Clips & Pix: The Boss Does The Commodores

I’d like to interrupt the broadcast with some breaking news I just spotted on YouTube. Bruce Springsteen has released a new single from his upcoming studio covers album Only the Strong Survive. Scheduled for November 11, this marks Springsteen’s second covers release, following We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (2006).

Unlike the Seeger collection, which focused on folk and Americana, Only the Strong Survive celebrates R&B and soul songs from the catalogues of Motown, Gamble and Huff and Stax, among others. Here’s Nightshift, co-written by Walter Orange, lead singer of The Commodores, together with Dennis Lambert and Franne Golde. The tribute to soul/R&B singers Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye became the title track of The Commodores’ 11th studio album released in January 1985 and a major hit for the group.

Nightshift follows Do I Love (Indeed I Do), the first single off Only the Strong Survive, which premiered on September 29. Both renditions sound mighty cool to me!

“I wanted to make an album where I just sang,” Springsteen commented in a recent statement on his website. “And what better music to work with than the great American songbook of the Sixties and Seventies? I’ve taken my inspiration from Levi Stubbs, David Ruffin, Jimmy Ruffin, the Iceman Jerry Butler, Diana Ross, Dobie Gray, and Scott Walker, among many others. I’ve tried to do justice to them all—and to the fabulous writers of this glorious music. My goal is for the modern audience to experience its beauty and joy, just as I have since I first heard it. I hope you love listening to it as much as I loved making it.”

Here’s more from the above statement: This 21st studio album from Bruce Springsteen will also feature guest vocals by Sam Moore, as well as contributions from The E Street Horns, full string arrangements by Rob Mathes, and backing vocals by Soozie Tyrell, Lisa Lowell, Michelle Moore, Curtis King Jr., Dennis Collins and Fonzi Thornton...Only The Strong Survive was tracked at Thrill Hill Recording in New Jersey, produced by Ron Aniello, engineered by Rob Lebret and executive produced by Jon Landau.

I can see some ignorant cynics say the Boss is trying to make a quick buck here or running out of ideas or both. But if you’ve ever been to a Springsteen show, you know how much this man loves soul music. And has prominently featured it during his concerts for decades. In fact, during my first Springsteen concert in Germany in the second half of the ’80s, he delivered at least an hour’s worth of outstanding soul covers. Dare I say it, these renditions were at least as good as his originals. The E Street Band, which at the time still featured sax giant Clarence Clemons, was on fire!

So kudos to Bruce for celebrating some sweet soul music. Count me in among the folks who are looking forward to his new album. The cynics can go and take a hike!

Sources: Wikipedia;; YouTube


18 thoughts on “Clips & Pix: The Boss Does The Commodores”

  1. Springsteen has earned the right to do anything he wants to at this point. Screw the critics…the man turned down 10 million in 1985 to let Chrysler use one of his songs…he doesn’t need a quick buck. I will admit that for me…the last album I really loved is Tunnel of Love but he has had some great songs ever since. I just like his older style.
    He plays older soul songs live all of the time. I missed him in the 80s…I saw him in the 90s (acoustic tour) and 2000 with the E Street Band. His voice sounds really good here. One of the best live performers ever. He gives everything he has.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too! That said, I haven’t looked at tickets yet – not even sure you can still get any that are at least half way affordable. It would be my third time seeing Springsteen.

        It’s also a bit of a balancing act when you tell your family to be mindful of spending and then doling out bucks for a concert. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. *sigh* I’m not a cynic and I know Bruce Springsteen is a grown-up with his own decisions. He does what he wants to do and likes it. But after hearing (and seeing – the first one is terrible) the first two songs from his forthcoming album I’m not very enthustiastic and I wouldn’t buy this album quickly. And, yeah, I consider hoping not to hear lots of these songs when I’m going to the live shows next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, really? Well, the good news is, averaging 3-4 hours, even if Springsteen allocates 45-60 minutes for soul covers, it still leaves you with 2-3 hours of originals – kind of mind-boggling, if you think about it!

      Greetings from New Jersey! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hm, I’m not sure that Springsteen will play longer than 3 hours next year. He’s getting older 😉
        Maybe I’m not the biggest fan of soul music although I like some tunes. My opinion is that Springsteen acts a little bit exaggerated in the first video and after I heard “Nightshift” yesterday in the morning the song didn’t catch me.

        Yes I’m a devotee but I don’t have to like everything what Springsteen does.

        By the way: Do you see that on the cover there’s a “Vol. 1” sticker? Rumours are getting on that Vol. 2 will be released in spring 2023. Really, I don’t need a one more album of covers.

        Greetings from Vienna, AT!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re absolutely right. Just because one likes the music from a certain artist, it doesn’t mean one needs to love everything they do.

        I’m pretty sure the gigs for the upcoming 2023 Springsteen are going to be great. The bigger question is whether tickets are reasonably affordable. I’m just not willing to spend $200 or more!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I agree! The ticket prices for the shows in Europa are not cheap and I decided not to visit lots of shows like the past tours. I also read about the crazy ticket prices for the US shows in spring 2023. Indeed the Boss has lost many of his fans.


  3. No one feels a song and music more than Bruce. He is a lot of things including a waking jukebox. He was influenced by a lot of styles when younger. So much crossover in music and hes focusing on this style. Always easy to bash ‘A Local Hero’, not CB. Good stuff. Looking forward to the new music. Thanks for this Christian. Im out of the loop so you keep me current.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My oldest son asked me if Id go. I said if he wanted to I would. I lost me concert going itch a long time ago. The last time i saw him live was the Human Touch/Lucky Town tour. I was hoping he’d show up at my door with his guitar and harmonica and sit around and play a few tunes.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I like Nightshift but I think you have a fair point that it’s certainly not the first tune that would come to mind. Perhaps Springsteen deliberately avoided more obvious choices.
      Here’s the entire tracklist:

      1. Only the Strong Survive
      2. Soul Days feat. Sam Moore
      3. Nightshift
      4. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)
      5. The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore
      6. Turn Back the Hands of Time
      7. When She Was My Girl
      8. Hey, Western Union Man
      9. I Wish It Would Rain
      10. Don’t Play That Song
      11. Any Other Way
      12. I Forgot to Be Your Lover feat. Sam Moore
      13. 7 Rooms of Gloom
      14. What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
      15. Someday We’ll Be Together


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