Artists Cover Springsteen – Vol. 1

This is one of those posts that was not in any way planned but occurred somewhat serendipitously. I was driving around and heard the first tune and thought, hmm, I should do a post where artists cover other artists. Then, weirdly, I came home got a newsletter or saw an article with the second tune, also a Springsteen cover. So I thought, well ok, that’s it.

What can one say about Neil Young other than that he is, like Bruce, quintessentially his own man. He did “Born in the USA” at a MusicCares tribute to El Bosso from a few years back.

If there is in fact any difference between Bruce and Neil it is most definitely this – Neil was not born in the USA but from some great Northern frozen tundra where it’s always cold but the people (except for hockey players) are very nice.

Nancy Wilson is the guitar-slingin’ sister of the duo in Heart, a band I have not yet gotten around to writing about. She takes on “The Rising,” Springsteen’s tune about the 9/11 attacks. (My God, has it been twenty years already?) This is from her new solo album, You and Me:

Spotify link

There are probably a million versions of “Fire.” But I’ve always dug the Pointer Sisters as a band. And they were the first (only?) ones to have a hit with it back in 1978 AD. (If you’ve never heard their debut album, drop everything.)

Spotify link

Now there’s trouble busin’ in from outta state
And the D.A. can’t get no relief
Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade
And the gamblin’ commissions hangin’ on by the skin of its teeth

Everything dies baby that’s a fact
Maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City

You haven’t heard “Atlantic City” till you’ve heard the Band do it. Levon’s voice is so fucking lived-in that it gives it that feel that the song requires. Bruce would love the accordion nnd mandolin. This is post-Robbie Robertson stuff from Jericho:

Spotify link

Let us finish up this Bruce-o-Rama with Rage Against the Machine showing some wrath in “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” Welcome to the new world order:

Spotify link

 

43 thoughts on “Artists Cover Springsteen – Vol. 1

  1. Very nice choices. It’s always interesting to hear other artists spins on songs, especially when they’re established in their own right. The Band’s cover is my favourite of these, but Rage Against The Machine does a terrific interpretation.

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    1. There were enough good choices that I somewhat spontaneously made it Vol 1.

      BTW, I have been commenting on some of your stuff. Don’t know if they’re going through.

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      1. Yup, they’re coming through, and I really appreciate the feedback & comments. I’ve “liked” a lot of ‘em as acknowledgement if I didn’t have a follow-up comment.

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  2. Funny, just on Thursday I also published a post related to Springsteen and covers, except I focused on covers played by Springsteen. Like in your case, it was a pretty spontaneous decision as well after I coincidentally had come across his latest release from his live series, which features covers only. I’ve always enjoyed that side of Springsteen.

    As to your selections, Neil Young’s (shocker!) and Nancy Wilson’s renditions speak most to me. I also dig the Pointer Sisters. In fact, I had known their version of “Fire” before I heard Springsteen’s original on the excellent “Live/1975-1985”. At first, I thought it sounded pretty weird and it took some time to warm to it, though I still prefer the Pointer Sisters.

    I never quite warmed to “Nebraska.” I know many Springsteen fans love that album. That being said, the rendition of “Atlantic City” by the Band is intriguing!

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    1. Huh! Great minds think alike. I’ll check that out. There’s nothing Bruce covers that he doesn’t make better. It’s odd that I never did this before. I have the Springsteen channel on Sirius and they routinely play covers of his tunes. But it wasn’t till I heard Neil and then Wilson that I got inspired. As to “Nebraska,” I was never particularly jazzed by it myself. I’ve come to appreciate it over time but I can’t say I play it very often.

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      1. I will say my opinion about “Nebraska” also has somewhat improved, similar to “Pet Sounds.”

        For the longest time, I simply didn’t get all the fuzz so many people make about the Beach Boys album. It’s not that I found it terrible, but I simply couldn’t understand any comparison with Sgt. Pepper.

        Some albums definitely are an acquired taste. And in some case, the process takes years and repeated listening.

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        1. Boy, if an album takes years and repeated listening, I gotta say that’s a long time to wait. If I don’t get in a couple of tries, over and out.

          I think certain kinds of music just resonate with people. Bluesy “street” music, R&B, soul, Chuck Berryish rock and roll, pop – all resonated with me. Beach Boys not so much. I like some of their stuff but that whole Southern California sound – at least till CSNY – was pretty much a big shrug for me.

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  3. Back when I was the most obnoxious Bruce Springsteen fan in the world I ate up anything he gave to folks (CB Checks Out Bruces Friends). The ones you posted, Rage and the Band do it for me. talk about making them their own.

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    1. Yeah, true on both. Levon could sing the fucking telephone book and make it work. And there’s always that great, loose Danko harmony. Heart are from Seattle but lived in Vancouver for a while. With Neil, today’s post is a Canadian special.

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      1. I seen Heart paly in clubs (The Body Shop). You know how I feel about the Band. The whole cut cooks..
        I have an album called ‘Cover Me’ various artist. You might want to check it out. It’s an old one. So many good covers stating way back for me. Robert Gordons (With Link Wray) ‘Fire’ was my first venture. Maybe a few Southside in there. Plus Bruce was buddies with Greg Kihn, you would remember him. I actually went out and bought the albums (the bad old days) because of the Bruce connection.

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        1. I considered Gordon for that tune. I remember Greg Kihn. Trying to recall hit tune without looking up. Wait, something like They Don’t Write ’em like That Anymore.

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        1. Yeah, he’s a huge Springsteen fan. Doesn’t much blog anymore. Last I heard from him he popped over late December, said hi, then split. Don’t even know if he follows the blog anymore.

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    2. BTW, you had asked me where the Jersey guy has got to. I looked through my list of followers and he appears to have stopped following the blog. So, there’s that.

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  4. Some good choices here. Big time fondness of Rage’s The Ghost of Tom Joad. I mind getting the live VHS back in 1997 with the 3 track CD. Blew my mind.

    The Band doing Atlantic City is just magic. Probably my favourite Springsteen song from my favourite Springsteen album. I’ll wait till you’ve done with your volumes before I throw my favourite Springsteen covers at you.

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    1. Actually it wasn’t super clear but Vol.1 just meant 1st of a number of posts I’ll do on this topic at some point. So, feel free.

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  5. Some strong contenders here, sir, including a couple I didn’t know – missed the musicares thing entirely. Bruce is one of those artists that, when he covers a song, really ends up making it his own (which is one of the Springsteen post-series I have in gestation) so covering the Boss you’re faced with the choice: play it straight or make it your own like he does? Either route you take you’ve got one of the biggest catalogues of songs to chose from…

    There’s a great CD I picked up back in 2000 called Badlands: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska which included takes on that album and songs written around then (like Wages of Sin and I’m On Fire) which is well worth checking out. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badlands:_A_Tribute_to_Bruce_Springsteen%27s_Nebraska#:~:text=Badlands%3A%20A%20Tribute%20to%20Bruce%20Springsteen's%20Nebraska%20is%20a%20tribute,Pop%20Records%20in%20November%202000.)

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    1. I may know that album, may have heard it. Sounds awfully familiar. Also, do you follow Christian’s blog? Ironically, right around the time I did this post he did on songs that Bruce covered. You may or may not want to check it out pre-series.

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      1. Ah, wicked – I do follow Christian’s blog but my reader doesn’t keep me as up to date on the good stuff as it should. No cross-over thankfully

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  6. In answer to the message you left me, you may be in luck, my friend.
    After 2 years of the torture of night work, I’ve finally given it the flick. I’ve had a full week and a bit of normality and my brain is slowly beginning to function again. So much so that I’m feeling the urge to get back to the blogosphere.

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  7. Good choices! I’m a big fan of the two Bowie Bruce covers (big surprise). I also love Patty Griffin’s Stolen Cars and The National’s Mansion on the Hill. Oh, and Atlantic City by The Hold Steady.

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        1. This is what happens when you go away for a while. You may have offended the Gods of the Blogosphere. They advise me to tell you the following – you can check out any time you like but you can never leave.

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        1. And while I too like that stuff, to quote an ancient sage at the end of the day, I’m a rocker. Baby I’m a rocker.

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