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Page last updated: 14 Mar 2012
PRETTY THING is a Bruce Springsteen song from the Born To Run period
(late 1973 to early 1975). It was a candidate track for the album, as evidenced in a Springsteen
handwritten song list titled "Album #3" and containing 12 tracks with their recording times, which
indicates that the tracks where recorded. The list most probably dates from 1974 and was written
on a lined notebook page using blue and black ballpoint pens.
[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce scan]
In the second edition (1992) of his book Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man
And His Music, Charles R. Cross listed PRETTY THING under "Other Songs 1972 to
Unknown Songs from 1972-1975
Bruce Springsteen often creates song titles first and then attempts to write
words and music around it, so the existence of a song title is no guarantee that a song was ever
created. From the early 1972 to early 1975 period, there are many titles garnered from completed
lyric sheets, partially completed lyric sheets, or documents in Springsteen's handwriting
containing song titles but no lyrics. There is as yet no evidence that these were completed songs
(both words and music) and no evidence that they were recorded during any of the first three
albums' studio sessions. If they do exist as recordings, then they would most likely be either as
work-in-progress home cassette recordings or from the little known about 1974 sessions at 914
Sound Studios in New York.
Most of these titles came to light in the second edition (1992) of Charles R.
Cross book Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music. Very few were mentioned in
the first edition (1989), but the second edition was more accurate and more detailed of the two
versions of Cross's book. The primary reason for the flood of new and previously undocumented
information in the second edition book is that soon after the first edition was published, Cross
was granted quality interview and research time with Mike Appel at Appel's office. And as part of
that, he was allowed to go through Appel's files of surviving Laurel Canyon-related documentation,
which included inventory lists and some lists of song titles. At the time, Appel did not have any
transcription/lyric sheets (or photocopies of them) in his possession because they had been handed
over to Springsteen as part of terms and conditions of the 1977 legal settlement.
There was also an untitled list of about a dozen titles in Appel's files dated
to spring 1975. Cross included them in his book as song titles, but it was later confirmed through
Appel that this list was not of song titles, but rather potential album titles for the
work-in-progress 3rd album and not song titles.
In an interview with Mark Hagen published on Mojo magazine in January
1999, Springsteen implied that the only unreleased song from the Born To Run sessions
that is complete and in release-quality and not included on the Tracks box set was
WALKING IN THE STREET. This means that it is
highly unlikely that any of the titles from late 1973 to early 1975 was recorded in a complete
form and is ready for release.
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If you have any additional information about this song, or a scan of a
Springsteen sheet that shows this title, please contact me via the below form or by email:
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