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Darkness on the Edge of Town
Studio album by Bruce Springsteen
Released June 2, 1978
Recorded October 12, 1977–March 19, 1978
Record Plant Studios
(New York, New York)
Genre Rock, heartland rock
Length 42:55
Label Columbia
Producer Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Steven Van Zandt
Professional reviews
Bruce Springsteen chronology
Born to Run
Darkness on the Edge of Town
The River

Darkness on the Edge of Town is the fourth album by Bruce Springsteen, released in 1978 (see 1978 in music).



Recovering from legal troubles and the stress of the breakthrough success of Born to Run, Springsteen released a somewhat less commercial album, Darkness on the Edge of Town.

In terms of the original LP's sequencing, Springsteen continued his "four corners" approach from Born to Run, as the songs beginning each side ("Badlands" and "The Promised Land") were martial rallying cries to overcome circumstances, while the songs ending each side ("Racing in the Street", "Darkness on the Edge of Town") were sad dirges of circumstances overcoming all hope. Unlike Born to Run, the songs were recorded by the full band all at once, frequently soon after Springsteen had written them.[1] When Springsteen sings: "Summer's here and the time is right for racing in the street," on the track "Racing in the Street," he is taking-off Martha & the Vandellas' Dancing in the Street. Steven Van Zandt received a credit for production assistance for helping Springsteen tighten the arrangements from Born to Run's epic sound.[1]

The album failed to generate any hit singles, with "Prove It All Night" barely making the Top 40 in the U.S. and follow-up "Badlands" not even doing that well. Regardless, many consider this to be one of Springsteen's best albums.

At the time, Darkness claimed the number one slot on NME album of the year ranking. In 2003, the album was ranked number 151 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[2] The same year, the TV network VH1 named Darkness on the Edge of Town the 68th greatest album of all time.

The cover shot and inner sleeve photo were taken by photographer Frank Stefanko inside Stefanko's Haddonfield, New Jersey home.

A 30th anniversary reissue had been planned for 2008, but by the end of 2008, the project was shelved indefinitely, presumably due to Springsteen's numerous other 2008 projects.[3] By January 2009, Springsteen's manager, Jon Landau, was saying the project was still in the works: "When we can find six weeks to sit down and finish it I'm sure we will."[4]

Track listing

All songs written by Bruce Springsteen


Side one

  1. "Badlands" – 4:01
  2. "Adam Raised a Cain" – 4:32
  3. "Something in the Night" – 5:11
  4. "Candy's Room" – 2:51
  5. "Racing in the Street" – 6:53

Side two

  1. "The Promised Land" – 4:33
  2. "Factory" – 2:17
  3. "Streets of Fire" – 4:09
  4. "Prove It All Night" – 3:56
  5. "Darkness on the Edge of Town" – 4:30

Unused material

During the Darkness sessions, Springsteen wrote or recorded many songs that he ended up not using on the album. This was to keep the album's thematic feel intact, even at the expense of not having hits on it.[5] Some of the unused material became hits for other artists, such as "Because the Night" for Patti Smith, "Fire" for Robert Gordon and The Pointer Sisters, "Rendezvous" for Greg Kihn, "This Little Girl" for Gary U.S. Bonds, and several tracks for Southside Johnny (including much of the Asbury Jukes' Hearts of Stone album). Other songs such as "Independence Day", "Point Blank", "The Ties That Bind", and "Sherry Darling" would turn up on Springsteen's next album, The River, while still others became bootleg classics until surfacing on Springsteen's late 1990s collections Tracks and 18 Tracks. Some of these Darkness outtakes were performed by Springsteen in concert during his 1978 tour and later.


The E Street Band


Chart positions


Year Chart Position
1978 U.S. Billboard Pop Albums 5
1985 U.S. Billboard 200 167


Year Single Chart Position
1978 "Prove It All Night" U.S. Billboard Pop Singles 33
1978 "Badlands" U.S. Billboard Pop Singles 42


External links


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