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Bruce Springsteen compact disc collectibles from the Nineties

Updated on December 24, 2016
Bruce Springsteen, 2009
Bruce Springsteen, 2009 | Source

Bruce Springsteen’s currently touring with his E Street Band promoting the new album, “Wrecking Ball”. But two decades ago, during the 1990’s, he was recording and performing mostly without his longtime E Street associates. Even with The Boss as a solo act, I continued to buy various Springsteen releases on CD. Here’s a few Springsteen related items that became part of my CD collection in the Nineties:

1) 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)-1992- U.S. and UK CD singles: Five years after his last album, 1987’s “Tunnel of Love”, Springsteen returned to the music scene in March 1992 with two different CD’s released on the same day. The single “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) came from one of the albums, “Human Touch” (the other album was titled “Lucky Town”). Today Springsteen would probably call the song “500 Channels (And Nothin’ On)". By the end of the track, in the lyrics, the frustrated viewer takes a shotgun and blasts a hole in his TV ala Elvis Presley. So much for anger management. In the U.S., “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) was issued as a four track CD single titled “The Remixes”. Steven Van Zandt, then known as Little Steven, produced the disc, and contributed two “57 Channels” remixes.The track “There’s a Riot Goin’ On” , included TV sound bites of coverage of the 1992 L.A. riots and Vice President Dan Quayle’s verbal attack on the single mother TV character, “Murphy Brown”. At this time, Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa moved to Beverly Hills and started a family. The CD also came with a studio version of “Part Man, Part Monkey” a song about the Scopes trial performed live during Springsteen’s 1988 “Tunnel of Love Express Tour”.


The other CD single, shown below, came in a cardboard digipak. Along with the main track, two 1985 “Born in the U.S.A.” era B-side songs were included as bonuses. “Stand On It” was frequently performed during the final leg of the “Born in the U.S.A.” stadium tour. It would appear in 1998, too, on Springsteen’s “Tracks” rarities box set.“Janey Don’t You Lose Heart” featured then new E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren on backing vocals, his first appearance on a Springsteen recording. “Janey Don’t You Lose Heart” also was released on the “Tracks” box set.

A CD single was also released in the UK from the “Lucky Town” album, “Better Days”. “Part Man, Part Monkey”, found on the U.S. “57 Channels”, appeared on this disc, too.

57 Channels (And Nothin' On) U.K. CD single

2) Streets of Philadelphia-1994-U.S. CD single and Dead Man Walkin’-Austria CD single: 1994 was a big year for Springsteen, as his “Streets of Philadelphia” won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and multiple Grammys including Song of the Year. In 1996, his song “Dead Man Walkin’, from the Tim Robbins directed film of the same name, was also nominated in the Best Original Song Oscar category. It lost out to “Colors of the Wind”, sung by Vanessa Williams, from Disney’s “Pocahontas" animated film.

Streets of Philadelphia & Dead Man Walkin' CD singles

U.S. CD single
U.S. CD single
U.K. CD single
U.K. CD single

3) Secret Garden-1995- UK CD EP single: In February 1995, Springsteen released his first greatest hits compilation. Among the album’s 18 tracks were three newly recorded songs, and one “Born in the U.S.A.” outtake, the powerful “Murder Incorporated”. The synth based “Secret Garden” was the first single. It’s probably best known for being used in the 1996 hit film, “Jerry Maguire”. The song appears in the film when Jerry (Tom Cruise) and Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) have their first date, and also at the movie’s end. The “Secret Garden” single reached number 19 on the U.S. Billboard chart. This CD single also featured a live version of “Murder Incorporated” from New York’s Tramps nightclub. Springsteen reunited the E Street Band briefly to record the new songs, and the live “Murder Incorporated” came from the Tramps nightclub video shoot. “Thunder Road” here was from the September 1992 “Bruce Springsteen In Concert: MTV (Un)Plugged” Hollywood taping. The Boss bent the rules of the usual MTV Unplugged format, playing just one of the 19 tunes (“Red Headed Woman”) that night on acoustic guitar

Secret Garden U.K. CD EP single

Bit of "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" and full "Secret Garden" on Late Show With David Letterman

4) Born in the U.S.A. 1995 reissue-Japan Super Bit Mapping CD-Technically not a new Springsteen 90’s release, but this is the best sounding of all the “Born in the U.S.A.” CD’s issued since 1984. A remastered American or European “Born in the U.S.A. CD has never been released. Both the “Born to Run” and “Born in the U.S.A.” discs were reissued in Japan in 1995 in the Super Bit Mapping, 20 Bit Mastering CD format. This “Born in the U.S.A.” disc was made to look like a miniature version of the vinyl album. It was housed in a plastic outer cover, with a miniature obi (spine card) with extra info on the front. No bonus tracks were included with the two “Super Bit Mapping” titles.

Born in the U.S.A. 1995 Japan Super Bit Mapping CD

5) Blood Brothers-1996-U.S. Five track CD-“Blood Brothers” was one of the four new tracks on the 1995 Springsteen “Greatest Hits” album mentioned above. It also provided the title for a Disney Channel TV special documenting the recording sessions for the new songs. This CD was included as part of the packaging of the “Blood Brothers” TV special’s VHS release. The opening track was an alternate version of the “Blood Brothers” song included on “Bruce Springsteen Greatest Hits”. A couple of the songs were repeats from previous CD singles (“Murder Incorporated” live from Tramps and “Secret Garden” (with strings). Two more new songs were included, “High Hopes” and “Without You”. “High Hopes was an upbeat song, penned by Tim Scott McConnell. One of the background vocalists on the song was “Sister” Soozie Tyrell, seven years before she joined the E Street Band on tour playing violin. The last track, “Without You” was exclusive to this release. It was a fun track, very pop oriented and lyrically wouldn’t be confused with “Thunder Road” or “Backstreets”. It was slightly similar thematically to Neil Sedaka’s “Calendar Girl”, which listed a month in each line of the song. With “Without You”, it was the days of the week, with lyrics such as “Monday, I go to work/ Tuesday, can’t find my shirt/Wednesday, I’m feeling blue/I’m helpless darling, without you…” “The Big Man”, E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons provided the bass vocal as The Boss sang the name of each day. “Without You” featured great E Street Band harmony vocals, too. Springsteen has never performed this song in concert.

Blood Brothers U.S. Five track CD

Without You

6) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1999-The Fourteenth Annual Induction Dinner- 1999 saw Springsteen inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The honorees that year included Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Curtis Mayfield, Dusty Springfield, and more. Bono introduced The Boss during the induction ceremony, and Springsteen and The E Street Band performed three songs live. They also backed up Wilson Pickett that night on “In The Midnight Hour”. This is the CD given to each attendee at the March 15, 1999 induction dinner held at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel. The two Springsteen songs featured among the 20 tracks were “Born to Run” and “Streets of Philadelphia”. There was no indication on the CD itself as to which record label produced this compilation. But, on the back of the jewel box was a small “w” for Warner Brothers Records. So, there was the answer.

A month after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, Springsteen and the E Street Band toured together for the first time in 11 years. To paraphrase Springsteen on the “Growing Up” track from the "Live/1975-1985” album, “it was bye bye New Jersey. They were airborne”. At the end of the decade, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were back.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1999 CD


Full "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony 1999


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