This week marks the 45th anniversary of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, the album that projected The Boss from playing cramped joints in New Jersey and the South (and almost getting dropped by his label) to global super-stardom. To mark the occasion, we are sharing some pictures by Barbara Pyle, then a working music photographer and fan who befriended the E Street Band and spent most of 1975 with Bruce and the boys (below).
It was a friendship with keyboard player Roy Bittan that she first got her an introduction, and she was one of the very few photographers to ever be allowed into the studio while Springsteen, a notorious perfectionist, cut tracks.
“I first saw Bruce and the E Street band by accident,” Barbara explains. “I was blown away by their music. For the next year I drove to as many of their gigs as I could reach. They jokingly started calling me the ‘unofficial photographer.’ I had the remarkable good fortune to spend most of the last Born to Run months in the studio… I became a sort of living ‘good luck’ charm and was asked to be there many nights. I know I was witnessing history in the making.” She even got roped into taking the band’s passport photos.
The pictures are also remarkable as Bruce seems remarkably relaxed considering the pressure he was under with Born to Run. His first two albums had not sold well, but he ploughed on regardless, determined to record the “greatest rock and roll album ever made.”
The album, with its baroque tales of street life and car racing, might not be to everyone’s taste (Deputy Editor Geoff Harris loves it) but you have to admire Springsteen’s self-belief.
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band 1975 is published by Reel Art Press