Dream Baby Dream
Luke Hill January 8, 2014 - 10:06am
"Dream Baby Dream" is a 1977 song by the more-influential-than-successful punk band, Suicide. This new version by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band meets what I've come to think of as the First Rule of Cover Songs: You've got to bring something new to it.
Musically, Springsteen and his band fill out the empty spaces in "Dream Baby Dream" and smooth off its rough edges, beginning with just an old pump organ, slowly building to a climax and then receding back to silence. It's no longer a young man's nervous, edgy song. It's an old man's prayer, infused by the hard-earned wisdom of his life's ups and downs.
Visually, editor Thom Zimny captures the quasi-religious nature of Springsteen's live performances with the E Street Band: the ecstatic peaks of mass communion, the quiet, interior moments of contemplation reflected on individual faces, the call-and-response exchanges---both among the musicians and between them and the audience.
Towards the end there is---as there was each night throughout the last tour---a brief "communion with the saints" as images of deceased longtime bandmates Danny Federici (organist) and Clarence Clemons (saxophonist) flash on the screen.
As marketing ramps up for the release next week of Bruce Springsteen's new album, High Hopes, it would be a shame if this lovely song and video---released in October at the end of his last tour as a kind of thank-you card to his fans---got overlooked.
About the Author
Luke Hill is a writer and community organizer in Boston. He blogs at dotCommonweal and MassCommons.