Human Touch - Studio Sessions - Overview


Tunnel Of Love was dominated by relationship songs. Although technically still a couple, the relationship between Springsteen and Julianne Phillips had become estranged by spring 1987, several months before Tunnel Of Love was released. However the split did not become common knowledge until a year after-the-fact. Springsteen began the Tunnel Of Love and Human Rights Now! tours in February 1988 and completed them in October 1988. During this tour a romance blossomed between Bruce and band member Patti Scialfa. Following the tour Springsteen and Scialfa spent most of the following eight months out of the public eye at Bruce's home in California. However they spent the summer of 1989 in New Jersey, which included numerous Springsteen shore-area club guest appearances. Jon Landau has mentioned in interview that Bruce did virtually no songwriting during this October 1988–August 1989 period. Bruce and Patti were back out on the west coast by early fall. Bruce and Patti's October 1989 decision to start a family (their first child was born nine months later) seems to have coincided with Springsteen's decision to put the E Street Band into semi-permanent retirement. Bruce phoned all the members in October 1989 to give them this news.

The sessions for what became the Human Touch album took place entirely on the west coast (a first for Springsteen) and spanned about a 19-month period - from September 1989 to March 1991. The sessions included a variety of musicians, including E Street Band members Roy Bittan and David Sancious. Indeed, Springsteen's initial songwriting efforts for these sessions included several collaborations with Roy Bittan, who lived in Los Angeles close to Bruce. There were about 30 new songs recorded over the entire 19-month period, which means that there are still several titles still undocumented. An album could easily have been released in early 1991. However Bruce got cold feet and decided, after a short break, to continue writing and recording more material during 1991 (this material became the Lucky Town album sessions). So effectively the Human Touch album sat in the can, collecting dust, for an entire year. Many believe that decision to delay was a mistake. Some major compositions from the sessions were inexplicably left off the original album. Fortunately they have since appeared on Tracks and other compilations.

In November 1991, nearly five months prior to the album's commercial release, a 13-song tape from the Human Touch sessions leaked out to collectors. This tape contained different mixes (some barely noticeable, others quite different) from what would ultimately be released on the official album. Some of the thirteen songs on his tape can be found on the mainstream boot CDs “Gospel's Rain” and/or “Human Demos” – the others are currently only available via private cdr sources.

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