This Month’s VLOG post Bruce Springsteen’s “Factory” by Mike Macaluso comes as a special request from Matt Ryan. In this VLOG post, Mike discusses the origin of the song “Factory” as well as the performance history and many versions of this great Springsteen classic.
Bruce Springsteen’s song “Factory” was recorded in 1978 and released on Springsteen’s fourth album “Darkness on the Edge of Town“. The song Factory was listed as take 28 on the album info sticker. There are a few outtakes that exist. These include the additions of violin, heavier organ and harmony vocals. On June 9, 1978, Factory was released as the b-side to the “Prove It All Night” single. Factory shares the same music and melody as the Springsteen song “Let’s Go Tonight.”
Factory made its live debut at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, TN on July 21, 1978 and was played frequently through the months of August and September and occasionally through the rest of the tour. Factory was played throughout The River tour, and twice on the Born in the USA tour; November 26, 1984 and November 29, 1984 at The Summit in Houston, TX.
The song has been recorded in a cappella versions by the Arizona Smoke Revue (released on The Bruce Springsteen Songbook compilation in 1996) and The Flying Pickets. It has also been performed live by Eric Burdon.
Factory was played in a great country-style arrangement with pedal-steel guitar at the March 18 and 19, 1999 rehearsal shows at the Convention Center in Asbury Park, NJ, then was played sporadically throughout the entire tour. The song makes its final appearance on this tour on June 27, 2000 at Madison Square Garden. With only two weeks before the end of The Rising tour, Factory makes its tour debut on September 18, 2003 at Rentschler Field in Hartford, CT, which also constitutes the final performance of the song on the tour.
Factory is played with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers at the Flood Aid show, benefiting victims of Hurricane Ivan at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, PA on December 2, 2004.
With only six more weeks remaining on the Seeger Sessions tour, the song is debuted on October 7, 2006 in Perugia, Italy. It is played only two more times, October 13th in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and its final time on October 24th in Barcelona, Spain.
In 2008, Factory is only performed once, on May 7 at Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ in a benefit show for that venue.
In 2009 Factory was played infrequently with only four performances. The final performance occurs during a performance of the entire Darkness on the Edge of Town album in Philadelphia, PA on October 14, 2009.
On December 13, 2009, a live performance of all the songs from Darkness on the Edge of Town, is filmed at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, NJ, for the deluxe box-set of The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story, released on November 16, 2010. Each song is performed at least twice in an empty theater. The songs were not performed in album order. All the original band members that performed on the original album are present, with Charlie Giordano replacing the late Danny Federici. Factory, as well as the entire Darkness on the Edge of Town album is remastered and released as part of The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story, 3 CD / 3 DVD set.
During the Wrecking Ball tour, Bruce debuts Factory on Labor Day, September 3, 2012, in Philadelphia. Factory fittingly opens the show, performed solo on acoustic guitar and is followed by 4 more songs from the Darkness on the Edge of Town album.