Here, Bruce Springsteen recounts writing a letter to someone he loves. In his note, The Boss seems to be unburdening himself of some existential angst ("I took all my fears and doubts") and imparting his experience ("All the hard things I found out").
So who is the addressee? It is unclear whether Springsteen is writing to:
A Romantic interest:
Tried to summon all that my heart finds true
Somebody younger, maybe a son or daughter, whom he feels responsible for:
Things I found out through hard times and good
I wrote 'em all out in ink and blood
Or his fans:
I took all the sunshine and rain
All my happiness and all my pain
The dark evening stars and the morning sky of blue
The song is the title track and lead single of Springsteen's 20th studio album. This might be a hint that the "Letter To You" is the 12 tracks on the record; he is introducing them to the listening public with this song.
Springsteen recorded The Letter to You album live at his Thrill Hill East studio in New Jersey. He laid down the tracks with his regular backing band, the E Street Band, in the space of five days with no overdubs. Springsteen's previous record, Western Stars, was recorded solo, so this is The Boss' first long player with the E Street Band since 2014's High Hopes.
Springsteen co-produced the song with Ron Aniello, who worked with him on his three previous albums: Wrecking Ball (2012), High Hopes (2014), and Western Stars (2019).
Thom Zimny, a longtime chronicler of Springsteen's career, directed the stark black-and-white video. He filmed the visual around Springsteen's New Jersey farm and included shots of the singer with wife/bandmate Patti Scialfa. There are also clips of Springsteen inside the recording studio as he works on the song with guitarist "Little" Steven Van Zandt.
Longtime photographer Danny Clinch
shot the The Letter To You
album cover in 2018 in New York City during Springsteen's 14-month Broadway concert residency.
Letter To You debuted on top of the UK albums chart. The entry meant Springsteen became the first solo artist to have a #1 album in five consecutive decades: the '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s and '20s.
When "Letter to You," climbed to the top of the Adult Alternative Songs chart dated November 14, 2020 it ended an 18-year break between Springsteen #1s on the tally, the longest gap between visits to the summit in the listing's history. Springsteen's previous leader had been "The Rising
," which spent three weeks at #1 in August 2002.