Sep 15, 2014

THE RIVER 2LP: Another proof for Held Up Without A Gun on Side 3

Misprinted track line-up on Disc 2 inner sleeve of the ex-Yugoslavian
pressing (left) and the UK counterpart with correct listing (right)

For the vinyl collectors, it is well known that THE RIVER album was originally composed of 21 songs when it was about to be released; however, at the final moment of its release, Held Up Without A Gun was left off for unknown reason(s). Dave Marsh wrote, in his book Born to Run: The Bruce Springsteen Story, that "Actually, twenty-one were included on the first master" (updated version, Dell, NY, 1981). In fact, some copies of the pre-release US acetate of THE RIVER contain this short rocker clocking in at only 1 min 19 sec. Held Up ... is eventually released as the flip side of Hungry Heart, the first 7" single from the album in 1980, and used as one of the three tracks on the US promotion-only 12" version of Fade Away (COL AS 928) in 1981 and on the commercial 12" releases of I'm Goin' Down (CBS A 12.6561) in Spain and Holland in 1985.

Apart from the acetate discs, it is also widely known among collectors that the definitive proof for the last-moment track change made on this double LP is found on the inner sleeve for Disc 2 of the Dutch (including export to other countries), ex-Yugoslavian and Brazilian releases, which list this track on Side 3 as being the second following the lead-off song Point Blank. As far as I've seen, the same printing error also occurred in the Portuguese pressing. So, this error is fairly common to European pressings with the exception of those from Greece (the LP originally coming without inner sleeves), UK and Spain (both accurate listing from the beginning). These misprinted copies still remain readily available because the error has not been corrected throughout the vinyl pressings. As a result, this probably represents the most famous example of misprinting among Springsteen LP releases, next after "John", the misspelt co-producer's first name on the rear sleeve credit of the initial US pressing (and UK copies) of BORN TO RUN LP.

Promotional fact sheet "PLATTENPASS" for the German release (left) and track-list comparison to
 the release note that is included in the sample copy of the Japanese pressing (right)
Here what I show is another proof for this. Advanced or early LP releases from CBS Records in the former West Germany often contained a copy of a promotional fact sheet called "Plattenpass". This two-sided, orange-colored small official document (written in German) for THE RIVER reveals what the original line-up of tracks was, listing Held Up ... as being on Seite 3 (Side 3), if you look at the rear side of the sheet (Another noticeable variation is that the order of Cadillac Ranch and I'm A Rocker is reversed, but I don't know if this also reflects the original track listing or just a typing error). For comparison, also shown is the Japanese fact sheet that was originally included in the advanced sample copy (or "Mihon-Ban" in Japanese) of the album released in that country. In contrast to the German fact sheet, the Japanese one provides correct track information. This may be explained by the fact that the album release date of Japanese pressing is generally two weeks to one month behind the US or European schedule, at least in part because of the additional production of "Obi" decoration, lyric translation, Japan-exclusive album reviews by domestic music critics, and so on [Original release date: US, Oct. 1st, 1980 (but postponed to Oct. 17th); Japan, Nov. 1st, 1980].

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