Danny Federici, Bruce Springsteen, and Born in the USA

April 20th, 2008

My friend JJ got me a book a couple months age — it’s the 33 1/3 “How-This-Record-Came-Into-Existence” series’ book on Born in the USA. Bruce Springsteen and I go back — I was eight years old, with my mom and my sister in a K-Mart, and we were in the music section. My mom gave me and my sister a choice: We could buy Michael Jackson’s Thriller, or we could buy Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. We chose Thriller.

I didn’t pick up Springsteen again until 2004, when I put Nebraska on repeat for two or three months. Last Christmas my sister gave me Born in the USA on vinyl. JJ got me the BitheUSA book. It’s been a Bruce kind of year. And, this week, the keyboarder for the E Street Band, Danny Federici died. I never knew the guy. But — and this is what I came here to tell you about — I do want to share a little about what I learned about Federici and the Born in the USA song.

Springsteen had written a bunch of songs as demos — lots of those songs went on (in the “demo” version) to be an album (Nebraska). Born in the USA was one of those songs, but it didn’t make the cut. The demo version sounded different, a lot more desolate. When Springsteen still thought the demos he recorded were just demos, and when he got his band together to turn them into something more, he pulled out the Born in the USA song. The band played it through once, they played it through twice, and the second take of that song is the version you hear on the album.

Related Posts:

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  4. My awesome list of links is now on twitter.
  5. It’s Saturday: Denver Post Underground Music Festival

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