The Live Series: Songs Under Cover

On 14 February, 2020 a new Bruce Springsteen archival live compilation was released via streaming services. It is the sixth installment in a series of themed live playlists from Springsteen (“the Live Series”). This new playlist gathers 15 interesting covers that Springsteen has played with The E Street Band over the years.

The Live Series:

  • Songs of the Road
  • Songs of Friendship
  • Songs of Hope
  • Songs of Love
  • Songs from Around the World
  • Songs Under Cover

The Live Series: Songs Under Cover features performances spanning from 1975 to 2017. The collection, which is ordered chronologically, opens with a 1975 rendition of When You Walk in the Room that Springsteen and company played at The Roxy in Los Angeles. The song was written and first recorded by Jackie DeShannon in 1963, and was a hit for U.K. band The Searchers the following year.

The second song, Twist and Shout (made famous by The Isley Brothers and The Beatles) is a cover that has been frequently played by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in concert (409 times between 1974 and 2016). The rendition on the playlist is from Upper Darby, PA, Tower Theater, 12/31/1975.

In Gothenburg Twist and Shout is also know as the “Stadium Breaker”, as it was played during the legendary June concerts in 1985, which, with the help of a very enthusiastic audience, almost rocked the stadium to pieces.

The explanation to the damage is that the city (and the venue) rests on a layer of clay and the rhythmic, synchronised movement of tens of thousands of people jumping during the shows caused movements in the ground, similar to the ones at an earthquake. The movements made the stadium sway and later cracks were found in the concrete foundation. This forced a “rock ban” on the venue, which had to be rebuilt and reinforced before any shows were allowed again.

Custom made T-shirt designed by Ralf Dissmann worn by some fans on the shows in Gothenburg in 2012 and 2016. Pics courtesy of Dan French.

With the Barclays Center flooded in purple light, Bruce Springsteen opened up the Brooklyn concert on April 23, 2016 by paying tribute to Prince (only two days after his passing) with this poignant cover of the classic Purple Rain:

Other interesting tunes on Songs Under Cover: an exhilarating rendition of Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” and rocking versions of Boom Boom (John Lee Hooker) and Highway to Hell (AC/DC) as well as a groovy rendition of Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison).

The only cover I don’t like at all in this compilation is the rendition of I Don’t Want to Go Home (S. Van Zandt), which is boring compared to the original played by either Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul or Southside Johnny.

Here’s a full track list for Songs Under Cover, along with the artist or artists associated with each tune and the date and location where they were recorded:

  • “When You Walk in the Room” (The Searchers) — Los Angeles, CA, The Roxy, 10/18/1975
  • “Twist and Shout” (The Isley Brothers, The Beatles) — Upper Darby, PA, Tower Theater, 12/31/1975
  • “Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran) — Cleveland, OH, The Agora, 8/9/1978
  • “Detroit Medley” (Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels) — New York, NY, Madison Square Garden, 9/21/1979
  • “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (Elvis Presley) — London, U.K., Wembley Arena, 6/5/1981
  • “Travelin’ Band” (Creedence Clearwater Revival) — Los Angeles, CA, Memorial Coliseum, 9/27/1985
  • “Boom Boom” (John Lee Hooker) — New York, NY, Madison Square Garden, 5/23/1988
  • “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” (Jackie Wilson) — Buffalo, NY, HSBC Arena, 11/22/2009
  • “I Don’t Want to Go Home” (Southside Johnny, Little Steven) — Helsinki, Finland, Olympiastadion, 7/31/2012
  • “Stayin’ Alive” (The Bee Gees) — Brisbane, Australia, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, 2/26/2014
  • “Highway to Hell” (AC/DC) — Brisbane, Australia, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, 2/26/2014
  • “Purple Rain” (Prince)– Brooklyn, NY, Barclays Center, 4/23/2016
  • “Lucille” (Little Richard) — Milan, Italy, Stadio San Siro, 7/3/2016
  • “Brown Eyed Girl” (Van Morrison) — Adelaide, Australia, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, 1/30/2017
  • “I Fought the Law” (The Bobby Fuller Four, The Clash) — Hunter Valley, Australia, Hope Estate Winery, 2/18/2017

3 comments

    1. Most covers are redundant in my opinion and I would be perfectly happy if he only played his own songs. However, Twist and Shout is fun and so is Seven Nights to Rock and a couple of others – and wouldn’t it be fun to hear Rhinestone Cowboy live?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, you’re right, Bruce has soooo many songs of his own which he had never played or rarely… and, uh, I also liked to hear “Summertime Blues” (Frankfurt/Main 2012) and “Who’ll Stop The Rain?” (Munich 2013).

        Like

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