Santacular Christmas Countdown – #11 – Bruce Springsteen

“Merry Christmas Baby” – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Overshadowed during the holiday season by his cover of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”, Bruce and the E Street Band grab a hold of the song by supplying a nod to their Jersey shore R&B roots.  What makes this work is Bruce infusing the song with some of the same stop and starts, and musical breakdowns that work so well in songs like “Spirit in the Night” and “Out in the Street”.  It’s really a snapshot of how they would sound in the early 80’s – though a little less gloss than the “Born in the USA” album had – that’s because it was recorded in late 1980 during “The River” tour.  Great Roy Bittan piano.  I love this version of the song.  Not the greatest Christmas song ever.  But if you want one of the most inspired live pieces of Santa Rock, turn this one up. 

The song has been covered by Otis Redding, B.B. King, Chuck Berry,  Bonnie Riatt, Charles Brown and Hanson. The recorded version performed by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band was recorded live at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York on December 28, 1980, and included on the Christmas album A Very Special Christmas, released in 1987.
Video from Late Night with Conan O’Brien from December , 2002.

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