Bruce Springsteen’s second album “The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle” turned 50 years old this fall, and the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music (BSACAM) celebrated on Oct. 28 with a symposium held in Pollak Theater. This conference sold out in less than 45 minutes online and had people waiting at the Monmouth Box Office for three hours for tickets.
This symposium’s guest speakers included former manager Mike Appel and record engineer Louis Lahav who came all the way from Israel. There was also a surprise discussion with Springsteen himself who discussed his songwriting during the marking of this album. During his conversation with Santelli, Springsteen reminisced about writing most of “The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle” in Bradley Beach garage apartment on 5th Avenue as well as the youth the band had at the time which allowed them to push the limit on their creativity and record and tour at the same time.
In addition to these one-on-one conversations, the event also included discussion panels made up of contributors to the album and the albums corresponding tour. Topics included how the album has held up 50 years later, a media outlook of the time of the albums release, and a photographer’s perspective. Ticket-holders were especially treated with a two-part panel dedicated to the making of the album, which consisted of E Street members David Sancious (keyboard and piano), Garry Tallent (bass), Vini Lopez (drums), and Springsteen as well as session musicians Richie Blackwell, Albee Tellone, and Lahav.
Other panels included media members who promoted the album back in the day, historians, and authors who all shared their knowledge on what is considered one of Springsteen’s most beloved albums.
In addition to Springsteen’s conversation, he contributed to the “Making of the Album” panel with his fellow E Street members moderated by Tom Cunningham. The old bandmates laughed together, telling old stories about the studio magic they experienced back in 1973.
Originally released on Nov. 5, 1973, “The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle” album served as a reach for Springsteen and the E Street Band to gain a higher recognition status. The previous album from earlier that year, “Greetings from Asbury Park,” pricked up some ears during the surge of singer-songwriters emerging after the breakup of the Beatles. After the initial release, Springsteen was tagged the “New Bob Dylan” by “Creem” magazine and the future seemed promising enough.
“The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle” included an increase in musical complication with the main addition being that of the entire band. While Springsteen did not perform on his initial album solo, “Greetings From Asbury Park” had a very Bob Dylan feel with Springsteen being the “frontman” and the backing band being more in the background. “The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle”
featured a more big band feel where you could easily pick out your favorite member’s solos as well as each song feeling like it was a group effort entirely. This album featured such hits including “The E Street Shuffle,” “Kitty’s Back,” and “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight).” Other songs include boardwalk ballad “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” outlandish “Wild Billy’s Circus Story,” modern day Shakespearean “Incident on 57th Street,” and the wistfully warm “New York City Serenade.”
The main farce of the album comes in “Rosalita” with the line, “Because the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance,” which really demonstrated Springsteen’s imaginative songwriting because just about everyone who worked on this album thought this would be the last one— hence why this album feels like there was so much umph put into it and not just by Springsteen, but by the band members and recording team too.
Overall the day was filled with great history and nostalgic memories and was wrapped up with a selection of bands performing songs off the album. By the end of each song, the audience gave a standing ovation for the performers and everywhere you looked there were people smiling and dancing like any other Springsteen concert.