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Monday, 9 October 2017

Revisiting Tunnel of Love - Bruce Springsteen (1987)

Tunnel of Love - Bruce Springsteen
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Chuck Plotkin and Jon Landau
Released 9th October 1987
US Chart #1
UK Chart #1
Canadian Chart #1
Italian Chart #1
Norwegian Chart #1
Spanish Chart #1
Swedish Chart #1 

Listen To The Album Here:

Side 1

Side 2
    Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass guitar, keyboards, harmonica, percussion, drum machines
    Roy Bittan – piano on "Brilliant Disguise", synthesizers on "Tunnel of Love"
    Clarence Clemons – backing vocals on "When You're Alone"
    Danny Federici – organ on "Tougher Than the Rest", "Spare Parts", "Two Faces", and "Brilliant Disguise"
    Nils Lofgren – guitar solo on "Tunnel of Love", backing vocals on "When You're Alone"
    Patti Scialfa – backing vocals on "Tunnel of Love", "One Step Up" and "When You're Alone"
    Garry Tallent – bass guitar on "Spare Parts"
    Max Weinberg – drums on "All That Heaven Will Allow", "Two Faces" and "When You're Alone"; percussion on "Tougher Than the Rest", "Spare Parts", "Walk Like a Man", "Tunnel of Love", and "Brilliant Disguise"
    James Wood – harmonica on "Spare Parts"

Singles/EPs on and Connected to Tunnel of Love
(Click on the Links Below to Watch Promo Videos and listen to Audio Tracks)

B-Side: Lucky Man

Released September 1987
US Chart #5
UK Chart #20

Was also released as a Postcard Picture Disc in the UK and 12".

Released November 1987
US Chart #9
UK Chart #45

A-Side: One Step Up

B-Side: Roulette

Released February 1988 (US Release and in Parts of Europe)
US Chart #13
Dutch Chart #44

There was also a two 12" versions featuring different tracks
Featured Roulette and Be True (Live)

Roulette and Born To Run (Acoustic Live)
Released June 1988 (UK)
UK Chart #13

Side 1
Tougher Than The Rest (Live)
Be True (Live)

Side 2
Released August 1988 (US and Parts of Europe)
Did Not Chart

Spare Parts was released on two 12" Discs in the UK and also on 7" (this had Spare Parts on the A-Side and Spare Parts - Live on the B-Side)



The second 12"
Spare Parts

Spare Parts (Live)
Chimes of Freedom (Live
Released August 1988
UK Chart #32

US Promo CD
1. All That Heaven Will Allow
2. One Step Up
3. Roulette
4. Be True
5. Pink Cadillac


Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the release of Tunnel of Love by Bruce Springsteen.

I know a lot of people who point toward Tunnel of Love as their favourite Bruce Springsteen album, and just as many who like it but are not crazy about it in the same way as they are about say Born To Run or Darkness on the Edge of Town. I think that just shows that Bruce's music connects with people in different ways and it would be very boring if we were all the same and liked exactly the same things!

The album is regarded as a Solo record despite the fact that pretty much all the members of the E Street Band feature on the album but they don't all feature on every track (see Personnel list above to see which members played on what specific tracks). It wouldn't be until The Rising in 2002 that the band would all record an album together (though there had been an odd track or two here and there).

One of the things that is quite clear with Bruce Springsteen is that he never makes the same album twice. Tunnel of Love is not Born In The U.S.A. Mark 2. It stands apart as an album in which we caught a glimpse into the actual mind and heart of Springsteen in a way we had never done so on previous recordings. There's a very personal element to it that caused many to wonder just what on earth was going on inside The Boss.

In his Autobiography Born To Run (just recently published in Paperback after a very successful Hardback Edition last year) he devotes Chapter 51 to the Tunnel of Love. Here we find a few things that were going on inside his head and heart.
"After Born in the USA, I'd had enough of the big time for a while and looked forward to something less." (P348 Paperback Edition)

"My first full record about men and women in love would be a pretty rough affair. Filled with inner turmoil, I wrote to make sense of my feelings." (P349)

"I had a left-field hit with Brilliant Disguise, the song that sits thematically at the record's center. Trust is a fragile thing. It requires allowing others to see as much of ourselves as we have the courage to reveal. But Brilliant Disguise postulates that when you drop one mask, you find another behind it until you begin to doubt your own feelings about who you are. The twin issues of love and identity form the core of Tunnel of Love, but time is Tunnel's unofficial subtext." (P349)

In his Anthology of Lyrics, Songs, he would speak of the striking change of pace, mood and emotional landscape on Tunnel of Love as  being his desire to reintroduce himself as a "songwriter". Or as Gavin Martin put it in The Ultimate Music Guide Springsteen put out by the makers of Uncut magazine, "it was time to strip away the protection of the band and get personal."

The critics were all very welcoming of the album and all pointed to the focus on relationships that the album possessed. Steve Pond, writing for Rolling Stone summed it up nicely:

 "On Tunnel of Love, Springsteen is writing about the promises people make to each other and the way they renege on those promises, about the romantic dreams we're brought up with and the internal demons that stifle those dreams. The battleground has moved from the streets to the sheets, but the battle hasn't changed significantly."

My personal favourites on the album are Tougher Than The Rest, Spare Parts, Brilliant Disguise and Walk Like A Man. If you were twisting my arm trying to get what I think is the best song on it well I'd have to go with Spare Parts (of course everyone has a different one to me and that's fine).

Some of the songs are not easy to listen to, Walk Like A Man reminds me of my own father seeing me get married and since his passing those words at the end of the song are like some kind of daily challenge!:

"Now I'll do what I can
I'll walk like a man
And I'll keep on walkin'."

There's an honesty to the record that Springsteen brings that just shows you can have everything but if "I Ain't Got You", then you have very little! It shows that relationships can be messy, and that there is pain, abandonment (sometimes), deceit, failure, pleasure and faithfulness - a picture of what our lives are often like within our own relationships. I think that's why a lot of people connect with Tunnel of Love because they see a lot of themselves in it.

Happy Birthday To The Tunnel!

"Then the lights go out and it's just the three of us, yeah
You, me and all that stuff we're so scared of
Gotta ride down baby into this tunnel of love"

What The Fans Say
I asked the folk of a Springsteen Group on Facebook called Brucebook for some of their thoughts/memories around and about the Tunnel of Love
Here's what a few of them had to say:

  "Even though it was considered a solo album, many ESB members played on my faves; Nils solo on TOL and Roy's organ outro on 2 Faces.." - Christian Griffin (USA)

 "Two Faces... the sleeper song of the album... Done in an even better form than the album, solo during the Devils and Dust tour, with Bruce on piano *vocalising* the synth parts at the end in a falsetto wail... such a dark, brooding lyric. Haunting stuff." - Scott Johnson (Perth, Australia)

"Although my family is firmly rooted on the east coast, I didn’t discover Bruce until I went to college in Texas (!) and was introduced to his music by a Texas-born boyfriend via Nebraska. TOL was the first Bruce tape I bought on my own and the storytelling and emotions in those songs, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, all of it raw and real, just blew me away. The short, to the point dedication in the liner notes got me, too, especially when that boyfriend and I broke up. TOL is the album that made me a Bruce fan for life. From Ain’t Got You and All That Heaven Will Allow to Valentine’s Day, and everything in between (One Step Up is an absolute favorite), that album does it for me every time I listen." - Lorraine Scaduto Bachand (USA)

"Tunnel of Love signifies a change in Bruce. The album cover with his dressed up look caught my eye. The songs were so personal. I felt like these songs really open a window into Bruce’s heart vs what we had heard before had been a window in Bruce’s home. When your’re alone, two faces and brilliant disguise all gave this window to me." - Deirdre Brownlow

"After listening to Bruce casually for years, even going to a few concerts with my fan-boyfriend-then-husband, my own true fandom didn’t click until TOL. The lyrics are, in my opinion, the most consistently poetically beautiful he has ever written, and the melodies are simple and lovely. It touches me every time I listen, and I often listen all the way through." - Carol Hempfling Pratt (USA)

"It is often compared to Dylan's Blood On The Tracks as a great "breakup" album." - John J. Kelly (USA)

"I think Tunnel of Love is the first album Bruce wrote that really connected at the core with women. It just deals with so many raw emotions and very personal feelings, women could relate to it on a different level than his other albums. For me, personally, it came at a very important time. I had been a fan since seeing him in 1978 on the Darkness tour. But I was in a relationship with someone at that point and I thought I had found my forever love. Unfortunately, right after Tunnel came out, we broke up. I was heartbroken in that way that it physically hurts and some days, the only thing that got me through was going for long walks, holding my Sony Walkman and playing that Tunnel cassette over and over, particularly One Step Up. I could literally listen to that song 50 times a day. I would love someday to see him do it live but I can't imagine the emotions it would bring out in me." - Janet Graham (USA)

"My friend and I each got our copy on release day put it in our Walkmans, tuned out the world as we listened when we were done looked at each other and said "He is getting divorced" You could just feel his pain and angst and the changes that were about to take place." - Cindy Sabathie Fahy (USA)

"My three year old sang every word, thirty years later Bruce still in our lives, that's beyond brilliant." - Ken Burton (USA)

"Remember the concert at Sheffield for the Tunnel of Love tour as though it were yesterday. Bruce threw red roses 🌹 to those at the front of the stage... we were in the side stands (Bramhall Lane FC) .... lovely summer day." -  Liz Lovell (UK)

"I remember buying the album upon its release day , listened to it till the tape wore out . Then going to see Bruce in the RDS, Dublin ( his first of many gigs there) lying in the grass on a beautiful sunny day waiting for the concert to begin . It was an amazing concert , to hear the songs played live in comparison to the tinny sound from a tape deck . The memories still live long . I loved the album then and I love it even more as an adult. One of his finest albums." - Clodagh Byrne (USA)

"Saw the concert in Chapel Hill. As soon as Bruce and Patti started to sing together (to each other), it was obvious things were rockin!" - Sharrie Watson Reardon (USA)

"TOL came out in Oct 1987. It was the Fall of my Senior Year of college up in Brunswick, Maine. My college roommates and I played the CD constantly til we graduated. Just an incredible record. I finally got to see it live in Worcester, Ma on Opening Night of that tour. Unforgettable year!" - David Mazzella (USA)

"My favorite tour! And my 2nd favorite Bruce album to “Darkness.” " - Larry Adelman (USA)

"I found Tunnel of Love this year (2017) after having read Bruce's autobiography. I decided to start listening to the albums one by one. After being with my spouse for over 40 years, the lyrics of this album described the inner thoughts of being in the partnership called marriage." - Betsy Waterman Gubbels (USA)

"My first chance to see a live show, in Barcelona, I missed the one in 1981 for the River tour. I could enjoy it from the first line, stuck on the stage from the very beginning to the end Nobody could move me away!!. Still remember that august night." - Rosa Maria Garcia Alba (Spain)

Tunnel of Love Bonus


Thursday, 5 October 2017

S4L Radio: Show #10 Playlist Tom Petty Tribute

On this week's S4L Radio Show we have a musical tribute to Tom Petty. It will include songs by the man himself along with his band The Heartbreakers, various collaborations he has been involved in as well as a mix of cover versions of some of his best songs.

I hope you enjoy it. 

Thanks For The Music Tom

The Playlist

On The Playlist
The Last DJ - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
We open with a song about the radio as is our custom and where better to turn than to the year 2002 with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and their tale of The Last DJ...
 "Who plays what he wants to play
And says what he wants to say"

Depot Street - Mudcrutch
The single on Shelter Records from 1975 before they originally disbanded with Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench creating a new band - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Mudcrutch would rise again in 2007 and release their Self-Titled Debut Album in 2008 and their 2nd was released last year (2016) entitled very simply 2. They did actually release another single with a Limited run of 500 Copies on the Pepper Label in 1973 called Up In Mississippi (Discogs lists it as 1973 but Wikipedia lists it as 1971).

Saving Grace - Tom Petty
Single taken from the Highway Companion Solo album released in 2006.

Handle With Care - The Traveling Wilburys
There had been "Supergroups" before 1988 but none quite like this one: George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. Actually Petty's involvement came quite by accident. Harrison had left his guitar at Petty's house (as you do!) and as he was going to record a B-side for the single This Is Love. He already had Lynne and Orbison on board and when he went to pick the guitar up he invited Petty to tag along. Getting a studio at such short notice was going to prove difficult and Harrison suggested they phone Bob Dylan as he had a home studio and thus Dylan got involved. The record company were so blown away by the song that they felt it was too good to be a B-side. The song was written on the day of recording and within five hours they had created a little masterpiece. Harrison's response to the label was to decide to form a band (with the motley crew who had written and sung on the song) and recorded another nine songs for an album that would be released in October 1988. The album was a huge hit in the States (#3, in the UK only #16). The single reached #21 in the UK and #45 in the States.

Stop Draggin' My Heart Around - Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
A lot of people forget that Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, though written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, was actually a Stevie Nicks release. In fact it was her Debut Solo single and also featured on her Debut Solo Album Bella Donna.
Whilst a huge hit in the States (#3) it only reached #50 in the UK (which to this day I still find amazing)!
Nicks has often performed the song with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and is known as an Honory Member of The Heartbreakers. I have included the live version from Petty's 30th Anniversary Show in Gainsville on The Playlist.

Band of The Hand - Bob Dylan with The Heartbreakers
Theme song for the 1986 Movie Soundtrack (deleted at present but available on iTunes apparently). During 1986-87 Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers had been Dylan's backing band.

I Won't Back Down - Johnny Cash
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers had played as the backing band on the second album of the American series by Johnny Cash - Unchained (1996) and Petty and a couple of Heartbreakers featured on the third in the series American III: Solitary Man. On Unchained Cash recorded Southern Accents, and for American III: Solitary Man he did one of Petty's Solo tracks, and did it pretty well if I may say so myself.

Free Fallin' - The Almost
From the 2010 album Punk Goes Classic Rock.

Here Comes My Girl - Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs
From their highly acclaimed Under The Covers Vol.2 (2009) and now part of the Box Set Completely Under The Covers (2015) released by Demon Records.

You Wreck Me - Taking Back Sunday
From the 2009 album A Revolution In Sound: Warner Bros. Records.

Refugee - Melissa Etheridge
Opening track to her Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled released in 2005. I quite like this one as she's given it a nice wee acoustic touch before launching into a full out rock version.

Breakdown - Grace Jones
I had actually forgotten about this version. Totally bizzare choice for Grace Jones that was released as a single in the USA and appears on the 1980 album "Warm Leatherette".

You Got Lucky - The Gaslight Anthem
Released as a Double A-Sided 7" along with Forty-Five back in 2012. The song was included on the Deluxe Edition of their album Handwritten.

Shadow Of A Doubt (A Complex Kid) - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
One of my favourite tracks off of Damn The Torpedoes.

The Waiting - Linda Ronstadt
Was released as a single and featured on her album Feels Like Home released in 1995. The version on The Playlist is her performance of the song on Letterman in March 1995.

Fooled Again (I Don't Like It) - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
From their Debut album released in 1976. Another favourite album track (there are so many to choose from!). Version included on The Playlist is from The Old Grey Whistle Test in May 1977.

Walls - Glen Campbell
There were actually two Tom Petty songs on Meet Glen Campbell released in 2008 (the other was Angel Dream). Both songs were originally released on the 1996 album by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers... She's The One - Songs And Music From The Motion Picture. The Meet Glen Campbell is an album I totally love (an album of cover versions that features songs oiginally released by Travis, Green Day, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, the Foo Fighters, The Replacements, U2 and John Lennon. It's top notch stuff).

Hometown Blues Rosanne Cash
From the 1981 album Seven Year Ache.

Rebels - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
From Southern Accents (1985).

American Girl - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
I included the live version from the Gainsville show on The Playlist (mainly for Mike Campbell's great guitar solo!).

The Parting Shot
This One's For Me - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Taken from their tenth studio album Echo (1999).

"Some other time, some other day
We'll sing this again some other way
So much has gone by, don't know where to start
Well this one I'll keep here in my heart"

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