BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – ” Rock and Roll Future ” The Book

Posted: June 26, 2018 in MUSIC
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A new hardcover photography book focused squarely on Bruce Springsteen’s legendary Harvard Square Theatre performance on May 9th, 1974. With the E Street Band including Ernest “Boom” Carter, Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, David Sancious, and Garry Tallent, it’s also the night that inspired Jon Landau’s famous Real Paper review.
The evening of May 9th, 1974, is legendary in the annals of rock ’n’ roll. It was the night the little-known Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band opened for Bonnie Raitt at Harvard Square Theater, dazzling the critic Jon Landau into writing “I saw rock & roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen’’ in the local alternative weekly The Real Paper, one of the most revered gigs in rock history.
Springsteen’s band at the time of the Harvard Square booking featured a pianist with strong jazz and classical leanings, David Sancious. (He left in August 1974.) It is Sancious who makes the band’s first impression so strong, opening with a long, melancholy, and ruminative solo on “New York City Serenade’’ It slowly leads into Springsteen’s yearningly searching vocal, with the impressionistic, romanticized lyrics that seem part Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row’’ and part Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side’’ The song was aiming for theatrical grandeur and also reverent intimacy, and the effect it has on hushing an audience can still be felt today.

But then he moves away from that territory on “Spirit in the Night,’’ a song that still has its cryptically spooky Dylanesque lyrics but also builds into a more traditional soul shout-out, thanks to Clarence Clemons’s saxophone solo. The band then goes into soul-oldies heaven with a cover of “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman,’’ which had been a 1962 girl-group hit. On these three songs and five others, it’s evident that Springsteen and his tightly rehearsed ensemble were trying simultaneously to draw from the music’s past and to create a future. This is the night they came to be forever recognized for it.

Rock and Roll Future is a collaboration between Backstreets Publishing and Barry Schneier, the only photographer in the venue that night 44 years ago. This is our first foray into online crowdfunding; it was quickly tapped as a “Project We Love” by Kickstarter, and we reached our initial funding goal less than a week into our 30-day campaign.

Now that we’ve reached the minimum funding we needed to publish, our focus moves from the chance to make a book to how to make the best book we possibly can.The more backers we have by the campaign’s close on July 13th, the better we can make the finished product.

For the next 17 days, you can get exclusive Kickstarter rewards: early-bird pricing on the book… signed copies… beautiful photographs from the night as exclusive, signed prints, from 8×10 to 16×20… these are all still available when you pledge at various levels to support Rock and Roll Future.
Actually, Landau — who went on to become Springsteen’s manager — didn’t see the performance that can now be heard at the hall of fame. He went to the second show that night, when the set list not only was somewhat changed — Springsteen opened with “The E Street Shuffle’’ — but showcased a new song, “Born to Run.’’ Landau had seen Springsteen at a Cambridge club called Charlie’s Place just a month earlier.

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