'Wrecking Ball,' Bruce Springsteen's 17th studio album, has been set for a March 6 release on Columbia Records, featuring 11 new songs. Produced by Ron Aniello (Patty Scialfa, Sixpence None the Richer) with Springsteen and an executive producer credit for longtime manager Jon Landau, a deluxe edition of the record will include two bonus tracks along with exclusive artwork and photography.
Today's announcement ramps up the next round of activity from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who will make a rare public speaking appearance as the keynoter at SXSW in Austin on March 15. Springsteen and the E Street Band will be touring extensively in the U.S. and Europe in 2012. European tour dates have been announced at brucespringsteen.net.
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"Bruce has dug down as deep as he can to come up with this vision of modern life," says Landau in a prepared statement. "The lyrics tell a story you can't hear anywhere else, and the music is his most innovative of recent years. The writing is some of the best of his career and both veteran fans and those who are new to Bruce will find much to love on 'Wrecking Ball.'"
Three of the songs on 'Wrecking Ball' will be familiar to Springsteen fans from past concert performances, including the title cut, performed live since 2009; "American Land" from the tour in support of Springsteen's 2006 'Seeger Sessions' album and since with the E Streeters; and "Land of Hope and Dreams," which dates back to the late 1990s. Fans can stream "We Take Care of Our Own" and pre-order 'Wrecking Ball' at brucespringsteen.net.
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'Wrecking Ball' will be Springsteen's first album release since the death of saxophonist Clarence Clemons last summer. Clemons had been a key member of Springsteen's famed E Street Band since its earliest days. While Springsteen historically does not credit the band as a unit on his records ('Live 1975/1985' being the lone exception), it appears likely the band does perform on 'Wrecking Ball' and, as announced, will tour with Springsteen in support of the record. How the absence of Clemons, a key performer in scores of Springsteen's songs and a fan favorite in concert, will be addressed in concert has not been publicly acknowledged, though Springsteen did indicate the band would play on in public statements following Clemons' death.
In an interview with Billboard in the fall of 2010, Springsteen stated flatly that that tour was not the swan song for the E Street Band, calling his previous decade with the band "one of the sweetest chapters in our entire time together, adding, "We look forward to many, many more years of touring and playing and enjoying it."
Springsteen has been unusually prolific in the past decade, releasing seven albums (one, 'The Promise,' as part of an ambitious project around landmark 1978 album 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'). His last studio album of new material was 2009's 'Working On a Dream,' which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 224,000 units, and has sold a total of 594,000 copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan. His touring efforts behind 'Dream' and 2009's 'Magic' were hugely successful, grossing nearly $400 million and selling more than 4.2 million tickets worldwide to 177 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore.
'Wrecking Ball' track listing
1. We Take Care of Our Own
2. Easy Money
3. Shackled and Drawn
4. Jack of All Trades
5. Death to My Hometown
6. This Depression
7. Wrecking Ball
8. You've Got It
9. Rocky Ground
10. Land of Hope and Dreams
11. We Are Alive