Label: Legacy / Columbia
Reissued 2015, originally released 10/7/1980
The River is the fifth studio album, and the first double album by Bruce Springsteen. The album was released on October 17, 1980. Rolling Stone ranked it at number 253 on their list of the greatest albums of all time. The sources of The River go back into earlier parts of Springsteen's recording career. "Independence Day", "Point Blank", "The Ties That Bind", "Ramrod", and "Sherry Darling" were leftovers from his previous album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and had been featured on that 1978 tour, as had parts of "Drive All Night" as a long interpolation within "Backstreets." "The River" had premiered at the September 1979 Musicians United for Safe Energy concerts, gaining a featured spot in the subsequent documentary No Nukes. Originally, the album was to be a single set entitled The Ties That Bind and released in late 1979. Springsteen added darker material after he'd written the title track. Indeed, The River became noted for it's mix of the frivolous next to the solemn. This was intentional, and in contrast to Darkness, for as Springsteen said during an interview, "Rock and roll has always been this joy, this certain happiness that is in it's way the most beautiful thing in life. But rock is also about hardness and coldness and being alone... I finally got to the place where I realized life had paradoxes, a lot of them, and you've got to live with them."