Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming boxed set, The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, contains a 148-page coffeetable book. And one of those 148 pages includes a 1980 review of The River, written by my friend and mentor, George Kanzler, for The Star-Ledger.
“There are themes that recur throughout the album, and a curious dichotomy of songs that are gritty with downbeat naturalism and ones that exult in the same working-class, cars-and-girl milieu,” wrote Kanzler.
“Songs like the title cut and ‘Jackson Cage’ portray the grimness of dead-end, lower-class living, while others like ‘Crush on You’ and ‘Ramrod’ celebrate escapes from that life that are little more than rides on a merry-go-round.”
(See the complete review, as reprinted in the book, below.)
Kanzler is identified, under the byline, as a “Newhouse News Writer.” In 1980 and for many years before and after, Star-Ledger articles were distributed nationally through the Newhouse News Service, so this article was actually a reprint of the Star-Ledger review, in some other paper.
There is a second article in the book that probably ran in The Star-Ledger as well. It’s an Associated Press report on Springsteen’s 1981 concerts at the Brendan Byrne Arena selling out. I can’t be totally sure, but the fonts look like those used by The Star-Ledger, and the East Rutherford dateline (without the NJ) is something only a Jersey paper would use. It’s on a page that also includes an advertisement for the shows, and two tickets. I’ve included this page below, as well.
The book also includes articles from Rolling Stone and other sources.