We Springsteen fans have been waiting for a deluxe reissue of 1978’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town” for while now—even since word leaked out that there would be a 30th anniversary edition. Well, we’ll settle for a 32nd anniversary package.
E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt told a British radio station that the reissue will be out by year’s end, and that it may include more than 10 outtakes. Van Zandt confirms these are beyond the “Darkness” outtakes that were on 1998’s essential “Tracks” box set, according to Rolling Stone.
He also adds that similarly to how the Rolling Stones went in and recorded some overdubs on the “Exile on Main St.” reissue, the Boss may do the same.
"We'll go back and he might finish a lyric on one or two, or finish a harmony on one or two, but we'll keep them intact pretty much," he said.
Recorded after the gargantuan, breakthrough success of 1975’s “Born to Run,” “Darkness” is beloved among hardcore Springsteen fans as one of his rawest, fiercest rock records with such tracks as the blistering “Adam Raised a Cain,” anthemic “Badlands,” the sensuous “Candy’s Room,” and, what many fans (me included) consider some of his most poignant, saddest lyrics ever on “Racing in the Street.”
If the outtakes on “Tracks” are any indication, there’s no telling if the previously unreleased songs will follow “Darkness’s” serious themes or be lighthearted, such as “Tracks” outtake “So Young & In Love.”
In an interview I did with Springsteen in 1998 for Billboard about “Tracks,” he talked about his mindset when creating “Darkness.” I had asked him how his choices for album selections were made:
“Take after "Born To Run." At that time, I said, ‘Well, this is a moment when people often go wrong or get lost after the first shot of some success’,” Springsteen said. “So [with] ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town,’ I wanted to make a record that specifically sent a message to my audience that I wasn't going to be blocked in by the success I'd had in terms of what kind of music I created. So the editing on ‘Darkness’ was based around creating a record that had a seriousness of tone. Meanwhile, there were all these bar band records that we had cut [like] ‘Give The Girl A Kiss’ and ‘So Young And In Love.’ So I had all this music that I couldn't use at that time that just got put to the side.”
We know what just went to the top of our Christmas wish list.