1987…… late 1987. I am in the home of the ‘family of music’ CBS Records in Soho Square, London. I’m there to meet Bob Clearmountain who is in London to work with our band and intends to re record one of our songs in order to make it sound like the smash record everyone tells us it should be. Bob’s in the A & R office and together we make our way to the studio where we’ll be working. I tell him how much I like the new Bruce Springsteen album. (Tunnel of Love has come out in September) He likes it too. We share a few sentences on the themes of love, disillusionment and fear which seem to rise to the surface from Tunnel of Love. ‘Yeah’ says Bob, as he looks bewildered at the London traffic, ‘ I said to him at the time,……’Has Julie heard these songs?’
A few months later Bruce Springsteen’s short marriage to Jilianne Phillips was over. The man who had paid to go through that Tunnel of Love had come out the other side a slightly more perplexed figure than the one who had gone in. He didn’t go up to the fat man sitting in the ticket office and ask for his money back but heck he did decide a few more shots on the waltzers might be worth the money. By spring ’88 I was in pole position to see the Tunnel of Love Express tour open in Madison Square Gardens NY. Bruce looked at Patti Scialfa all night and Patti looked back. The rest was history.
Five years earlier I was leaving Dundee to come to Glasgow. I remember trying to make sense of my friend, Andy’s 4 track cassette recorder. It was great. For five minutes it sounded like you were making an album. Drums on one track, bass, keys vocals…..wasn’t this how The Beatles did it? Bruce Springsteen also bought one. He set it up in his house and recorded what we now know as Nebraska. The story goes that Bob Ludwig refused to master it, and again the rest is history.
On Friday we celebrate the significant anniversaries of these two seminal albums. Some would say they may be the best albums Bruce has ever recorded. You can judge for yourselves but both records have drawn country artists in and we’ll play you some great covers of the songs as well as the unbeatable originals.
That’s not all. As promised we also chat to this band.
It’s Grizzly Bear who return with a great new album and we’ll ask all the right questions to the men from Brooklyn and hear some of these new songs.
All the usual mix of old and new from five past eight this Friday on BBC Radio Scotland.