt like what being at the Fillmore back in the day might have been like, with Curtis Mayfield, Herbie Hancock, King Curtis, Wilson Pickett, Duane Allman, James Brown — all on stage together!

The tour still has two weeks left to catch them if you can (click here for dates), and don't forget, teachers get in free!

Click below to view more Denver photographs by Garrett Hacking, shot Friday night for Backstreets.

- December 3, 2018 - reporting and photographs by Garrett Hacking/Photography G

Springsteen tells Sunday Times he'll soon be "back to my day job"

Hot on the heels of his Esquire cover feature, Bruce Springsteen appears on the cover of today's Sunday Times Magazine (UK) for another interview. Political talk is the lede, and of course there's Springsteen on Broadway as well, but we have to highlight this long-awaited glimpse of what's coming next:

Will he throw his bandana into the [Presidential candidacy] ring for a last-chance power drive? Springsteen laughs. "No, not in any way, in any form," he says. "I'd be terrible." In any case, he'll soon be "back to my day job" — touring with the E Street Band, including venues in the UK. He will also release a new album, his first for five years: "For lack of a better word, it's a singer-songwriter album — more of a solo record." His fans would prefer to see "the Boss" on stage than on the stump, he says.

The Times' Nick Rufford later writes, "When he tours in the next few months with the E Street Band...." Of course, there's no official announcement at the moment, of either album or tour, and we don't expect one in the near term. But The Sunday Times ain't fake news.

Read: "Bruce Springsteen on how Donald Trump won over his blue-collar fans"

Update: Stevie's responses on Twitter are worth sharing...

- December 2, 2018


Two weeks from today, Springsteen on Broadway drops on CD (a two-disc set) and vinyl (four LPs). We've got a special promo item we'll be including FREE with all pre-orders: an official Springsteen on Broadway enamel pin, displaying the opening and closing dates of the 236-show run. Available exclusively from Backstreet Records. Order now to guarantee yours!

12/2 Update: The official release date of the 4LP vinyl has been pushed back to 2019, now set for January 25. The CD set is still coming on December 14. Pre-orders for both CD and vinyl from Backstreet Records will still include the bonus enamel pin. Iif you pre-ordered the vinyl along with other items, we'll ship twice: in-stock merch will ship in time for the holidays, and we'll send the vinyl separately upon its January 25 release.

Pre-order Springsteen on Broadway on CD

Pre-order Springsteen on Broadway on vinyl

- November 30, 2018 - updated December 2, 2018

7/24/13 photographs by Rene Van Diemen

December is only hours away... but today isn't quite First Friday. While we wait one more week for Springsteen's next live archive installment, let's take another look back at Novemeber's: Leeds, July 24, 2013.

Further down, regular Backstreets scribe Mike Saunders wrote about this Wrecking Ball tour stop, which he attended. Also at the show that night was regular Backstreets photographer, Rene van Diemen, with camera in hand, and here we've got a portfolio of his images to accompany your listening.

Rene recalls, "I think this was one of the last times Bruce played two nights in a row in different cities — he had just played Cardiff the night before. With the theatrical premiere of Springsteen & I the night before that, it was a great week, with unsual high temperatures for that part of Europe. Cardiff was in a half soccer stadium, and it was very hot during the day — but a great atmosphere in the queues despite the heat, and a fantastic show as well (including "TV Movie"). Right after the Cardiff show, many people jumped in the car to "drive all night" to Leeds, to start queuing over there. The highway was alive that night. I myself took a train the following morning. Leeds was a very intimate show, and a bit strange to have this indoor stop between all the outdoor shows. But it was a very memorable night, with so many of my Bruce buds there and some very nice tour premieres. After the Leeds show, many of my friends who did both queues without much sleep in between were truly wrecked... but deeply satisfied."

- November 30, 2018 - photographs by Rene van Diemen

Live archive tracks come to streaming services

Maybe you haven't taken the plunge on Springsteen's monthly live archive series (we won't judge — not much). Or maybe you've been selective, not keeping up with each and every release. Or maybe you just like a good mix tape. In any case, this comes as fun news: tracks from the Nugs releases at have just arrived on streaming services today, via what appears to be a new series of curated playlists.

The first to drop in The Live Series on Spotify and Apple Music is Songs of the Road, with thematic selections spanning from 1977 to 2013:

Thunder Road
Palace Theatre, Albany, NY - 02/07/77
Highway 29
King's Hall, Belfast, UK - 03/19/96
Incident on 57th Street
Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ - 09/20/78
Open All Night
Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans, LA - 04/30/06
Stolen Car
ASU Activity Center, Tempe, AZ - 11/05/80
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Auditorium Theatre, Rochester, NY - 02/08/77
Out in the Street
Wachovia Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA - 10/20/09
Drive All Night
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY - 11/08/09
Born to Run
Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, NJ - 08/05/84
Used Cars
St. Rose of Lima School, Freehold, NJ - 11/08/96
Action in the Streets
Palace Theatre, Albany, NY - 02/07/77
Racing in the Steet
Agora, Cleveland, OH - 08/09/78
Working on the Highway
Ippodromo delle Capannelle, Rome, Italy - 07/11/13
The E Street Shuffle
TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA - 11/19/07
Cadillac Ranch
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY - 12/31/80

Killer performances, a great mix of band line-ups and solo performances, this looks to be a great way to expose more listeners to not only some more obscure Springsteen songs, but the brilliance and variety of his live performances. What's next? Songs of Protest? Songs of Family? Songs of Womens' Names? Songs of Rivers and Trees? Songs of Blue Collar Occupations? We'll be staying tuned.
- November 30, 2018


Photographer Jim Shive will be (temporarily) taking over the Backstreets Instagram account as of this afternoon. Wanna see new, rare images of Bruce and the E Street Band? Wanna relive some of those early history-making performances from 1974, 1975 1976, 1977, 1980 and more? Follow backstreetsmag on Instagram.

A lifelong professional photographer, Shive produced thousands of images of rock 'n' roll's most illustrious concerts from the mid-1970s through the mid-'80s, providing a dense visual record of these formative years and enduring live performances. For many Springsteen concerts, Jim Shive was often the only professional photographer in front of the stage during this time period and is generously sharing these images for all to see, exclusively on our Instagram account.

If you see one you love, visit where you can choose one of these pretty pictures to hang up on your wall — and Backstreet readers save 75 bucks on Shive Archive purchases with the code INSTAGRAM2018. 

- November 28, 2018 - photographs by James Shive

Soundtrack sweepstakes will send a winner to Broadway

With the release of the Springsteen on Broadway soundtrack album coming up on December 14, Sony's running a sweepstakes for U.S. and Canada with a hell of a prize, and it's easy to enter. As long as you can stream. Got Spotify? Got Apple Music? Simply pre-save or pre-add the album to your collection via this link on or before December 4, and you'll be automatically entered to win.

The prize: a trip to see one of Bruce's final performances at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with hotel and airfare included. One winner will get two tickets for the December 13 performance of Springsteen on Broadway, two roundtrip airfare tickets, and two nights' hotel accommodations in New York. Click here to enter.

The Springsteen on Broadway soundtrack will be released in physical formats, too — pre-order the 2CD set or 4LP vinyl from Backstreet Records to score a free Springsteen on Broadway enamel pin, pictured above, an official promo item exclusively available here.
- November 27, 2018

Thom Zimny's Springsteen on Broadway film is coming to Netflix just hours after Bruce takes his final bow on the boards on Saturday night, December 15, and a trailer posted today gives us a two-and-a-half-minute taste.

If you'll be watching the clock or planning a viewing party, Springsteen on Broadway launches globally on Netflix on Sunday, December 16 at 12:01am PT, 3:01am ET, 8:01am GMT.
- November 27, 2018


With an eye on the end of the Springsteen on Broadway run and the associated film's Netflix debut, Bruce Springsteen talks with Michael Hainey for a new Esquire interview. They talk DNA, growin' up, mothers and fathers, men and women, and putting it all on the Broadway stage: "It's me reciting my 'Song of Myself.'"

Springsteen also talks about the current state of the nation ("the partisanship and the country being split down the middle is something that’s gravely dangerous"), his personal struggle with depression, and the universal struggle to find identity and a true self: "The only thing in life that's sure is: If you think you've got it, you don’t have it!... Bruce fucking Springsteen is a creation. So it's somewhat liquid — even though at this point you would imagine I have it pretty nailed down. But sometimes not necessarily."

Read: "Beneath the Surface of Bruce Springsteen," from the Winter '19 Esquire

- November 27, 2018

Stock up on Springsteen, get a jump on holiday shopping, and get these freebies from Backstreet Records!

Shop Backstreet Records now

Latest Additions - Signed Items - Stocking Stuffers

- November 26, 2018

Holiday shopping season is upon us, and there's no shortage of Springsteen stuff on our shelves this year for your favorite fan. Check our Latest Additions page for recent arrivals, from official Springsteen on Broadway T-shirts to newly remastered and reissued vinyl.

One of our most popular items each year is the official Bruce Springsteen calendar, and for 2019 it's available once again from Thrill Hill Productions. This new one has a focus on the '80s and '90s to coincide with this year's Album Collection Vol. 2 box set. Each month of 2019 features a large image (12" x 12"), of Bruce Springsteen on and off stage, with and without the E Street Band

You can peruse hundreds of Bruce books, CDs, records, and more at Backstreet Records by category, including SIGNED ITEMS and STOCKING STUFFERS, or start with our new arrivals.

To kick off the season, we're offering a couple of FREEBIES to help stuff those stockings. From now through Sunday night at midnight:

FREE Stefanko postcard pack: Five killer images from Frank Stefanko's cover sessions for the Darkness/The River albums, in a set of postcards exclusively available from Backstreets... yours FREE when you order merch totalling $20 or more. And if you order Frank's book — the monster-sized, slipcased Further Up the Road — we'll triple the freebie and send you three postcard packs.

FREE temporary tattoos: Wear your heart on your sleeve (or on your arm, or wherever your want), with no minimum order on this one: order a CD, a bumpersticker, anything in our shop, and you also get this temporary tattoo. Order a CD and a T-shirt, get two tattoos. A CD, a book, and a T-shirt... three tattoos. You get the idea. And if these items total $20 or more, you also get the Stefanko postcard pack.

No coupon necessary, no need to add these items to your shopping cart. Simply place your order between now and midnight Sunday, November 25, and we'll send the freebies out with all qualifying orders.

Shop Backstreet Records now

Click here for Latest Additions

Thank you for supporting Backstreets, hope you and yours have a happy Thanksgiving weekend!
- November 22, 2018

Warm wishes to everyone this Thanksgiving — hot yams, cold milk, warm wishes. We're especially thankful for Steven Van Zandt, born this day in 1950. Happy birthday, Stevie! Over on E Street Radio, they'll be celebrating Tracks@20 all weekend long, with Dave Marsh and Jim Rotolo's track-by-track rundown of the box set receiving multiple airings. Meanwhile, has a 50% Off Downloads sale running through Monday (with 25% off CDs). And stay tuned here on for a couple of cool freebies we'll be giving away with Black Friday orders from our online shop. Whatever your plans may be for this holiday weekend, enjoy — and thank you for being part of this thing of ours.
- November 22, 2018 - special thanks to Shawn Poole for the photograph

Every Thanksgiving, we like to remind everybody about WhyHunger — fighting hunger all year long, but particularly with their annual Hungerthon. Originally named World Hunger Year, co-founded by Harry Chapin and Bill Ayres in 1975, this is the organization that Bruce Springsteen turned to for direction when he wanted to help local FoodBanks around the country. Bruce is a current Artist Ambassador for WhyHunger, and they note: "Over 20 years, Bruce Springsteen has raised millions of dollars in support of over 130 grassroots organizations while on tour, helping millions of American families get nutritious food."

You may have dropped some bucks in those buckets after a show; you can also help by donating online for Hungerthon.

Some cool new gifts available with your Hungerthon donation this year include a Springsteen "Land of Hope and Dreams" pin, and a couple Tom Morello items too: a "Hunger is a Crime" baseball hat, and a "Hunger is a Crime" raglan shirt.

A Hungerthon charity auction includes prime seats for Springsteen on Broadway, E Street Radio guest host spots with Dave Marsh on Live From E Street Nation and with Jim Rotolo on The Wild and The Innocent, a private acoustic house concert with Joe D'Urso, and lots more.

Our thanks to WhyHunger for continuing to fight the good fight!
- November 20, 2018

Upon the passing of Stan Lee last week, we posted on social media our own small (but heartfelt) Springsteen-connected salute to the Marvel Comics visionary [above]. It featured the cover of Marvel Comics' The Transformers issue # 14, March 1986, where the robots-in-disguise met "Brick Springstern (aka 'Springhorn') and the Tenth Avenue Band."

In addition to revitalizing Marvel Comics by co-creating some of his medium's greatest characters and storylines, Lee was quite a significant role model for many of us here at Backstreets: an innovative writer and publisher who retained his enthusiasm and passion for his work throughout a long, happy and productive life. So as we continue to remember Stan Lee and his Marvel Comics legacy, here are some additional, interesting Springsteen/Marvel mashups to enjoy.

First up, we can't quite finish with those Transformers, True Believers, until we note yet another Springsteen/Transformers intersection that occurred in issue # 31 (October 19, 1985) of Marvel UK's weekly The Transformers comics-magazine. In that issue, human-friend-of-robots Buster Witwicky played a cassette featuring "Glory Days" through a tape-deck he was trying to fix.

Then there are these variant covers for IDW's 2006 reissue of The Transformers issue #14 (as The Transformers: Generations #3.) We came across these babies just this week while re-digging into our previous research on Springsteen appearances/references in comics over the years, most of which got used for our full-length article in Backstreets Magazine issue # 90 (now out of print.) Check out these additional images of "Brick" and his incredible "Big Man" bandmate in action:

Also featured in that out-of-print issue #90 of Backstreets was this series of sketches of Larry Underwood drawn by Mike Perkins for the Marvel Comics adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand. The Underwood/Springsteen resemblance is... uncanny.

Finally, read our archived online addendum to issue #90's Bruce-in-the-comics article, where several more amazing Springsteen-Marvel mash-ups can be found in fantastic issues of Conan the Barbarian, G.I. Joe and Wolverine.

Rest in peace, Smilin' Stan — your work lives on. 'Nuff said.
- November 19, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting

Call in this Sunday to have your request FULFILLed Sunday next

It's Thanksgiving time, which means the Bruce Brunch's annual all-request show is almost upon us — this Sunday is the day to call in and let host Tom Cunningham know what you want to hear, and help in the battle against hunger at the same time.

Tom's Bruce Brunch radio program, on Townsquare Media's 105.7 The Hawk (WCHR-FM) and now in its 15th year, features the music of Bruce Springsteen and other Jersey Shore legends on Sunday mornings; this will be Cunningham's 13th annual all-request edition, raising money for FULFILL (formerly, The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties). 

There's space for 20 songs, with a $25 (minimum) donation for each song, all proceeds going to the New Jersey hunger-fighting charity. With a donation, listeners are welcome to pick the Springsteen song of their choice and include a personal dedication as well.

Requests will be taken beginning at 9am this Sunday, November 18, by phone at (732) 643-5891, with donations accepted via credit card payment. A week later, those requests will make the air in a special three-hour program, Sunday, November 25, from 9am to noon.

"I look forward to the all-request show every year," says the Bruce Brunch DJ. "In addition to helping to raise thousands of dollars over the years for our local Foodbank, the folks who participate always come up with some amazing requests and dedications.

"Collecting donations to end hunger touches people on a most local and fundamental level," Tom continues. "I can't remember the last time that I've walked out of one of Bruce's shows and there's not been someone from a local food concern accepting donations. It's 13 years in, and I'm very proud to continue to partner the Bruce Brunch, everyone at The Hawk, and the great team at the Townsquare Media Shore to help benefit FULFILL." 
- November 16, 2018

Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul performed last night at America's longest continually running rock club, Columbus' Newport Music Hall, on their Soulfire Teachrock Solidarity Tour 2018 — and to teach us what good rock 'n' roll is all about. The band came out swinging with a rousing cover of Arthur Conley's 1967 hit "Sweet Soul Music," setting the scene for a 20-song R&B/garage rock blowout that included Stevie's own album tracks as well as soulful takes on songs recorded by Etta James, James Brown, Gary "U.S" Bonds, Cocktail Slippers, The Breakers, Jimmy Barnes, and, naturally, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

The well-seasoned and psychedelically attired Disciples of Soul were all given their moments to shine with solos — Little Steven, too, demonstrated that he can still shred on guitar. The energetic night concluded with two stellar encore songs: "I Don't Want to Go Home," which Van Zandt penned for Southside, and his own 1984 classic "Out of the Darkness." The tour still has one month left to catch them if you can (click here for dates), and don't forget, teachers get in free!

Click below to view more Columbus photographs by Ron Valle, shot last night for Backstreets.

- November 15, 2018 - reporting and photographs by Ron Valle

Last week, Bruce Springsteen returned to perform once again at the Stand Up For Heroes benefit, including duets with Patti Scialfa and Eric Church. The annual concert, which honors military veterans and supports the Bob Woodruff Foundation, raised more than $5.4 million to help our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured veterans, service members and their families. Here's Bruce's full set, fan-shot — today's a good day to watch. Happy Veterans Day, and thank you to all who serve.
- November 11, 2018

A rare U.K. arena show from 2013 for November's "Second Friday"
Such is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's popularity in the U.K. that they typically appear in large outdoor venues to meet demand. For the Wrecking Ball tour in 2012, it was business as usual: four stadium and festival appearances that summer. It was a big show by a big band in big venues: with many open-air dates, Springsteen and his 16-piece band would cover North America, South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, and tour Europe twice in consecutive summers.

Near the end of that 18-month trek, however, on their 2013 European "victory lap," they scaled things down for a comparatively intimate night, christening a brand-new indoor arena in Leeds.

It was Springsteen's first concert in this northern city since 1985, when he played for 80,000 people at Roundhay Park; the new arena had a capacity of 13,500. Tickets sold out in minutes, and fans began arriving several days early to secure a place at the front. Today, Leeds, July 24, 2013 joins Wrecking Ball-era recordings from the Apollo Theatre, Helsinki, and Rome, making a worthy addition to the archive series.

When Springsteen and the E Street Big Band (including five horn players and three backing vocalists but without Patti Scialfa) walked onstage at the First Direct Arena, it had yet to officially open. Elton John was due to perform the inaugural show in September, but press reports suggested that Springsteen requested this special "pre-launch concert" at the £60 million venue.

After more than 120 shows, the band was firing on all cylinders. The concert began with Max Weinberg's pounding introduction to "Roulette," and the barrage continued with "My Love Will Not Let You Down" and "No Surrender." The tempo slowed for a deep-cut pairing of a majestic "Something in the Night" and the U.K. debut of the brooding "American Skin (41 Shots)."

As a tour progresses, Springsteen shakes up the setlist, throwing in rarities, curve balls, and one-offs. Leeds was one of those nights, with four tour premieres, five U.K. debuts, and two European debuts.

Three tour premieres in a row came after Springsteen scooped up armfuls of request signs. The first selection was already on the setlist. "We knew this was coming, and we've done a little bit of rehearsal on this," he admitted. With the relevant sign ("Local Hero – We Dare U!") placed in front of his microphone stand, he began the first performance of the song in a decade. Extended to six minutes and driven by the horn section, it reinforced the argument that all those early-'90s albums needed was some serious E Street muscle.

The only tour performance of Darkness outtake "Gotta Get That Feeling" from The Promise ("Steve's always complaining that we don't play anything off of this record…") was followed by the Creedence classic "Bad Moon Rising," last played with John Fogerty on the Vote For Change tour in 2004. This two-and-a-half-minute classic was flawless, a reminder that the E Streeters have always been a top-notch covers band.

"We're gonna try one more crazy request here," Springsteen announced, adding, "We may not get through the middle of this, because it gets tricky…." With multiple twists, turns, and shifting tempos, the U.K. debut performance of 1973's "Thundercrack," a quirky ten-minute opus, made for a joyous blast from the ancient past.
Five songs from Wrecking Ball dominated the show's second half, including the exuberant, gospel-flavored "Shackled and Drawn" ("Preach it, Cindy!"), the set-closing "Land of Hope and Dreams," and the rarely played "This Depression," one of the record's superior cuts. It's a song of quiet desperation that many can identify with, and it always deserved greater exposure.

Returning for the encores, with just a few stops left on the tour (two shows to come in Ireland and four in South America), Springsteen took a moment to acknowledge the efforts of his travelling army of diehard followers. "They're there every night, and they provide a tremendous amount of fuel and inspiration for our band."

"Secret Garden," a surprise request, led the encore, performed for the first time since June 2000 in New York. "A song we might have played once or twice," Springsteen rightly noted — and they've only played it a few times since. "Atlantic City" preceded a string of greatest hits that ended with "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out."

The band left after a climactic, eight-minute version of the Isley Brothers' "Shout" — but Springsteen wasn't finished. He returned alone, his T-shirt soaked with sweat after nearly three-and-a-half hours onstage. "Nothing to it," he said, pausing to take a breath. Ending the 29-song show with solo-acoustic renderings of "If I Should Fall Behind" and "Thunder Road," he added, "Thanks for a great night. This is a beautiful building! It's a great place to play. Really loved it here."

Local press concurred: "If last night's opening showcase was anything to go by, the future looks bright for the city's First Direct Arena," said the Yorkshire Evening Post, describing the concert as "the most anticipated gig of the year in Yorkshire" and emphasizing that it was "one of the most intimate shows that Springsteen will play on his global tour."

The indoor setting allowed us to fully appreciate the power of the E Street Orchestra, the contributions made by the horns and singers, and the amazing energy that Springsteen exerted. It's bound to come through in the recording. This was truly one for the ages: a show that had apparently been organized at Springsteen's request, in a venue that was half the size of most American arenas, with a setlist to die for.

Also read: Erik Flannigan's blog, "Maximum R&B"

- November 9, 2018 - Mike Saunders reporting - all images courtesy of Dan French and Mike Saunders

By Frank Stefanko

Forty years ago, when Bruce Springsteen and I were working on the album cover photos for Darkness on the Edge of Town, some of my babies slipped away and were lost for decades.

Back then, before the days of digital photography and lightning-fast e-mail, I used film in analog cameras. The processing and the transportation of these images was notoriously slow. So when Bruce called and asked for certain images to be sent to the record company "right away," there was no time to print and ship the photos overnight. As a result, I dispatched original negatives — with the understanding that these would be returned to me in short order.

I did receive many of my negatives back. Nevertheless, some of my original Darkness outtakes went missing. Lost for four decades!

The mystery began to unravel last year, when my book Bruce Springsteen: Further up the Road was released. At the gallery openings, I ran into some old friends who had been involved with the Darkness album production.

At Morrison Hotel Gallery in West Hollywood, I met Jimmy Wachtel, art director for The River album. That cover was shot during the Darkness sessions. Jimmy thought he might have the full-frame inter-negative from The River. "Ah HA! A clue!"

Next, I met Dick Wingate in Morrison Hotel Gallery, New York. Springsteen's product manager at Columbia in 1978, Dick thought he still had some original Darkness negatives somewhere in his attic. "Somewhere in his attic? Ah HA!"

Over time, both gents, true to their words, sent my wayward babies back to me. Thanks, guys! Mystery solved!

The negatives were a bit worse for wear after 40 years but lovingly received. After evaluating some 20 of them, I chose six that looked worth cleaning and printing.

So now, nearing the end of the 40-year anniversary of the release of Darkness on the Edge of Town, in time for the holidays, I will be releasing these six lost photographs to the galleries that represent me:

- November 7, 2018 - all photographs by Frank Stefanko

At Stand Up For Heroes, the evening usually begins with Bob and Lee Woodruff welcoming the donors and the honored guests, both active duty and veterans of the US armed forces. This year, they weren't onstage for more than a few minutes before Bob Woodruff gleefully announced, "Bruce is back!"

After missing 2017 — his only absence in 12 years — Mr. Springsteen boogalooed down Broadway from the Walter Kerr to the Hulu Theater At Madison Square Garden (once upon a time, known as the Felt Forum) to join the annual fundraiser for the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

True to the maxim amongst the fan base that Stand Up For Heroes should be known as "Three Songs and Two Dirty Jokes," Bruce returned to his usual formula. As you may remember, this benefit is under the auspices of the New York Comedy Festival, and while there are always some actual comedians on the bill (tonight featured Jimmy Carr, Seth Myers, Jim Gaffigan, and Jon Stewart), Bruce always feels that it is his duty to tell some dirty jokes since there are servicemen (and women) in the audience.

Looking trim and chic in some artfully faded denim, one sleeve rolled up to not get in the way of his guitar playing, Bruce opened the evening with a vibrant rendition of "This Hard Land." While his appearance seemed like a return from vacation, it can be easy to forget that the man has been performing for hours, night after night, for the better part of a year. (Although after a normal Springsteen tour, Broadway probably feels like a vacation).

When the applause had died down, with obvious relish, Bruce launched into the first joke of his segment. "I'm not a comedian, but I'm going to tell a joke. My jokes are not comedian jokes, so you've got to cut them a little slack," he prefaced his first comedy bit.

A piano player who's looking for work goes into an agent's office. The agent says, "Well, let me hear what you got."

So the piano player plays, and the agent thinks it's one of the most beautiful things he's ever heard. Tears are coming down his cheeks. He says, "That's one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. What's it called?"

He said, "It's called, 'Hot Tits and Ass on a Saturday Night.'"

Agent says, "Why don't you play another piece?" When he's done, the agent's in tears. "That's gorgeous, what is that called?"

"That's called, 'My 10-Year-Old Son Is Addicted to Porn.'"

"Tell you what, I have a job for you on the weekend — a high-class wedding. This is exactly the kind of music they want. Just don't mention the titles."

"Sure, no, problem."

So the guy goes to the wedding, and he's playing the reception, and he's going over like gangbusters. People are in tears, they're holding each other, they're holding each other's hands.

He takes a break to go to the bathroom, he takes a leak, he comes out. I guess on the way out he forgot to zip himself up, and the mother of the bride comes up and says, "Sir, do you know that your penis is hanging out of your pants?!"

"Do I know it? I wrote it!"

*boom cha*

Without further ado, Bruce lost no time in introducing his first guest, "Miss Patti Scialfa." The First Lady of Love stepped out to join her husband for a lovely, relaxed, and buoyant "If I Should Fall Behind," feeling for all the world like they were singing it to each other without several thousand people watching.

Patti took her leave stage right, as Bruce looked to the other side and said, "C'mon out!" With that, a leather-clad Eric Church, the evening's other musical guest (who had preceded Bruce), came out of the wings, armed with an acoustic guitar, and joined Springsteen on a deliberate and enthusiastic rendition of "Working on the Highway." The two gleefully traded lines in the verses and added harmonies to the other's lead on the choruses.

Bruce's enjoyment in being matched by Church was obvious (as was the reverse), and Church's presence on the song added the right touch of exuberance and restored its rightful rockabilly heritage, without some of the comedic exaggeration that's been a hallmark of the song in recent years.

Church departed the stage to enthusiastic applause — truth be told, there were more screams for him tonight than there was Bruuucing — which meant that it was time for Bruce to share his second dirty joke of the evening, involving a gypsy lady (no, seriously) and a voodoo penis. The evening would round out with the now-familiar, stripped down "Dancing in the Dark," wistful yet longing, before the evening would come to an end.

One big change this year: no live auction where Bruce would up the ante by offering guitars, guitar lessons, motorcycle rides, or family recipes; the fundraising came between the comedy and the music this time, raising almost half a million dollars by the close of the night, even without the enticement of Adele's lasagne.

This Hard Land
If I Should Fall Behind (with Patti Scialfa)
Working on the Highway (with Eric Church)
Dancing in the Dark

A sweepstakes on raises additional funds for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, with a grand prize including tickets, airfare, and hotel for two to see Springsteen on Broadway, a meet-and-greet-and a signed Telecaster.

From November 1-19, every time you use #SaluteToService on Twitter, the NFL will donate $5 to its Salute To Service partners, including the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

- November 6, 2018 - Caryn Rose reporting - photographs via Twitter/@Stand4Heroes

Director Chris Columbus and Stevie Van Zandt go way back. Case in point: the modern classic "All Alone on Christmas" from Columbus's Home Alone 2, more than 25 years ago. Now they've teamed up again for a new holiday treat. Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul have recorded another Christmas song for — and are featured in — a forthcoming movie Columbus produced for Netflix. Stevie and his band provide back-up for... not Darlene Love this time, but..wait, who's that as Santa Claus? We thought Snake Plissken was dead!

Above, from the 2018 shoot for The Christmas Chronicles: Stevie and Maureen Van Zandt, center, with the Disciples of Soul and Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.

Columbus gave Backstreets the scoop:

I wanted a musical number in the The Christmas Chronicles. Soulfire is my favorite record of the last five years — maybe of all time — and Steve and I have worked together on films since 1992. So I approached him about recording a version of Lieber and Stoller's "Santa Claus Is Back in Town," with the Disciples backing Kurt's vocals.

We recorded the song at Steve's studio in NYC. And we shot a musical number with Kurt and the entire band for three days, earlier this year. There are a few moments of it in our trailer, which just dropped. But the scene is so much fun, I decided to feature the entire song in the film. It’s Jailhouse Rock Part 2!"

You can see what he means in the official trailer, around the two-minute mark:

The Christmas Chronicles will debut on Netflix this Thanksgiving Day, November 22. For more on the director's E Street ties, read our 2016 story, "Confundus! Chris Columbus on 'I'll Stand By You.'"
- November 5, 2018 - photograph courtesy of Chris Columbus

This morning's album announcement comes with a first taste of the Broadway recording, the acoustic "Land of Hope and Dreams." Lauren Onkey writes about it for NPR Music:

"Land of Hope and Dreams" is the penultimate song of the Broadway show, an uplifting end to a night that features a lot of heartbreaking stories of characters — including Springsteen himself — who fall into isolation. Rooted in the gospel song "This Train" and The Impressions' 1965 gospel-soul hit "People Get Ready," "Land of Hope and Dreams" imagines a communal train where all are welcome — saints, sinners, whores, gamblers, thieves, lost souls, fools, kings, the brokenhearted — as it heads off to unknown future. It's classic Springsteen: grand, optimistic, spiritual and open-ended enough to be embraced by a big audience....

Springsteen has performed "Land of Hope and Dreams" often for benefit concerts and political rallies, including campaign stops for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. It seems no coincidence, then, that he's released it on the eve of the midterm elections, and into the teeth of a violent and divisive time in American life. It's an assertion that we're all in this together.

- November 2, 2018


And yes, it's an Original Cast Recording!
On December 15, 2018, Springsteen on Broadway will have its last performance on Broadway. A few hours after the final curtain, Thom Zimny's film of the show will launch globally on Netflix, available to be seen around the world at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, December 16.

Just before this transition from stage to screen, Columbia Records will release the soundtrack album on Friday, December 14, in both CD and vinyl formats as well as digital downloads and streaming.

The complete audio from the Netflix special, recorded live at the Walter Kerr Theatre, Springsteen on Broadway includes all the songs and stories from Bruce's one-man show along with Patti Scialfa's guest appearances on "Tougher Than the Rest and Brilliant Disguise.

On vinyl, the set is spread across four 150-gram LPs, each in a printed picture sleeve; on compact disc, it's a 2CD set.

Backstreets exclusive: pre-order now from Backstreet Records and receive this FREE Springsteen on Broadway pin (shown right). Whether you order the 2CD set or the 4LP vinyl, each will come with this official, limited edition piece of memorabilia, which lists the dates of Springsteen's historic, 236-show run. Available only from Backstreet Records.

The track listing:

  • Growin' Up (introduction & song)
  • My Hometown (introduction & song)
  • My Father's House (introduction & song)
  • The Wish (introduction & song)
  • Thunder Road (introduction & song)
  • The Promised Land (introduction & song)
  • Born in the U.S.A. (introduction & song)
  • Tenth Avenue Freeze-out (introduction & song)
  • Tougher Than the Rest (introduction & song)
  • Brilliant Disguise (introduction & song)
  • Long Time Comin' (introduction & song)
  • The Ghost of Tom Joad (introduction & song)
  • The Rising (song)
  • Dancing in the Dark (introduction & song)
  • Land of Hope and Dreams (song)
  • Born to Run (introduction & song)

Not to worry, the introductions have been split into separate tracks. The audio was mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig. The vinyl set includes a download code for the mp3s. Get ready to Boogaloo — or bawl, or both.

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- November 2, 2018

Ten Years Burning Down the Highway to Hell with The Jersey Devil
Exactly one decade ago today, Bruce Springsteen surprised his fans with "a little musical Halloween treat" via the internet. The music video for "A Night With the Jersey Devil," along with a free digital single of the track, dropped at on Halloween 2008. The song is one of the few Springsteen-penned compositions to share a co-writing credit, since it closes with a few lines and notes from Robert Jones and Gene Vincent's "Baby Blue," one of Vincent's 1958 singles.

"A Night With the Jersey Devil" also was among the earliest of Springsteen's music videos to be directed by Thom Zimny, who in the decade since has worked extensively with Bruce on all of his major film/video projects, most recently wrapping up directorial work on the upcoming filmed version of Springsteen on Broadway for Netflix.

In the now-out-of-print issue #90 of Backstreets magazine, Zimny spoke extensively with Backstreets editor Chris Phillips about the making of the "Jersey Devil" video, which remains one of the most interesting — and fun to watch — of Springsteen's promo clips. In celebration of the tenth anniversary of this great little musical Halloween treat, here's the complete "Jersey Devil" section of our conversation with Zimny, now archived here at

Click here to read our online excerpt of "The Devil & The Darkness: Behind the Scenes with Thom Zimny." And Happy Halloween!
- October 31, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting


From our pals at comes this multi-cam version of last week's keynote address to the New Jersey School Boards Association, delivered in Atlantic City by Steven "Good News and Bad News" Van Zandt. Consider this the official archival release to supplement the excellent "audience recording" version delivered to us earlier by filmmaker/educator and staunch TeachRock supporter David Von Roehm (see below).
- October 30, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting

To celebrate this fall's 40th anniversary, acclaimed Springsteen tribute band Tramps Like Us is set to re-create what many consider the single greatest live performance of Bruce's career: the Darkness tour's September 19, 1978 concert at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ.

With the original songs and versions performed in order, as on that historic night, Tramps Like Us is the only band to ever re-create Springsteen concerts, with a total of 8 in their repertoire.
Some of the many highlights of the September 19, 1978 Capitol Theatre concert include: "Prove It All Night" with its amazing, extended intro, "She's the One" with the equally definitive "Not Fade Away" prelude, the extended "Backstreets" with its rare "Sad Eyes" interlude, and much more.

This special concert event is set to take place in NJ and CT at the following locations:

  • Saturday November 3 at The Stone Pony: 913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park, NJ
    Advance tickets available HERE

  • Saturday November 17 at The Bijou Theatre: 275 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, CT
    Advance tickets available HERE

Advance tickets are recommended to ensure admission. Complete details for this special concert re-creation can be found here. For more info on the band, vist or their Facebook page.
- October 30, 2018 - Capitol Theatre photograph by David Reiss, courtesy of - original marquee design by Arlen Schumer


Happy birthday to the longest-serving member of the E Street Band, pictured here at the age of 24, in 1974 at the Harvard Square Theatre in Cambridge, MA. Garry Tallent turns 69 today, born October 27, 1949, and whether he's laying the foundation for the E Street Nation or enjoying his Break Time, he's one of the coolest cats we know. Photograph from Barry Schneier's forthcoming book Bruce Springsteen: Rock and Roll Future, coming in December from Backstreets Publishing.
- October 27, 2018

For November, there's been a slight change to the live archive release schedule. While normally dropping on the first Friday of each month, next month's title will instead be released on Friday, November 9. While no reason was given for the move, we're hearing that this isn't so much a delay as an intentional rescheduling.
- October 26, 2018

Earlier this year, Springsteen's Album Collection Vol. 2 offered fresh remasters of LPs and EPs from 1987 to 1996. For those who have been waiting to cherrypick — who didn't need a whole boxful of the era, thank you very much — today's the day. Fresh out of the box and in stock now at Backstreet Records are the new vinyl remasters of:

All four titles have been out of print for years on LP; these Bob Ludwig remasters are now available a la carte on 140-gram vinyl. (In Concert/MTV Plugged coming soon.)

If you decide you need the whole shebang after all, we do still have the full Album Collection Vol. 2: 1987-1996 box set in stock, on vinyl and, in very limited quantity, Japanese CD.

The box, inspired by Bruce's guitar case, also includes an exclusive, 60-page booklet of memorabilia and more from the era and, in addition to the LPs listed above, two 12-inch EPs: Chimes of Freedom and Blood Brothers. Plus, a bonus Jersey Shore coaster set, only from Backstreets, still available free with the box set in either format.

- October 26, 2018

On Tuesday, in his own inimitable fashion, Steven Van Zandt delivered the keynote address to hundreds of Garden State educational leaders at the New Jersey School Boards Association's 2018 Workshop event in Atlantic City. The NJSBA's annual Workshop is the state's largest professional development event for school leaders and administrators.

In less than six minutes, Stevie eloquently and knowledgeably outlined both the challenges and the possibilities that he sees in the current state of U.S. education. Of course, he also touched upon the online curriculum that he has initiated and developed with music historians, writers and educators from various subject areas. The curriculum, Steve asserted, "is dedicated to one simple truth, and that one simple truth is our society's challenge... and every teacher's challenge going forward, if we're going to evolve into a happy, functioning society: We need to teach our kids how to think, not what to think. Let's take the chains off."

A few hours after the keynote, Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul took the stage at Atlantic City's Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for the next show in their ongoing Teacher Appreciation/Solidarity Tour.

Above, you can watch video of Steven's entire address, courtesy of David Von Roehm, a film production teacher at Chartertech High School for the Performing Arts in Somers Point, NJ and producer at Luck Films. You also can click here to view Atlantic City: Songs of Stories Untold, a half-hour documentary directed by one of Von Roehm's students, Elijah Terrence. The documentary was screened at the NJSBA Workshop shortly before Van Zandt's keynote.
- October 25, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting


October's entry in Bruce Springsteen's official live series was the first Rising show from the archives, and Springsteen's first-ever performance in Finland: Helsinki, June 16, 2003. When we first reported on the release on First Friday, we had dug through our own archives to find photos from the night by Backstreets photographer Riku Olkkonen. A little more digging, and we've turned up some additional gems, these from Backstreets contributor Jussi Eskola, who was also shooting at Olympiastadion that night. More to feast your eyes upon as you listen to the newest from Nugs.

- October 25, 2018 - photographs by Jussi Eskola


Coming in November from Louisana State University Press is American Lonesome: The Work of Bruce Springsteen, by Gavin Cologne-Brookes.

Cologne-Brookes lives in the UK, but he'll be in the States next month for the Louisiana Book Festival, and he'll be signing especially for Backstreets readers while he's here.

The number of pre-orders we receive will determine how much signing Gavin does for us, and it's just about time for us to submit a quantity to LSU Press... so be sure to order yours ASP to guarantee. For more on the book and to pre-order, see American Lonesome in our online shop.

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- October 23, 2018

Last night's "The Stone Pony Then and Beyond"

The Stone Pony was sold out last night, but for once, the headliner wasn't a band. Instead, it was a discussion panel hosted by the New York Times. Billed as "an experience designed to bring subscribers closer to the Times," it was an in-person version of Sunday's oral history of the venerable music venue and its relationship to the city of Asbury Park. The panel included former co-owner Jack Roig, former manager Eileen Chapman, original E Streeter Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez, and current manager Caroline O'Toole.

October 22, 2018, Asbury Park, NJ, L-R: Chapman, Roig, Lopez, O'Toole, and Corasaniti moderating.

The quartet was interviewed by Times New Jersey correspondent Nick Corasaniti, whose lengthy oral history piece had come as a surprise to many when it first surfaced last Friday. The live discussion didn't cover much new ground, but it was an opportunity for some lesser-known figures like Roig to reminisce in their old stomping grounds. Clad in his trademark shorts despite the chilly temperatures, the gangly and gregarious Roig recalled late nights and misadventures with musicians whose careers he launched — including Lopez, who opined that many of his best moments had been spent on the very stage where he was sitting. Chapman, who managed the club after it was revived in the early 2000s, credited Roig and co-owner (and recently deceased) Butch Pielka with creating the "house band" tradition that gave rise to bands like Cats on a Smooth Surface and, of course, the legendary Asbury Jukes. The Pony was always a special place, said Lopez, adding, "We always rehearsed before we played here."

Among the other discussion highlights:

  • Roig's memory of walking into the Pony late one evening to discover one of his bartenders seated on what was an unusually crowded front bar, while Bruce Springsteen dispensed generously portioned cocktails to thrilled patrons.
  • O'Toole's description of the impromptu wake that took place inside the Pony after the sudden death of Clarence Clemons.
  • Another Roig tale about an hour-long set by KISS (yes, they were wearing their makeup), whom he credited with being "very professional."
  • All participants cited the unique vibe of the legendary venue during the course of the discussion, but Lopez perhaps summed it up best as a local place where "everybody was family."

A few audience questions were taken, but folks seemed anxious to get to the musical portion of the evening, a promised acoustic mini-set by Southside Johnny Lyon accompanied by his old friend Bobby Bandiera. Wearing his trademark sunglasses, Lyon was his usual wry self, introducing himself and Bandiera as "The Bacon Brothers." The pair treated the packed house to a mix of Jukes standards like "Trapped Again" and "Talk to Me," along with obscurities like "(We'll Make This) World Stand Still," a Bandiera/Lyon co-write resurrected from a mid-'90s European CD release. The romantic ballad, performed as a spare duet, showcased Bandiera's still-remarkable tenor and skilled acoustic guitar work.

Lyon rounded out the set with "I Don't Wanna Go Home," which he recalled first hearing on the radio while driving south toward Asbury Park with Steven Van Zandt at the wheel of a souped-up Firebird. WNEW was playing, he recalled, when an overly zealous Van Zandt nearly drove them off the road into the lake as their now-trademark tune went out over the airwaves to thousands of eager listeners. Things might've been very different had Steven not jerked the wheel and brought the car back into control in the nick of time. "It might've saved us all the damn traveling," cracked Lyon.

The set concluded with an audience sing-along on (what else?) "Havin' a Party," a boisterous Vini Lopez singing and clapping along just offstage. The evening's discussion forum had been introduced by Times director of subscriber events Beth Weinstein, whose cryptic comment about a "video event" at Asbury Park's indie film house The Showroom hinted that further Times-related surprises may be in store. Stay tuned.
- October 23, 2018 - Lisa Iannucci reporting - photographs by Mark Krajnak/JerseyStyle Photography


Pianist David Sancious left Springsteen's band 44 years ago, but he left an indelible mark on the E Street Band — their name alone, to say nothing of his genius work on The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Nearly a half century later, after work with Tone, major stints with Sting and Peter Gabriel, and numerous solo albums, Sancious is still making new music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's latest album, Eyes Wide Open, is the focus of a new Pledge Music campaign:

David Sancious has embarked on a new recording entitled Eyes Wide Open, an 8 song project featuring legendary names such as Vinnie Colaiuta and Prince alumni Michael Bland and Sonny T. (Thomson). A mix of instrumental and vocal music reminiscent of David’s group Tone, Eyes Wide Open takes a contemporary stance by addressing today’s issues head-on through David’s signature sound.

There are numerous pledge rewards on offer, including signed and unsigned audiophile 180-gram vinyl andCDs, T-shirts, signed lyric sheets, VIP studio and concert packages, rare photos and posters of David with Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel, and more.

The poster of Sancious with Springsteen is an 11x17 David Gahr image from the early days, pictured right, signed by Sancious. There are only 100 of these available — get yours while they last in Sancious's Pledge Music store.

All of these pledge rewards include a digital download of Eyes Wide Open when it's ready to go. For more about the album and campaign, with a video from David, visit
- October 22, 2018


Congratulations to Appleseed Recordings and founder Jim Musselman on the label's 21st annversary, and on today's release of the Roots and Branches 3CD set. This celebratory compilation includes highlights from Appleseed's first 21 years — including Bruce Springsteen's "We Shall Overcome," which was the first glimmer of the Seeger Sessions project — as well as new, previously unreleased tracks. Springsteen's "If I Had a Hammer" appears here for the first time. The 57-track set is 10% off with our new release sale.

Musselman tells us, "I am so blessed and humbled by all Bruce has done for a little label among giant redwood trees."

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- October 19, 2018

New York Times gathers oral history of the Asbury club, hosts event there next week

Your must-read for today: The thriving New York Times presents an oral history of the Stone Pony, "How an Iconic Rock Club Rode the Ups and Downs of One of New Jersey's Most Storied Shore Towns." Nick Corasaniti put the story together, talking with "the owners, musicians, staff and fans who have called its dark black interior and low-slung stage home."

Among the musicians telling the story: Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Van Zandt, Southside Johnny, Vini Lopez, Bobby Bandiera, and Brian Fallon. Others taking part include original owner Jack Roig, Pony DJ Lee Mrowicki, Shore journalist now GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli, Springsteen Archives Director Eileen Chapman, and current Pony manager Caroline O'Toole.

Read: "The House Springsteen Built: An Oral History of the Stone Pony"

For an encore, the Times runs Corasaniti's complete interview with Springsteen, from which comments were taken for the oral history. Bruce recalls meeting his future wife for the first time at the Pony: "She came out and played onstage with, it might have been Bobby Bandiera or, I forget which local band was playing. But she came out and played the Exciters' hit 'Tell Him,' and she was very striking right from the beginning."

Read: "Bruce Springsteen on the Stone Pony: 'Just a Very Down-Home Place'"

On Monday night, October 22, the storied Asbury Park club will host The Stone Pony Then and Beyond, a night presented by the New York Times and hosted by Corasanti. He'll be leading a panel discussion featuring Chapman, Lopez, and O'Toole; Southside Johnny will also be on hand for an acoustic performance. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster.
- October 17, 2018 - photograph by James Shive


Photographers David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen join for a Joad/Nebraska-themed gallery showing
Tomorrow Morrison Hotel Gallery will launch its bi-coastal exhibition of Springsteen-themed photographs by David Michael Kennedy and Pamela Springsteen. The exhibit, entitled From Nebraska to Tom Joad: Visions of the Heartland and Bruce Springsteen, will spotlight Pam Springsteen's work on her brother's album The Ghost of Tom Joad and Kennedy's work on the Nebraska album: two records very much linked by their shared focus on a hard, troubled land.

The exhibit opens tomorrow, October 17, and runs through October 21 at Morrison Hotel's Los Angeles Gallery. It then will move to Morrison Hotel's Soho Gallery in New York City for a run that will begin on October 24 and continue through November 1. Prints of the photographs on display will be available for purchase. Click here for further information.

Kennedy and Springsteen also will be special call-in guests on tomorrow's edition of E Street Radio's Live From E Street Nation with Dave Marsh and Jim Rotolo. The show will air beginning at 10 am ET on Sirius/XM channel 20, with a repeat airing on Sunday, October 21 at 6 pm ET.
- October 16, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting

DVD is now available, in both regular and Collector's editions
Today Thom Zimny's three-hours-plus, two-part film Elvis Presley: The Searcher becomes available in the U.S. on DVD only (no Blu-Ray), released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Zimny directed the film — which just received two nominations for Critics' Choice Awards — and served as one of its executive producers, along with Jon Landau and others. Landau and Bruce Springsteen were among those interviewed for the documentary.

The DVD release includes a 40-minute featurette entitled In Conversation with Priscilla Presley, Thom Zimny, Jerry Schilling and Scott Goldman. The featurette was filmed at the Grammy Museum earlier this year, with the participants discussing the making of the documentary. The Collector's Edition DVD, pictured right, contains the same DVD content but also includes a 20-page booklet featuring images from the Graceland archives.

Backstreets covered Elvis Presley: The Searcher extensively last spring, when the film had its world premiere at Austin, TX's SXSW 2018 film festival, shortly before making its HBO debut. Our archived coverage can be found here and here. We'll have more on The Searcher in the pages of Backstreets Magazine issue #92, coming this fall.

Elvis Presley: The Searcher is available now from Backstreet Records in both DVD and Collector's Edition DVD formats — save 20% off each with our New Release sale.
- October 16, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting

Jay Weinberg talks Best Buddies benefit, "a labor of love"

With Jay Weinberg's Buddies on the Beat benefit coming up tomorrow night in Nashville, has an interview with Jay — about his five years drumming with Slipknot as well as what drew him to the Best Buddies organization, and how much he's thrown himself into this effort to help:

I'm personally just so sick of being surrounded by negativity in our world and people who often choose to live a negative life or propagate negative energy in any way. Whether it's political, or social, or within stupid music politics and bulls**t like that. I'm so sick of the addiction to negativity our culture thrives on.

I believe for myself, I've gotta look inwards and find something that I can do that is a counter reaction to that. It's a total DIY effort. I'm not just slapping my name on this.

It's a labor of love. We have cast of over 20 musicians who wanted to be a part of it.

I do find that people are gonna have their stereotypes about whatever people in heavy metal or hard rock stand for, but I know within myself and my friends that will be joining me for this, I know what we're all about.

Jay's fundraiser brings together E Streeters Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg with members of Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, Bully, the Offspring, Dashboard Confessional, the Nashville Predators, and more. "Seeing the response from my own friends has been really heartwarming and encouraging," says Jay, "that people are willing to drop what they are doing and fly across the country to play some cover songs for a really great cause."

If you're near Nashville, tickets for the October 16 concert are available via; from anywhere in the world, you can participate in the online auction.

Read: "Slipknot Drummer Jay Weinberg Discusses Nonprofit Work With Best Buddies International, Benefit Gig"

- October 15, 2018

An annual favorite holiday gift has arrived: the official Bruce Springsteen calendar for the new year from Thrill Hill.

The focus of the 2019 calendar is on the '80s and '90s, to coincide with the Album Collection Vol. 2 box set released this year, still available in vinyl and CD formats.

While the last edition was all Frank Stefanko shots, the new calendar taps multiple photographers for striking live shots and portraits, with and without the E Street Band, in both color and black & white.

Click here for more calendar images
and to order from Backstreet Records

- October 15, 2018

It's been a dozen years since Charles Giordano started touring with Bruce Springsteen. Before he stepped in for Danny Federici in 2007 with the E Street Band, Charlie spent most of 2006 on the road with the Sessions Band (that's their June 16, 2006 stop in Cleveland, above). While we're hoping to see him up on that E Street organ riser again next year for Lucky 13... in the meantime we wish Charlie a very happy birthday today. Excelsior!
- October 13, 2018 - photograph by Guy Aceto


That's the title of a blog entry the irreverent Linda Chorney wrote during her crazy ride to the Grammys in 2012. A scene in her award-winning film When I Sing shows Linda proudly sharing it with music historian Jim Berkenstadt in a studio session, with a photo of Bruce Springsteen and Linda backstage at The Paramount in Asbury Park.

Chorney made history in 2012 as the first truly independent artist to be nominated for a Grammy for Best Americana Album. The gatekeepers of the industry did not welcome her nomination with open arms, thus Chorney received a lot of flak for daring to crash their party. But she made the best of it with her sense of humor, which is depicted in her music and in When I Sing.

In fact, in 2012, Chorney performed at the Light of Day Foundation concert at The Paramount, taking the stage directly after Bruce sat in with Garland Jeffries.  She got up to the mic, with a Cheshire Cat smile, and announced, "I always wanted Bruce to open for me." The audience responded with roaring laughter, though some gasped. This actual footage is used in her docudrama. 

"When I was backstage," Chorney recalls, "I thought to myself, when am I ever going to have the opportunity to deliver such a line? I'm going for it. Hopefully, they'll laugh."

"Then Bruce invited me on stage with him, Willie Nile and Garland, but I was in the bathroom!"

I loved the film so much that, as I write, I am literally on my way to see When I Sing screen for a second time in Los Angeles. The film has heart! No wonder it's winning so many awards.

When I Sing will screen in Atlantic Highlands this Wednesday at Atlantic Cinemas at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased at, with additional screenings listed here.

In November, Linda continues The Wicked Awesome World Tour with the following dates:

- October 12, 2018 - Jimmy Star reporting

A year ago, photographer Frank Stefanko celebrated his massive new Springsteen retrospective Further Up the Road, a beautiful book published in Italy, with a visit to The Boot and a Wall of Sound Gallery exhibition. Next week, he's coming back to say cao... and for another showing of his Springsteen exhbition, this time in Bologna at the ONE Arte Contemporanea gallery.

For the opening event on October 18, Stefanko will be on hand for a conversation with his Wall of Sound Editions publisher Guido Harari, to sign, and to celebrate.

"It should be a party," Frank tells Backstreets. "Joining us will be Cristina Arrigoni and Willie Nile, to add to the excitement. Cristina will be signing her new book that Guido designed and published for her, The Sound of Hands, and Willie will be performing and signing his wonderful new album Children of Paradise, featuring Cristina's cover photography."

Bruce Springsteen: Further Up the Road - The Photography of Frank Stefanko will be on display from October 18 to November 18. For further information, visit If you'll be in Bologna, you'll be able to purchase Further Up the Road at the gallery. If not... the Deluxe Edition is sold out, but you can still order the Collector Edition from Backstreet Records.
- October 11, 2018 - photographs by Frank Stefanko

Striking new political ad boosts women Congressional candidates
When political rallies use rock music to get the crowds going, it often raises the ire of the songwriters. But an advertisement that appeared October 9 on YouTube seems to have some cooperation from Bruce Springsteen: "Women Rising," for eight candidates running in next month's Congressional elections.

Until today, we weren't familiar with all of them — Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Mikie Sherill of New Jersey, Amy McGrath of Kentucky, Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, and MJ Hegar and Gina Ortiz Jones of Texas — or Serve America, the political action committee that created the one-minute, 18-second ad. While it's no surprise that they're Democrats — we have a hard time imagining that Springsteen would let "The Rising" get reworked for Republican campaigns this time around — we know this group's strength, experience (pilots, a combat surgeon, a Purple Heart recipient, an intelligence officer, an appointee of the Bush and Obama administrations, veterans of the Navy, Air Force, and Marines) and courage will serve them well in a tough election season. And beyond.

After watching the spot — moved, frankly, and through a few tears — we tried to recall an instance where Springsteen has approved the use of his music for a political advertisement. Vote for Change, sure. Rallies for Barack Obama, too. And let's not forget about that gig at the White House in 2017. But advertisements? This may be the first time Bruce Springsteen clearly approved this message.

Moreover, the song appears tailored specifically for use here. A long instrumental leads into the narration, and Springsteen's vocal comes in at the end. Of course, "The Rising" has roots about as far from electoral politics as one could imagine. Few would have predicted that it would appear years later in a political ad. But the power of "The Rising" lies in honoring the bravery, courage, and sacrifice of people dedicated to a greater purpose and a common cause — a song truly born in the U.S.A. If these candidates are answering a similar call to service, they may just have the right song.
- from the Editors, October 10, 2018


Coming in November from Louisana State University Press is American Lonesome: The Work of Bruce Springsteen, by Gavin Cologne-Brookes. Pre-order now from Backstreet Records to have yours signed by the author!

Cologne-Brookes lives in the UK, but he'll be in the States next month for the Louisiana Book Festival, and he'll be signing especially for Backstreets readers while he's here. The number of pre-orders we receive will determine how much signing Gavin does for us, so order yours now to guarantee. For more on the book and to pre-order, see American Lonesome in our online shop.

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- October 10, 2018

Speaking of fun shows in Nashville, here's another one coming up this weekend. The same guys who put on recent Springsteen tribute concerts in Music City ("40 Years Burnin' Down the Road," the "Darkness on the Edge of Town" eclipse event) are getting the band back together... this time for Sprucefest on October 12.

The event is to christen the new location of the hit Nashville brewery Jackalope and the release of their seasonal black IPA, Spruce Beersteen. Alex Fang of the BEast Street Band (as they're known this time around) tells us, "Maybe Pete frontman Frankie McGrath will be singing with us, as well as well other Nashville talents including Eric Stuart (who many know as the voice of Brock from Pokemon)." Catch 'em all this Friday at Jackalope Ranch Taproom, 5-9pm.
- October 8, 2018


Some E Street action is coming to Nashville in mid-October, and for a great cause — Jay Weinberg has put together a benefit show featuring not only his own big beat, but also the long-prevailing rhythm section of the E Street Band.

"I’m hosting a night of covers ranging from The Who to The Misfits," Jay tells Backstreets, "and my father and Garry Tallent are among the awesome special guests we’ll be having on stage!"

The event — Buddies on the Beat: A Benefit for Best Buddies Hosted by Jay Weinbeg — will be held at the Basement East on Tuesday, October 16. Tickets are $15 in advance ($20 day of show), with $75 VIP tickets also available including soundcheck, a meet-and-greet with Jay and Max, and more. On sale now at

Buddies on the Beat will raise funds for Best Buddies Tennessee, "a great nonprofit in my community that helps kids and young adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as autism and Down syndrome," says Jay. He also notes that 100% of the night's proceeds, including a silent auction, will benefit Best Buddies. "We’ll be auctioning off a custom Fender telecaster signed by Bruce, my father, Garry, all of Slipknot, and more."

After filling in for his dad on the E Street drum throne in 2009, Jay has been a member of Slipknot since 2014. For more about his involvement with Best Buddies, and to donate to the cause, visit Jay's fundraising page.
- October 7, 2018


Europe 2003 rises from the vault, with the first night in Helsinki
The Rising is arguably Bruce Springsteen's most culturally important album of the past two decades. At home, it re-established him as a mainstream commercial force and a voice of national significance in the 21st century. Overseas, the LP reinforced his status as an American cultural ambassador. Yet the 2002-'03 tour that followed has been increasingly conspicuous by its absence from the Nugs retrospective series.

That absence came down to a technical snag. Rather than analog or digital tape, the tour relied on an early-generation version of Direct Stream Digital (DSD) to make multi-track recordings. But years after the fact, outdated and outmoded software and hardware made recovery of the recordings a challenge. Today's arrival of Helsinki, June 16, 2003 suggests those issues are finally being overcome, bringing a Rising-era performance to the archive series for the first time.

June 16, 2003 in Helsinki - all photographs by Riku Olkkonen

Springsteen first visited the Nordic region in 1975, with shows in Sweden; Norway and Denmark got their live baptisms on the River Tour in 1981. But he didn't play in Finland until this night in 2003. Back-to-back Rising shows at Helsinki's Olympiastadion sold out in a record-breaking two hours, and the Finnish fans evidently made enough of an impression to earn several subsequent E Street visits.

And while the Finns may have been somewhat late to the house party, they would go on to leave their mark in the history books: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band would play their longest concert to date, in 2012, right here at the same Olympiastadion, a genuine four-hour-plus show that has already earned a spot in the official archive series.
Few fans who have clamored for a Rising Tour release had June 16 in mind, a show never widely considered remarkable. But it's a solid one. The show's "Model A" setlist features nine tracks from The Rising, including ones rarely revisited after 2003, like "Empty Sky," "You're Missing," and "Worlds Apart."

In contrast, rather than the tours they represent, "fan favorite" releases (such as Nassau '80 or Brendan Byrne Arena '93) emphasized the uniqueness of individual performances. Starting with a less famed Rising show at the outset is not unlike the choice of August 5, 1984 as the first selection from the Born in the U.S.A. period, or Belfast (1996) for the Tom Joad tour.

The Rising Tour started in the summer of 2002. Its "barnstorming" strategy hit many locations for one night only, including seven performances across Europe. The Live in Barcelona video showcases this early stretch at its best: a compact, high-energy arena performance. When the E Street Band returned to Europe for a more extensive 24-show leg in the spring and early summer that followed, the concerts took place in much larger outdoor venues. The sold-out Olympiastadion held close to 45,000.

As far as rock shows go, a concert on the Rising Tour was a serious affair. If the Ministry of Rock 'n' Roll was back in church on the Reunion Tour, the post-9/11 mood on the Rising Tour felt at times like a wake. The Finnish are regarded as among the more stoic Europeans; moreover, Springsteen was meeting this audience for the first time, outdoors and in somewhat cool weather.

Audiences here are largely fluent in English and will listen attentively to new material, slow songs, and spoken interludes. Springsteen opened with the solo-acoustic "Born in the U.S.A." In 2002, he'd introduced the familiar full-band version as "a prayer for peace." By the summer of 2003, with the Iraq war under way, the acoustic version needed no introduction to be well understood by a crowd sympathetic to his opposition to it.

The great challenge of performing to a large audience of reserved northern Europeans is to get the crowd to loosen up, move, and sing along. Maybe it is easier to let loose in the dark, but if it gets dark at an early summer outdoor show like this, it won't be until the encores. Even an entertainer on Springsteen's level cannot take the cooperation of these crowds for granted.

Of course, pumping up tens of thousands of grown adults is all in a night's work for the mighty E Street Band. But there is a difference between a jaded, tailgate-tired East Coast crowd that may have seen it all before but is ultimately there for a good time, and an audience that is culturally less expressive and needs to be convinced to lose its inhibitions.

That brings us to "Mary's Place" — the beating heart at the center of any Rising Tour show, extended with band introductions and parts of "Baby, I've Been Missing You" and Major Lance's "Monkey Time." Listen for Bruce's exhortation to the Finns as he works to get them in concert with him. "Mary's Place" was a lengthy performance that repeat attendees may have tired of. And without the visual benefit of the onstage spectacle, the song may be diminished in its translation to the audio format. But on a night like this, before a new and unfamiliar audience, it is this brand-new track that does the job of bringing the crowd up a level or two, making sure a three-hour concert doesn't feel too long.
By the time the encores roll around, the audience should be won over, and all that is left is hard-rocking communal celebration. "Ramrod," extended by a playful instrumental boogie, joins radio favorites "Dancing in the Dark" and "Glory Days," which were back with a vengeance after being out of rotation on the Reunion Tour. And Moon Mullican's "Seven Nights to Rock," still a hot new showpiece after its Paris debut less than a month earlier, hit the ground running. It quickly became an encore staple.

Until now, this show is unlikely to have made many Top Ten Rising Tour show lists. But the setlist here is a first-rate representation of the 2003 European shows — exactly what you'd expect from the first night of two in a new market — and it is exciting that Nugs has finally broken the seal on such an important era for Springsteen and his fans. It isn't unreasonable to expect that we will see more concerts from this tour in the future.

Now, put on headphones to hear what the hardworking sound wizards have managed to do with that tricky DSD multi-track recording.

Also read: Erik Flannigan's blog entry on Helsinki, "We're Gonna Play Until the Sun Goes Down."

- October 5, 2018 - Magnus Lauglo reporting - photographs by Riku Olkkonen

Behind the centerpiece of the next issue of Backstreets Magazine, a definitive, career-spanning interview with Little Steven
This month, Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul resume their Soulfire Teacher Solidarity Tour with a series of 28 American shows that will keep them on the road until shortly before Christmas, when Soulfire Live! will be released in vinyl and Blu-Ray formats. As before, teachers who sign up for the nightly TeachRock professional development workshops get free admission to the show.

"This will be the end of the Soulfire tour," tweeted Little Steven. "We're hitting the Midwest, all the states where teachers were on strike (or almost were) to show solidarity." This final U.S. leg begins October 18 in Wilkes Barre, PA, and these gigs will formally conclude a two-year cycle of recording and touring that began in London on October 29, 2016.

Backstreets has reported on Little Steven's every move since then, and we'll be posting regular reports this fall as he and the band travel from New Jersey to California, clocking up their 100th show en route. Although he intends to continue his solo musical career, it's understood that Little Steven has reserved the first few months of 2019 for other projects. A new studio album is currently being recorded in New York, and members of the band have taken to social media to extol its virtues.

"I must warn you now that this new album will surprise you," said Ed Manion. "It is off the charts and will be worth the wait when you finally hear it. We worked hard and gave it our all. Seriously, it's hard to describe what just happened here. You will love it!" During a phone-in interview on Tom Cunningham's Bruce Brunch on September 23, Little Steven said that the album will probably be released in May, two years after Soulfire. He later tweeted that it will feature 10 new songs. At the moment, a European tour is pencilled in for next summer.

To coincide with Little Steven's two-month tour and the final stretch of Springsteen on Broadway, we'll be publishing a brand-new print edition of Backstreets magazine. The centerpiece of the new issue will be one of the longest and most comprehensive recent interviews with Little Steven, conducted by longtime Backstreets contributor and Van Zandt historian Mike Saunders [above].

Continue reading for more on this landmark sit-down,
including excerpts from the 18,000-word interview

- October 2, 2018


Sony has gotten serious about Springsteen streaming in 2018. In May, a big audio effort brought lots of Bruce's loose ends to Digital Service Providers for the first time, with Spare Parts: The 9 EP Digital Collection. Across those nine EPs were 21 recordings — previously released live tracks and B-sides, gathered in this Spotify playlist — making their debuts for streaming services and digital downloads. We wrote about it here.

Slowly but surely, Springsteen video is being given a similar treatment.

Last week, the complete The River Tour, Tempe 1980 film — originally available only as part of the Ties That Bind box set — became available on YouTube for free HD streaming up to 1080p, posted as individual tracks and gathered into a full playlist. Additional clips from the Ties box have been posted as well (five songs from River Tour rehearsals), all on the Springsteen YouTube page.

Tempe 1980 is the fourth such title to officially make the jump from DVD to YouTube. Though not touted as a monthly series in the way the Nugs live archive series has been, it's shaping up that way: a new Springsteen title has made its way to YouTube each month since June:

So we're seeing a trend, with additional titles ripe for official transfer (including Live in Barcelona, Live in Dublin, and London Calling: Live in Hyde Park) that could take us well into next year, if a monthly release schedule keeps up.

Of course, Blu-rays and DVDs for these titles are still in print and available. But free? Free ain't at all a bad price to pay.

Springsteen's YouTube account also hosts music videos, product trailers, one-off live tour clips (see the "From the Road" playlist), speeches, and television performances from charity benefits to SNL.
- October 2, 2018

Bruce Springsteen is returning to the Stand Up for Heroes fundraiser this November — this 12th annual benefit will be Bruce's 11th appearance — and Omaze is hosting a fundraising sweepstakes with quite the prize: One winner and a guest will receive not only receive VIP tickets to the show, but also get a backstage meet-and-greet with Bruce and green room access, with flights and hotel included.

Donations made between now and October 21, 2018 at 11:59pm will score you entries to the sweepstakes and benefit the Bob Woodruff Foundation. See full details at
- October 2, 2018

Springsteen jams with Social D at Asbury's Sea.Hear.Now Festival

Boardwalk life is through? Not judging by this past weekend in Asbury Park. The inaugural Sea.Hear.Now festival in Asbury was a success right out of the gate, capped off with a Day 2 guest performance from Bruce Springsteen on the beach.

Last night, Springsteen joined his old pal Mike Ness and Social Distortion for three songs on the Sea.Hear.Now Sand Stage: "Bad Luck" (which Ness has previously performed with the E Street Band), "Misery Loves Company" (the studio version of which features Springsteen, on Ness's solo album Cheating at Solitaire) and Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" (which Social Distortion covered on their 1990 self-titled album).

Congratulations to Sea.Hear.Now mastermind Danny Clinch on creating a music/art/surf festival perfectly suited to Asbury Park — the Asbury Park Press calls it "a major success." We'll have a full report from the fest in the coming days; in the meantime, watch Springsteen's guest spots below.

- October 1, 2018 - photograph by Moe Green

Mark Kissling shares 2008 "This Land Is Your Land" Springsteen interview

Ten years ago, educator Mark Kissling was studying the history of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." His research included a couple days at the Woody Guthrie Archives, focusing on "how teachers in U.S. schools over the past six decades have used the song as a curricular resource to teach about patriotism." If you were in his shoes, is there anybody in particular you'd like to talk to about the song?

Well, exactly. And as as guest editor of the new issue of Bank Street Occasional Papers Series, Kissling, now an assistant professor of education at Penn State, writes, "During this time, Bruce graciously sat down with me at his home in New Jersey for an interview about how he learned the song and why he began playing it at concerts in the early 1980s."

You'll find the full 28-minute interview now online — "'That's Quite a Tune: An Interview with Bruce Springsteen" — as both an audio file and a full transcript. Along the way Springsteen talks about the beauty of the song, about Guthrie, the music of the Civil Rights Movement, "the American idea," his own political activism, identity, and lineage. And of course, adding "This Land Is Your Land" to his set on the 1980-'81 River tour:

I put it into the show in 1980 because the band was sort of taking a turn towards the political: certainly with Darkness on the Edge of Town, a lot of class-based music; The River. There was a recession at the time. My brother-in-law was a construction worker — very similar now: construction stopped. No construction jobs. He became a janitor at the high school. This was my sister's life. Reagan was elected in 1980, which seemed like a disaster in the making for working people. That was when we brought it into the show and I started to sing it.

It was going to be [“This Land Is Your Land”] because it was a song I felt people knew but didn’t know, [that] they didn’t understand its full meaning and its greatness. It had kind of been diminished by overuse. Its popularization had cut away some of its depth at the time. I just looked at it as a piece of poetry, it was so beautiful. I mean, if you take away even the verses that contain some of what you might call the “radical politics,” the song still functions. It’s enormously beautiful. It’s one of the most beautiful statements of ownership of your own Americanness. The insistence of your place, that this is your place. That you have a place, not just geographically, but by birthright you are a player in history. By your belonging to this place, at this time, and making your claim of ownership of this place, at this time, marks you as a player in this moment in history. As such you are empowered, rather than disenfranchised.

Springsteen and the E Street Band performed Guthrie's song more than 80 times on the 1980-'81 tour (their December 28, 1980 live performance at Nassau Coliseum was included on Live/1975-'85) and revisited it again at the end of the Born in the U.S.A. tour, for another 20 performances in the summer of 1985. At the time of the interview, December 2008, Springsteen's performance of the song with Pete Seeger to celebrate the Inauguration of Barack Obama [above, January 18, 2009] was still just a gleam in his eye.

For further reading, we recommend Robert Santelli's This Land is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song.
- September 30, 2018 - special thanks to Mark Kissling


Published in 2006 by Chronicle Books, Robert Santelli's Greetings From E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is not only a rich history of the band, it's also a treasure trove of photographs, clippings, and memorabilia — including removable reproductions of everything from backstage passes to a Stone Pony cocktail napkin.

Though it's out of print, we still have copies of Greetings From E Street in stock.

We also have a stack of these books that we're offering in a scratch-and-dent sale: 50% off a limited quantity of Greetings, marked down from the $35 list price to $17.50. These copies have imperfections to the slipcase that houses the book: dings, bumps, or small splits. But the book inside is in perfect shape, complete with all inserts present.

See all Books at Backstreets Records

See all Latest Additions at Backstreet Records

- September 27, 2018

As part of his 2018 Summer Road Trip, Jake Clemons and his four-piece band recently completed a U.K. tour that comprised consecutive nights in Glasgow (August 28), Liverpool (29), Birmingham (30), Oxford (31), and London (September 1). The Glasgow show was moved from the O2 ABC to The Garage, due to the devastating fire at the neighbouring Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art that severely damaged the venue.

Inevitably, the majority of Jake's audiences were Springsteen fans, but as Bruce was several thousand miles away on Broadway, they were almost certainly in attendance to discover what he had to offer rather than hoping that his employer might turn up. Those who hadn't previously seen Jake live experienced some powerful and emotional live performances, and more full-band rock 'n' roll — and less sax — than they were probably expecting.

Playing acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards and saxophone, Jake sang material from his 2017 debut album Fear and Love and previous EPs Embracing Light and It's On. These included "All I Need," "Song For Hope," "Hold Tight," "Janine" (his song about the dangers of an abusive relationship), and "You Must Be Crazy," which included a nightly excursion into the crowd to roam the room, sing with fans, and pose for selfies.

Photograph by Mike Saunders

The sets included some older unreleased songs — "Wherever You Are" and "Say Your Prayers" (on the latter, Jake recorded multiple loops that combined to make a multi-tracked one-man performance) — and more recent material that may appear on his second album, including "Nothing Left," "Consumption Town," "I Never Missed You," and "Ayuda."

Jake gets a little help from Mic Geraghty - photograph by Mike Saunders

There were also three inspired covers: a joyous encore of the Rascals' "Good Lovin'," a Joe Cocker-style "With a Little Help From My Friends" (a duet with roadie, friend, and fellow musician Mic Geraghty), and a rocked-up version of Leonard Cohen's "Democracy," which many felt was one of the highlights of the tour.
- September 26, 2018 - Mike Saunders reporting - thanks to Dan French and Deirdre Houston for additional information - Visit Dan's YouTube channel to view additional Jake clips


Happy birthday, Bruce! Keep shutting 'em up and shutting 'em down.
- September 23, 2018

Tom Cunningham's weekly radio show to host a 9/23 birthday bash

With Bruce's birthday falling on a Sunday this year — that's this Sunday, in case you don't have major holidays marked on your calendar — leave it to Tom Cunningham and the Bruce Brunch radio program to cook up a cool celebration for the occasion.

The Bruce Brunch, which airs every Sunday morning from 9 to 11 Eastern on 105.7 The Hawk at the Jersey Shore, will be broadcasting live from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City! The broadcast will emanate from the Lobby Bar inside the Hard Rock, with no cover or charges of any kind — this is a free event.

Tom has filled us in on some of his plans for the birthday bash… and it sounds like he's turning the sand to gold.

First of all, Steven Van Zandt will be calling in as a special guest. A longtime Hard Rock proponent, Stevie dropped by the construction site last year and promised to play a show when everything was up and running. That promise will be fulfilled next month when he rolls into town with the Disciples of Soul, Tuesday 10/23. And this Sunday morning, someone will leave the Hard Rock with a pair of front row tickets in hand.

John Eddie & His Dirty Ol' Band will be performing live on the air, and the band will include original Front Street Runner guitarist "Baby" Joe Sweeney. Count on at least one memorable Springsteen cover. And stick around after the radio broadcast, because John and the band will be playing at least a set right from the Lobby Bar stage.

Noted Springsteen photographer Frank Stefanko will also be on hand. He is generously giving away a 16x20 portrait of Bruce (above) titled "Hard Land" (2017, Colts Neck, NJ).  

Sunday's giveaways, in addition to the Stefanko print:

  • Tickets to see Steely Dan on Saturday 10/13 at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock.
  • Front row seats to see Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul on Tuesday 10/23 at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock
  • Tickets and an overnight stay to see Elvis Costello & The Imposters on Saturday 11/3 at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock
  • Tickets and an overnight stay to see Bob Dylan & His Band on Saturday 11/17 at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock

Be sure to note: the show streams online at, but you must be present to win.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is the home of some rare Springsteen memorabilia, as well as Stevie Van Zandt keepsakes, the Big Man's BIG motorcycle, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes archives, and lots more Jersey Shore music scene rarities.

Cunningham tells Backstreets, "It's been a while since Bruce's birthday has fallen on a Sunday. What better way to mark the day than with other fans in this beautiful new place. The Hard Rock did it right, and I love how they made sure that all of New Jersey's legendary artists are represented."

Makeup on? Hair look pretty? The Bruce Brunch is heading to Atlantic City.
- September 20, 2018

Nils Lofgren jams with his brothers to kick off fall Acoustic Duo tour

Over the weekend, Nils Lofgren started his September tour in style with three nights in a row at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. Following those homecoming shows, Lofgren's tour pulls into Asbury Park tonight, for a stop at the Stone Pony, and continues throughout the month.

All in the Family: Mike, Nils, and Tom Lofgren at the Birchmere, 9/14/18 - photo by Jerry Frishman

The Birchmere concerts — three nights running, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — were special ones, as Nils and his Acoustic Duo tourmate Greg Varlotta (guitar, trumpet, keyboards, tap dancing) were joined by Lofgren brothers Tom, Mike, and Mark for "An Acoustic Evening with Nils Lofgren & Friends." During one song Nils and Tom — who were bandmates in Grin — strummed each other's guitars, and the sibling love was evident when all four brothers performed together. Their mom must have been proud.

Still Grinnin': Nils and Tom help each other out, 9/14/18 - photo by Jerry Frishman

The song selection spanned Nils's 50-year career, including Grin tracks like "Moon Tears" and "Believe," and solo cuts like "Code of the Road," "Girl in Motion," and "No Mercy." In between songs he told stories — on Friday, he talked about meeting Neil Young and collaborating on the After the Gold Rush album. Nils displayed his wide instrumental range, playing harp, keyboard, guitar, and lap steel; his rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee" on accordion was a huge crowd pleaser.

A fan in the opening night crowd called out, "Bullets Fever"! Nils sang a few lines of his 1978 basketball anthem and told the story of how he wrote that song and took it to local Washington DC stations, whereupon it became a big local hit. (Of course, the team is now the Wizards). The performance concluded with a great version of his sublime favorite "Shine Silently."

Following tonight's Asbury Park gig, the Acoustic Duo will make their way around the Northeast before wrapping up the month in NYC — get there if you can:

  • September 18 - The Stone Pony - Asbury Park, NJ
  • September 19 - Musikfest Cafe at ArtsQuest Center - Bethlehem, PA
  • September 20 - Colonial Theatre - Phoenixville, PA
  • September 21 - The Space at Westbury - Westbury, NY
  • September 22 - Cabot Theater - Beverly, MA
  • September 23 - Paramount Hudson Valley - Peekskill, NY
  • September 25 - Tupelo Music Hall - Derry, NH
  • September 26 - Narrows Center for the Arts - Fall River, MA
  • September 27 - Academy of Music - Northampton, MA
  • September 28 - Cary Hall - Lexington, MA
  • September 29 - Infinity Hall - Norfolk, CT
  • September 30 - City Winery - New York, NY

For more details and ticket links, visit
- September 18, 2018 - photographs and reporting by Jerry Frishman

As we first reported in May, screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan revealed that he and his father, fellow screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, drew inspiration for their Solo: A Star Wars Story screenplay from Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run autobiography. Now that Solo has become available for home viewing via digital streaming, Kasdan has tweeted some additional making-of factoids "in lieu of a commentary," including more details about this Springsteen/Star Wars backstory connection:

Solo: A Star Wars Story is digitally available now, and will be released in physical media formats on September 25. Click here for details.
- September 17, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting

On November 5, an off-night for Springsteen on Broadway, Bruce will be on a different NYC stage, returning for the 12th annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit at Madison Square Garden's Hulu Theatre. The New York Comedy Festival event raises money for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, supporting post-9/11 impacted veterans, service members, their families and caregivers. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Thursday, September 13 at noon Eastern, via Ticketmaster.
- September 12, 2018

Catch that coast town bus to Atlantic City, with a Backstreets ticket presale for Little Steven's only area show next month

This fall, Little Steven brings his Teacher Appreciation Tour back to North America for a two-month victory lap. With his Disciples of Soul, Stevie will be performing from coast to coast beginning in October, from Rochester to San Diego, from Tulsa to Tahoe. It's a last chance for Stateside fans to behold the glory of these Soulfire shows.

With the tri-state area already having witnessed several nights with Little Steven and the Disciples, this fall leg will inlcude only one stop in the region: October 23 in Atlantic City, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's Etess Arena. And Backstreets can help you get in. General onsale for Atlantic City is this Saturday at 10am; 24 hours prior, a Backstreets presale will give our readers advance access to tickets.

Use the presale code BACKSTREETS (all caps) to go for Atlantic City tickets this Friday, Septemer 14, beginning at 10am Eastern via

This final leg is set to open October 18 in Wilkes Barre, PA and continue into December. The current itinerary for the Soulfire Teachrock Tour 2018:

  • October 18 - Kirby Center - Wilkes Barre, PA
  • October 20 - Kodak Center - Rochester, NY
  • October 23 - Hard Rock Hotel - Atlantic City, NJ
  • October 24 - Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall - Munhall, PA
  • October 29 - Honeywell Center - Wabash, IN
  • October 31 - Pabst Theater - Milwaukee, WI
  • November 2 - Ames Center - Burnsville, MN
  • November 3 - Meyer Theatre - Green Bay, WI
  • November 5 - Copernicus Center - Chicago, IL
  • November 7 - Club Brady Theater - Tulsa, OK
  • November 9 - Music Hall - Detroit, MI
  • November 10 - Monarch Music Hall - Peoria, IL
  • November 12 - Mercury Ballroom - Louisville, KY
  • November 14 - Newport Music Hall - Columbus, OH
  • November 16 - Hard Rock - Cleveland, OH
  • November 17 - Metropolitan Theatre - Morgantown, WV
  • November 26 - Tower Theatre - Oklahoma City, OK
  • November 28 - Hollan Performing Arts Center - Omaha, NE
  • November 30 - Gothic Theatre - Denver, CO
  • December 1 - The Depot - Salt Lake City, UT
  • December 3 - Vogue Theatre - Vancouver, BC
  • December 5 - Snoqualmie Casino - Snoqualmie, WA
  • December 7 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA
  • December 8 - Harrah's Lake Tahoe - Stateline, NV
  • December 11 - House of Blues - San Diego, CA
  • December 12 - House of Blues - Anaheim, CA
  • December 14 - House of Blues - Las Vegas, NV
  • December 16 - The Van Buren - Phoenix, AZ

Watch for further information, including additional show announcements and onsales for the West Coast this Friday morning.

As reported previously, K-12 teachers get into the show free after attending a pre-show TeachRock workshop, focused on using music to engage students in the classroom. See for details.

Currently available from Backstreet Records: Soulfire CD, Soulfire 2LP vinyl, Soulfire Live! 3CD. Coming soon: Soulfire Live! 7LP vinyl, Soulfire Live! Blu-ray.
- September 12, 2018

Boom Boom: the live archive taps the Reunion tour for the second time

Today's new release in Bruce Springsteen's live archive series marks its second offering from the Reunion tour, joining the previously released July 1, 2000 performance from Madison Square Garden. That legendary tour finale was an obvious pick. This one, Chicago September 30, 1999, undoubtedly comes as a surprise to many devotees of the series. Upon further examination, though, it's a fine selection, capturing the soaring wrap-up of a successful first leg of the U.S. tour that rededicated the E Street Band for the turn of the millenium.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band blew into the Windy City in late September for three shows over four nights, riding the momentum of a lengthy stretch of East Coast shows that included a record-setting 15-show home state residency at the Meadowlands and the just-completed six-show stand in their stronghold of Philadelphia, where the Boss turned 50. Unlike lucky Easterners who by then already had plenty of drivable opportunities to see the band, Chicagoans were still thirsty to finally witness Springsteen playing with the E Street Band again. It had been awhile: they'd last played together in the area in 1988 at the Rosemont Horizon. The anticipation for the E Street Band's return was goosed by the giddiness of finally being able to see the reunion that, for a solid decade, we didn't know would ever happen.

The 1999 model E Street Band - photograph by Ron Ring

The fans who filled the spacious United Center for three sold-out shows gave Bruce and the band a hero's welcome — and the E Streeters responded by making "The House That Michael Jordan Built" their own during their first visit to the arena. After an off-day following the first two Chicago shows, which capped a demanding stretch of four in five days, the E Street Band returned to the stage on September 30 with renewed energy — and the continued engagement of proving to itself as well as the audience that it wasn't only rediscovering its storied past, but also creating new glory.

The Chicago stand saw 42 different songs played, including seven on the final night that weren't played in the first two concerts. The stage setlists were replaced twice before this show — a good sign, of course, though their author still didn’t exactly follow the last one taped in front of him. The band slammed into the underplayed "Take 'Em as They Come" to start the night and offered other remarkable rarities as well.

Springsteen rewarded the city he first played in 1973 (as an opener to The Persuasions for five shows at the Quiet Knight) with a stunningly beautiful "New York City Serenade." The epic hadn’t been played since 1975 until making a surprise appearance a month earlier in New Jersey, and it would be performed only five times on the Reunion Tour. While "Serenade" didn’t feature the strings of the recorded version — or of the live performances of recent vintage — Roy Bittan's sublime piano helped send the song down Broadway and into the mystic.

September 1999 - photograph by Mark R. Sullivan

On the flipside, "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart" saw its groove escape. "Oh, we’ve got to practice that one," Springsteen said with a laugh after its conclusion. "She's the One" quickly restored the show's surging energy.

On quite a few occasions Springsteen shouted instructions to the band, followed by urgent scrambling to change guitars. This performance was a prime example of Springsteen making the right calls to form an expertly paced, thematic setlist that had the benefit of strong anchors on this tour. A highlight was the nightly airing of the fiery three-pack of "Youngstown," "Murder Incorporated," and "Badlands." Later, "Tenth Avenue Freeze-out" saw a snippet of the Curtis Mayfield-penned "It's All Right" by The Impressions that led into Al Green's "Take Me to the River" with lengthy band introductions, during which Springsteen said he wanted to go there with us "because you can't get there by yourself."

The main set-closer, a show-stopping, supercharged "Light of Day," nodded to the city's blues tradition with a pedal-to-the-metal shift into John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom." It also made local references to cows, pizza, and "Mike Ditka memorabilia" before Springsteen fervently preached the Reunion tour's mission: "If you've been downsized, stigmatized, retro-psychedelicized, analyzed, Pokemonized, pass-that-tax-cut-for-the-rich-Republicanized, it ain't too late to repent! I'm here to re-educate, to rededicate, to re-confiscate, to resuscitate, to reindoctrinate, to re-sexualate, to re-liberate, to recombobulate with the power, with the glory… with the promise, with the mystery, with the majesty, with the ministry of rock 'n' roll!"

September 1999 - photograph by Mark R. Sullivan

The tour's defining emotional highs of "If I Should Fall Behind" and the new spiritual "Land of Hope of Dreams" packed a back-to-back punch as usual, driving home themes of companionship and camaraderie, but on this night they were not the last word. "Miss O'Leary, step aside!" Springsteen exclaimed — and with that, a lunatic version of the rollicking "Ramrod" served as the closer, ending the concert and stand with fans pumping up the decibel level in the United Center.

The exhausted frontman gave them a final scene to remember as he laid sprawled on his back on the monitor in front of Max Weinberg's drum kit, his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. Then he started turning. For a moment, it looked as if he was trying to kick the bass drum or knock down the entire kit, but he was just gaining leverage to spin on the monitor. He eventually positioned himself upside down and looked at the crowd. The place went nuts. The roar reverberated through the building at least as loud — and maybe even louder — than when Jordan's Bulls won NBA titles here. Don't believe it? Ask the floor that shook. After a mad dash was punctuated by a somersault, Springsteen was still bouncing off the stage when the band took its final bows — a crazy ending to an electrifying show.

Also read: Erik Flannigan's "Listen to Your Junk Man" at

- September 7, 2018 - Dave Miller reporting - ticket stub courtesy of Bev Horne - additional thanks to J. Burt

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Now that school is back in session across the U.S., Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul also are gearing up for more professional-development sessions for teachers as part of the next U.S. leg of their Teacher Appreciation Tour.

Beginning next month, all teachers who attend a TeachRock professional-development session will continue to receive the same cool "stipend" for their attendance — two free tickets to the Little Steven concert accompanying the session — plus some wicked-cool swag, in the form of the newly added official teachers-only Teacher Appreciation Tour T-shirt.

Stevie himself provides all of the details (including the shirt) in the video above. "This is a little different than the professional development experience that you may be used to," says Steve. "This is a rock 'n' roll experience." Interested teachers of classes from kindergarten through grade 12 can click here to learn more and to register for an upcoming professional-development session near them.
- September 6, 2018 - Shawn Poole reporting

We believe strongly that the free press is not the enemy of the people... but still, there are times when you can't believe everything you read. Despite what The Daily Star reported yesterday, Steven Van Zandt does not believe that Bruce Springsteen has just "ONE more tour in him." On Twitter, Stevie calls this "the real FAKE NEWS!"

"We will tour forever" — that's a 100% non-fiction, straight-from-the-source quote we're happy to disseminate.

Stevie and his Disciples of Soul continue their own tour this fall, as the Soulfire TeachRock Tour 2018 returns to the U.S. with more dates beginning in October. See the itinerary at
- September 5, 2018

Here's a fun new roundup from Jay Lustig over at songs that reference Springsteen. Last year, Jay posted a list of 20 ("Singing ABOUT Springsteen: 20 songs where he's in the lyrics"), and over Labor Day weekend he followed up with 20 more: "Singing ABOUT Springsteen, Part 2."

"Lots of cool stuff here I didn't know existed until I did the research," Jay tells us, and we concur. Some tracks will be familiar to most fans not dwelling under a rock — Rick Springfield's "Bruce" and Eric Church's "Springsteen" made the first list, of course — but there are plenty of rarer cuts gathered here. We somehow missed Link Wray's "It Was Elvis" from 1993's Indian Child:

Now Bruce is carrying on with Born to Run
Through the Darkness on the Edge of Town
His gun's for hire, he's making fire
In his pink Cadillac, he's the boss of the rock 'n' roll sound.

On the new list you'll also find recordings from John Wesley Harding, Dar Williams, The Gaslight Anthem, Lana Del Rey, and more. Jay writes, "Some of the artists are extremely obscure, but I think there are a lot of cool 'finds' here that a lot of Springsteen fans probably haven't heard before." Check out Part 1 and Part 2.
- September 4, 2018

Last week, the Asbury Park Press published an article on the houses where the Springsteen family lived in Freehold — a subject with some currency, given Bruce's Born to Run memoir and childhood recollections in Springsteen on Broadway.

Read: Jean Mikle's "Bruce Springseen childhood homes: See where The Boss grew up in NJ."

Jean knows whereof she speaks, having given tours of music landmarks on the Jersey Shore for years, along with collaborator Stan Goldstein. The pair also put their local knowledge down on paper for an invaluable book, Rock & Roll Tour of the Jersey Shore. Here at Backstreets HQ we get asked a lot where to go, if someone is making the pilgrimage to Asbury Park and environs... we recommend this book every time.

With maps, stories, and photos, Rock & Roll Tour of the Jersey Shore is now in its Fourth Edition.

However, we've also turned up a stack of the out-of-print Third Edition [right] — they're a little beat up, but still highly usable. And we'd love to see them in use. So we're having a scratch-and-dent sale: get a copy of the Third Edition for just 5 bucks! That's more than 80% off.

If you're thinking more "throw it in the car and go" rather than "I need it in perfect shape on my shelf," come and get it!

See all Books at Backstreets Records

See all Latest Additions at Backstreet Records

9/4 update: All scratch-and-date Third Editions are now sold out; new Fourth Editions are still in stock.

- Updated September 4, 2018

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Official Springsteen calendars from Thrill Hill now in stock for the new year!

Backstreet Records is the mailorder division of Backstreets, delivering Springsteen merchandise to fans for more than 25 years. We carry numerous collectibles, tour shirts, books, magazines, and imported CDs and records.
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#91 IS HERE!
Our massive new issue honors a very Big Man. More than half of the 116-page, perfect bound Backstreets #91 is a tribute to the life and music of... do we have to say his name?

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Bruce Springsteen reinvents the Broadway show as run comes to a close [The Guardian]
Jeff Tweedy Told His Friends in 3rd Grade That He Wrote Born to Run []
"Pour One Out for the Music of 'Conan': An Appreciation" []
Adam Sandler talks Springsteen on The Howard Stern Show
The Asbury Park Press catches up with Vini Lopez

Updated 12/7/18

We also post all known concert dates for some of our favorite Jersey Shore (and Shore-adopted) musicians:

Willie Nile
Bobby Bandiera
Southside Johnny
John Eddie
Joe D'Urso... and more.

For more information on upcoming shows such as these, check out our Concert Calendar.


Many from the Springsteen community banded together to preserve this Asbury Park landmark.... and Tillie has now been saved!

Check our Save Tillie page for the latest developments.


Organized by Backstreets in 2001, this storehouse of Boss books and magazines is the largest such collection outside of Bruce's mother's basement. Thanks to the generosity of fans around the world, total holdings are now well over 15,000. But the collection is by no means complete.

Check out the Springsteen Special Collection page for more info.

With the Ticketmaster / Live Nation merger approved, we encourage fans to get involved to help protect ticket-buyers.

Check our Fight the Monopoly page for the latest developments


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