Fact: Bruce Springsteen is an American hero. Also, a genius. Some people don't put him in the same category as Bob Dylan and Neil Young, just because he looks good in jeans.
That certainly shouldn't be held against him, and admittedly we're into that part, but mainly he's the best because of his classic albums, like Born in the U.S.A., which came out 30 years ago. Again, this album is somehow underrated, probably because it sold so many copies, but it's one of his best.
What a lot of people don't know is that there were three official dance remixes off of Born in the U.S.A. Seriously!
Released in 1984 and 1985, they were produced by Arthur Baker, famous for his work with everyone from Afrika Bambaataa to New Order. They were an attempt to get the album some club play and expand the blue collar rock hero's fan base to a more diverse audience.
They are, as you can hear below, bonkers.
Song: Dancing in the Dark
The Original: A slick, poppy ode to workaday discontent and the desire for a life with more passion and action. It still gets tons of play on classic rock radio (and Midwestern wedding receptions), but it perhaps most famous these days for the video, wherein Bruce pulls a planted Courtney Cox out of the crowd and dances with her.
The Remix: For the first two minutes, it sounds just like the original, but then Baker really goes for it, expanding the four minute track into a ten minute extended jam complete with a chorus of ladies singing dippy little "whoa-oh-ohs," a breakdown that features samples of Bruce exclaiming "see I'm getting older! I shake this world off my shoulder!" and what sounds like a xylophone solo. While the thing starts to drag around the
How does it rate, on a scale of "Queen of the Supermarket" to "Thunder Road"? "Pink Cadillac." The whole thing is fairly
Song: Born in the U.S.A.
The Original: The iconic anthem of post-Vietnam disillusionment with the American dream, and the song that still raises tens of thousands of fists (and a few tears) every time Bruce plays it live.
The Remix: Grandiosely dubbed the "The Freedom Mix," this kitchen sink reworking is loaded with military drums, airy synth and a spastic sample of Bruce repeating "U. S.! U. S.! U.S.A.!" for a bit longer than we're comfortable with.
How does it rate, on a scale of "Queen of the Supermarket" to "Thunder Road"? It's not as bad as "Queen of the Supermarket," but it's not that much better. The light synths tend to make one of the most important songs in the canon of American rock sound like background music in The Neverending Story, and the rest just sounds slapdash. We're just going to throw a lighter
Song: Cover Me
The Original: Bruce originally wrote this track for dance queen Donna
The Remix: Baker's "Undercover Mix" of "Cover Me" hit number 11 on Billboard's dance chart, and for good reason, as this remix is
How does it rate, on a scale of "Queen of the Supermarket" to "Thunder Road"? "Spirit in the Night." While this remix maintains the song's core ethos the reworking is inventive, and with Brown's vocals, even more passionate than the original. And unlike the other two songs in the collection, this is a dance remix that one can actually dance to.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.