Original Star-Ledger ‘The River’ review appears in new Springsteen boxed set

by JAY LUSTIG
Bruce Springsteen will release his boxed set, "The Ties That Bind: The River Collection," on Dec. 4.

Bruce Springsteen will release his boxed set, “The Ties That Bind: The River Collection,” on Dec. 4.

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.

A 1980 review of the album, "The River," by George Kanzler. A 1980 review of the album, "The River," by George Kanzler, is included in Bruce Springsteen's new boxed set.

George Kanzler’s 1980 review of the album, “The River,” is included in Bruce Springsteen’s new boxed set.

 

Another page in the coffeetable book of the boxed set, "The Ties Taht Bind: The River Collection," contains an Associated Press article that looks like it was published in The Star-Ledger as well.

Another page in the coffeetable book of the boxed set, “The Ties That Bind: The River Collection,” contains an Associated Press article that looks like it was published in The Star-Ledger as well.

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