On May 9, 1974 — more than a year before his “Born to Run” single came out — Bruce Springsteen opened for Bonnie Raitt at two shows at the Harvard Square Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. Jon Landau, then a music critic and record producer (and later, Springsteen’s manager), attended the late show and wrote a review for the Cambridge-based weekly newspaper, The Real Paper, proclaiming, “I saw rock and rock future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”
The quote — later used in ad campaigns and frequently quoted by other journalists — helped Springsteen expand his cult Northeast following to mass, nationwide success, the next year. And according to the Brucebase web site, the shows were notable in other ways, as well, marking the first time that “Born to Run” was performed, and the first known use of “E Street Band” to introduce the group at a concert.
Photographer Barry Schneier, who helped Springsteen get the gig, is publishing his photos from the show in a new coffee table book, “Bruce Springsteen: Rock and Roll Future.” It’s co-written with Chris Phillips, editor and publisher of Backstreets magazine, and published by Backstreets Publishing. Phillips wrote the introduction, and Eileen Chapman, director of The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, contributed a foreword.
Three members of the E Street Band at the time of the show — Garry Tallent, David Sancious and Ernest “Boom” Carter — contribute comments for the book as well. It is 150 pages, and contains many images that have never been published before.
Schneier and Phillips will sign copies of the book at two New Jersey venues this week: Danny Clinch’s Transparent Gallery in Asbury Park, Feb. 9 at 3 p.m.; and the Princeton Public Library, Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. In Asbury Park, Tom Cunningham, host of the Sunday morning “Bruce Bruch” program on 105.7 the Hawk, will moderate a conversation with Schneier and Phillips. And in Princeton, Schneier and Phillips will participate in a conversation with Princeton University history professor Sean Wilentz, who frequently writes about music.
For more on the book, visit barryschneierphotography.com.