Wednesday, December 23, 2020

"Tunnel of Love" by Bruce Springsteen

Top 10 Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  3356
Date:  12/05/1987
Debut:  57
Peak:  9
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Springsteen's Tunnel of Love album, his follow-up to 1984's massively successful Born in the U.S.A., was highly anticipated, but unlike his 1986 box set Live/1975-1985, it didn't make a major splash by debuting in the #1 spot. It started off at #16 and two weeks later landed at the top, but remained there for one lone week. Although the more personal LP's first single, "Brilliant Disguise," would make it to #5, it didn't draw people to the album in the way that "Dancing in the Dark" did for Born in the U.S.A. Springsteen's label probably realized quickly that the new album wasn't going to get close to the sales mark set by Born, but that didn't mean it still couldn't do well and it was hoped this title track single would help album sales. The song would be another bit hit at Rock reaching #1. Over on the Pop chart the tune managed to make the Top 10, which ended up being good for the album. By April of '88, the LP would go triple-platinum.

ReduxReview:  This song gets near the top of my list of favorite Springsteen songs. I just think everything about it is perfect. The lyrics, the arrangement, the production, the background vocals, and even the crowd noises (see below) were just spot on. There was some strange, other worldly feel about the song and at the time it was quite a different sound for Springsteen. I've heard it countless times and I still adore the track. I nearly get chills whenever I hear the song start. If it happens to come up on one of my playlists, I'll usually hit the repeat button because just one time through isn't enough for me. Classic and brilliant.


Trivia:  Some effects that contain noises and screams can be heard slightly at the beginning of the song, but more prominently at the end. The sounds heard were captured by engineer Toby Scott. He recorded actual amusement park noises to go with the song's metaphorical tunnel of love/fun house theme. Scott recorded the sounds at Herman's Amusements on Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, which in 1987 became part of Jenkinson's Boardwalk. The clanking roar and screams Scott recorded apparently came from a roller coaster at the park, which at the time was owned by the Schiffer family. According to a newspaper article written by a former employee at the park, the coaster was called the Dragon. The history of the ride isn't well documented, but it seems that at some point in time after it was taken over by Jenkinson's, the coaster was closed and perhaps even moved. A refurbished version of the ride then became the Tornado, which is still in operation as of this posting date. The Tornado is an example of a railed powered roller coaster. This means that the single car that traverses the track is powered throughout the ride. This is different from most coasters that rely on large hills to propel the coaster around the track. The advantage of a powered coaster is that it can be designed for small areas where large hills couldn't be constructed. In the liner notes for Tunnel of Love, the Schiffer family is given credit for the park noises.


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