Director Thom Zimny’s docu feature about the making of Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness On the Edge of Town,” preeming at the Toronto Film Festival, will be a key part of a lavish three-CD/three DVD edition of the 1978 album coming Nov. 16 from Columbia Records.
Deluxe set “The Promise: The Darkness On the Edge of Town Story” will include a remastered version of “Darkness” and “The Promise,” two discs encompassing 21 songs never officially released before.
“Darkness” is a crucial album in Springsteen’s canon. The set that succeeded his 1975 breakthrough “Born to Run,” it was issued after a long period during which the musician was hamstrung by legal conflict with his estranged original manager Mike Appel. Collection defined Springsteen’s latter-day sound and included such concert staples as “Badlands,” “The Promised Land” and “Prove It All Night.”
Springsteen wrote and recorded obsessively during this period, and many of the brooding songs he authored did not make the final cut for “Darkness.” Material from this time went unmined on “Tracks,” Columbia’s 1998 compilation of unreleased studio material, but much of it has been extensively bootlegged.
The newly exhumed numbers include Springsteen’s version of “Because the Night” (a top 20 hit for Patti Smith in 1978) and “The Promise,” a long-time fan favorite despite its official unavailability.
Zimny’s feature, also titled “The Promise: The Darkness On the Edge of Town Story,” was commissioned for the album re-release, but caught the eye of festival organizers. The director also helmed “Wings For Wheels: The Making of ‘Born to Run,'” doc included with the 2005 boxed reissue of the ’75 set.
“Darkness” pic bows in Toronto Sept. 14, with an HBO screening set for Oct. 7.
Columbia’s reissue will also include a new performance of “Darkness” in its entirety, filmed without an audience in high definition in 2009 at the Paramount Theater in the Boss’ hometown of Asbury Park, N.J.
Visual components will also include a so-called “bootleg house cut” (the in-house video projected on big screens) of a 26-song 1978 Springsteen show in Houston, plus footage from 1976-78 dates in New York City, Phoenix and Holmdel and Red Bank, N.J.
The deluxe six-disc set edition will be housed in an 80-page booklet with facsimiles from Springsteen’s notebook, details of the sessions, unseen photos and a new essay by Springsteen.
Columbia will also issue the unheard songs from the package as “The Promise” on two CDs and four LPs, augmented by lyrics and Springsteen’s essay.