30 best live albums countdown: 15 – Live/1975–85 by Bruce Springsteen and The E Street band

It’s not enough. By anyone else’s standards, of course, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Live/1975-85 is an embarrassment of riches — five albums and ten years’ worth of barroom, hockey-arena and baseball-stadium dynamite; greatest hits, ace covers, love songs, work songs, out-of-work songs — the ultimate rock-concert experience of the past decade finally packaged for living-room consumption, a special gift of thanks to the fans who shared those 1001 nights of stomp & sweat and the best possible consolation prize for the poor bastards who could never get tickets.

~David Fricke – rollingstone.com

Jon Landau sent a four-song cassette of ‘Born in the U.S.A.‘, ‘Seeds’, ‘The River‘ and ‘War‘ down to my house with a note attached saying he ‘thought we might have something here’. Over the following months we listened to 10 years of tapes, the music did the talkin’, and this album and its story began to emerge. We hope you have as much fun with it as we did. I’d like to thank Jon for his friendship and perseverance and the E Street Band for 1,001 nights of comradeship and good rockin’. They’re all about the best bunch of people you can have at your side when you’re goin’ on a long drive.”
– Bruce Springsteen (liner notes)

Live/1975–85 is a live album by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. It consists of 40 tracks recorded at various concerts between 1975 and 1985. It was released as a box set with either five vinyl records, three cassettes, or three CDs. There was also a record club only release which came on three 8-track cartridges, which is extremely hard to find.

Thunder Road – October 18, 1975 at The Roxy Theatre:

Bruce Springsteen had in 1985 a reputation as the best live act in rock & roll. Springsteen fans longed for a live album and there were many (good) bootlegs,  with Live 1975-85 they got what they wanted – a large collection of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band at their peak.

Their shows were long, and this album/collection has 40 songs, about three and a half hours of music. It is taken from several concerts but the total time is about the time as some Springsteen concerts. I attended a Springsteen concert a few years ago that lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes!

a short promo:

Springsteen’s long-awaited and highly anticipated live album generated advance orders of more than 1.5 million copies, making it the largest dollar-volume pre-order in the history of the record business at the time. Record stores around the country found fans waiting in line on Monday morning before opening and one New York store reportedly sold the album right off the back of the delivery truck. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart, a rare occurrence that hadn’t happened in ten years since Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life in 1976.


From the opening track of a solo Bruce on the piano in “Thunder Road” to the closing “Jersey Girl”, we go on a musical discovery through most of Bruce Springsteen’s career (at the time). We are treated to unreleased gems, covers to many definitive versions of his released songs. The Roxy 1978 songs are my favorites. There are some overdubs that I find annoying, I prefer the original radio broadcast, but we get a real good look into what they were like in concert at this particular stage.

Spirit in the Night – July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre:

Not surprising, given Springsteen’s reputation as a live performer and the sheer scope of the 40-song set, most reviews were overwhelmingly positive. There were, however, a few critics that felt the album could have been better, citing the omission of several concert highlights such as Springsteen’s live rendition of “Prove It All Night” and his rousing cover of John Fogerty’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain”, among others.

Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) – (again) – July 7, 1978 at The Roxy Theatre:

..I need to discuss this issue of leaving out a 78-version of “Prove It All Night”. This is a tragedy.. it’s alright for those of us collecting bootleg concerts… and thus having heard the 78-version countless times, but what about the rest ? IMO Bruce made a real bad judgement…

So I really need to include a brilliant version in this post:

Prove it all Night – Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ. 19-9-1978:

But.. back to “Live/1975-85”.. Here is the brilliant “The River” w/rap:

The River – September 30, 1985 at the LA Coliseum:

Let’s close the “youtubes” with Badlands..

Badlands – November 5, 1980 at Arizona State University, the night after the election of Ronald Reagan to the United States presidency:

Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band Live/1975–85 on Spotify:

also check out:

– Hallgeir

Posts in this series:

16. Get Yer Ya-Ya’s out! The Rolling Stones in Concert – The Rolling Stone
17. Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads
18. At Fillmore East by The Allman Brothers Band
19. Live at Carnegie Hall by Bill Withers
20. Live at the Star Club, Hamburg by Jerry Lee Lewis
21. MTV Unplugged Live in New York by Nirvana
22. Kick Out The Jams by MC5
23. One night stand! Live at the Harlem Square Clum 1963 by Sam Cooke
24. Live At The Apollo by James Brown
25. The Band of Gypsys – Jimi Hendrix
26. The Köln Concert by Keith Jarret
27. On Stage by Elvis Presley
28. One for the road by The Kinks
29. Waiting for Columbus by Little Feat
30. Wings over America by Wings