One of the most overlooked masterpieces in Springsteen’s catalog — and possibly the most joyous one — is “Frankie Fell in Love,” a rootsy raveup that could be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser in the repertoire of any current Americana band.
In this song, the fact that Frankie fell in love is a cause for over-the-top celebration by his friends, and Springsteen brings some quirky lyrical twists to the party. “World peace is gonna break out/From here on in, we’re eating take-out/She ain’t gonna be cooking for the likes of us,” sings Springsteen, who then imagines a conversation between William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein:
Einstein is scratching numbers on his napkin
Shakespeare said, “Man, it’s just one and one make three
Ah, that’s why it’s poetry”
The track has a big, booming beat by drummer Max Weinberg, some of Steven Van Zandt’s distinctive backing vocals, and a unplugged wall of sound (featuring Springsteen’s guitar, mandolin and organ, among other instruments). If Mumford & Sons or The Lumineers ever release their own version of, it could be a hit.
Background facts: Springsteen released “Frankie Fell in Love” on his 2014 album High Hopes, though it was at least five years old at the time. Supporting musicians include Seeger Sessions Band violinist Sam Bardfeld.
According to Brucebase, Springsteen performed it nine times in 2014 and 2015. Four of those times were with the E Street Band; the other five were with Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers. Check out one of the Houserockers performances, below.
On each of the 70 days leading up to Bruce Springsteen’s 70th birthday (on Sept. 23, 2019), NJArts.net will do a post on one of The Boss’ best songs of the last 30 years. We’re starting with No. 70 and working our way up. For more on the project, click here.
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