Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town broke new ground for The Boss in 1978. A counterpoint to the operatic elegance of Born to Run, the album was an angry, raw record that burst forth after a three-year hiatus.
Because of its darker tones, some might call Darkness a difficult album, but despite this, it's a cherished gem for many.
Collecting stories and photos from hundreds of fans, The Light in Darkness celebrates this classic record, allowing readers to revisit the excitement of that moment when the needle found the grooves in that first cut and the thundering power of "Badlands" shook across the hi-fi for the very first time. Or the uninitiated, but soon-to-be-converted teenager, brought along by friends and finding salvation at one of the legendary three-plus hour concerts - shows that embodied all the manic fury of a revival meeting.
The book is also for those more recent converts to The Boss who may have stumbled across a dusty bootleg in a used record store — discovering the magic of the Agora or the Winterland shows.
Finally, The Light in Darkness is for those who never gave Bruce's fourth album much consideration; those more partial to the high-polished sounds of Born to Run or the stadium-rousing choruses of Born in the U.S.A. For the skeptics, just read the tales of those who struggle with the dark and trembling frustration of "Something in the Night," the open-road emptiness of "Racing in the Street," and the too-faraway hope of "The Promised Land." A troubling album indeed. But the passion, the connection, the thrill of the fans as they explore this classic record will make a convert of anyone.
The Three-Year Wait
It was a long wait. From the time Born to Run came out until the release of Darkness on the Edge of Town, fans had to suffer through a three-year hiatus, a lifetime for a musician to be off the radar back then.
And in the days before the Internet and MTV, Bruce's devotees often had no idea what was taking him so long, and little means to find out. They resorted to scouring the pages of Rolling Stone and Creem magazines for any mention of Springsteen, any hint or clue about when the new record would be released. And when that produced no results, they turned to prayer.
We all know now that legal wrangling with his first manager, Mike Appel, kept a new record off the shelves for those three years. When Bruce finally came out victorious and replaced Appel with music writer Jon Landau, the stage was set for the next record to be released. But few would anticipate the frustration that had built up during those years, anger that Springsteen would channel into the new album.
The Light in Darkness shares the stories of fans coming to grips with this new record and this very different sound from The Boss, finding that Bruce's struggles and frustrations often mirrored their own battles in life. A frayed relationship with a father, a body made sore with factory work, or the suffocating fear of being trapped in the badlands, fans have lived the stories Bruce tells on Darkness — the album is part of their history, a history they share in this book.
From the Palladium in New York to Detroit's Cobo Hall, from the famed Winterland to the year's final show at Cleveland's Richfield Coliseum, Springsteen's 1978 tour is legendary.
Bruce, who was already famous for his incredible shows, pioneered a whole new kind of concert experience on this tour. Just the audience, Bruce and the E Street Band for a marathon three-plus hours, with an intermission in the middle just long enough to let the audience catch their breath. The Light in Darkness brings these shows to life through the testimony of those who were there, concerts that can still be heard through the magic of bootlegging. The stories fans tell from those electrifying 1978 shows only increases the power of hearing these coveted, semi-legal tapes still circulating today.
The Darkness tour also marked the last time many would get to see The Boss in small concert halls, as Bruce's exploding popularity forced him to trade up to hockey arenas during several stops on the tour. Stadiums would soon follow. Today, many fans lucky enough to have attended the Darkness tour are glad they did whatever it took to land a ticket, a memory they can still cherish as they now watch Bruce from the nosebleeds.
Over 200 Photos
The Light in Darkness features stunning photography from the Darkness tour. With over 200 photos taken by dozens of photographers, many of them never before published, this is a book you'll come back to time and time again.
Many notable Springsteen-era photographers contributed to the volume, including:
• James Shive
• P. Jay Plutzer
• Lynn Goldsmith
• Peter Howes
• Anastasia Pantsios
• Mark Wyville
• Cliff Breining
• Lawrence Kirsch
About the book: Limited Collector's Edition
This 208 page, large format, 9.25" x 12" full-color book is printed on Premium Gloss 200m paper stock and contains more than 200 photographs reproduced from the original negatives and slides. The book is only available online for purchase at: www.thelightindarkness.com