Sunday, October 21, 2018

"My Hometown" by Bruce Springsteen

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  2564
Date:  12/07/1985
Debut:  55
Peak:  6
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. was one of only two albums at this point in time to have spawned six Top 10 hits. The only other album to do it was Michael Jackson's Thriller. However, Thriller still held the overall record at seven Top 10's. With his popularity still riding high and the album still selling copies, Springsteen and his label decided to try for a tie with Jackson and issued out this seventh single. It ended up being the perfect song to release. The ballad played well to a cross section of folks and it would easily slip into the Pop Top 10 while becoming Springsteen's first and only tune to reach #1 at AC. It would also hit #6 at Rock. With his record-tying achievement in the books, Springsteen closed up his Born in the U.S.A. era and moved forward. The album would eventually sell over 15 million copies making it one of the best selling albums in US history.

ReduxReview:  This quiet album closer didn't seem to be a likely candidate for a single when the album came out, but it ended up being a really good choice to finish off the run of hits. I think folks appreciated the lyrics and took the song to heart. I don't believe this was one of the songs Springsteen initially recorded when working on Nebraska, but if this was just stripped down to guitar, this would have been a great addition to that album. After this hit, I was really hoping he'd go for a new record and issue out one more single. With twelve songs on the album, he could have done it (Jackson's LP only had nine tracks). I wanted to see "Bobby Jean" pushed out. I thought it was one of the best songs on the album and paired with a cool video it might have had a chance to be an eighth Top 10. But seven was still pretty damn good and it is still a record today. Springsteen shares it with Jackson and two other artists - Janet Jackson (1989's Rhythm Nation 1814) and Drake (2018's Scorpion), although Drake had the advantage of streaming/YouTube plays while the other artists had to actually sell physical copies and get radio airplay.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  The crossover appeal of this song certainly helped it reach the Pop Top 10. What is unusual though is that this seventh single had gold-level sales. Jackson's last single from Thriller was the title track, which went platinum, but it had the massively popular music video to boost sales. So what did Springsteen's quiet ballad have to offer that made it sell so well? Someone in Springsteen's camp smartly decided to capitalize on the time of year the single was to be released and put a live version of Springsteen doing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on the b-side. The song was recorded at a 1975 concert and the only other time it was issued out for sale was as part of a 1981 children's album titled In Harmony 2. With the song getting a lot of airplay during the holidays of '85 and commercially available, it helped the "My Hometown" single sell enough copies to make it a gold record.


No comments:

Post a Comment