|The cover of Bruce Springsteen's compilation album The Promise|
was taken by photographer Eric Meola in Utah in 1977.
Peter Ames Carlin tells the story behind these lyrics and the photo on the 2010 compilation album The Promise in the 2012 Springsteen biography Bruce (p. 247), one of the better rock-related biographies that I've read. Two days after hearing of Elvis' death, Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, and Eric Meola flew to Salt Lake City and drove around non-stop for 30 hours on the desert backroads. At some point, a huge thunder and dust storm formed. Meola called it a "Biblical storm" and it helped inspire a portion of the lyrics for The Promised Land.On a rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desertI pick up my money and head back into townDriving cross the Waynesboro county lineI got the radio on and I'm just killing timeWorking all day in my daddy's garageDriving all night, chasing some miragePretty soon little girl I'm gonna take charge.The dogs on main street howl,'cause they understand,If I could take one moment into my handsMister, I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man,And I believe in a promised land.I've done my best to live the right wayI get up every morning and go to work each dayBut your eyes go blind and your blood runs coldSometimes I feel so weak I just want to explodeExplode and tear this town apartTake a knife and cut this pain from my heartFind somebody itching for something to startThe dogs on main street howl,'cause they understand,If I could take one moment into my handsMister, I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man,And I believe in a promised land.There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floorI packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the stormGonna be a twister to blow everything downThat ain't got the faith to stand its groundBlow away the dreams that tear you apartBlow away the dreams that break your heartBlow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenheartedThe dogs on main street howl,'cause they understand,If I could take one moment into my handsMister, I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man,And I believe in a promised landI believe in a promised land...
I've been trying to figure out where the photo on the cover of The Promise was taken. Comment if you have ideas.