The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle Turns 40

Bruce Springsteen’s sophomore record, The Wild, The Innocent & The East Street Shuffle is turning 40 this year. Released on September 11th, 1973, this album was the last before Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band exploded with the popularity of Born to Run, which caused Bruce to get his face on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazines.

Joey Spehar got to talk to Dave Panasiuk of Dave’s Music Mine on the Southside about this historic record. “You’re either a Springsteen fan or you’re not a Springsteen fan. There’s a really fine line there. I’ve loved Springsteen all my life,” Dave says. “I just remember one summer sitting around listening to Springsteen, and my brother put on The Wild, The Innocent & The East Street Shuffle and it was right at the beginning of summer, and it was the perfect introduction to summer.”

“All the songs about different characters throughout it, relating to your teenage years…Everyone’s got a bit of Spanish Johnny in them, one of the main characters in “Incident on 57th St.” It’s an album about youth and trying everything once, before Bruce got into defending the middle class and the working man. It’s different than the poppy Springsteen we’re used to from later in his career. “It’s really an album that showcased a lot of the players that passed away recently,” Dave notes. Danny Federici and Clarence Clemens each had important solos on the album. The underproduction really represents the street musicians and life in New York City at the time. “It really just draws you into the grit and grime,” says Joey. It showcases both Springsteen the songwriter and Springsteen the poet.

Popular music at the time had Boston and the Eagles topping music charts. “I think it may have been a reaction to some of that,” says Panasiuk. “I think a lot of it had to do with those influences he’s had over the years.” Bruce was a huge Van Morrison fan, and you can see the comparison to Astral Weeks, growing up in Belfast and being young and dumb.

Dave argues, “Springsteen really seems to be a part of that handful, you can really count them on your hand, of timeless musicians. Even in my store, whether its vinyl, cd, even cassette, if there’s one laying around people come in and are grabbing it up. It never does sit around.”

“Well the story of Bruce Springsteen is that of a classic American tale,” says Joey.