While not particularly notable for its songwriting — it’s a pretty simple and straightforward love song — “My Lucky Day” is included this high (No. 29) on the Springsteen 70 Project list because of its feel. Rarely has Springsteen and the E Street Band re-created the abandon of their concert sound so effectively in the studio.
To put it another way, “My Lucky Day” feels live, in a way that few of Springsteen’s studio recordings do. It’s also a great four-minute crystallization of the classic E Street Band sound, with every band member making his or her presence felt, and distinctive elements — some percussive piano chords by Roy Bittan, some soulful Steven Van Zandt backing vocals, a brief but effective sax solo by Clarence Clemons — occasionally jumping out of the mix.
And even though it’s a simple song, by Springsteen’s standards, some darker complexities, characteristically for him, do make their in. While the basic sentiment (“You’re my lucky day”) sounds like it could have come right out of a Valentine’s Day card, Springsteen does add that this is true “When I see strong hearts give way, to the burdens of the day/To the weary hands of time, where fortune is not kind”). In other words, even in one of his happiest songs, there is an acknowledgment of the sorrows of life.
Background facts: Springsteen released “My Lucky Day” on his 2009 album, Working on a Dream. It was also the album’s second single, rising to No. 37 on Billboard magazine’ Rock chart.
According to Brucebase, he performed it 30 times between 2009 and 2016. That’s not a lot, especially for a song that Springsteen felt strongly enough about to make a single, but of the Working on a Dream songs, only “Outlaw Pete” and the title tracks were regularly in the setlists of the Working on a Dream Tour.
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.
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence, though, depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $10, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJ Arts Daily to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.