Janey Needs A Shooter

Album: Letter To You (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • "Janey Needs A Shooter" is an organ-fueled song where Bruce Springsteen introduces us to Janey, a girl with several suitors: a doctor, priest and cop. Her relationships with them are merely based on sex, and Janey needs something more. It's only during the third verse that we learn Springsteen himself is the one she's looking for. He will protect and stand by her: Springsteen will be her "Shooter" (in other words, compassionate lover).
  • Bruce Springsteen wrote the saga about a promiscuous lady in 1972, culling the melody from "Talking About My Baby," a song he'd performed at least once the previous year. The Boss first recorded "Janey" at 914 Sound Studios in January 1973. Springsteen made several other attempts to lay the track down, including a studio version in 1979, without nailing it.

    Four decades on, Springsteen came across a recording of the song while assembling a compilation album and felt compelled to give it another go. This attempt, recorded with the E Street Band and producer Ron Aniello for his 2020 Letter to You album, worked. "When he presented 'Janie,' in my head it was 1977 so I played like it was 1977 but better," drummer Max Weinberg, who joined the band in 1974, told Uncut magazine.
  • Sometime in the late 1970s, producer Jon Landau mentioned to Warren Zevon that Springsteen had an unrecorded song, which Zevon misheard as "Jeannie Needs A Shooter." Hearing the title inspired Zevon to rework the track for his 1980 album Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School. Janie became Jeanne with Springsteen's blessing.

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