When one thinks of covers, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bruce Springsteen[/lastfm] usually isn’t the first artist that comes to mind. After all, The Boss has been far more likely to have his songs covered by others than offering up his own take on others’ works. Nonetheless, “Jersey Girl” is one of his few covers, and his interpretation was fine enough in its own right to warrant attention from Video Classics.
[photogallerylink id=69544 align=left]Written by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Tom Waits[/lastfm] in 1980, the song is a simple but tranquilly beautiful love ballad sung in adoration of an unnamed “Jersey Girl.”
Given the subject matter, it was perhaps inevitable that Jersey’s own favorite son would want to release a cover of the song, which he did in 1984 (appropriately, as the B -Side to “Cover Me”). Waits, who is no stranger to having his songs covered (songwriting brilliance combined with a voice that could generously be called ‘gravelly’ tends to lead to covers), apparently approved of the effort, as he has appeared on stage to sing the song with Springsteen.
For his part, Springsteen was clearly taken by the song and has included it in later compilations and boxed sets, as well as performing it in concert on many occassions (his first cover of it, in fact, dates from a Meadowlands concert three years before he released it in recorded form). It is said that even though he did not write the song, Springsteen feels the character singing it is the same guy from his earlier songs “Sandy” and “Rosalita”, who has now grown up and gotten his Jersey Girl.
Below, see a version of “Jersey Girl” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live from Giants Stadium (with substantial audience participation). Below that, listen to the Tom Waits original.
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