Forty years have passed since the defining album "Born to Run" catapulted Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band into Rock stardom. Photographer Barbara Pyle found an instant affinity with the band the first time she heard their music in New York City.She became the band's "official unofficial photographer," creating an intimate portrait of the struggles, the creative angst, energy and the ultimate success of the musicians as they brought to life Springsteen's artistic vision for the album and the single of the same name shared with the world in 1975.
Most of Pyle's photos taken during recording sessions, rehearsals and the tour for "Born to Run" were seen by very few until now with the publication of her new book "Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 1975," November 2015 by Reel Art Press.
By CBSNews.com senior photo editor Radhika Chalasani
Pyle explains that her photography of the little known New Jersey band was "a self-imposed" mission. She knew she "was witnessing history in the making."
A large number of Pyle's negatives from the "Born to Run" era were destroyed when they were badly stored while she was at work on a project in China. Pyle and publisher Tony Nourmand decided to put the book together in early 2015 and sifted through 2-3,000 negatives and prints. Most of the prints were just test prints, never meant for publication or exhibition. Those were scanned and digitally enhanced for the book.
In this photo, the band plays at a rehearsal hall on Bangs Avenue in Neptune, New Jersey. Pyle sat behind Roy Bittan's piano so she wouldn't disturb Springsteen. From left to right: Roy Bittan, Garry Tallent, Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici and Springsteen.
The band spent four straight days in the Record Plant studio. Pyle describes the recording session as brutal. Springsteen "had a specific sound in his head, but couldn't get it out." Since Springsteen didn't read or write music, "He would hum the music and the band would lay down tracks until they nailed it."
Pyle was never comfortable photographing Springsteen in the studio because "The stress was palpable. I didn't want to intrude."
"Bruce and I looked at each other and didn't say anything, we just knew. We knew we were the missing links in each other's lives. He was what I'd been searching for. In one way he was just a scrawny little kid. But he was a visionary. He wanted to follow his dream. So from then on I was part of history." -- Clarence Clemons on Bruce Springsteen
"We had a relationship that was elemental from the beginning. We played one song together and I said to myself, this is who I've been looking for all my life. And ever since then we stuck together." -- Bruce Springsteen on Clarence Clemons
The E Street band played in New Orleans as part of the "Born to Run" tour. Pyle, who spent a great deal of time in New Orleans and knew the music scene well, showed the band around. She took them to meet Lee Dorsey at his Ya-Ya Lounge in North Villette.
From left to right: Garry Tallent, Clarence Clemons, Max Weinberg, Lee Dorsey, Roy Bittan, Danny Federici, Stevie Van Zandt.
"What we did was we went to a place were we were not known and we played in a club for twenty or thirty people. And then two months later we came back and we played for fifty people. Two months later, we came back again to the same town and we played for about 100 people. We did try for new audiences but we did it our way." -- Bruce Springsteen
Pyle was determined to record the "visual extravanganza" of Springsteen's concerts, but there were definite technical difficulties with the film choices available at the time. She took a risk shooting E6 Ektachrome slide film, pushing it up to 8000 ASA and processing it as color negative film.
"WOW! What came out was amazing... Looking at these old pictures now feels just like being at one of those spectacular early concerts," according to the photographer.
Barbara by Bruce. Bruce by Barbara. McDonalds. Canal Street, New Orleans.
The multi-talented Pyle forged successful careers as a photographer, filmmaker and environmental activist. She has produced 65 documentary films. Among her many accomplishments is the creation of the Captain Planet cartoon series. Archivist Dave Brolan described Pyle as "a photographer who happened to shoot some musicians during a long and varied career." One should add that she shot incredible photos that captured a slice of musical and cultural history.