"Badlands" was the first track and the second single from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town
album, following "Prove It All Night
." Neither song did much damage on the charts but they both had staying power and remained in Springsteen's setlists for decades to come.
After releasing Born To Run
in 1975, Springsteen became a superstar, but also got in a legal tussle with his first manager, Mike Appel, which kept him from recording for the last six months of 1976 and the first six months of 1977. When he returned to the studio (the Record Plant in New York City) with the E Street Band and his producer of choice, Jon Landau, he had a lot of songs ready, and he also had a thematic concept: people at the margins trying to survive. Out of about 40 songs, 10 made the cut; 22 more were released on an expanded edition of the album in 2010.