August 13, 1975: Bruce Springsteen Bottom Line Showcase

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Bruce Botton Line posterIt was ground zero for Bruce Springsteen‘s blast into superstardom. The Bottom Line had opened in New York’s Greenwich Village the previous year as a “showcase club” where record companies could present their hottest new acts to the media, radio and music industry in an intimate 400-seat venue (just across the street from the site of Gerde’s Folk City where Bob Dylan had started making his mark).

Springsteen’s highly anticipated third album, Born To Run, was slated for release on August 25. His back-up group – which had helped generate a buzz for the artist’s dynamic live performances – had recently added new members Max Weinberg on drums and Roy Bittan on keyboards and Springsteen’s old Jersey Shore club scene pal Steve Van Zandt on guitar alongside saxophonist Clarence Clemons, bassist Garry Tallent and keyboard player Danny Federici and officially became known as The E Street Band in September the previous year.

Bruce Springsteen was booked into the Bottom Line for five days/two shows a night that began on August 13, 1975, and promoted with a poster campaign that covered Manhattan with the artist’s leather jacket-clad image. Columbia Records had bought hundreds of tickets for journalists, radio programmers and its staff.

Related: John Hammond: The “Lost” Interview – Signing Springsteen

Springsteen opened the performance with “For You” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” In the middle of the set “Born to Run,” “She’s the One” and “Thunder Road” came back-to-back-to-back.

Springsteen and the E Streeters delivered 10 high-energy, sweat-soaked, roof-raising sets that immediately became the stuff of legend, combining his own songs with covers of rock ‘n’ roll classics. The Friday (15th) early show was simulcast to the New York metro area on powerhouse album rock radio station WNEW-FM. The buzz on Bruce became a roar. On October 27, both Time and Newsweek magazines hit the stands with Springsteen on their covers. A new classic rock icon had arrived.

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Sadly, the Bottom Line closed its doors on January 22, 2004, a victim of a rent increase of its landlord, New York University.

Springsteen is touring with the E Street Band in 2023. Tickets are available here and here and on StubHub.

Related: Springsteen’s former Columbia Records product manager shared some great inside stories with us

Best Classic Bands Staff

3 Comments so far

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  1. Kpw
    #1 Kpw 29 June, 2019, 19:29

    I was there. It was life changing.

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  2. Hans Kuhn
    #2 Hans Kuhn 7 August, 2019, 21:31

    I had & lost a bootleg vinyl record of Life at the bottom line. One side of the double album was filled with the song ‘the e street rap’; loved the song, beautiful slide work by Steven. Sounded like an improvisation handling the young days of the e street band. But, lost it …

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  3. Skydog
    #3 Skydog 14 August, 2022, 01:24

    Love to see Bruce release some of these shows on his website. He’s made available for purchase about 80+ so far.

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