he shot of Bruce Springsteen leaning into Clarence Clemons on the cover of Born to Run -- one with a guitar, the other, seen fully on the back cover, blowing his saxophone -- is one of rock's archetypal poses. Photographer Eric Meola caught the moment at his New York studio during a day of sessions in which he tried all kinds of things: outside shots of Springsteen in the shadows of a fire escape, inside shots of him listening to a radio and playing around with the guitar. "Other things happened," says Meola, "but when we saw the contact sheets, that one just sort of popped. Instantly, we knew that was the shot."
The session very nearly didn't happen at all. Meola, who got to know Springsteen, Clemons and Springsteen's manager at the time, Mike Appel, back around 1973, got the call from Appel to shoot some pictures. But Springsteen's marathon work on Born to Run caused him to cancel out on Meola so many times that the lensman very nearly bagged the project.
"One day I got really upset," he says. "I called up Mike and said, 'Hey, it's either going to be next time or never.'" Springsteen kept the next appointment, bringing Clemons with him. "He wanted Clarence on the cover from the beginning," says Meola, "and the whole thing of isolating them against a white background just worked."
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