Spare Parts

Album: Tunnel of Love (1987)

Songfacts®:

  • The studio version of this song runs 3:44 seconds, but there is a much longer version (available on YouTube) recorded live in Sheffield in 1988 for the Bruce Springsteen: Video Anthology 1978-1988, which was released in January 1989. In the extended piano introduction Springsteen explains: "This is a song about a woman struggling to understand the value of her own independent existence... trying to find something new, and beautiful and meaningful in her life today." The first verse is sexually explicit in a covert sort of way. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • The live version features Nils Lofgren on slide guitar and backing by a full brass section. Although singer-songwriter Springsteen is not renowned for his guitar work, The Boss lets rip at the end of this track with a guitar solo.
  • "Spare Parts" features James Woods on harmonica. The LA blues artist got the gig through co-producer Chuck Plotkin whom he has known since high school. "Chuck said, Jimmy, do you still have your blues musician's Union card?" he recalled to Mojo magazine.

    "I did this chugging thing that is sort of a trademark of mine," Woods continued. "I wish I was louder in the mix" (laughs).

    Woods added that he got a lot of subsequent session work afterwards, "because I was the first non-E Street cat to play harp on a Springsteen record."

Comments: 1

  • Sarah from Kennewick, Wa"Bobby said he'd pull out, Bobby stayed in;
    Janie had a baby, wasn't any sin"--OH I'd say that was pretty blunt!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

Incongruent Opening ActsSong Writing

Here's what happens when an opening act is really out of place with the headliner, like when Beastie Boys opened for Madonna.

How "A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss" Became Rock's Top ProverbSong Writing

How a country weeper and a blues number made "rolling stone" the most popular phrase in rock.

90s MetalFact or Fiction

Test your metal - Priest, Maiden, and Beavis and Butt-head show up in this one.

Andy McClusky of OMDSongwriter Interviews

Known in America for the hit "If You Leave," OMD is a huge influence on modern electronic music.

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?