Spare Parts (song)

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"Spare Parts"
Single by Bruce Springsteen
from the album Tunnel of Love
B-side "Pink Cadillac"
"Spare Parts" (live)
"Chimes of Freedom" (live)
Released October 1988
Format 7" single
Recorded Between January and May 1987 at Thrill Hill East (Springsteen's home studio)
Genre Rock
Length 3:44
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bruce Springsteen
Producer(s) Jon Landau, Bruce Springsteen, Chuck Plotkin
Bruce Springsteen singles chronology
"Tougher Than the Rest"
(1988)
"Spare Parts"
(1988)
"Human Touch"
(1992)

"Spare Parts" is a song by Bruce Springsteen from his 1987 Tunnel of Love album. It was released as a single in some countries, following "Brilliant Disguise", the title track and "Tougher Than the Rest", but was not released as a single in the United States.[1] It reached the Top 40 in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden, reaching #16 in Sweden.[2][3][4][5]

History[edit]

Like much of the Tunnel of Love album, "Spare Parts" was recorded in Springsteen's home studio, called Thrill Hill East, between January and May 1987 with several members of the E Street Band.[6] The song has one of the largest backing bands on the album. On this song, Springsteen played several instruments and is backed by Danny Federici on organ, Max Weinberg on percussion, Garry Tallent on bass and James Wood (a non-E Street Band member) on harmonica.[6]

"Spare Parts" is the most flat-out rock song on Tunnel of Love, but lacks the subtlety and understatement that highlights most of the album, although the theme of love as a lie sets up the middle section of the album.[7][8] Musically, the song features an engaging, blistering guitar part and propulsive drum sound.[5][7] The themes of the song include alienation and terror in love, the consequences of evading commitment, and the impossibility of living without commitment.[7][9] Overall, the song is harrowing, bleak, abrasive and tough-minded.[10]

The bitter, cold lyrics tell of an unwed mother who is abandoned by her boyfriend, who gives her nothing but empty promises. The opening lines are jarring, establishing the mood: "Bobby said he'd pull out/Bobby stayed in/Janey had a baby/It wasn't any sin/They were set to marry on a summer's day/Bobby got scared and ran away."[7][8] She tries to support the child on her own, and hears of another young mother who committed infanticide. Although she considers doing the same by drowning her son, she ultimately accepts her responsibility and decides against, baptizing the boy instead.[5][10]

Unlike the other videos of songs from Tunnel of Love, the video for "Spare Parts" was not directed by Meiert Avis. Rather, the video was directed by Carol Dodds.[11]

Live performance history[edit]

"Spare Parts" has been one of the most popular of the Tunnel of Love songs in live performances. From the Tunnel of Love Express Tour that supported the initial release of the album through July 2005, the song received 132 live performances in concert.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Chart History". Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  2. ^ "Spare Parts". Irish-charts.com. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  3. ^ "Spare Parts". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  4. ^ "Spare Parts - UK". Chart Stats. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  5. ^ a b c Patrick Humphries (1996). Bruce Springsteen. p. 79. ISBN 0-7119-5304-X. 
  6. ^ a b "Brucebase, On The Tracks: Tunnel of Love". Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Spare Parts". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  8. ^ a b Rob Kirkpatrick (2007). The Words and Music of Bruce Springsteen. Praeger Publishers. p. 114. ISBN 0-275-98938-0. 
  9. ^ Dave Marsh (1996). Glory Days. p. xxvii. ISBN 1-56025-101-8. 
  10. ^ a b June Skinner Sawyers (2006). Tougher Than the Rest 100 Best Bruce Springsteen Songs. pp. 107–110. ISBN 978-0-8256-3470-3. 
  11. ^ "Bruce Springsteen: The Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000". imdb. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  12. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Set List Page". Retrieved 2008-08-03.