Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Album: Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978)

Songfacts®:

  • Compared to his earlier songs, this was more mature songwriting from Springsteen, reflecting the characters from the Born To Run album getting older and more pessimistic. As with many songs he wrote at the time, he came up with the title first. Said Springsteen: "I had that title and said, 'Well, I'd better come up with something that deserves that title.' That's what I was always very, very good at - I didn't have any problem thinking really hard about what I was doing."
  • This was the title track to Springsteen's fourth album. At one point, the album was going to be called "American Madness," after a 1932 Frank Capra movie about life in America during the depression.
  • Springsteen has explained that this song is best performed live so the audience can generate its intensity.
  • This was the first album Springsteen released after a legal battle with his manager, Mike Appel, kept him from recording for almost three years.
  • Springsteen explained that song "dealt with the idea that the setting for personal transformation is often found at the end of your rope."
  • When this was first released, some people thought "darkness on the edge of town" referred to black people who lived on the outskirts of towns in New Jersey. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kyle - Belleville, Canada

Comments: 11

  • Bud from Quarryville PaThe feeling Springsteen puts into this song is incredible but then again he does this in all his songs.
  • Jim from Long Beach, Ca"If she wants to see me you can tell her that I'm easily found"..POWERFUL..
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyI don' if this is a true fact, but was the 'darkness' album was to be originally titled
    'Badlands' but another NJ artist release an album with that title as about the time that 'Darkness' was to be released???
  • Brian from Chicago, IlAs a therapist I totally get this as "personal transformation at the end of your rope." He is facing the darkness (the unknown, one's unconscious, or a change that is out of one's realm of sight). Things aren't working where he is (or, as who he is), so he has to go into the scary unknown, or otherwise let the fear force him to just stay and crumble with his dreams that have already been shattered ("I lost my money and I lost my wife."). The song needs a sequel about the light that he finds that saves him ...in the darkness on the edge of town.
  • John from Columbus, OhNot only a great song, but after adding it, it became the album title as well. Personally, my favorite Springsteen album by far. A masterpiece. It's a must have. Arguably, my number one album of all time.
  • Ken Thomson from Edmonton, AbBruce introduced this song into the Darkness sessions in Apr. 1978--long after the album's recording was apparently considered finished. He walked in and told his engineer that he had a brand new song he wanted to record--one that would basically "close" the album. After this track was recorded, Bruce dropped "The Promise" and "Don't Look Back" from the album's final cut because the former dealt too closely with his recent legal woes, and the latter would have made Side 2 of Darkness too harsh.
  • Scott from Detroit, MiI love this song...but it scared me. I thought Bruce was singing about my deep, dark past
  • Gene from San Diego, CaActually, this song feels like a foil of the previous album. In Born to Run, he sings about being a young racer, experiencing life and love and hope. In Darkness on the Edge of Town, he sings about being older, lost love and hope, and is wasting his life. Great song.
  • Steve from Fenton, MoIncredible song, masterfully sung.
  • Kyle from Belleville, CanadaGood song, fitting that it's at the end of the Darkness album, it just seems to sum the whole album up.
  • Anthony from Clearwater, FlThe Boss's best song, ever!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Evolution Of The Prince SymbolSong Writing

The evolution of the symbol that was Prince's name from 1993-2000.

Krishna DasSongwriter Interviews

The top chant artist in the Western world, Krishna Das talks about how these Hindu mantras compare to Christian worship songs.

Don FelderSongwriter Interviews

Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.

Hawksley WorkmanSongwriter Interviews

One of Canada's most popular and eclectic performers, Hawksley tells stories about his oldest songs, his plentiful side projects, and the ways that he keeps his songwriting fresh.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."