I’m in alignment with most Bruce Springsteen fans in believing his best work, as a songwriter, came in the ’70s and ’80s. But what’s your choice for his best song since then? “The Rising”? “My City of Ruins”? “Streets of Philadelphia”? “The Ghost of Tom Joad”?
It’s a hard question to answer. But if I had to say, I think I might go with “If I Should Fall Behind,” the sublime ballad — and perhaps his most powerful love song, ever — from his 1992 Lucky Town album.
It’s also, possibly, one of his songs from the ’90s and beyond that has been covered the most (and, very probably, the one that has been performed at the most weddings). In the NJArts.net five-part series of Springsteen songs covered by women, there are six covers of “If I Should Fall Behind”; only “I’m on Fire” and “Dancing in the Dark” (both from 1984) rank higher. Dion also recorded a nice version of it, the same year that Springsteen did.
Anyway, I thought of all this when I came across the video below, of bluegrass legend Little Roy Lewis and Lizzy Long performing the song at this weekend’s Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival in Wind Gap, Pa. (not far from the Delaware Water Gap), and decided to put together a collection of different versions of “If I Should Fall Behind,” through the years, including an instrumental version from the Ball de Gegants (Giants Ball) in Berga, Spain, in 2016; E Street Band member Nils Lofgren’s own version; and, as a bonus 21th video, a version in which Lofgren other band members help Springsteen out with the vocals).
If there are any notable covers of this song that you think I missed, please let me know in the comments section, below.
LITTLE ROY LEWIS AND LIZZY LONG
“BALL DE GEGANTS” CELEBRATION
ROBIN & LINDA WILLIAMS
THE HENRY GIRLS
P.J. MURRIHY & ISLA GRANT
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND
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The most beautiful song I know. Here’s yet another version.