“On a day like this, I remember—I’m the President, but he’s The Boss.” —President Obama, commenting on Bruce Springsteen, Kennedy Center awards ceremony, 2009
Before Bruce Springsteen became The Boss, he was just a kid musician from New Jersey, playing at the City’s local stomping grounds and hawking tickets to his shows at $5.50 a pop. Photographer Eric Meola saw The Boss’s potential, having witnessed a glimmer of it at a 1973 show at Max’s Kansas City and later in 1975, after spending a day behind the lens, snapping photos of the young songwriter as they drove up and down Jersey’s legendary Highway 9. Meola “got” Springsteen so well that one of his shots—the image of Springsteen leaning on Clarence Clemons’ shoulder-would become the cover of the Born to Run album.
Meola’s photo shoot with The Boss in 1977 was different. By that time, Springsteen was more firmly coming into his own, having won some critical acclaim and a legion of dedicated fans. Springsteen arrived at Meola’s New York City studio carrying a small paper bag with a change of clothes. His beard was gone; this was clearly a new stage in his life, a departure from Born to Run. Over the days that followed, Meola took several photographs of Springsteen, his lens adjusting to the new persona—Springsteen, the rock star—that emerged from the darkness.
Streets of Darkness is a carefully curated collection of Meola’s photographs—some of which have never been published before-from his 1977 to 1979 photo shoots of Springsteen. They span an afternoon spent in Holmdel at Telegraph Hill Road, drives on Highway 9, afternoons spent in Meola’s studio, and days goofing around playing softball with the rest of the “E Street Kings”—intimate portraits that provide a window in the early days and life of one of the world’s most legendary performers.
Deluxe in size, this book is more than a must-have item for Springsteen fans; it is a work of art just as memorable and moving as the album Darkness on the Edge of Town. This limited edition will feature a cloth binding with silver foil stamping and removable print of one of Meola’s beautiful photographs of Springsteen, signed by the photographer.
Complete with an introduction from Meola, an insightful essay that puts the photo shoot into historical context, and running lyrics to several of Springsteen’s songs, this collectible volume shows Springsteen as he was-an artist at the crossroads of his fledgling career, writing about dark themes and finding redemption through his own words and image.