Live 1975 – 85 was Bruce Springsteen‘s response to the demands for a live album.
He’s been one of the most bootlegged artists since the mid 70s and with Live 1975 – 85, he tried to produce an epic drawn from many different concerts recorded.
This album was released to follow up on the immense success of the Born In The USA album which made Springsteen a much bigger international star.
I was thrilled when it first came out as he had such a great reputation as a live performer but all it’s done is prove that there’s much more that could appear.
Springsteen is known for his 3 to 4 hour concert marathons with the E Street Band and he didn’t hold back with this 3 CD set.
- Thunder Road – 5:46 (First appeared on the album Born To Run)
- Adam Raised a Cain – 5:26 (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)
- Spirit in the Night – 6:25 (Greetings from Asbury Park)
- 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) – 6:34 (The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle)
- Paradise by the “C” – 3:54 (first appearance)
- Fire – 2:51 (first time appearance by Springsteen)
- Growin’ Up – 7:58 (Greetings from Asbury Park)
- It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City – 4:39 (Greetings from Asbury Park)
- Backstreets – 7:35 (Born To Run)
- Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) – 10:00 The Wild, (The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle)
- Raise Your Hand – 5:01 (regular cover at Springsteen gigs)
- Hungry Heart – 4:30 (The River)
- Two Hearts – 3:06 (The River)
- Cadillac Ranch – 4:52 (The River)
- You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch) – 3:58 (The River)
- Independence Day – 5:08 (The River)
- Badlands – 5:17 (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)
- Because the Night – 5:19 (first appearance of this song co-written with Patti Smith)
- Candy’s Room – 3:19 (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)
- Darkness on the Edge of Town – 4:19 (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)
- Racing in the Street – 8:12 (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)
- This Land Is Your Land – 4:21 (cover)
- Nebraska – 4:18 (Nebraska)
- Johnny 99 – 4:24 (Nebraska)
- Reason to Believe – 5:19 (Nebraska)
- Born in the U.S.A. – 6:10 (Born in the U.S.A.)
- Seeds – 5:14 (first appeared here)
- The River – 11:42 (The River)
- War – 4:53 (cover)
- Darlington County – 5:12 (Born in the U.S.A.)
- Working on the Highway – 4:04 (Born in the U.S.A.)
- The Promised Land – 5:36 (Darkness On The Edge Of Town)
- Cover Me – 6:57 (Born in the U.S.A.)
- I’m on Fire – 4:26 (Born in the U.S.A.)
- Bobby Jean – 4:30 (Born in the U.S.A.)
- My Hometown – 5:13 (Born in the U.S.A.)
- Born to Run – 5:03 (Born To Run)
- No Surrender – 4:41 (Born in the U.S.A.)
- Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out – 4:21 (Born To Run)
- Jersey Girl – 6:30 (cover of the Tom Waits song)
Why only 9/10?
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are one of my favourites but this misses out on too many of the songs I love from the early days.
Let’s look at it by album
- Greetings from Asbury Park – 3 songs
- The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle – 2 songs
- Born To Run – 4 songs
- Darkness On the Edge On Town – 6 songs
- The River – 6 songs
- Nebraska – 3 songs
- Born In The USA – 8 songs
Basically my problem is too much Born In the USA and not enough from the first three albums.
I have no problem with the covers (because Springsteen liked to include a couple and varied them regularly) or the songs that first appeared on Live 1975 – 85.
But c’mon – no Jungleland?
It’s one of his most iconic songs. You’ve got to be kidding.
And even with so many songs from Born In the USA, he missed out Dancing In the Dark and I’d have been interested to hear what Springsteen did with that live.
One of the most impressive things about this set list is that it makes you realise how many great songs he’s done that aren’t on the album.
Performance Rating – 10/10
Springsteen and the E Street Band are fantastic live and he had the chance to choose the best versions of each song on this live compilation so it’s no surprise that individually, the songs are generally terrific.
Live Springsteen has more passion and intensity than studio Springsteen. The stage is where Bruce feels at his happiest and it shows.
The version of Thunder Road that starts the recording is a surprise… just Bruce and a piano. It’s the only song from 1975 which is a shame.
Then the E Street band kick in hard in a way that’s both rough and tough but also very gentle when it needs to be. I desperately want more songs available from the Darkness tour from 1978 that comes next.
Please Bruce, do the right thing and give up the whole of the Roxy concert or one of the other legendary shows from that tour.
You may think it strange that an artist as prolific as Springsteen sings so many covers. Believe me, he makes every one his own song. War hits hard. And Jersey Girl, I bet he really wishes he’d beaten Tom Waits to the title.
Here are videos I found for Bruce Springsteen performing live in concert around this time.
10th Avenue Freeze Out from 1978
Prove It All Night 1978
This Land Is Your Land 1985
Because The Night 1985
The Promised Land 1985
War 1985 – you may want to skip the first couple of minutes to get to the performance.
Atmosphere & Authenticity Rating – 7/10
Releasing a live album was a terrific idea.
Releasing a live compilation box set wasn’t so good.
No matter how good the individual performances are, you don’t get any feel for what it’s like to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band live.
The songs are in an unrealistic order. It doesn’t flow like a Springsteen concert. The compilers have virtually put it in the order that the songss were recorded at the various gigs. That inevitably means you get the early stuff at the start and the Born In The USA songs towards the end.
This also sees Springsteen progress from small, intimate clubs to arenas and then to stadiums across the three discs.
The album does capture his habit of talking to the crowd which makes even the biggest venue seem intimate. There’s a long, emotional story at the beginning of The River. Because Bruce puts his heart and soul into performing live, you commit to him too.
Total Rating For Bruce Springsteen Live 1975 – 85 – 26/30
Springsteen deserves his live reputation for proving it all night.
If you love live rock’n’roll, your music collection needs at least one Springsteen live album and probably more than one.
He really does rank with the very, very best of live performers.
26/30 is a very high mark but whenever I listen to Live 1975 – 85, I know that Bruce Springsteen can do better.
Fortunately albums from his earlier tours are starting to appear e.g Hammersmith Odeon 75.
Ultimately I think your view on this album will depends on how much you like the Born In The USA songs and whether you object to it being a live compilation across many years rather than a souvenir of a particular gig or tour.
What Do Others Say About Live 1975 – 85
- Slate Readers Poll – 8th
- Rolling Stone – included in the Top 25 greatest live albums
- Classic Rock – 42nd
- Stylus – 43rd
Buying Live 1975 – 85
To help you to find the album quickly and easily, I’ve given you the following links::
What Do You Think About Bruce Springsteen Live 1975 – 85?
Do you think this is the best way to hear Bruce Springsteen or do you agree with me and want live albums from the 1978 and 1980 tours to be released?
Is this the best Bruce Springsteen live album?
The Other Bruce Springsteen Live Albums
- Bruce Springsteen Live At The Main Point – a recording from February 1975 before Born To Run was released and with a different sound because a violin features as Springsteen searches for his sound.
- Bruce Springsteen Live At Hammersmith Odeon – Born To Run is released and Springsteen is taking the world by storm.
- Bruce Springsteen Live In New York City – Bruce Springsteen is back with the E Street Band and ready to rock hard.
What Are The Best Live Albums Ever?
Please help me to find the best live albums by voting in the readers polls.
Because there are so many excellent classic rock live albums I have split the poll into two and you may find some of your favourites in the second division. Albums will be promoted when they get enough votes.
You may also be interested in the poll to find the best singer songwriter live albums
You can see the complete list of readers polls at Live Album Polls
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