Men Without Women, credited to Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, is the debut solo album by Steven Van Zandt, a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and a songwriter / producer with the Jersey Shore band Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. The title track was inspired by the Ernest Hemingway collection of short stories of the same name.
In 1980 Van Zandt produced Dedication, a comeback album for Gary U.S. Bonds. Gary Gersh, who was in charge of the Bonds album at EMI America Records, subsequently approached Van Zandt and indicated that the label would be interested in a Van Zandt solo project. In November 1981 Van Zandt began recording the album at The Power Station, using musicians from The E Street Band, The Asbury Jukes and The Miami Horns. Among the songs recorded at these sessions were "Inside Of Me", "Princess of Little Italy" and "I've Been Waiting," originally written by Van Zandt for the Jukes album Hearts Of Stone. Springsteen also took part in these sessions, providing backing vocals on "Angel Eyes", "Until The Good Is Gone" and "Men Without Women". Springsteen’s contributions, however, went uncredited but have been confirmed in interview by Van Zandt.
Before finishing Men Without Women, Van Zandt produced a second Bonds album, On the Line, and also began recording Born in the U.S.A. with Springsteen. By Summer 1982, Van Zandt had recruited his own band, The Disciples of Soul, featuring Dino Danelli and Jean Beauvoir, and it was this line up that completed the album, recording "Under the Gun" and "Lyin' in a Bed of Fire". Van Zandt had also decided to adopt the pseudonym Little Steven, partly to distance himself from any Springsteen comparisons and partly as a tribute to Little Richard and Little Walter. On July 18, 1982 Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul made their live debut at the Peppermint Lounge. The concert was filmed for video release and as a companion to the album. On May 13 the film version of Men Without Women was given a European premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
As a single, "Forever" spent nine weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #63. The album did little better, reaching only #118 on the Billboard 200. A music video for "Forever" was played in heavy rotation on early MTV. "Inside of Me" was later featured on The Sopranos in which Van Zandt himself also starred.
On July 2, 2011, the album was performed in its entirety by Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. Richie La Bamba, Mark Pender, Ed Manion and Stan Harrison from the original Disciples of Soul were part of the horn section.
In 2019, the album was remastered for release as part of Van Zandt's career-spanning box set Rock N Roll Rebel: The Early Work. The digital deluxe edition of the album was released on October 18, 2019 containing 10 bonus tracks, including the previously unknown studio outtake "Time".
Label: Wicked Cool Record Co. 602577940712
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Style: Pop Rock
A1 Lyin' In A Bed Of Fire
A2 Inside Of Me
A3 Until The Good Is Gone
A4 Men Without Women
A5 Under The Gun
B1 Save Me
B2 Princess Of Little Italy
B3 Angel Eyes
B5 I've Been Waiting