5 Songs You Didn’t Know Bruce Springsteen Wrote That Have Been Made Famous By Other Artists
Bruce Springsteen has no shortage of his own hits, but some songs “The Boss” originally wrote and recorded himself fell flat upon release, then shot up the charts when picked up by other artists.
When Springsteen released his first album in 1973 Greetings from Asbury Park, NJtwo of the tracks from the album “Spirit in the Night” and “Blinded by the Light” failed to rise on the charts until Manfred Mann picked them up in the 70s. , Springsteen had written the stuff of “Because the Night,” but it wasn’t falling into place during the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions with the E Street Band in 1977. After sharing the song with her friend Patti Smith, it became the musical poet’s biggest hit and publicized her 1978 album. Easter. Springsteen released their own versions of “Because the Night” on the 1986 box set Live / 1975–85and the 2010 compilation album The promiseand performed the song solo and with Smith over the years.
In 1987, Springsteen also wrote a song for Smith’s New York punk bandmates, The Ramones, but kept “Hungry Heart” to himself. Inspired by Lord Tennyson’s poem, “Forever Wandering With A Hungry Heart”, the song appeared on Springsteen’s 1980 album. River and was The Boss’ first big hit, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard charts.
Although Springsteen had many Top 10 songs, he surprisingly never had a No. 1 hit although he came close during his 1984 Born in USA hit ‘Dancing in the Dark’ peaked at No. 2.
In honor of some of Springsteen’s leaked hits, here’s a chronological look at five songs The Boss originally wrote or recorded for himself and the E Street Band in the 1970s and 1980s, which became bigger hits by other artists.
“Spirit in the Night” from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1975)
Springsteen originally released the track on his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ but it wasn’t until British rockers Manfred Mann’s Earth Band got their hands on it that “Spirit in the Night” hit the charts. Featured on the band’s 1975 album Nightingales and bomberswhen the song was released by Manfred Mann, it peaked at number 40 on the Top 40 and was the first of two songs that Manfred Mann would cover by Springsteen that reached the charts.
“Blinded by the Light” – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1977)
Already covered and recorded with Springsteen’s “Spirit in the Night,” Manfred Mann grabbed another track from The Boss’ debut album, “Blinded by the Light” as the opening track on their 1976 album. The roaring silence, which became a huge hit for the band and reached No. 1 on the charts.
“Fire” by the Pointer Sisters (1977)
The story around “Fire” is sad since Bruce Springsteen originally wrote the song for Elvis Presley, who died before he could even listen to the song. Springsteen wrote the song after seeing Presley perform at the Spectrum in Philadelphia on May 28, 1977. “I sent [Elvis] a demo,” Springsteen said, “but he died before he got there. Originally recorded then cut from Darkness on the Edge of TownThe Pointer Sisters covered the song, and it went to No. 2 on the charts.
“Light of Day” by The Barborrs (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)
In a fictional twist of fate, Springsteen originally wrote and recorded the song “Light of Day” for his 1983 album Born in USA album but shared it with director Paul Schrader for the 1987 film soundtrack Day light. In the film, the song was performed by the made-up band The Barbrers, consisting of Joan Jett and actor Michael J. Fox, and ended up peaking at number 33 on the chart. Billboard Hot 100 with credit to The Barborers (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts). To this day, Jett still incorporates the song into his live set and even performed it with Fox in 2017 at the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards gala in Ottawa, Ontario.
“Pink Cadillac” by Natalie Cole (1988)
Originally released as the B-side to “Dancing in the Dark” in 1984, “Pink Cadillac” achieved moderate airplay, made it onto Springsteen’s Born in the USA tour setlist, and reached No. 27. spot on the Billboard Top Tracks chart. Although Springsteen initially turned down the idea of Bette Midler covering the song, it was later shared with Natalie Cole, who made it a Top 10 single in 1988. Also featured on Cole’s 1987 album. Eternalwhich received two Grammy nominations, her pop R&B version of “Pink Cadillac” topped the US and UK charts, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard US Dance Club Songs chart and No. 5 on the Hot 100. .
Photo: Danny Clinch