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Bruce Springsteen fans will be celebrating the New Year with new music, Columbia Records announced today.
The new record, High Hopes, arrives on Jan. 14, and will feature 12 songs familiar to fans of the iconic rocker. Produced by Springsteen with Ron Aniello, with other tracks by Brendan O’Brien, the record features musical accompaniment by members of the E Street Band, Springsteen’s self-described “muse,” as well as Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and many additional players. The record is available for pre-order today.
The album — recorded in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Australia and New York City — also spotlights some of the last unreleased music featuring saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who passed away in 2011, and keyboardist Danny Federici, who passed in 2008. Springsteen describes these tracks as “some of the best unreleased material from the past decade.”
“This is music I always felt needed to be released,” Springsteen reveals in the album’s liner notes.
Springsteen released the title track via iTunes on Monday, a cover of a song previously available on the 1995 EP Blood Brothers and in the subsequent 1996 documentary of the same name. The song originally was performed by the Los Angeles band The Havalinas. The new recording features guitar work by Morellom who filled in for Steve Van Zandt during the March 2013 Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball tour (Zandt was filming his Netflix show Lilyhammer).
The remaining 11 tracks include titles that astute Springsteen lovers should recognize, including a re-recording of “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” “American Skin (41 Shots)” and “Dream Baby Dream,” a song by the group Suicide he covered often on his Devils and Dust tour in 2005.
The album is a grab bag of songs that were left aside from previous albums, such as the song “Harry’s Place,” originally intended for The Rising. “The Wall,” co-written by Pittsburgh musician Joe Gruschecky, was only performed a handful of times live in concert.
The track listing for High Hopes is as follows:
1. High Hopes
2. Harry’s Place
3. American Skin (41 Shots)
4. Just Like Fire Would
5. Down In The Hole
6. Heaven’s Wall
7. Frankie Fell In Love
8. This Is Your Sword
9. Hunter Of Invisible Game
10. The Ghost of Tom Joad
11. The Wall
12. Dream Baby Dream
Read Springsteen’s unedited liner notes below:
I was working on a record of some of our best unreleased material from the past decade when Tom Morello (sitting in for Steve during the Australian leg of our tour) suggested we ought to add “High Hopes” to our live set. I had cut “High Hopes,” a song by Tim Scott McConnell of the LA based Havalinas, in the 90’s. We worked it up in our Aussie rehearsals and Tom then proceeded to burn the house down with it. We re-cut it mid tour at Studios 301 in Sydney along with “Just Like Fire Would,” a song from one of my favorite early Australian punk bands, The Saints (check out “I’m Stranded”). Tom and his guitar became my muse, pushing the rest of this project to another level. Thanks for the inspiration Tom.
Some of these songs, “American Skin” and “Ghost of Tom Joad,” you’ll be familiar with from our live versions. I felt they were among the best of my writing and deserved a proper studio recording. “The Wall” is something I’d played on stage a few times and remains very close to my heart. The title and idea were Joe Grushecky’s, then the song appeared after Patti and I made a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. It was inspired by my memories of Walter Cichon. Walter was one of the great early Jersey Shore rockers, who along with his brother Ray (one of my early guitar mentors) led the “Motifs”. The Motifs were a local rock band who were always a head above everybody else. Raw, sexy and rebellious, they were the heroes you aspired to be. But these were heroes you could touch, speak to, and go to with your musical inquiries. Cool, but always accessible, they were an inspiration to me, and many young working musicians in 1960’s central New Jersey. Though my character in “The Wall” is a Marine, Walter was actually in the Army, A Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry. He was the first person I ever stood in the presence of who was filled with the mystique of the true rock star. Walter went missing in action in Vietnam in March 1968. He still performs somewhat regularly in my mind, the way he stood, dressed, held the tambourine, the casual cool, the freeness. The man who by his attitude, his walk said “you can defy all this, all of what’s here, all of what you’ve been taught, taught to fear, to love and you’ll still be alright.” His was a terrible loss to us, his loved ones and the local music scene. I still miss him.
This is music I always felt needed to be released. From the gangsters of “Harry’s Place,” the ill-prepared roomies on “Frankie Fell In Love” (shades of Steve and I bumming together in our Asbury Park apartment) the travelers in the wasteland of “Hunter Of Invisible Game,” to the soldier and his visiting friend in “The Wall”, I felt they all deserved a home and a hearing. Hope you enjoy it,
Springsteen has also released a video of High Hopes. Directed by Thom Zimny, the clip features a collage of photos from Danny Clinch interspersed with Australian tour footage shot by Chris Hilson and vintage documentary footage, text and graphics. Watch below:
What do you think of Springsteen’s upcoming High Hopes album release? Sound off in the comments below.
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