Bruce Springsteen's early career spotlighted in new photography book and gallery show

"They weren't living the high life," Lynn Goldsmith told me. "They were still doing their laundry... trying to pay their bills..."

BySandy Kenyon OTRC logo
Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Springsteen's early career spotlighted in new book of photographs
Sandy Kenyon has more on the the new book.

NEW YORK -- A list of this year's top grossing concert tours puts Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band number three on the list behind Taylor Swift, with a take of $1 billion and Beyonce, with more than half a billion.

But those singers were not even born when Springsteen had his first hits, so you have to give The Boss credit for longevity.

A new book and a show at a gallery in New York's SoHo neighborhood celebrates those early years, before Springsteen and his band became a phenomenon.

I want all of you to join me in a trip back in time to 1978.

I had just graduated from college, was living in New Jersey and listening to a song called "Racin' in the Street" over and over again.

It was new music from Springsteen, celebrated then and now, once again, in the photographs of Lynn Goldsmith.

The Boss had met the big man, sax player Clarence Clemons, and announced to the world he was "Born to Run."

But Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band had not yet found the land of hope and dreams that lay just a few years ahead of them.

"They weren't living the high life," Lynn Goldsmith told me. "They were still doing their laundry, going to the grocery store, trying to pay their bills, and doing what it is they

love to do."

They had just finished recording "Darkness on the Edge of Town," as shown in a 2010 documentary fittingly titled "The Promise."

"And, I thought that I could in some way make his profile more meaningful," Goldsmith explained.

So the photographer went on tour with him.

"What we're looking at is backstage before the show," said Goldsmith, showing me one of the many photographs she took. "Bruce used to practice certain moves, kind of Elvis moves, to warm him up because he was heading out to perform."

Goldsmith's new show at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo, and a big book of photographs out this month, titled "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Darkness On the Edge of Town," tell the story of a relationship both professional and personal.

"He was my boyfriend, and I wanted him to be successful," said Goldsmith.

In an introduction to her book, Springsteen writes lovingly of those long ago times when he "played for his life every night."

"His shows made followers," said Goldsmith. "His shows made devotees. His show was like going to church."

"I ain't a boy," Springsteen told his true believers. "No, I'm a man. And I believe in a promised land."

For fans of The Boss, the book is the perfect gift: a book so evocative of a time and place that you can recall Springsteen's words and music as you turn the pages of this big volume.

Now, I have to admit to being a bit biased about all of this because my long friendship with Lynn Goldsmith has been a wonderful grace note in my life.

It's in perfect harmony with my love of Bruce Springsteen's music.