Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Gloria’s Eyes” (1992)

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Here’s a great example of how Bruce’s live performance can transform a song. “Gloria’s Eyes,” the studio version is nothing special. A guy-loses-girl story set to a rolling guitar figure/blues changes thing. And while I do like the song on record — the twangy guitars and Springsteen’s vocal energy are undeniable — it’s in the concert hall where Bruce really brings it to life.

An argument can be made that this phenomenon is true for nearly every song in the E Street catalog. I won’t argue with that (or bring up the opposing point that sometimes Bruce wrecks his own songs live…that I will disagree with), but with some tunes the change is one of magnitude.

The video shown below, even with the crummy audio, illustrates just how much our man was grinding it out back then. After the break with the restatement of the opening pair of lines (“I was your big man your prince charming/King on a white horse now look how far I’ve fallen”), Springsteen winds up and gives that Hartford crowd his all.

Up next: With Every Wish

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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  • JC Mosquito

    I disagree – this live version just makes him look so… alone on that stage. No harmony vocals. No anyone or anything else to push him or the song to the next level. In that black leather vest, he looks like he was auditioning for Sabbath.

    Too bad – Gloria’s Eyes was one of my fave songs from this 40 days in the wilderness era.

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