David Bowie’s rejected cover of Bruce Springsteen
During his mind-blowing career, there aren’t many times when David Bowie can feel self-conscious. However, Bowie was once forced to give up his work on a cover of Bruce Springsteen after playing him in The Boss who, in turn, rejected him.
The incident happened in 1973 when Springsteen was not the conquering juggernaut of the stadiums he would soon become. The Boss had only released one record by the time he met Bowie, and his debut, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, was definitely not a top of the charts. The fact that Bowie recognized his talent meant the world to Springsteen, 23.
Bowie producer Tony Visconti revealed in 2016 that Bowie was planning to cover Springsteen’s song “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City” during sessions on what would become Starman’s 1975 album. Young Americans, he writes in Uncut. Surely it was a match made in heaven?
However, coverage was suddenly cut short after a recording was played in Springsteen which did not receive The Boss’ seal of approval. “David took him to another room for a private conversation,” Visconti said. “By the time Bruce left he was nicer and said goodbye to the rest of us. David and I never worked on ‘Saint’ after that, although it was eventually finished or re-recorded with. someone else.
Bowie’s version of the song, which originally appeared on Springsteen’s 1973 debut album, would eventually see the light of day when she made an incredibly welcome appearance in the 1989 box set. His + Vision. It’s a shame that there wasn’t any recorded music from the session they had in 1973 and that Springsteen didn’t feel like collaborating. However, Bowie’s seal of approval provided the boss with a great memory that he still cherishes today.
“We’re going to take a moment and note the passing of our good friend David Bowie,” Springsteen told his crowd in Pittsburgh after Bowie passed away in 2016.
“Not enough people know that, but he recorded our music at the very beginning, in 1973. He called me and I visited him in Philly while he was recording the Young Americans record. He covered part of my music, ‘It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City’, ‘Growin’ Up ‘, and he was a big fan of ours. I took the Greyhound bus to Philadelphia; that’s how it “was early. Anyway, we think about him.
Springsteen then flew over a breathtaking rendition of “Rebel Rebel,” which wowed the Pittsburgh crowd and showed its respect for a music icon. This encounter is a testament to Bowie’s character and showed that good music was all that mattered to him.
Listen to Bowie’s rendition of “It’s hard to be a saint in the city” below.