It's a part of Bruce Springsteen's story -- the first time he and the E Street Band traveled across the Atlantic to play London's Hammersmith Odeon. It was 1975. It was early in his career. And it was not pretty when Bruce rejected the hype his record company had posted all over London and the arena he was to perform in.
Chronicled in the 30th anniversary "Born to Run" box set, the tantrum is legendary. The box set included a video of the Hammersmith Odeon concert.
Upon seeing the posters declaring "Finally London is ready for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band," Springsteen became enraged at his label's advertising campaign. He thought it was over the top, presumptuous, and just wanted his music, his performance to speak for itself. The story has it that he went around tearing down the posters that had been put up on his behalf.
Though the tantrum is well documented in words, I don't remember ever seeing a photo or a video of those moments. Obviously, it was 1975 and not everyone had a phone with a camera in it in their pocket. One photographer, Chalkie Davies, was there and last week wrote a blog post about a photo he snapped that comes the closest to documenting Bruce's rage about the London hype campaign.
Davies was assigned to cover the second Hammersmith Odeon concert by New Music Express. Like a good photojournalist, he plotted a strategy for getting a photo of Springsteen after the concert, and the result is a stunning shot of Springsteen reading the marquis at the front of the arena. See the photo and post here
Springsteen, so thin and wearing the oversized yarn cap he so often performed in then, seems disproportionate to the glowing marquis proclamation, which was exactly the point Springsteen was trying to make to his record label. Little did anyone know then, he and the band would ultimately live up to all the hype.