Nebraska (album)
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Nebraska Album
Nebraska
Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 30, 1982 (1982-09-30)
Recordedmostly January 3, 1982
StudioThrill Hill East, Colts Neck, NJ [1]
Genre
Length40:50
LabelColumbia
ProducerBruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen chronology
The River
(1980)
Nebraska
(1982)
Born in the U.S.A.
(1984)
Singles from Nebraska
  1. "Atlantic City"
    Released: October 8, 1982 (UK only)
  2. "Open All Night"
    Released: November 26, 1982 (UK only)

Nebraska is the sixth studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released on September 30, 1982, by Columbia Records. Sparsely recorded on a 4-track cassette tape Portastudio 144, the songs on Nebraska were originally intended as demos of songs to be recorded with the E Street Band.[4] However, Springsteen ultimately decided to release the demos himself. Nebraska remains one of the most highly regarded albums in his catalog.[5]

The songs on Nebraska deal with ordinary, down-on-their-luck blue-collar characters who face a challenge or a turning point in their lives. The songs also treat the subject of outsiders, criminals and mass murderers with little hope for the future - or no future at all - as in the title track, where the main character is sentenced to death in the electric chair. Unlike previous albums, which often exude energy, youth, optimism and joy, the vocal tones of Nebraska are solemn and thoughtful, with fleeting moments of grace and redemption woven through the lyrics. The album's reverb-laden vocals and mood combined with dark lyrical content have been described by music critic William Ruhlmann as "one of the most challenging albums ever released by a major star on a major record label."[6] Because of the album's somber content, Springsteen chose not to tour in support of the album, making it Springsteen's first major release that was not supported by a tour, and his only such release until 2019's Western Stars.[7]

Background

Initially, Springsteen recorded demos for the album at his home with a 4-track cassette recorder.[8] The demos were sparse, using only acoustic guitar, electric guitar (on "Open All Night"), harmonica, mandolin, glockenspiel, tambourine, organ, synthesizer (on "My Father's House") and Springsteen's voice.[8] The songs also have sparse composition, and many are simple three chord songs.[9][10][11] After he completed work on the demos, Springsteen brought the songs to the studio and worked with the E Street Band.[8] in April 1982 on rock versions; these sessions are commonly referred to as "the Electric Nebraska Sessions." Only Springsteen and Jon Landau had any decision-making power in this process. They felt certain songs were too personal, and the raw, haunting folk essence present on the home tapes could not be duplicated or equaled in the band treatments; the tracks they felt this way about made up the album "Nebraska." However, eight of the 12 tracks that went on the 1984 album "Born in the U.S.A." were composed of "Electric Nebraska" success stories. They were led by "Born in the U.S.A.," which was completed on May 3, 1982; "Downbound Train," recorded April 28, 1982; "Cover Me," recorded at The Hit Factory, New York on Jan. 25, 1982; "I'm On Fire," recorded at The Power Station on May 11, 1982; "Glory Days," recorded at The Power Station on May 5, 1982; "Darlington County," recorded at The Power Station on May 13, 1982; "Working On the Highway," recorded April 30 and May 6, 1982, and "I'm Going Down," recorded on May 12 or 13, 1982.[12]

The demo recording sessions that produced the album "Nebraska" actually covered several days, but Jan. 3, 1982 is credited as the "legendary night when 15 tracks were recorded. They were "Starkweather" ("Nebraska"), "Atlantic City," "Mansion On The Hill," "Johnny 99," "Highway Patrolman," "State Trooper," "Used Cars," "Wanda" ("Open All Night"), "My Father's House," "Reason To Believe," "Born in the U.S.A.", "Downbound Train," "Child Bride," "Losin' Kind" and "Pink Cadillac," a total of 15 songs; 10 ended up on "Nebraska" and the demo for "Born in the U.S.A." would appear later on the Tracks compilation.[13] The remaining four unreleased demos circulate among Springsteen fans. Two of these, "Downbound Train" (BITUSA) and "Pink Cadillac" (Tracks), were officially released in band format, leaving "Child Bride" and "Losin' Kind" as truly unreleased. There was another demo, "The Big Payback" recorded later in spring 1982, and "Johnny Bye-Bye," which Springsteen confused with a live version recorded July 1981, that was actually never recorded during this period, that brings the total to the often-cited 17.[14][15]

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Springsteen said, "I was just doing songs for the next rock album, and I decided that what always took me so long in the studio was the writing. I would get in there, and I just wouldn't have the material written, or it wasn't written well enough, and so I'd record for a month, get a couple of things, go home write some more, record for another month -- it wasn't very efficient. So this time, I got a little Teac four-track cassette machine, and I said, I'm gonna record these songs, and if they sound good with just me doin' 'em, then I'll teach 'em to the band. I could sing and play the guitar, and then I had two tracks to do somethin' else, like overdub a guitar or add a harmony. It was just gonna be a demo. Then I had a little Echoplex that I mixed through, and that was it. And that was the tape that became the record. It's amazing that it got there, 'cause I was carryin' that cassette around with me in my pocket without a case for a couple of weeks, just draggin' it around. Finally, we realized, "Uh-oh, that's the album." Technically, it was difficult to get it on a disc. The stuff was recorded so strangely, the needle would read a lot of distortion and wouldn't track in the wax. We almost had to release it as a cassette.[16] Another problem arose during mastering of the tapes because of low recording volume, but that was resolved with sophisticated noise reduction techniques.[8]

Springsteen fans have long speculated whether the full-band recordings of the Nebraska session tracks, nicknamed Electric Nebraska, that took place in the last week of April 1982, will ever surface[8]. Of the theoretical 17 tracks, five were not recorded with the band ("Losin' Kind," "Child Bride," "The Big Payback," "State Trooper" and "My Father's House"), and "Born in the U.S.A.", "Downbound Train" and "Pink Cadillac" have been released, leaving nine in the vaults.[17] In a 2006 interview, manager Jon Landau said it was unlikely [the release of the remaining tracks], and that "the right version of Nebraska came out."[18] But in a 2010 interview with Rolling Stone, E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg praised the full band recording of the album as "killing."[19].

Themes

The album begins with "Nebraska", a first-person narrative based on the true story of 19-year-old spree killer Charles Starkweather and his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, and ends with "Reason to Believe," a complex narrative that offers a small amount of hope to counterbalance the otherwise dark nature of the album.[6] The remaining songs are largely of the same bleak tone, including the dark "State Trooper," influenced by Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop".[6] Criminal behavior continues as a theme in the song "Highway Patrolman": even though the protagonist works for the law, he lets his brother escape after he has shot someone.[6]"Open All Night", a Chuck Berry-style lone guitar rave-up, does manage a dose of defiant, humming-towards-the-gallows exuberance.[6]

Springsteen stated that the stories in this album were partly inspired by historian Howard Zinn's book A People's History of the United States.[20] A music video was produced for the song "Atlantic City"; it features stark, black-and-white images of the city, which had not yet undergone its later economic transformation.[21]

Critical reception

In the Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll, Nebraska was voted the third best album of 1982.[29] In 1989, it was ranked 43rd on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s.[30] That same year, Richard Williams wrote in Q magazine that "Nebraska would simply have been a vastly better record with the benefit of the E Street Band and a few months in the studio."[31]

In 2003, Nebraska was ranked number 224 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[30] and 226 in a 2012 revised list.[32]Pitchfork listed it as the 60th greatest album of the 1980s.[33] In 2006, Q placed the album at number 13 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[34] In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at number 57 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[35] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[36]

Legacy

Covers

Being a highly influential album, the songs of Nebraska have been covered numerous times.[37] Notably, country music icon Johnny Cash's 1983 album Johnny 99 featured versions of two of Springsteen's songs from Nebraska: "Johnny 99" and "Highway Patrolman".[38] Cash also contributed to a widely praised tribute album, Badlands: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, which was released on the Sub Pop label in 2000 and produced by Jim Sampas.[37] It featured covers of the Nebraska songs recorded in the stripped-down spirit of the original recordings by a wide-ranging group of artists including Hank Williams III, Los Lobos, Dar Williams, Deana Carter, Ani DiFranco, Son Volt, Ben Harper, Aimee Mann, and Michael Penn.[37] Three additional tracks covered other Springsteen songs in the same vein: Johnny Cash's contribution was "I'm on Fire", a track from Springsteen's best-selling album Born in the U.S.A..[37]

The Beat Farmers recorded "Reason to Believe" for their 1985 debut album, Tales of the New West.[39]

Emmylou Harris covered "My Father's House" on her 1986 album Thirteen.

In 1993, The Band included a cover of "Atlantic City" on their album, Jericho.[40]

Minneapolis Celtic rock band Boiled in Lead covered "State Trooper" on its 1994 album Antler Dance. Minnesota indie-rock band Halloween, Alaska covered "State Trooper" on its 2004 self-titled debut album.

American indie rock band The National performed a live cover of "Mansion on the Hill" in 2008 for the band's The Virginia EP.

In 2012, folk/Americana duo Shovels & Rope released a cover of "Johnny 99", and frequently played the song as the set closer on their North American tour that same year.

Alt-country singer Steve Earle covered "State Trooper" on his live album in 1996 in addition to including a live recording of it on the 2002 reissue of his debut album Guitar Town, and also included a live version of "Nebraska" as the B-side of the "Copperhead Road" single sent to radio stations.[41]

Kelly Clarkson compared her effort to move away from mainstream to edgier and more personal music on her third studio album My December to Springsteen's Nebraska.[42]

"State Trooper" was covered by The Blackeyed Susans on their 2001 covers album Dedicated to the Ones We Love.

The Indian Runner

The song "Highway Patrolman" would provide the inspiration[43] for the motion picture The Indian Runner released in 1991. The film follows the same plot outline as the song, telling the story of a troubled relationship between two brothers; one is a deputy sheriff, the other is a criminal. The Indian Runner was written and directed by Sean Penn, and starred David Morse and Viggo Mortensen.

Deliver Me From Nowhere

The short stories in Deliver Me From Nowhere, a book written by Tennessee Jones published in 2005, were inspired by the themes of Nebraska.[44]The book takes its title from a line in "Open All Night."

Track listing

All tracks are written by Bruce Springsteen.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Nebraska"4:32
2."Atlantic City"4:00
3."Mansion on the Hill"4:08
4."Johnny 99"3:44
5."Highway Patrolman"5:40
6."State Trooper"3:17
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Used Cars"3:11
2."Open All Night"2:58
3."My Father's House"5:07
4."Reason to Believe"4:11

Personnel

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[58] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[59] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[60] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[61] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References

  1. ^ "35 Years Ago: Bruce Springsteen Strips Down and Gets Dark on 'Nebraska'". Ultimate Classic Rock.
  2. ^ a b Pond, Steve (October 28, 1982). "Nebraska". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ Pareles, Jon (August 30, 1987). "Heartland Rock: Bruce's Children". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ HHauser (July 20, 2013). "Dusting 'Em Off: Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ "Readers' Poll: Ten Favorite Bruce Springsteen Albums". Rolling Stone. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b c d e f William Ruhlmann. "Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved .
  7. ^ Hinckley, David (October 2, 2007). "How Bruce Springsteen keeps his independence". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e "32 Years Ago: Bruce Springsteen Records 'Nebraska'". Ultimateclassicrock.com. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Mansion On The Hill". Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Reason To Believe". Retrieved .
  11. ^ "Nebraska". Retrieved .
  12. ^ Heylin, Clinton (2012). Song by Song. London: Penguin. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ BURKE, DAVID (2012). Heart of Darkness Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska. Cherry Red Books. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ "Nebraska". Brucebase. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ Heylin, Clinton (2012). Song by Song. London: Penguin. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ Kurt Loder (December 6, 1984). "The Rolling Stone Interview: Bruce Springsteen". Retrieved 2009.
  17. ^ Heylin, Clinton (2008). E Street Shuffle The Glory Days of Bruce. London: Penguin. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ The Rock Radio: Springsteen looking at archival releases Archived March 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Andy Greene (2010-06-10). "Max Weinberg on His Future With Conan and Bruce | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved .
  20. ^ The New York Times - Howard Zinn, Historian, Dies at 87 "...Bruce Springsteen said the starkest of his many albums, "Nebraska," drew inspiration in part from Mr. Zinn's writings." Retrieved April 29, 2010
  21. ^ 5/7/07 (2007-05-07). "Music Video : Atlantic City : Bruce Springsteen". CMT. Retrieved .
  22. ^ Kot, Greg (August 23, 1992). "The Recorded History of Springsteen". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013.
  23. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Bruce Springsteen". Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  24. ^ Graff, Gary (1996). "Bruce Springsteen". In Graff, Gary (ed.). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0787610372.
  25. ^ "Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska Album Review". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ Williams, Richard (December 1989). "All or Nothing: The Springsteen back catalogue". Q. p. 149.
  27. ^ "Nebraska". Acclaimed Music. Archived from the original on 2013-10-14. Retrieved .
  28. ^ Christgau, Robert (November 30, 1982). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 2015.
  29. ^ "The 1982 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. February 23, 1983. Retrieved 2016.
  30. ^ a b "100 Best Albums of the Eighties". Rolling Stone. 1989-11-16. Retrieved .
  31. ^ Williams, Richard (December 1989). "All or Nothing: The Springsteen back catalogue". Q. p. 150.
  32. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1980s | Features". Pitchfork. 2002-11-20. Retrieved .
  34. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  35. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s | Feature". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved .
  36. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (February 7, 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  37. ^ a b c d Richie Unterberger (2000-11-07). "Badlands: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved .
  38. ^ "iTunes Store". itunes.apple.com. Retrieved .
  39. ^ "The Beat Farmers". www.sandiegoreader.com. Retrieved .
  40. ^ "The Band Cover Springsteen in 1994". rollingstone.com.
  41. ^ Mark Deming. "Guitar Town - Steve Earle | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved .
  42. ^ "My December". Rolling Stone. Retrieved .
  43. ^ "The Indian Runner (1991) Full Cast & Crew". The Internet Movie Database. 2017-01-26.
  44. ^ Jones, Tennessee (2005-02-10). Deliver Me from Nowhere: Tennessee Jones: 9781932360592: Amazon.com: Books. ISBN 193236059X.
  45. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  46. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-04
  47. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved .
  48. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 2013-05-06. Retrieved .Note: user must select 'Bruce SPRINGSTEEN' from drop-down
  49. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  50. ^ "charts.nz Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved .
  51. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved .
  52. ^ "swedishcharts.com Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved .
  53. ^ "The Official Charts Company: Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved .
  54. ^ "allmusic ((( Nebraska > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved .
  55. ^ "Album Search: Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska" (in German). Media Control. Archived from the original on 2013-12-05. Retrieved .
  56. ^ "Top 100 Albums '82". RPM. 1982-12-25. Retrieved .
  57. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on 2012-05-19. Retrieved .
  58. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2008 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved .
  59. ^ "Canadian album certifications - Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska". Music Canada. Retrieved .
  60. ^ "British album certifications - Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved .Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Nebraska in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  61. ^ "American album certifications - Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved .If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.

External links


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Nebraska_(album)
 



 



 
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