The Fever

THE FEVER 7:41 18TRACKS / SA914 / FS

Note: Written in late 1971, as evidenced by a dated lyric sheet titled "(I Got The) Fever For The Girl", on display at the Hard Rock Cafe, Sydney, Australia. It is believed the earliest known live performance was during a March 1973 residency at Oliver’s in Boston, though rumors of 1972 performances exist. It was played live several more times into May. The studio version was recorded (in one take) on May 16, 1973 at 914 Sound Studios, though rumors have persisted for years that it dates from WGOE Studios, Richmond, VA on May 31. The recording features the Springsteen-Federici-Tallent-Clemons-Lopez lineup (pre-Sancious) and doesn’t include any overdubs. Mike Appel requested the studio take for publishing purposes, and Laurel Canyon Publishing company registered it as "Fever For The Girl". It does not appear that Springsteen had the song seriously in mind for his next album. In late 1973, Appel sent the demo to UK Publisher Intersong Music, and in early 1974, he sent cassettes to several USA radio stations. The song was an underground hit in places like Houston, Phoenix and Boston. In Philadelphia, according to a listener, “the song exploded!” With vigorous backing by influential Philly DJ and Bruce fan, Ed Sciaky, the song was played on WMMR as part of their regular rotation. Phone-in requests would have had the song played at least 4 times daily.

"The Fever" became a legendary 70s progressive FM-radio hit, but nowhere as big as in Houston, Texas, thanks to the March 1974 Liberty Hall shows, and several radio broadcasts. After a successful interview by KLOL-FM's Ed Beauchamp on March 8, Springsteen was invited back the next day with the E Street Band, for a lengthy afternoon radio performance that included highlights from both his albums, plus a rendition of “The Fever.” That night at Liberty Hall, a fan yelled "The Fever" and Bruce responded with "it's a weird thing 'The Fever'… that song 'Fever' we did as a demo tape about a year ago… and Mike here… sent it down to just this radio station, you know…. and it's a song we never even did but uh like we did it on the radio today, but I promise if we'll come back, we'll work it up for you." At the late show the next day, Springsteen introduced the song by saying: "We're gonna try something now, this is something… this is a song we haven't done in about a year but we found out that they sent a demo down here… yeah, let me bring out the rest of the band - we're gonna give it a try for you, hope we'll remember… you know but I'm gonna send this to the boys out here… it's a song we did about a year ago, no, we did it when we were recording the second album… as a demo tape for… to demo, I don't know what for (chuckles) and I know he knows it and uh… and uh, they sent the tape, they sent the tape down here and I guess KLOF has been playing it you know… who?… is that wrong? Sorry, folks but whoever, the radio station." David Sancious later said he had been under the impression it was an old Sam Cooke classic.

After they left Texas, "The Fever" was not played again until they returned on July 14, 1978 to San Antonio. Springsteen has said he never liked “The Fever,” but played it on the Darkness tour in many cities because, "people would jump onstage and grab me by the head and scream, ‘Bruce! Fever!'" It was played at Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston, TX, the next evening, and 22 more times to the end of the Darkness tour, including 12x in December. Though he joined Southside Johnny for duets many times, and it was rehearsed during soundchecks for the 1999-2000 Reunion tour, it was not performed again until September 24, 1999 in Philadelphia, PA.

First released by UK singer Allan Rich in 1975 but failed to make much impact. In June 1976, it was included on Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes' debut album, "I Don't Want to Go Home", under the title "The Fever", and became a Jukes classic. In early 1977, a 7" demo (studio take from 1973) of “The Fever” was released, coupled with “Rendezvous”, recorded live on November 4, 1976, at the Palladium, New York, which opens with Bruce calling out "New York! Go ahead, Max!". The single was released by the artist “The Jersey Devil” and was pressed on Bruce Records, which was Springsteen's independent label for his band. Whether Bruce was actually behind this is unverified. He was broke because of the lawsuit, but this record looked like a vinyl bootleg of the day, with one solid color and little printing. In 1979, The Pointer Sisters recorded the song under the title "(She Got) The Fever", for their album Priority. Finally, after being left off "Tracks", along with "The Promise" in 1998, to great dismay, it was officially released in April 1999 on 18 Tracks. The song was part of the movie soundtrack to the 2007 film "Lucky You".

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