Rumors of a deluxe reissue for 1978’s Darkness on the Edge of Town, arguably Bruce Springsteen’s finest hour, have reached legendary status among Springsteen fans since they first surfaced around 2008. Good news: That long-awaited project could be in your hands by this Christmas, if you believe E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt’s latest interview.
Van Zandt told a British radio station (via Rolling Stone) that the reissue could include as many as 10 previously unheard outtakes from the Darkness sessions, along with remastered versions of the 10 amazing songs from the original album. The prospect of instantly doubling Darkness like that is enough to send any fan into hysterics.
But what to make of Van Zandt’s suggestion that Springsteen might be adding new vocals to some of those 30-year-old outtakes? “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. The Rolling Stones did something similar for their recent Exile on Main Street reissue. I’m frankly not sure this kind of retroactive tampering makes sense in either case. Consider, by contrast, the Beatles’ mid-’90s Anthology series — the two new/old songs the surviving members doctored up were both excellent, but the most fascinating part of those discs had to be all the unfinished, unpolished, and relatively untouched outtakes.
That said, Van Zandt’s “we’ll keep them intact pretty much” is reassuring. And he’s one of the people most responsible for the raw, direct sound of the original Darkness, so I hope we can trust him to keep any 2010 embellishments in check. Anyway, what do you think of this trend of finishing old outtakes decades later? Are you looking forward to the Darkness reissue as much as I am?
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