Springsteen originally recorded this batch of songs as demos on a 4-track recorder as a template for later E Street Band renditions. But Springsteen and his producers ultimately decided that the demo recordings captured the spirit of the record better and released them as the official album.
Nebraska – Bruce Springsteen (1982)
I suppose the most obvious Bruce Springsteen selection for a list of great 80s albums would be Born in the U.S.A.. But I’ll tip my hand by revealing that neither that nor Tunnel of Love, another standout by The Boss from this era, made my list.
Instead, the lone Springsteen slot goes to the album that preceded both of them, 1982’s Nebraska.
1983’s Nebraska is as desolate and stark as the landscape pictured on its black-and-white cover. Its songs tell the tales of killers and thieves, men and women whose hope for redemption is fading like the eerie glow of a dying sunset.
While I’ve always been aware of Bruce Springsteen and his importance to popular music, I didn’t have a strong connection to any of his albums that I’d heard. That changed, however, when I picked up Nebraska, Springsteen’s 1982 acoustic release.
Nebraska was originally recorded at Springsteen’s home as a demo on 4-track cassette and later embellished with the full E-Street Band in the studio. But Bruce decided that the demo versions brought the haunting songs to life more effectively than his work with the band, so they were mastered and released as the full album.