Bruce Springsteen Prepping 'Darkness' Reissue

Bruce Springsteen is about to release a new album and play the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show, but there's another project in the works that will be received joyously by fans: a deluxe reissue of 1978's "Darkness on the Edge of Town" that will be similar to Columbia's 2005 30th-anniversary boxed set treatment of "Born to Run."

The "Darkness" package "would involve remastering that record, doing the kind of super-creative reconstruction and documentary of how it all came about and finding usable live footage from that point in time," Springsteen manager Jon Landau tells Billboard. "That's a big one, and not that far from completion, and when we can find six weeks to sit down and finish it I'm sure we will."

"Born to Run" included a Grammy-winning documentary about its creation and a 1975 concert from London. It was a huge hit with fans, debuting at No. 18 on The Billboard 200 with first-week sales of more than 53,000 copies.

One endeavor dividing Springsteen devotees down the middle is the Wal-Mart exclusive "Greatest Hits" album, which went on sale Jan. 13. Landau protects Springsteen's image fiercely, and the controversy surrounding the deal did not escape his attention.

"I know these discussions happen online and elsewhere, and I don't want to get bogged down in them, but let's start with the premise that Bruce is already in Wal-Mart," Landau says. "Wal-Mart has been 15% of our sales in recent years. It's not a question of going into Wal-Mart; we're there. They, and other retailers, are all looking for some way to differentiate themselves, and we try to accommodate each one."

Besides, Landau adds, "We're not doing any advertising for Wal-Mart. We haven't endorsed Wal-Mart or anybody else. We're letting Sony do its job making sure the record is well-presented in as many places as possible."

Springsteen and the E Street Band will return to the road this summer, with a handful of European stadium dates having been announced so far.