Book Review: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band 1975: Photographs by Barbara Pyle

With tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s 2016 tour going on sale today, it is a good day to review Barbara Pyle’s recently released book, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band 1975.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band 1975 was released on November 23, 2015 by Reel Art Press and is widely available.  Pyle captured behind-the-scenes photographs from 1975 during the recording, rehearsing and touring of Born to Run.  She drove to many of the gigs herself and became Springsteen and the band’s “official unofficial photographer.”  Pyle’s photographs captured the band when they were still a relatively small time act performing in college gyms and local clubs, right before Born to Run made them a household name.  This was well before Springsteen played arenas and stadiums and had 5-star tour accommodations.Springsteen Fast Food (c) Pyle

Pyle’s photographs capture the intimacy that every music photographer tries to capture.  The beauty of the book is in Pyle’s access and her ability to capture the quiet moments of a loud band.  Clarence Clements, for instance, prepping for a concert in front of a mirror in the men’s room before a show.  Or the band practicing in a small rehearsal hall in New Jersey.  Or Springsteen and Clements goofing around in a grocery store or Springsteen catching a meal at a coffee shop along the tour route.

The book celebrates the 40th anniversary of Born to Run.  At its core, though, the book documents the rise of a scruffy looking small time band from New Jersey that is putting in time, work, energy and effort it took to achieve the success and acclaim that they eventually achieved.  It shows that even the Boss had to pay his dues to climb the ladder of success to achieve the superstar status that he has achieved and continues to maintain.

The Clements Bathroom (c) Pylephotographs in the book are well shot and well composed and convey not just the story of Springsteen and the band, but also the emotion of the time.  Each photo does more than just capture a moment in time, it also captures the feeling and emotion of the moment in a powerful and meaningful way.

Most importantly, Pyle’s photographs make the reader yearn to be in that time and place with her – or jealous that they weren’t.  I highly recommend the book for Springsteen fans and fans of classic rock photographer alike.

Review by Greg Cohen; All photographs © Barbara Pyle

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