It is difficult to think of another musician with the stamina, the stories, and the swashbuckling charisma who could perform a show in the style of Springsteen on Broadway. Its recent arrival on Netflix brought Bruce Springsteen’s critically-acclaimed Broadway run to an audience of millions, with the Boss’ performance as intimate as his E Street Band tours were epic. While Springsteen is a naturally captivating orator, it helps that he has a sterling catalogue of songs to draw from. Here is a look at some of those songs that didn’t make the cut for an original Springsteen album, a testament to the quality and depth of his creativity.
My Love Will Not Let You Down
It is bizarre to think that this rousing earworm never made it as a single, let alone making the cut for the album, yet Springsteen decided not to include it on Born In The USA. Springsteen’s album-writing sessions are so prolific that quality is always bound to be left on the cutting room floor, although the Boss has given this track many outings in a live setting in which it thrives.
The song feels like one of Springsteen’s most versatile, equally at home in stadium rock concerts and late-night pub dances. Granted, with the responsibility of opening many setlists for the E Street Band’s reunion in 1999, Springsteen’s earnest lyrics about his love’s reliability are simple but effective.
Springsteen is renowned for using relatable concepts to frame distinctive stories. Roulette is one of the most popular online table games; a look at the list of casinos with the best payouts will reveal that they all offer roulette games, with the wheel-based game one of the most potentially profitable for players. Springsteen’s punky cut from The River sessions focuses not on the winning potential of roulette, but instead he uses the unpredictability of the game as a metaphor for the fallout after the Three Mile Island incident.
A song that Springsteen has since acknowledged should have made it on to The River, the Boss spits out lyrics of rising stakes to furious drumming and rollicking guitars. It would have been intriguing to see Springsteen explore this pacey and punky direction further.
Take ‘Em As They Come
Another cut from The River sessions, Take ‘Em As They Come is perhaps among one of the more simplistic Springsteen songs. The chorus repeats the title, while the instrumentation is straightforwardly effective heartland rock fare. Yet that simplicity is charming and infectious; the duelling vocals throughout are unusual for Springsteen, while the song has a fervent sense of propulsion.
This track and Roulette could have sat comfortably alongside The Ties That Bind and Out in the Street, songs that did make it on to The River, to form an album that would have evoked comparisons with Tom Petty. Instead, Springsteen’s inclusion of slower epics gave The River a uniquely heartbreaking character, with the juxtaposition of ballads and rockers lending more weight to both.
Despite the huge success of Springsteen’s stripped-back Broadway performances, fans across the world will be hoping that the 69-year-old has more full-band tours ahead. If not, then the Boss has a catalogue so varied and deep that there are always new favourites to unearth.