LIVIN' IN THE GHETTO (HARLEM) is a Bruce Springsteen song from the Born To Run period (late 1973 to early 1975). It was a candidate track for Born To Run, as evidenced in two Springsteen handwritten lists of candidate tracks for his third studio album.
The first list is untitled and contains 10 tracks. It dates from 1974 and was written on a lined notebook page using blue ballpoint pen (see below scan). The list originally contained 9 songs, but Springsteen added LIVIN' IN THE GHETTO (HARLEM) at a later stage using a different pen. He referred to the song as "Harlem".
The second list is untitled and contains 7 tracks. It dates from 1974 and was written on a lined notebook page using blue ballpoint pen (see below scan). To save space, it seems that Springsteen just wrote the list on the same page that he previously used for a 3-line "to do" list. Springsteen also referred to the song as "Harlem" in this list.
Brucebase lists the song under the title "Livin' In the Ghetto (Harlem)". The website compiled a list of rumoured song titles from the Born To Run era, based on information garnered from completed lyric sheets, partially completed lyric sheets, or documents in Springsteen's handwriting containing song titles but no lyrics.
In his 1989 book Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music, Charles R. Cross listed the song under "Other Songs 1972 to 1975". He used the title "Harlem". The above-mentioned handwritten list (see above scan) is certainly the same document that Cross viewed as part of Mike Appel's files.
Bruce Springsteen often creates song titles first and then attempts to write words and music around it, so the existence of a song title is no guarantee that a song was ever created. From the early 1972 to early 1975 period, there are many titles garnered from completed lyric sheets, partially completed lyric sheets, or documents in Springsteen's handwriting containing song titles but no lyrics. There is as yet no evidence that these were completed songs (both words and music) and no evidence that they were recorded during any of the first three albums' studio sessions. If they do exist as recordings, then they would most likely be either as work-in-progress home cassette recordings or from the little known about 1974 sessions at 914 Sound Studios in New York.
Most of these titles came to light in the second edition (1992) of Charles R. Cross book Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music. Very few were mentioned in the first edition (1989), but the second edition was more accurate and more detailed of the two versions of Cross's book. The primary reason for the flood of new and previously undocumented information in the second edition book is that soon after the first edition was published, Cross was granted quality interview and research time with Mike Appel at Appel's office. And as part of that, he was allowed to go through Appel's files of surviving Laurel Canyon-related documentation, which included inventory lists and some lists of song titles. At the time, Appel did not have any transcription/lyric sheets (or photocopies of them) in his possession because they had been handed over to Springsteen as part of terms and conditions of the 1977 legal settlement.
There was also an untitled list of about a dozen titles in Appel's files dated to spring 1975. Cross included them in his book as song titles, but it was later confirmed through Appel that this list was not of song titles, but rather potential album titles for the work-in-progress 3rd album and not song titles.
In an interview with Mark Hagen published on Mojo magazine in January 1999, Springsteen implied that the only unreleased song from the Born To Run sessions that is complete and in release-quality and not included on the Tracks box set was WALKING IN THE STREET. This means that it is highly unlikely that any of the titles from late 1973 to early 1975 was recorded in a complete form and is ready for release.
List of unknown songs from April 1972 to February 1973: (the Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. period)
List of unknown songs from fall 1972 to fall 1973: (the The Wild, The Innocent, & The E Street Shuffle period)
List of unknown songs from late 1973 to early 1975: (the Born To Run period)
Some of the above info is taken from Brucebase.
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List of available versions of LIVIN' IN THE GHETTO (HARLEM) on this website:LIVIN' IN THE GHETTO (HARLEM)