Bruce Springsteen spent well over a year writing songs for his 1980 LP The River, and by the time he was done, he had much more material than could fit on even a double album. Some of the tracks wound up as B-sides, while many others appeared on the 1998 box set Tracks or the 2003 Essential Bruce Springsteen collection. But when it came time to collect material for Springsteen’s upcoming box set, The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (in stores December 4th), the curators still found 11 songs that hadn’t appeared on any previous release.
You can listen to one of those songs, “Party Lights,” right here. An incomplete, solo acoustic home demo of the song from 1979 leaked out to bootleggers many years ago, but the finished, full-band rendition has never been heard until now. It contains lyrics that were later used on “Point Blank” and in the additional verse that Springsteen added to “Jersey Girl” by Tom Waits. Much like the title track of The River, the song is about a young girl forced to “grow up fast” after becoming a young mother.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are promoting the new River box set on Saturday Night Live on December 19th, but plans beyond that are unclear. Earlier this week, Springsteen performed “American Skin (41 Shots)” with Tom Morello, Max Weinberg and Roy Bittan at the Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America event in Los Angeles.