Are you a true Bruce Springsteen fan?
What’s the best way to identify yourself as a true Bruce Springsteen fan? That’s easy – all you have to do is spend $611.50 on eBay for an original copy of the very first issue of the Springsteen fan publication Backstreets.
Backstreets has been the trusted source for Springsteen news and information since 1980, and while the quarterly magazine is not officially affiliated with Springsteen, he and his camp have been very supportive of the publication, with Bruce himself sitting down with them for an interview in 2004.
The first issue of Backstreets was four pages, printed in three colors, newspaper style. Springsteen fan Charles R. Cross started the fanzine by printing 10,000 copies, then handing them out for free at Bruce’s Oct. 24, 1980 concert at the Seattle Coliseum.
The debut issue content offered recollections of Springsteen’s 1978 concert at the Seattle Center Arena, a centerfold poster, a list of the six hottest Springsteen collectibles and a rundown of 30 Springsteen bootleg albums.
After the initial nine issues, the publication switched to a magazine-style format, adding full color covers shortly after that. Current editor Christopher Phillips began working with Cross on the magazine in 1994, and helped to launch an internet presence for Backstreets in 1995. He would eventually take over the operations altogether in 1998.
Backstreets now brims with extensive touring and recording content, and has expanded in size quite a bit since that first issue. The latest issue clocks in at 56 pages, and is dedicated to a complete exploration of the Springsteen Rock Hall exhibit.
Original copies of that first issue are hard to come by, so it’s not very surprising that when a copy recently appeared on eBay, it sold for $611.50 after amassing 17 different bids. Which is a pretty good deal as long as you’re not aware of the black and white reprint that you can get from Backstreets for $2.
Because we’re not so good with math, the Backstreets guys helped us out, calculating that by paying $611 for an original copy on eBay instead of simply buying a reprint, this fan paid a 30,000% markup. (Editor’s note: I have no ability to check, or interest in verifying, those numbers.)
We don’t wanna bum the poor buyer out though, so let’s cheer them up by taking a look at some rare footage that reveals how the famous Springsteen video ‘Dancing In The Dark’ could have turned out very differently.