“You know, if Elvis came back from the dead, I think he would sound like Alan Vega.” That’s Bruce Springsteen talking in 2005 about the frontman for Suicide, synth-wielding post-punk pioneers whose “Dream Baby Dream” he has covered many times. The Boss has followed Vega’s group since the CBGB’s days, and although Suicide’s vision may have been darker, both shared a fascination with early rock’n’roll. Springsteen’s song “State Trooper,” off of his bleak 1982 masterpiece Nebraska, was clearly in the droning, urgent mold of “Frankie Teardrop,” off of Suicide’s 1977 debut album — a song, maybe not coincidentally, that starts off describing a man “working at a factory … just trying to survive.”
Now, as Stereogum points out, Springsteen has recorded a new, full-band version of “Dream Baby Dream” and set it to live-show footage from his recent Wrecking Ball tour (hey, remember when “Wrecking Ball” wasn’t a Miley Cyrus song?). He exorcizes any nightmarish qualities from the original and, combined with the scenes of so many enthusiastic fans, turns it into an emotional invocation to keep on dreaming. “I just want to see you smile,” he roars, and you might, but you might also have a little something in your eye.
“You have reignited in us a great passion for what we do,” Springsteen writes in a thank-you letter to fans. “We’ll do our best to honor it.” It’s Springsteen’s “Dream,” and you’ll be glad you shared in it.