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Released: Nov. 16, 2010
Recorded: 1976-1978

Rating: 4.188 (average of 8 ratings)

Genre: heartland classic rock

Quotable: “As compelling an advert for the Boss’ beautiful, blue-collar soul as you’re likely to find outside of the hits.” – BBC Music

Album Tracks, Disc 1:

  1. Racing in the Street [‘78]
  2. Gotta Get That Feeling
  3. Outside Looking In
  4. Someday We’ll Be Together
  5. One Way Street
  6. Because the Night
  7. Wrong Side of the Street
  8. The Brokenhearted
  9. Rendezvous
  10. Candy’s Boy

Album Tracks, Disc 2:

  1. Save My Love
  2. Ain’t Good Enough for You
  3. Fire
  4. Spanish Eyes
  5. It’s a Shame
  6. Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)
  7. Talk to Me
  8. The Little Things My Baby Does
  9. Breakaway
  10. The Promise
  11. City of Night

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 0.5
sales in U.K. only --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 0.5


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 16
peak on U.K. album chart 7

Singles/Hit Songs: *

  • Because the Night [by Patti Smith] (4/8/78) #13 US, #5 UK
  • Fire [by the Pointers Sisters] (11/11/78) #2 US, #34 UK, #14 RB, sales: 1.0
  • Fire (live) (11/22/86) #46 US, #54 UK, #14 AR
  • Because the Night (live) (12/6/86) #22 AR

* Springsteen’s original studio versions were not released until 2010.

The Promise
Bruce Springsteen
“Following Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen was proclaimed the savior of rock & roll classicism; it was hype that threatened to derail his career. In a bitter lawsuit with his former manager, he was locked out of a studio for two years but continued writing songs at fever pitch and rehearsing them on a farm in rural New Jersey. Some of these tunes – composed during an economic recession – reflect the tension between following one’s dreams and her/his responsibilities. Still others reveal the deep influence of early rock & roll on Springsteen.” TJ

“When he was finally able to record, he cut enough material for four albums, and then pared it down to one. Darkness on the Edge of Town proved that Springsteen was no mere revivalist. The album was assembled from more sparsely produced, claustrophobic, and desperate ‘sound picture’ songs, about lives broken by work, family and perceived societal obligations, and are haunted by questions of ‘what if?’ They were a world away from the epic, busting-out-for-freedom maximalist tracks found on Born to Run.” TJ

As Springsteen said, “Darkness was my 'samurai' record…stripped to the frame and ready to rumble. But the music that got left behind was substantial.” AZ The Promise gathers a large chunk of that substantial music, offering up “21 unreleased songs written (and mostly) recorded between 1976 and 1978. They offer an aural view as to what might have been had Springsteen been able to record immediately after Born to Run.” TJ In fact, Springsteen confirms, that this material “perhaps could have/ should have been released after Born to Run and before the collection of songs that Darkness on the Edge of Town became.” AZ

“While some lyric themes here reflect the brokenness and hard choices found on Darkness, others are substantially more triumphant in their worldview; and musically, all the songs here contain more substantially production. These selections also lack the knife-edge, searing, angry guitar that saturates Darkness.” TJ

“Included are his versions of singles farmed out to other artists – Because the Night (and while this version is terrific, it means something else in the end; Patti Smith’s version remains definitive), the gritty, soulful Fire, which eventually given to the Pointer Sisters who scored big with their classy version. The galloping Gotta Get That Feeling summons Jack Nietszche’s production ears with its big mariachi brass.” TJ

“This tune and numerous others contain open homages to Phil Spector’s ‘sha-na-na-na’ choruses. Clarence Clemons’ saxophone is much more prevalent on the songs of The Promise than it is on Darkness. His meat-and-potatoes tone adds heft and groove to these selctions.” TJ

The “hilarious” AZAin't Good Enough for You is pure handclap, call-and-response, verse and chorus, approaching a doo wop celebration. The poignant love poetry in” TJ “the superb soul-based vocal performance on” AZThe Brokenhearted and Spanish Eyes could have been written by Doc Pomus, and reveals the influence of Jerry Leiber’s ‘Spanish Harlem.’” TJ Other highlights include “the supreme pop opus Someday We’ll Be TogetherAZ and “the utterly haunting Breakaway.” AZ

There are also songs which did surface, albeit in different versions, on Darkenss. “Candy’s Boy begins lyrically in the same place as ‘Candy’s Room,’ but is a very different song melodically and thematically. Racing in the Street features different words; David Lindley’s violin makes the track a bit less personal, more anthemic; it’s absent the shadow of doubt that makes the Darkness version so devastating emotionally. Come On (Let's Go Tonight) is an early version of ‘Factory.’” TJ

The “fully orchestrated masterpiece and title song,” AZ The Promise, “is the only cut that might have added something to Darkness that isn’t already there. Its sense of bewilderment, betrayal, uncertainty, and regret is total. That said, the addition of strings draws it outside Darkness’ skeletal purview, underscoring the fact that Darkness is perfect as it is.” TJ

The Promise stands on its own as a great Bruce Springsteen record; it feels finished, focused, and above all, offers definitive proof that Springsteen was even at that early date, one of the greatest rock and pop songwriters America had to offer.” TJ As BBC Music said, the album “is as compelling an advert for the Boss’ beautiful, blue-collar soul as you’re likely to find outside of the hits; an indispensible portrait of an artist at the top of his game.” WK “According to long-time manager/producer Jon Landau, ‘There isn't a weak card in this deck.’” AZ

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Link(s):

previous album: Born to Run (1975) Bruce Springsteen’s DMDB page next album: Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)

Fire (live)

Because the Night (live)

The Promise

Save My Love

Ain’t Good Enough for You

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Last updated January 26, 2011.