Barry Schneier Talks About 'Bruce Springsteen: Rock And Roll Future,' His New Book In Asbury Park
On May 9, 1974, Bruce Springsteen performed a show that is considered to be a watershed moment in his career. Having released two albums to date with minimal sales success, he was in danger of being dropped by his record label. Photographer Barry Schneier, having seen Bruce Springsteen perform locally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, suggested to concert promoters, Windowpane Productions, they consider booking him for a show. This chance encounter would lead to Bruce and the E Street Band opening for Bonnie Raitt at the Harvard Square Theatre on May 9th - a show which previously planned with no opening act.
In the audience that night was Jon Landau, a music critic for Rolling Stone magazine and Cambridge-based The Real Paper. What Jon witnessed that night, and would write about afterwards would alter the trajectory of Bruce's career forever, as well as his own. One line in Landau's review - perhaps the most famous concert review of all time - would reignite support for the artist as it was emblazoned in ads and repeated in the press: "I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen."
Barry Schneier - who, you learn, was instrumental in Springsteen getting the gig in the first place - was in attendance that night with his camera. His photographs, which remained entirely unseen for decades, are the only visual record of that night. His images and personal perspective on that night comes from a point of view to which no one else can lay claim.
After numerous requests to tell the stories behind the photos, Barry has teamed up with Chris Phillips, founder and editor of Backstreets Publishing, to produce a hardcover book that serves as the defining record of that evening. The 150-page, richly designed narrative and photographic journey through that historic night features Barry's personal recollections, along with both color and black and white images of the evening. Also contributing to the narrative are three of the original members of the E Street band, Garry Tallent, Ernest "Boom" Carter, and David Sancious. Though Barry's work has since been internationally recognized and exhibited, many images planned for the book have never before been seen.