Bruce Down South

It is every New Jerseyan’s birthright to adore Bruce Springsteen; but down here in South Jersey we like to claim at least a little piece of the legend for ourselves.

Springsteen’s connection to South Jersey is illuminated by Frank Stefanko, a local photographer who spent several days documenting Bruce in and around Haddonfield during the winter of 1978. It is Stefanko’s work that graces the covers of Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River. With an onslaught of Springsteen-related material set to appear this fall, it’s a good time to shine some light on Stefanko’s role in the Springsteen saga.

Recently, Rolling Stone posted on its website a gallery of shots from Stefanko’s 1978 sessions with Springsteen. Some we’ve seen, others were previously unreleased. The minimalism of the work captures the essence of Bruce at 29—Haddonfield all around him, the entire world before him.

Stefanko’s photography also is featured extensively in the HBO original documentary The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town. The film combines never-before-seen footage from 1976-78 with recent interviews of Bruce and his band. You can catch it on demand through November 1.

Coming up November 16 is the release of “The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story,” a three-CD/three-DVD collection of music and film footage intended to shed new light on this legendary recording. The deluxe edition will include a re-mastered version of the original LP, never-before-seen studio and concert footage, an 80-page notebook of Bruce’s lyrics and meditations, 21 previously unreleased songs, dozens of photos, and several other accoutrements of Boss-centric fandom.

Springsteen is so often associated with Asbury Park that it’s easy to forget how important South Jersey also was to his ascension. Thanks Frank!

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