High Hopes - Studio Sessions


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Commercially Released: January 14, 2014 (High Hopes) / April 18, 2014 (American Beauty)
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Brendan O'Brien and Ron Aniello
Recorded by Toby Scott, assisted by  Ross Petersen, Nick DiDia (High Hopes)
 and Rob Lebret (American Beauty) at Thrill Hill Studios*
Mixed by Bob Clearmountain, assisted by Brandon Duncan at Mix This!, Mix LA,
 Henson Recording Studios, Southern Tracks
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering
Design by Michelle Holme
Photography by Danny Clinch, assisted by Edward Smith and Nyra Lang

* A total of sixteen studios were used, see below for full list, including their assistant engineers.

Overview

The High Hopes story begins on December 9, 2012. Springsteen called producer Ron Aniello to say that he had some songs that he wanted Aniello to work on. He presented him with a collection of demos, older songs, saying "We're gonna get these in shape and see what we've got." However, Springsteen was currently halfway through the Wrecking Ball Tour, which meant convening for sessions was difficult, if not impossible to achieve. As such, much of the recording work was undertaken by Aniello in Los Angeles and New York, E Street sessions in Australia in March 2013 and also band members adding parts individually at recording studios around the country. Most of the demos appear to be from the 2002-2008 period, and those recordings form the basis of the final result found on the album. According to Aniello, a total of twenty songs were recorded during this period, so eight were cut, including some of Aniello's favourites. Four of these rejected tracks (three mentioned by Aniello, plus "Hurry Up Sundown") were later released on the American Beauty EP for Record Store Day on April 19, 2014. The fourth song title revealed by Aniello, "Cold Spot", remains unreleased.

For a limited time High Hopes came with a Bonus DVD Born In The U.S.A. Live.

American Beauty is a four-song EP by Bruce that was released on limited edition (7,500 copies) 12-inch vinyl exclusively for ’Record Store Day’ on April 19, 2014. A digital download version was also released on April 22, 2014. The four songs that appeared on the EP are outtakes from Bruce’s 2014 album High Hopes. Bruce said of the four songs, "they're just good music that didn't get onto this record, and was sitting there. I thought it's a nice time to support the record stores, which are dwindling and get some new music out at the same time."

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1. HIGH HOPES 4:57 HOPES
2. HARRY'S PLACE 4:04 HOPES
3. AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) 7:23 HOPES
4. JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD 3:56 HOPES
5. DOWN IN THE HOLE 4:59 HOPES
6. HEAVEN'S WALL 3:50 HOPES
7. FRANKIE FELL IN LOVE 2:48 HOPES
8. THIS IS YOUR SWORD 2:52 HOPES
9. HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME 4:42 HOPES
10. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD 7:33 HOPES
11. THE WALL 4:20 HOPES
12. DREAM BABY DREAM 5:00 HOPES

Total Running Time: 56:32

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Additional Recordings

COLD SPOT uncirculating

Details

HIGH HOPES - V1 3:31 YBNT2
HIGH HOPES - V2 4:20 BB: EP
HIGH HOPES - V3 2:46 private
HIGH HOPES - V4 uncirculating
HIGH HOPES - V5 uncirculating
HIGH HOPES - V6 4:57 HOPES

Note: Song written in 1987 by Tim McConnell (aka Tim Scott). Recorded by Springsteen in January 1995 at The Hit Factory, New York City. V1 is a brief snippet of a different recorded take, as heard in the video. V2 is the complete take officially issued on the Blood Brothers EP. V3 is an alternative, rather funky arrangement with low, almost whispered lyrics and is reminiscent of War's "Spill The Wine". The take is aborted early, with Bruce requesting a cup of tea.

Thanks to a text by Tom Morello, who was filling in for actor Steve Van Zandt on the 2013 10-day Australian tour, Springsteen decided to open the March 16 Brisbane show with "High Hopes", the first time he has ever played it live! He also phoned Nick Didia, former Southern Tracks studio engineer, now living Down-Under at Byron Bay, 750 km from Sydney. Nick made arrangements for time at Studios 301 in Sydney the next day, as well as an evening slot for Morello at their Byron Bay branch office (running late from Brisbane). On March 17, 2013, a travel day to Sydney, the E Street Band arrived at the studio in the afternoon, recording two takes of "High Hopes" V4-V5, and completing "Just Like Fire Would", in an unknown number of takes. The word is Morello recorded his parts at Byron Bay late into the night, but he was on time and ready next day for the opener in Sydney, with "High Hopes" still in the lineup. V6 is the final album track that opens High Hopes, featuring numerous overdubs, courtesy of co-producer Ron Aniello, recorded later that year in New York and Los Angeles. On November 19, 2013, a CD-R single, digital download and video were all released, well ahead of the January 2014 album date.

HARRY'S PLACE - V1 uncirculating
HARRY'S PLACE - V2 uncirculating
HARRY'S PLACE - V3 uncirculating
HARRY'S PLACE - V4 4:04 HOPES

Note: The background of this song is somewhat confusing. First identified in a July 31, 2002 TV interview with journalist Ted Koppel, when Springsteen read out the lyrics to the first verse from his lyric book. Bruce has since commented that only the lyrics were written in 2001 (V2) during sessions for The Rising (although he has also stated that the band attempted to record the song at sessions prior to The Rising, perhaps in the late 90s - V1), and the music dates from the mid-2000s, probably from the Magic sessions in 2007 (V3). Springsteen confirmed that seventeen songs were recorded in Atlanta and that "Harry's Place" was one of the two songs that didn't make the final 15-song line-up for The Rising album – Bruce felt this rocker about a fictitious local kingpin didn't blend in well with the rest of the album's material. During that TV interview Springsteen, upon request of Koppel, actually recited the entire first verse of this song's lyrics. Comments made by Springsteen since suggest that only the lyrics were written in 2002, with the music added later. V3 was recorded at Southern Tracks studio during the Spring of 2007 for Magic. Bruce has said that it almost made the album, but was left off because he wanted twelve songs rather than thirteen, indicating the late addition of "Terry's Song" bumped it from the final sequence. Screen captures of the lyric book show that only the first verse dates from 2002, the rest appears to have been re-written in the intervening years. The song is not related, either musically or lyrically, to "Mary's Place" – they merely happen to share the same word in the title. Subsequently issued on 2014's High Hopes. It should be noted that "Hard Drive" (often mentioned in the same breath as "Harry's Place") was not a Rising-era recording or song – rather it was a never developed (i.e., no lyrics/music) title found in Springsteen's Rising sessions songwriting notebook that had first been seen and noted by journalist Jon Pareles in a July 2002 interview with Springsteen at Bruce's home.

AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) - V1 5:13 SA / 2001 promo
AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) - V2 uncirculating
AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) - V3 uncirculating
AMERICAN SKIN (41 SHOTS) - V4 7:24 HOPES

Note: Written by Springsteen during the spring of 2000 and premiered live on June 4, 2000 at a show with the E Street Band in Atlanta. It appears that this recording utilises the backing music (with a slightly altered mix) from the live version recorded on July 1, 2000 at Madison Square Garden and officially released on Live In New York City. Springsteen recorded V1 a new vocal at The Hit Factory, New York City on March 2, 2001. Produced by Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin. Released on a promotion-only single in June 2001. Studio vocals were laid over a different mix of the released live version's instrumental tracks. Producer Ron Aniello revealed in a December 2013 interview with Rolling Stone's Andy Greene that American Skin (41 Shots) V2 was cut during the Wrecking Ball-recording sessions, but ultimately was not used. "We did try a track of that", he said, "but it wasn't really an outtake". V3 was recorded in studio again in 2013 and featured Tom Morello on guitar. "His presence made a big, big difference", Springsteen said. "He obviously brings those things to great life and deepens them and deepens the characters". Prior to the March 2013 Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour, Tom Morello was sent the song to play guitar on V4. "I did that in my home studio and Bruce seemed to like that very much", He told Andy Greene in a January 2014 interview for Rolling Stone. "That song to me was the most challenging one. It was also the first one I did. Normally I'll go in there and tinker with a song a bit and try to capture inspiration and see if the world likes it or not. But that song just didn't come together for me. I went back to it a couple of times, and I'm glad that I did because at the end of the day I was really pleased with how the guitar solo and the rhythm stuff came out. But that one felt like it was work. I had to really work on that one".

JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD - V1a uncirculating
JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD - V1b uncirculating
JUST LIKE FIRE WOULD - V2 3:56 HOPES

Note: Written by Chris Bailey, frontman of Australian band The Saints and first released in 1986 on their album All Fools Day. Springsteen premiered his cover of "Just Like Fire Would" on March 14, 2013 at Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia. V1a was recorded March 17, 2013, at Studios 301 in Sydney with engineer Nick DiDia, in an unknown number of takes. Tom Morello recorded his parts at Studios 301, Byron Bay late that night. V2 is the final album track, with overdubs recorded later that year in New York and Los Angeles. Released January 22, 2014 as a single Produced by Ron Aniello and Springsteen.

DOWN IN THE HOLE - V1 uncirculating
DOWN IN THE HOLE - V2 4:59 HOPES

Note: Springsteen confirmed in a December 2013 in a Rolling Stone interview that "Down In The Hole" V1 was recorded during sessions for The Rising. V2 re-recorded in 2013 and issued on 2014's High Hopes album, although the 2002 base track was used, with the later addition of overdubs. Produced by Brendan O'Brien. Identified in a December 2013 Rolling Stone article as recorded during sessions for The Rising. Features Clarence Clemons on tenor saxophone and Danny Federici on organ.

HEAVEN'S WALL - V1 uncirculating
HEAVEN'S WALL - V2 uncirculating
HEAVEN'S WALL - V3 3:50 HOPES

Note: V1 recorded by Springsteen during the mid 2000s, V2 recorded by Brendan O'Brien at Southern Tracks Studios, Atlanta, most likely in Spring 2007, during the recording sessions for Magic. Ron Aniello has stated that the original basic track (vocals, drum and bass) was used, and 2013 overdubs, including guitar by Tom Morello, completed the song.

FRANKIE FELL IN LOVE - V1 uncirculating
FRANKIE FELL IN LOVE - V2 2:48 HOPES

Note: Springsteen has stated that the song was recorded for Magic but did not make the album. However, studio footage appears to date the song from the Working On A Dream sessions. Partially re-recorded in 2013 and issued on High Hopes. Produced by Ron Aniello and Springsteen. Features Sessions Band violinist Sam Bardfeld. Studio footage appears to date the cut from 2008, during sessions for Working On A Dream, but drums, bass and Van Zandt's contribution are all new.

THIS IS YOUR SWORD 2:52 HOPES

Note: Produced by Ron Aniello and Springsteen. Song features Springsteen on guitar, synths, mandolin, banjo and piano. Roy Bittan on piano and organ, Patti Scialfa, Steve Van Zandt and Soozie Tyrell contribute backing vocals. Ron Aniello on bass, guitar and synth. Cillian Vallely contributes uilleann pipes and hi & lo whistle. Session musician Josh Freese plays drums since Max Weinberg was busy on tour. Also features Sessions Band violinist Sam Bardfeld.

HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME - V1 uncirculating
HUNTER OF INVISIBLE GAME - V2 4:42 HOPES / ESSENTIAL: 2015

Note: With Tom Morello. Produced by Brendan O'Brien, suggesting this recording dates from 2004-2008, presumably with a Morello overdub. Morello has stated in an interview that he heard O'Brien tinkering with a recording of "Hunter" in 2007 or 2008, and being credited on High Hopes release, after he had parted with Springsteen, proves it was recorded prior to 2009.

THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V1 uncirculating
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V2 4:20 JOAD / ESSENTIAL / CHAPTER
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V3 2007 compilation
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V4 7:34 HOPES

Note: Written as a rock song for the Greatest Hits project, but abandoned when Springsteen couldn't find an arrangement. Re-imagined as an acoustic song, and recorded May 23, 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California. Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his four-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards), Garry Tallent (bass), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel, dobro) and Gary Mallaber (drums). The rock arrangement was premiered live on April 7, 2008 in Anaheim, CA, performed with Tom Morello sharing lead vocals. V3 is an entirely re-recorded version, but was not recorded during any of the three Seeger Sessions. It was recorded at various stages and studio locations during the mid-late 2006 period. Bruce’s parts (vocal, harmonica) were recorded at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey in August 2006. Pete Seeger’s vocals were recorded at Seeger’s cabin in Beacon, NY on July 4, 2006. The backing band’s individual parts were recorded at various locations around the USA during mid-late 2006 and then everything was mixed together at Shelter Island Sound Studios in NYC by David Seitz, and produced by Springsteen, Jim Musselman and Seitz. The recording was first released on September 11, 2007 on the Various Artists charity compilation Sowing The Seeds (Appleseed). V4 was recorded in March 2013 in Los Angeles, the day before a flight to Australia for the Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour. Produced by Ron Aniello and Springsteen.

THE WALL - V1 uncirculating
THE WALL - V2 HOPES

Note: Written December 1997-January 1998. The title and idea came from Joe Grushecky and written by Springsteen after he and Patti Scialfa visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Bruce premiered the song live on February 19, 2003 at Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA, and prefaced the performance by mentioning that he'd visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington in December 1997 and that several days later Grushecky (in advance of their songwriting sessions) sent Bruce a newspaper clipping about the Vietnam Memorial. Grushecky subsequently wrote a different, but similarly themed, song called "On The Wall" that appeared on his 2002 Fingerprints album. Recorded in the late 90s (perhaps during sessions for Tracks) with the E Street Band, including Danny Federici. Played twice during 2005's Devils & Dust Tour. V2 issued on 2014's High Hopes, produced by Ron Aniello and Springsteen.

DREAM BABY DREAM 5:00 HOPES

Note: Composed by Alan Vega and Martin Rev of Suicide. Springsteen premiered his version during 2005's Devils & Dust Tour, always performed as the final song of the show. Recorded in 2013 with Tom Morello. Aniello has stated that Springsteen made around ten recordings before settling on the final take. First released on October 10, 2013 as soundtrack to a video commemorating the Wrecking Ball Tour which concluded on September 21, 2013. Produced by Ron Aniello and Springsteen.

AMERICAN BEAUTY 4:06 BEAUTY

Note: One of several tracks considered for the album but ultimately rejected. Issued on the four-track 12" vinyl EP American Beauty, released April 19, 2014 in association with Record Store Day and digitally on April 22, 2014. Springsteen has stated that it was originally a demo made during the Brendan O'Brien period and was never cut for an album. Contains some lines and lyrics that were used in other songs, including "Down in the Hole", "Gypsy Biker", and "Livin' in the Future".

HURRY UP SUNDOWN 3:17 BEAUTY

Note: One of several tracks considered for the album but ultimately rejected. Issued on the four-track 12" vinyl EP American Beauty, released April 19, 2014 in association with Record Store Day and digitally on April 22, 2014.

MARY MARY - V1 uncirculating
MARY MARY - V2 uncirculating
MARY MARY - V3 2:51 BEAUTY

Note: V1 recorded at Southern Tracks Studios with Brendan O'Brien during the Magic sessions 2007, and again in 2008. V3 HH version completed 2013 with Ron Aniello. Considered for High Hopes, but missed the cut. Released on the four-track 12" vinyl EP American Beauty April 19, 2014, in association with Record Store Day, and digitally on April 22, 2014.

HEY BLUE EYES - V1 uncirculating
HEY BLUE EYES - V2 uncirculating
HEY BLUE EYES - V3 uncirculating
HEY BLUE EYES - V4 4:34 BEAUTY

Note: Recorded with Brendan O'Brien at Southern Tracks Studios, Atlanta, during the Working On A Dream sessions in 2008, which formed the basis of the released track, along with additional parts by the E Street Band, recorded on later dates. Considered for High Hopes in 2013, but was among the several tracks not selected, prompting Springsteen to release American Beauty, a 12" vinyl EP on RSD April 19, 2014, and digitally on April 22. The presence of Patrick Warren and lyrical content suggests this recording (or at least part of it) emanates from Atlanta, which is correct.

COLD SPOT uncirculating

Note: One of several tracks considered for the album High Hopes, but ultimately rejected.

Studio Locations

No less than fifteen recording studios were used in the making of High Hopes:

Recorded at


  • Avatar Studios (Assistant Engineer: Mike Bauer)
  • Berkeley Street Studio (Assistant Engineer: Brandon Duncan)
  • East West Studios (Assistant Engineer: Brendan Dekora)
  • Electric Lady Studios (Assistant Engineer: Joe Visciano, John Horne, Phil Joly)
  • NRG Studios (Assistant Engineer: Kyle Hoffman)
  • Record Plant (The) (Assistant Engineer: Benjamin Rice, Daniel Zaidenstadt)
  • Renegade Studio, New York, New York
  • Sear Sound (Assistant Engineer: Owen Mulholland, Ted Tuthill)
  • Southern Tracks (Assistant Engineer: Karl Egsieker, Tom Tapley)
  • Thrill Hill Recording / Stone Hill Studio, Colts Neck, New Jersey
  • Studios 301, Byron Bay (Assistant Engineer: Jack Prest, Jordan Power, Luke Yeoman, Sean Astill, Tom Astill)
  • Studios 301, Sydney, Australia
  • Veritas Studios, Los Angeles, California
  • Very Loud House Studio, Woodland Hills, California
  • Village Studios (The) (Assistant Engineer: Alex Williams)

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