The Wild, The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle

The Wild, The Innocent & the E Street Shuffle

On his second album, 1973’s The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, Bruce Springsteen ignored whatever desires his label or his management may have had about turning him into a “new Dylan.” Springsteen’s experiences recording, performing, and promoting his scaled-down 1972 debut had given him more confidence in what worked for him, and what didn’t. For his follow-up, Springsteen switched his creative strategy, assembling a real band to accompany him in the studio—a collection of musicians that would soon become the first incarnation of the legendary E Street Band. With The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, Springsteen—who’d been leading and playing in rock ’n’ roll bands since he was a teen—would use those new players to help craft an album that could reflect his already-infamous live performances. Lyrically, the album would cover some of the terrain Springsteen had explored on his debut. He was still writing about the Jersey Shore, using it as the setting for a series of intricate, rambling epics that feature unexpected key changes and tempo shifts, all populated by revolving cast of renegades, misfits, and weirdos. These are people who didn’t fit in anywhere—except with each other—and their stories are told on such standout tracks like “Wild Billy’s Circus Story,” “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” and “The E Street Shuffle.” The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle also featured lengthy compositions that could command an audience’s attention, and make them remember the name of the band who stopped them from going to the bar to get another beer (“Kitty’s Back,” “Rosalita”). Meanwhile, “Incident on 57th Street” and “New York City Serenade” show the big city noir side of the Boss. They’re the kind of songs that could only be written by someone not from New York City—deeply romanticized sagas of life, love, bad choices, and tragic endings.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada