Bruce Springsteen: Rock and Roll Future
Barry Schneier, author
On May 9, 1974, Bruce Springsteen performed a show that is considered to be a watershed moment in his career. After releasing two albums to minimal sales success, he was in danger of being dropped by his record label. Photographer Barry Schneier, having seen Bruce Springsteen perform locally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, suggested to concert promoters Windowpane Productions that they consider booking him for a show. This endorsement would lead to Bruce and the E Street Band opening for Bonnie Raitt at the Harvard Square Theatre on May 9, a show previously planned with no opening act. In the audience that night was Jon Landau, music critic for Rolling Stone magazine and Cambridge-based The Real Paper. What Jon witnessed that night and would write about afterwards would alter the trajectory of Bruce’s career forever, as well as his own. One line in Landau's subsequent Real Paper column — perhaps the most famous concert review of all time — would reignite support for the artist as it was emblazoned in ads and repeated in the press: “I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen." After numerous requests to tell the stories behind the photos, Barry teamed up with Backstreets editor and publisher Chris Phillips to produce a hardcover book that serves as the defining record of that evening, out now from Backstreets Publishing. The 150-page, richly designed narrative and photographic journey features Barry's personal recollections, along with both color and black-and-white images of Springsteen and the band on that day in 1974. Though Barry’s work with Bruce Springsteen and other music luminaries has since been internationally recognized and exhibited, many images included in the book have never before been seen. Also contributing to the narrative are early members of the E Street band: bassist Garry Tallent, drummer Ernest “Boom” Carter, and pianist David Sancious.
Photographer Schnier offers insider snapshots of a moment in the early career of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The band had two albums under its belt by the spring of 1974, but lackluster sales had made Columbia Records consider dropping them. But on May 9, 1974, when the band played at the Harvard Square Theater with Bonnie Raitt in Cambridge, Mass., rock critic Jon Landau was there and declared, “I have seen the future of rock and roll and its name is Bruce Springsteen,” a statement that instantly changed the band’s trajectory. Fan and amateur photographer Schnier was also at that show, and his recollections of that night and his photographs fill this adoring souvenir. From soundcheck to showtime, Schnier gives readers a window into a legendary performance via images and commentary (“He was a Jersey kid with the smoothness of Sinatra and the sharp edge of a razor”). Stark shots of Springsteen and his fellow band members, along with short interviews, add depth and color to his narrative. Schnier gained notoriety for his expertly shot photo of Springsteen alone at the piano (the sequence is given an elaborate gatefold treatment), but not every shot is a winner, as some are blurry or too dark. Springsteen fans will appreciate this unique snapshot of a pivotal show in the rock legend’s career. (BookLife)
New Jersey Arts
New book documents the pivotal day of Springsteen’s most pivotal year. The day in 1974 when he was declared "rock and roll future"