As tipped here last night, Bruce Springsteen has confirmed details for his next album, Only the Strong Survive, a soul covers project made in tandem with longtime producer Ron Aniello. It will be released Nov. 11 by Columbia Records.
The first single is The Boss’ rendition of Frank Wilson’s “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do),” which is accompanied by a Thom Zimny-directed video.
Springsteen said in an announcement video that he started making a different album during the COVID-19 lockdown period but scrapped it and eventually settled on Only the Strong Survive “because that’s how I roll. I kept recording and on my second try I found a theme I wanted to explore. This time, I decided to do something I’d never done before — make some music that is centered around singing … around challenging my own voice. My voice is bad-ass. I’m 73 years old [and] I’m kicking ass!”
Only the Strong Survive was recorded at Springsteen’s Thrill Hill Recording in New Jersey and features vocals by soul icon Sam Moore of Sam & Dave on William Bell’s “I Forgot to Be Your Lover” and Dobie Gray’s “Soul Days.” The E Street Horns are present throughout, along with backing vocalists Soozie Tyrell, Lisa Lowell, Michelle Moore, Curtis King Jr., Dennis Collins and Fonzi Thornton.
“The music that led me to this epiphany is soul music,” Springsteen said in the announcement video. “I put my own spin on the singing and my team mastered and sonically modernized some of the most beautiful songs in the American pop songbook.”
In a separate press release, he added, “I wanted to make an album where I just sang. And what better music to work with than the great American songbook of the Sixties and Seventies? I’ve taken my inspiration from Levi Stubbs, David Ruffin, Jimmy Ruffin, the Iceman Jerry Butler, Diana Ross, Dobie Gray and Scott Walker, among many others. I’ve tried to do justice to them all — and to the fabulous writers of this glorious music. My goal is for the modern audience to experience its beauty and joy, just as I have since I first heard it. I hope you love listening to it as much as I loved making it.”
Only the Strong Survive is the follow-up to 2020’s Letter to You. Ahead of the album release, Springsteen will perform tonight with his wife Patti Scialfa at the first Albie Awards at the New York Public Library, and he’ll also be on stage Nov. 7 at the annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit concert in New York.
Here is the track list for Only the Strong Survive:
“Only the Strong Survive”
“Soul Days” [featuring Sam Moore]
“Do I Love You” (Indeed I Do)
“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”
“Turn Back the Hands of Time”
“When She Was My Girl”
“Hey, Western Union Man”
“I Wish It Would Rain”
“Don’t Play That Song”
“Any Other Way”
“I Forgot to Be Your Lover” [featuring Sam Moore]
“7 Rooms of Gloom”
“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”
“Someday We’ll Be Together”