Lynn Goldsmith: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

“By the end of Darkness, I had found my adult voice.” In 1977, dismissed by the press as a one-hit wonder, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band entered the studio to record the album that transformed a “kid from New Jersey” into America’s poet laureate of life’s underdogs. The tour that followed would come to be regarded as one of the most legendary in rock ‘n’ roll history, propelled by the nervous intensity of a group determined to prove itself.

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Present throughout the recording, release, and tour of Darkness on the Edge of Town, Lynn Goldsmith tracks these memorable steps in Springsteen’s journey to becoming an American icon. With illuminating forewords from both artists, the book gathers hundreds of photographs—classic, rare, and previously unseen—that bring to life a star at his hungriest. In Springsteen’s words, “These photos remain a record of a time when I truly played for my life, night after night.” It was a standard matched by the E Street Band, seen here in its historic lineup of Roy Bittan, Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, Garry Tallent, Steven Van Zandt, and Max Weinberg.

Spotlighted more here than in any previous photography collection, the electric presence of the E Street band allows Goldsmith to capture the often-overlooked social, collaborative side of the Boss’s creative process. Yet it’s not just the process she captures; it’s also the character of the music itself. As she writes in the foreword: “I saw firsthand how Bruce and the E Street Band dedicated their bodies, pulled notes out of the air, left everything on the stage to create a musical performance that suggested the failures and glories of being human.” Treading through an icy New York, or on tour visiting cinemas, diners, markets, and parks, her photos also serve as a document of the same Americana that Springsteen chronicled so vividly in his songs.

Contrasting between intimate and expansive, between pinball games and sold-out shows, Darkness on the Edge of Town tells the behind-the-scenes story of this transformative record and tour that led to Springsteen’s stadium-sized acclaim. The collection gives fans inside access that only Goldsmith had as one of Springsteen’s closest companions during a seminal moment in the history of rock music. With talent, sensitivity, and vision, Goldsmith illuminates a never-before-seen side to Bruce Springsteen and his “band of brothers,” the E Street Band.

The Photographer

Lynn Goldsmith has documented over five decades of American culture, with subjects varying from music stars and entertainment personalities, to sports legends, film directors, and authors. She has published 13 books of her photographs, and her work has appeared editorially in publications such as TIME, LIFE, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Interview, The New Yorker, Paris Match, and Vogue Italia. Her photographs are housed in institutional collections including The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Photography and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The winner of numerous awards including the World Press Award in Portraiture and the Lucien Clergue award, Goldsmith was also featured on The New York Times Best Sellers list for her book New Kids.

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