Tunnel Of Love - Studio Sessions


disco_tunneloflove.jpg
Commercially Released: October 9, 1987
Label: Columbia Records
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and Chuck Plotkin
Recorded by Toby Scott at Thrill Hill Recording, assisted by Roger Talkov, Tim Leitner at The Hit Factory, 
     Rob Jacobs at A&M Studios and Squeek Stone at Kren Studio (January 20 - July 1987)
Mixed by Bob Clearmountain, assisted by Mark McKenna at A&M Studios and Jay Healy at The Hit Factory.
Mastered by Bob Ludwig, assisted by Heidi Cron at Masterdisk Studios.
Design by Sandra Choron
Photography by Annie Leibovitz

Overview

Springsteen completed the Born In The USA tour in October 1985. He kept a very low public profile for the next twelve months, residing almost exclusively on the west coast with then-wife Julianne. During the spring, possibly early summer, of 1986 Springsteen undertook a series of low-key sessions at his studio at his Hollywood Hills home. These appear to have been solo sessions, perhaps mirroring Springsteen’s early 1983 Born In The USA solo sessions at the same location (although by this point Bruce's west coast home studio had been substantially enhanced compared to 1983). However, these sessions were abandoned by the early summer of 1986 when a decision was made to proceed with the Live 1975-85 box set project. Springsteen devoted his energies during the remainder of 1986 preparing the live compilation for its November release. The box set was a massive commercial success.

Following the release of the live box, Springsteen began a new series of solo-based home studio sessions, in the living room of the Carriage House, a small 2 bedroom apartment over a garage of his Rumson, New Jersey home. On January 20, 1987, the recordings that would form the foundation of the Tunnel Of Love album, and the 1998 Tracks outtakes box set, went forward. Bruce was inspired, cutting three songs on the very first day of recording; "Walk Like A Man", "Spare Parts" and "When You Need Me". The second day of sessions four days later was even more successful with five songs recorded, including two unused outtakes "Pretty Baby, Will You Be Mine" and "Things Ain't That Way". After eighteen sessions were completed in March, the tracks were overdubbed with E Street musicians; though the tracks were complete, he wanted to include the band members on the album that was taking shape.

At the end of April 1987, Springsteen and wife Julianne Phillips separated. A month later, Bruce, along with Toby Scott and manager Jon Landau, flew to Los Angeles, and were joined at A&M Studios by Bob Clearmountain and Chuck Plotkin. Clearmountain mixed the recorded tracks in studio B, while Scott and Springsteen recorded "One Step Up" in studio D. Bruce, Jon, and Chuck worked on sequencing the unnamed album, which included "Lucky Man", later to be squeezed out by the eventual title track.

Sometime in June, Bruce found himself at Kren Studio on Sunset Boulevard, playing with several Nashville session players that were hanging out. Kren, which had opened only a few months earlier, was owned by Ken Suesov, who worked with Merle Haggard, so Springsteen knew what he would find there. His partners were Jay Dee Maness on pedal steel guitar, Richard Greene on fiddle, and James “Jimmie” Wood, who was playing harmonica. Wood, who had a band called the Immortals, had been known as "The Boss Of Kings Himself… The Immortal Jimmie Wood", and played punk and other styles before his latest phase. The content of these sessions is shrouded in mystery, but upon finding out somebody had leaked his activities to the press, Springsteen got upset and terminated the sessions. The only music that made the album was a harmonica piece that Wood did, which was overdubbed on the already recorded "Spare Parts". Springsteen took the tapes and returned to New Jersey.

In late June or early July, Springsteen called Toby Scott to the Carriage House to record the final song for the still unnamed album, "Tunnel Of Love". Bruce played all instruments, including drums, but the complex pattern for the drum box was programmed by the uncredited Scott. Next, Toby was sent to get "carnival sounds", which were recorded at Point Pleasant Amusement Park, New Jersey. The first take failed to get the proper screams and sounds, so when he returned a few days later, he enlisted the help of the owner, and successfully recorded a train full of young teenagers on the "mouse" roller coaster. After choreographing the screaming, he brought the tape back, which filled the spots where Bruce wanted the amusement sounds. Overdubs were added by Nils Lofgren (lead guitar), Roy Bittan (synthesizers), Max Weinberg (percussion) and Patti Scialfa (vocals). Now, 'Lucky Man' was removed from the unnamed album's sequence to make room for the title cut of the coming fall release, Tunnel Of Love. Clearmountain mixed it at the Hit Factory in New York, then everything went to Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk Studios for mastering. The album was delivered to CBS in August, "Brilliant Disguise" was released on September 17, and Tunnel Of Love on October 9, 1987.

In 1995, Springsteen confirmed in an Australian television interview with Molly Meldrum that nearly an entire album's worth of songs, material that effectively constituted another work-in-progress album separate from the Tunnel Of Love album, had been recorded during 1986-87. It is unclear from Bruce’s comments if he was talking about the material he is alleged to have recorded by himself during May-June 1986, or the material with the three (above-noted) session musicians that he recorded in Los Angeles in June 1987, or both. Tunnel Of Love can be seen as a virtual Springsteen solo album. Not a single circulating track that has surfaced from the sessions features the ensemble-type E Street Band playing that had characterized his previous studio albums (except Nebraska).

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1. AIN'T GOT YOU 2:07 TUNNEL
2. TOUGHER THAN THE REST 4:32 TUNNEL / 1988 single
3. ALL THAT HEAVEN WILL ALLOW 2:37 TUNNEL
4. SPARE PARTS 3:36 TUNNEL / 1988 single
5. CAUTIOUS MAN 3:54 TUNNEL
6. WALK LIKE A MAN 3:33 TUNNEL
7. TUNNEL OF LOVE 5:06 TUNNEL / 1987 single
8. TWO FACES 2:59 TUNNEL
9. BRILLIANT DISGUISE 4:12 TUNNEL / 1987 single
10. ONE STEP UP 4:16 TUNNEL / 1988 single
11. WHEN YOU'RE ALONE 3:18 TUNNEL
12. VALENTINE'S DAY 5:08 TUNNEL

Total Running Time: 46:26

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Additional Recordings

Details

AIN'T GOT YOU 2:07 TUNNEL

Note: Recorded sometime between January and April 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen’s home studio), with Bruce on all instuments.

CAUTIOUS MAN 3:54 TUNNEL

Note: Recorded sometime between January and April 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio), with Bruce on all instruments.

VALENTINE'S DAY 5:08 TUNNEL

Note: Recorded some time between January and April 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio), with Bruce on all instruments.

ONE STEP UP - V1 uncirculating
ONE STEP UP - V2 4:16 TUNNEL / ESSENTIAL: 2015 / 1988 single

Note: Recorded late May to early June 1987 at A&M Studios, Los Angeles, with Bruce on most of the instruments, and Patti Scialfa adding backup vocals. Music video filmed on February 15, 1988, at The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, New Jersey, directed by Meiert Avis. Single released February 27.

ALL THAT HEAVEN WILL ALLOW 2:37 TUNNEL

Note: Recorded sometime between January and April 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio). Bruce handles multiple instruments, with overdubs by Max Weinberg (drums).

TWO FACES 2:59 TUNNEL

Note: Recorded some time between January and April 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio). Springsteen handles multiple instruments; his two-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (organ) and Max Weinberg (drums).

WALK LIKE A MAN 3:33 TUNNEL

Note: Recorded January 20, 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio) on the very first day of the sessions. The released version was the very first take. Springsteen handles multiple instruments and his one-man backing band is Max Weinberg (drums).

WHEN YOU'RE ALONE 3:18 TUNNEL

Note: Recorded some time between January and April 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio). Springsteen handles multiple instruments, with overdubs by Max Weinberg (drums), Nils Lofgren, Clarence Clemons, and Patti Scialfa (backing vocals).

TOUGHER THAN THE REST 4:32 TUNNEL / ESSENTIAL: 2015 / 1988 single

Note: Recorded some time between January and April 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio). Springsteen handles multiple instruments, with overdubs by Danny Federici (organ) and Max Weinberg (percussion). Originally written as a rockabilly song.

IS THAT YOU? - V1 uncirculating
BRILLIANT DISGUISE - V2 uncirculating
BRILLIANT DISGUISE - V3 4:12 TUNNEL / GREATEST / ESSENTIAL

Note: Released as a single ahead of the Tunnel Of Love album on September 17, 1987. Began life as "Is That You?", recorded February 5, 1987, but became "Brilliant Disguise" by the end of that month. Recorded at Springsteen's home studio in Rumson, New Jersey, with overdubs in April by Roy Bittan (keyboards), Danny Federici (organ) and Max Weinberg (percussion). The video was filmed on October 8, 1987 at Fort Hancock, Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

SPARE PARTS - v1a 3:36 uncirculating
SPARE PARTS - v1b 3:36 TUNNEL / 1988 single

Note: Recorded January 20, 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, the first day of sessions at the Carousel House on Bruce's Rumson, New Jersey property. The second take was chosen for the album, after Garry Tallent (bass), Danny Federici (organ), and Max Weinberg (percussion) recorded their parts in April, and Toby Scott dubbed them to his base track. In June, Bruce was at Kren Studio in Hollywood, jamming with three country sidemen. One of them was James "Jimmie" Wood, who must have played a mean harmonica, because Bruce liked it so much, he taught Jimmie "Spare Parts" and had him dubbed onto the tape. Released as a single in Europe on October 18, 1988.

TUNNEL OF LOVE 5:06 TUNNEL / ESSENTIAL: 2003 / 1987 single

Note: In late June or early July 1987, Springsteen called Toby Scott to the Carriage House to record one last song for the still unnamed album. Bruce played all instruments, including drums, even though the complex pattern for the drum box was programmed by Scott. Next, Toby was sent to get "carnival sounds," which were recorded at Point Pleasant Amusement Park, New Jersey. The first take failed to get the proper screams and sounds, so when he returned a few days later, he enlisted the help of the owner, and successfully recorded a train full of young teenagers on the "mouse" roller coaster. After choreographing the screaming, he brought the tape back, which filled the spots where Bruce wanted the amusement sounds. Overdubs were added by Nils Lofgren (lead guitar), Roy Bittan (synthesizers), Max Weinberg (percussion), and Patti Scialfa (vocals) to the song, now called "Tunnel Of Love". While Bob Clearmountain mixed it in New York, Springsteen decided to remove "Lucky Man" from the unnamed album's track sequence, to make room the new song. Then he decided to name the album Tunnel Of Love, and Lucky Man became the b-side of the first single, "Brilliant Disguise".

LUCKY MAN 3:24 TRACKS / 1987 b-side / BACK

Note: Recorded April 4, 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey, with Bruce alone, on all instruments. Included on early album track listings, replaced by "Tunnel Of Love".

TWO FOR THE ROAD 1:57 TRACKS / 1987 b-side / BACK

Note: Recorded February 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio), with Bruce on all instruments.

THE HONEYMOONERS 2:08 TRACKS

Note: Recorded February 22, 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio), with Bruce on all instruments.

THE WISH - V1 uncirculating
THE WISH - V2 5:09 TRACKS

Note: Recorded February 22, 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio), with Bruce on all instruments. The drums (Gary Mallaber) were added to the core recording in 1998 for Tracks.

IF YOU NEED ME - V1 uncirculating
WHEN YOU NEED ME - V2 2:53 TRACKS

Note: Originally titled "If You Need Me". Recorded on January 20, 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen's home studio), with Bruce on all instruments. The drums (Gary Mallaber) and violin (Soozie Tyrell) were added to the core recording in 1998 for Tracks.

PART MAN, PART MONKEY – V1 uncirculating
PART MAN, PART MONKEY – V2a 4:26 HD
PART MAN, PART MONKEY – V2b 4:31 TRACKS / 18TRACKS / 1992 b-side

Note: Written in 1986 and first recorded during the 1987 Tunnel Of Love sessions, then performed live regularly during the 1988 Tunnel Of Love Express Tour. Bruce re-recorded the song during the Human Touch sessions, and that version was released as a 1992 b-side, and then later on Tracks. This studio version dates from January 1990 at Soundworks West, Los Angeles. Springsteen handles guitar, bass, and vocals, and his two-man backing band is David Sancious (keyboards) and Omar Hakim (drums). V2a and V2b are extremely similar and may in fact be identical mixes.

PRETTY BABY, WILL YOU BE MINE uncirculating

Note: Recorded January 24, 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen’s home studio). An unused track from the second recording session.

THINGS AIN'T THAT WAY uncirculating

Note: Recorded January 24, 1987 at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey (Springsteen’s home studio). An unused track from the second recording session.

WALKING THROUGH MIDNIGHT uncirculating

Note: Haunting ballad co-written by Springsteen (music) and Southside Johnny (lyrics) sometime in latter half of 1987. No Springsteen studio recording is known, and he has never performed the song live. Recorded by Southside in early 1988 and released later in the year on Slow Dance.

BENEATH THE FLOODLINE uncirculating

Note: Performed during a soundcheck at The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA, on September 17, 1984 during the Born In The USA Tour. It was later recorded at several solo sessions between November 1997 and January 1998, before the E Street Band were reunited, when it was quietly sidelined, along with the album he was then working on. Possibly composed after the Born In The U.S.A. studio sessions ended, it is also missing from Tunnel Of Love session logs, according to a search of Sony records.

TRAPPED uncirculating

Note: While on the European leg of The River Tour in Spring 1981, Springsteen purchased a cassette tape of Jimmy Cliff music in the Amsterdam Airport, heard his 1972 recording of "Trapped", produced by Cat Stevens, and decided to incorporate it into his act. The band arrangement was rock, not reggae. Springsteen's take on the song was first performed on May 29, 1981 and remained in Springsteen's setlist for years, including at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey on August 6, 1984, when it was recorded, and later released on April 23, 1985 on the album, "We Are The World", mixed by Chuck Plotkin and Thom Panunzio. The album sold four million copies, and "Trapped" 1984 gained considerable airplay, the most of any of the tracks on the album other than the title song. Though it wasn't released as a single, it peaked at number one on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart. In 2003 the same version was added to the Bonus disc of The Essential. Regarding Springsteen's version of the song, Cliff commented in 1988, "I look at it as a compliment. He's an artist in his own right and he's written a lot of good songs, too." This was during the time that Springsteen released seven top 10 singles from Born In The U.S.A., and under different circumstances, "Trapped" could have easily been number eight. No studio version has surfaced.


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