Wednesday, January 8, 2020

"Fire" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

Song#:  3006
Date:  01/31/1987
Debut:  80
Peak:  46
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Springsteen was arguably at the peak of his career when he decided to unleash his first live album. The sprawling 5-LP box set Live/1975-1985 would debut at #1 thanks in part to its first single "War" (#4 Rock/#8 Pop). To follow it up, this next track was selected. It did well at Rock getting to #14, but it failed to crack the Pop Top 40. It put a halt to his streak of eight consecutive Top 10 hits. Yet it was just a temporary bump in the road. The box set would go on to be one of the best-selling live albums in rock and Springsteen's next album would return him to the Pop Top 10 twice more.

ReduxReview:  Sometimes things are just meant to be. While there was some potential for Springsteen to possibly grab a hit with this song (see below), it just wasn't meant for him. His decision to exclude it from Darkness allowed the Pointer Sisters to record their smouldering version of the tune. And honestly, they do a superior version to any done by Springsteen. It was just meant to be. This take on the song from a concert performance was just okay. Springsteen tries to be sexy and such at the beginning, but then he takes it in a rock direction and the fire just fizzles. Frankly, there really was no need for this single to be released. It was rare enough that a live version of a song got into the Top 10, so getting two was nearly impossible. Airplay at rock radio was plenty and probably did more to promote the box set than the actual single. Listen to this once, file it away, and then add the Pointer Sisters' version to your playlists.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This is a live remake of a song originally recorded by Springsteen, yet was a hit for another artist. Springsteen wrote and recorded a demo of this song in 1977. He initially intended it for Elvis Presley, but Presley died before a demo could get to him. It was then considered for inclusion on his fourth album Darkness on the Edge of Town, however despite the tune's commercial viability, Springsteen didn't think it fit in with the theme of the album and left it out. He then handed the song over to rockabilly artist Robert Gordon. Gordon recorded the song for his 1978 album Fresh Fish Special along with Link Wray and Springsteen on piano. The tune picked up some airplay, but it didn't get very far. Then producer Richard Perry played Springsteen's version of the tune for the newly reduced trio form of The Pointer Sisters. They recorded it for their 1978 album Energy. It would be the LP's first single and it got to #2 Pop/#14 R&B/#21 AC. It was a huge hit that kickstarted the trio's career. Although Springsteen at the time didn't release a version of the song, he would incorporate it into his shows. This single's performance was recorded on December 16, 1978, at the Winterland in San Francisco, just about a month after The Pointer Sisters debuted on the Pop chart with their version.


1 comment:

  1. Never heard of Bruce Springsteen's version but I absolutely loved the Pointer Sisters' version of that song (I give the Pointer Sisters' version a 9/10)