Bruce Springsteen’s The River gets massive box set

1980 double album expanded into four-CD, three-DVD set with unheard tracks, documentary, and more


    Bruce Springsteen has announced a massive reissue of his 1980 double-LP classic, The River. Due out December 4th, The Ties That Bind: The River Collection contains four CDs and three DVDs. Alongside the original two-disc album, the box set includes a single-CD version of The River that Springsteen initially intended to release in 1979, 11 rare and unreleased tracks from The River sessions, 10 previously released non-album cuts from the era, a documentary, and a concert film.

    His first record to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and the first to feature a Top Ten single (“Hungry Heart”), The River marked Springsteen’s fifth album. He initially turned in a single-album version under the name The Ties That Bind in 1979, but took it back when he realized he wasn’t done writing about the themes therein. He continued recording through 1980, producing more tracks than could fit on even a double album, many of which are contained on the box’s 22-track The River: Outtakes.

    Some of those songs were released on the 1998 box set Tracks, including “Restless Nights”, “Where the Bands Are”, and “Ricky Wants a Man of Her Own”. Others, like “Meet Me in the City”, “Stray Bullets”, and “Party Lights”, have never been heard until now. As a preview of the newly revealed songs, Springsteen has shared “Meet Me in the City”, a jaunty nighttime swinger about a felon “charged with doin’ things I can’t explain” wooing the object of his affection. Check it out below.


    (Read: Bruce Springsteen: 40 Years, 40 Songs)

    Also featured in the box is an hour-long documentary directed and produced by Thom Zimny called The Ties That Bind. Alongside photos and concert footage from around The River‘s release, the doc shows Springsteen performing acoustic versions of the the album’s songs while discussing their backstories. In one scene that appears to be shot outside of his New Jersey home, Springsteen discusses “Independence Day”. “You’re brought into a very late night intimate convention between two people,” he says of the track. “It’s part of a series of songs that I wrote about my dad that weren’t completely autobiographical, but were emotionally autobiographical.”

    The final piece of media in the box set is a two-DVD concert Springsteen and the E Street Band filmed in Tempe, Arizona on November 5th, 1980, the day after Ronald Reagan was elected president. Though apparently incomplete, the film features 160 minutes of footage, plus 20 minutes of rehearsal footage from September of that year prior to the album’s release.

    In the documentary The Ties That Bind, Springsteen discusses the role The River played in his growth both personally and as an artist.

    “It was a nice place in our development. At the time, I was pouring through a variety of history books just to contextualize myself, understand where I came from and what that meant. I wanted to write songs of breadth that had some depth to them. And I knew I wanted to write about the place I lived and I wanted to write about social forces that I felt played through that history. I devoured quite a few history books at the time trying to get a sense of where everything came from.”


    Also included is a 148-page book containing 200 rare photographs, an essay by Rolling Stone Contributing Editor Mikal Gilmore, the original RS review, reproduced pages from Springsteen’s notebooks, and other memorabilia from the era. Pre-orders are going on via iTunes and Amazon.

    The Ties That Bind: The River Collection Tracklist:

    CD 1
    The River: Record One
    01. The Ties That Bind
    02. Sherry Darling
    03. Jackson Cage
    04. Two Hearts
    05. Independence Day
    06. Hungry Heart
    07. Out In The Street
    08. Crush On You
    09. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
    10. I Wanna Marry You
    11. The River

    CD 2
    The River: Record Two
    01. Point Blank
    02. Cadillac Ranch
    03. I’m A Rocker
    04. Fade Away
    05. Stolen Car
    06. Ramrod
    07. The Price You Pay
    08. Drive All Night
    09. Wreck On The Highway

    CD 3
    The River: Single Album
    01. The Ties That Bind
    02. Cindy
    03. Hungry Heart
    04. Stolen Car (Version 1)
    05. Be True
    06. The River
    07. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch) (Version 1)
    08. The Price You Pay
    09. I Wanna Marry You
    10. Loose End


    CD 4
    The River: Outtakes
    01. Meet Me in the City
    02. The Man Who Got Away
    03. Little White Lies
    04. The Time That Never Was
    05. Night Fire
    06. Whitetown
    07. Chain Lightning
    08. Party Lights
    09. Paradise By The “C”
    10. Stray Bullet
    11. Mr. Outside
    12. Roulette
    13. Restless Nights
    14. Where The Bands Are
    15. Dollhouse
    16. Living On The Edge Of The World
    17. Take ’em As They Come
    18. Ricky Wants A Man Of Her Own
    19. I Wanna Be With You
    20. Mary Lou
    21. Held Up Without a Gun
    22. From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)

    DVD 1
    The Ties That Bind (Documentary)

    DVD 2
    The River Tour, Tempe 1980
    Concert – Part 1
    01. Born to Run
    02. Prove It All Night
    03. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
    04. Jackson Cage
    05. Two Hearts
    06. The Promised Land
    07. Out in the Street
    08. The River
    09. Badlands
    10. Thunder Road
    11. No Money Down
    12. Cadillac Ranch
    13. Hungry Heart
    14. Fire
    15. Sherry Darling
    16. I Wanna Marry You
    17. Crush on You
    18. Ramrod
    19. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)

    DVD 3
    The River Tour, Tempe 1980
    Concert – Part 2
    01. Drive All Night
    02. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
    03. I’m A Rocker
    04. Jungleland
    05. Detroit Medley
    06. Where The Bands Are (Credits)

    BONUS: The River Tour Rehearsals
    01. Ramrod
    02. Cadillac Ranch
    03. Fire
    04. Crush On You
    05. Sherry Darling