Bruce Springsteen is an acolyte of many a legendary artist. There’s his love of Bob Dylan, which formed his early identity and aesthetic as a singer and songwriter. There’s his love of classic soul revues like Sam & Dave or The Isley Brothers, which forms the basis for his live shows with The E Street Band. There’s even his strange love of New York synth punk’s Suicide, whose ‘Frankie Teardrop’ provided the early inspiration for Springsteen’s stark Nebraska album.
But just like everyone else in the world, The Boss couldn’t help but pay respect to The Beatles. “‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ came on the radio in 1964,” Springsteen recalled to Rolling Stone in 2020. “That was going to change my life, because I was successfully going to pick the guitar up and learn how to play it… The keeper was 1964, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, on South Street with my mother driving. I immediately demanded that she let me out… after that, it was nothing but rock and roll and guitars.”
Even though it would have been a perfect case of serendipity, Paul McCartney hasn’t actually played ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ in his live solo career. Ever. Even with 50 years of live performances under his belt, he has yet to play one of his most famous songs on stage without his former bandmates. Instead, McCartney tends to bust out ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ as his main reference to the earliest period of The Beatles catalogue.
Springsteen, unsurprisingly, was game to play that song too when McCartney joined The E Street Band on stage back in 2012. McCartney was on a break from his ‘On The Run’ tour at the time and apparently wasn’t even planning on going on stage that night. He was simply watching the concert from the VIP wings when Springsteen urged him to step out and play one final song with him and the band. McCartney, ever the showman, obliged and grabbed a left-handed guitar that was somehow a part of the band’s arsenal. Of course, no one in The E Street Band is left-handed, so it’s a bit suspicious.
Whether it was planned or not, McCartney and Springsteen have a ball revisiting the classic Please Please Me track. So much so that Springsteen calls another, ‘Twist and Shout’, despite the fact that the band were pressing up against the Hyde Park curfew. Springsteen faked out an ending before launching back into the song, almost as if he was purposefully toying with the squares who wanted to pull the plug on the concert.
Even when everyone takes a bow, Springsteen still isn’t done. He steps up to the mic and gives a final rendition of ‘Goodnight, Irene’ before finally calling it quits. It would take a bulldozer to move someone like Springsteen off the stage, especially when he’s having this much fun.
Check out the duet of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘Twist and Shout’ down below.