When we first heard the news that Bruce Springsteen was being honored as MusiCares Person of the Year, we were of course as delighted as everybody else.
But when we also learned that Neil Young would be among those paying tribute to Springsteen (along with Jon Stewart, Patti Smith, Sting, Mumford & Sons and others) in Los Angeles two days before the Grammys on February 8, this really got our wheels turning.
While we have a fairly good idea what some of the others might be performing (Patti Smith is almost certainly a lock for “Because The Night” for example), what Springsteen song might Neil Young choose to dust off for the event?
“Born To Run” maybe? After all, we do know that Neil once wrote his own unreleased song with the same title…
To sort this all out, we decided to take a look back at some of the rare examples of Bruce and Neil performing together live, caught on video. Surprisingly, we only found two examples of the two icons doing a Springsteen song.
The first of these, from the 2004 Vote For Change tour, finds Neil adding a haunting, particularly rusty sounding guitar to the rarely played 1992 Springsteen tune “Souls Of The Departed.”
On another clip we came across, from an unidentified venue (but which we are tempted to guess is from an early 90s Bridge School show), Neil along with David Crosby, Graham Nash and others join Springsteen on his 1980 hit single “Hungry Heart.”
Of course, Springsteen has also been known to join Neil Young in concert on occasion for some of the latter’s tunes as well.
This clip, also taken from the 2004 Vote For Change tour, features a particularly raucous version of “Rockin’ In The Free World” featuring Springsteen, John Fogerty and others.
At the same show, Springsteen and Neil Young also took on the Bob Dylan (by way of Jimi Hendrix) classic “All Along The Watchtower.”
Somewhat rarer, is this video from Neil Young’s 1989 Freedom tour, where Springsteen joins Neil for an acoustic take on “Down By The River.”
(Note: The video is a little on the grainy side, but the sound is actually quite decent. It’s also a great performance).
Finally, we couldn’t resist sneaking in the now legendary performance of seventies Bruce and “Neil” from the Jimmy Fallon show doing their unlikely version of “Whip My Hair.”