He had settled on the idea of paying tribute to some of his favorite singers – but was unhappy with the results of his first attempt.
“At first it was really hard,” Springsteen said in a recent interview (via Burst out). “I chose material and I say, ‘It’s hard to sing other people’s songs and make them sound authentic and [feel like] it comes out of you.’ So I made a whole record that I threw out and it will pop up in different places and there were some good things on it, but it didn’t quite feel right.”
He found a better direction when he chose Frank Wilson’s song “Do I Love You”, which he described as a “Motown rarity”, explaining: “[In] the states, I guess no one had heard. And I wanted to try that. So my producer, Ron Aniello, created the track and the track was really good, really strong. I said, ‘Well, if I can get up near Frank Wilson’s track, I’ll take a ride.’
“And we cut that—it felt great. I said, ‘Well, maybe I’ll lean into soul music,’ because that’s how I grew up, and all my big mentors were soul men coming up, Sam Moore and of course James Brown, Smokey Robinson as a writer. I mean, just so many… They were all my masters, and I said, ‘Well, let me try to sing some of this material’.”
Admitting that he had since then “become a lot better at picking them,” Springsteen continued: “[I]at first it was trial and error: ‘What can I sing well?’ So that was the process… but in the end I think the most important thing [about] the record is that it is happy and very funny; [it] tips the hat and is a tribute to, as I say, all my mentors and masters, and all the great records and the great productions.”
Watch Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Do I Love You’ Video
Bruce Springsteen Albums Ranked
Because he spent so many of his formative years carefully crafting his albums, we don’t often think of Bruce Springsteen as a prolific artist. But he averaged an album almost every two years throughout his career.