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Sunday, 9 October 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 283 - Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love

Tunnel of Love - Bruce Springsteen
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, and Chuck Plotkin
Released 9th October 1987
US Chart #1
UK Chart #1

    Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass guitar, keyboards, harmonica, percussion, drum machines

The E Street Band
    Roy Bittan – piano on "Brilliant Disguise", synthesizers on "Tunnel of Love"
    Clarence Clemons – backing vocals on "When You're Alone"
    Danny Federici – organ on "Tougher Than the Rest", "Spare Parts", "Two Faces", and "Brilliant Disguise"
    Nils Lofgren – guitar solo on "Tunnel of Love", backing vocals on "When You're Alone"
    Patti Scialfa – backing vocals on "Tunnel of Love", "One Step Up" and "When You're Alone"
    Garry Tallent – bass guitar on "Spare Parts"
    Max Weinberg – drums on "All That Heaven Will Allow", "Two Faces" and "When You're Alone"; percussion on "Tougher Than the Rest", "Spare Parts", "Walk Like a Man", "Tunnel of Love", and "Brilliant Disguise"

Additional musician
    James Wood – harmonica on "Spare Parts"

Singles on Tunnel of Love

    Brilliant Disguise / Lucky Man
    Released: October 3, 1987
US Chart #5
UK Chart #20

    Tunnel of Love / Two For The Road
    Released: October 17, 1987

US Chart #9
UK Chart #45

    One Step Up / Roulette
    Released: February 27, 1988

US Chart #13
Not released in the UK

UK Chart #13

    Spare Parts / Pink Cadillac / Spare Parts (Live) / Chimes of Freedom (Live)
    Released: UK October 1988
UK Chart #32
There was also another UK 12" that I don't think I've seen before that had different tracklisting


Tunnel of Love was the Eighth Studio Album from Bruce Springsteen and although various members of the E Street Band are on the album they are used rather sparingly as pretty much most of the album was played and recorded by Bruce himself. It is not regarded as an E Street Band album and the next time they would record an album that would be classed as such would be The Rising released in 2002 (at least it was advertised as "his first studio album with the E Street Band since 'Born in the USA'"). 

In his recently published autobiography, Born To Run, he begins the chapter on Tunnel of Love (Chapter 51, p348) by saying, "After Born in the USA, I'd had enough of the big time for a while and looked forward to something less" (p348) and that, "My first full record about men and women in love would be a pretty rough affair. Filled with inner turmoil, I wrote to make sense of my own feelings". He wasn't kidding either! It was a bit messy in places and yet amid the messiness there are a couple of outstanding songs.

Regarding the album and starting with Brilliant Disguse he says it is "the song that sits thematically at the record's center. Trust is a fragile thing. It requires allowing others to see as much of ourselves as we have the courage to reveal. But Brilliant Disguise postulates that when you drop one mask, you find another behind it until you begin to doubt your own feelings about who you are. The twin issues of love and identity form the core of Tunnel of Love, but time is Tunnel's unofficial subtext. In this life (and there is only one), you make your choices, you take your stand and you awaken from the youthful spell of immortality and its eternal present. You walk away from the nether land of adolescence. You name the things beyond your work that will give your life its context, meaning...and the clock starts. You walk, now, not just at your partner's side, but alongside your own mortal self. You fight to hold on to your newfound blessings while confronting your nihilism, your destructive desire to leave it all in ruins. This struggle to uncover who I was and to reach an uneasy peace with time and death itself is at the heart of Tunnel of Love" (P349 © 2016 Bruce Springsteen).

Not long after the release of the album Bruce's relationship with Julianne Phillips was over. Many had said there were signs of an unhappy man in the songs on the album.

My favourites on the album are Tougher Than The Rest, All That Heaven Will Allow, Spare Parts (the live version recorded in Sheffield is magnificent) and Brilliant Disguise.

I know a few people who cite this as their favourite Springsteen album. It's not mine (mine is a topsy turvy game between Born To Run, Darkness At The Edge of Town and Nebraska) but it does have a good standing with me despite the weakness of a couple of tracks.

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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