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Bruce Springsteen Unveils ‘High Hopes’ Single, Reveals New Album Date & Details

Bruce Springsteen‘s ridiculously prolific decade continues. On Jan. 14, 2014, he will release ‘High Hopes,’ his sixth studio album since 2002′s ‘The Rising.’

‘High Hopes’ is a mixture of covers, new versions of songs previously only heard live and previously unreleased material. The title track, whose single and video (above) were released today (Nov. 25), is a cover of a song by the Havalinas. Springsteen has previously released the song on an EP included with the ‘Blood Brothers’ documentary video, but this is a new version recorded in Australia with guitarist Tom Morello.

Another song from those sessions, ‘Just Like Fire Would,’ was originally recorded by the punk band the Saints. Both songs were performed on Springsteen’s tour of Australia in March 2013. The third cover is ‘Dream Baby Dream,’ which Springsteen used to close out shows on his solo tour in support of 2005′s ‘Devils and Dust.’ It is a track by the New York art-punk band Suicide.

Of the originals, ‘American Skin (41 Shots),’ found on 2001′s ‘Live in New York City’ gets its first studio release. ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’ is a full band take of the title track to his stark 1995 record. Morello, who appears on eight of ‘High Hopes” 12 songs, recorded it as a member of Rage Against the Machine and has frequently duetted with Springsteen on the song over the years. ‘The Wall’ is about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and has only been performed four times, twice on the ‘Devils & Dust’ tour, and at two ‘Master Class’-style shows in Somerville, Mass. in 2003.

‘Harry’s Place,’ ‘Down In The Hole,’ ‘Heaven’s Wall,’ ‘Frankie Fell In Love,’ ‘This Is Your Sword’ and ‘Hunter Of Invisible Game’ have never been heard, although Springsteen read the lyrics to ‘Harry’s Place’ on an episode of ‘Nightline’ in 2002. It is not an early draft of ‘The Rising”s ‘Mary’s Place,’ but rather about a “local kingpin” and “went back to some of the imagery from my second record,” he said at the time.

The album features production credits by Springsteen, Ron Aniello and Brendan O’Brien. The version available for pre-order at Amazon contains a DVD of the full-album performance of ‘Born in the U.S.A’ in London on June 30, 2013. E Street Band members Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici, both of whom passed away in the last five years, appear on several songs.

Springsteen penned his thoughts on the album and posted them on his website.

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.

‘High Hopes’ Track Listing

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’

Next: Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Road Songs

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